The insecure nature of work in Australia today can be illustrated through the following infographic (based on 2015 data published by the ABS). Australia has over 19 million residents of working age (which the ABS defines as anyone over 15). Of those, 12.5 million “participated” in the labour market (by working or actively seeking it). Participation has declined in recent years, in large part because of poor job prospects; that’s a turnaround from earlier decades when participation (especially by women) increased steadily.
By Jim Stanford, May 2 2016
In the lead-up to tomorrow’s pre-election Commonwealth budget, much has been written about the need to quickly eliminate the government’s deficit, and reduce its accumulated debt. The standard shibboleths are being liberally invoked: government must face hard truths and learn to live within its means; government must balance its budget (just like households do); debt-raters will punish us for our profligacy; and more. Pumping up fear of government debt is always an essential step in preparing the public to accept cutbacks in essential public services. And with Australians heading to the polls, the tough-love imagery serves another function: instilling fear that a change in government, at such a fragile time, would threaten the “stability” of Australia’s economy.Read more
by Jim Stanford, April 5 2016
The latest “big idea” on tax policy from the Coalition government is to grant independent income tax powers to the states. This would be accompanied by a devolution of funding responsibility for big-ticket services like health care, hospitals, and schools. Prime Minister Turnbull argues that forcing state governments to raise the money they spend will lead to more accountability and efficiency in public service delivery. And it’s a politically convenient response to the demands from states for more revenues: “If you need it so much, go out and raise it yourself.”Read more
This paper explores the cost of unpaid overtime, the extent to which Australian workers fail to take a break and the cost of work bleeding into everyday life.Read more