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Australian workers are ‘standing on the outside looking in’ as the wealthy share the pie

Monday’s MYEFO will apparently include yet another downgrade to forecast wage growth.

According to the September Wage Price Index, private sector wages rose by 2.2% in the year to the end of September. Public sector was a little better at 2.5%. Neither of them approach the 3.5% that had been predicted by Treasury in the 2016-17 budget or even the 2.75% forecast in April.

Josh Frydenberg predicted in the last budget that wages would grow by 3.75% next financial year. That is also sure to be cut tomorrow.

Meanwhile, corporate profits are booming. Despite “global headwinds”, over the last three financial years, profits have increased by 22.2%, 10.0% and 10.9%.

Whilst the CEOs and shareholders might be reaping the benefits, the workers whose labour produces this wealth are not.

The latest HILDA survey, which measures Australia’s Household, Income and Labour Dynamics, revealed an interesting fact.

Since 2009 and the global financial crisis, the average and the median (or typical) disposable income have moved in different directions.

The average household’s annual real disposable income has climbed by $3,156. The median household’s income has fallen $542.

This shows that the rich are getting richer.

As Alan Austin points out:

“Clearly, the big corporations are dining out while the majority of Australians are finding their income, wealth and quality of life gradually declining. The Coalition’s management of the economy is allowing foreign predators to extract Australia’s wealth with little or no return to the people of Australia, and to permit local corporations to escape the tax burden the majority of workers are unable to avoid. These policies are serving neither the economy nor the citizens.”

It’s all very well to aim to “grow the pie”, but most of us are outside looking in at the feast being shared by the privileged few.

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  1. pierre wilkinson

    apparently Albo hopes to win the next election on the economy

  2. RomeoCharlie29

    This has been going on for years yet the people of Australia, well a large number of them, are obviously too stupid to recognise that electing and re-electing an LNP Government is actually against their economic interests. Of course when the bulk of the MSM are happy to take at face value the lies of the Slime Minister and his dud treasurer, and regurgitate them, only those with a modicum of curiosity such as those who follow this site, or even read the Guardian or the New Daily, will know better.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Could I also highly recommend Michael West’s site where the article from Alan Austin that I quoted was published.


    John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations is also a very interesting site.


    There really is no excuse for ignorance. The information is out there.

  4. David Stakes

    Yes agree Kaye the truth is out there, but most are too lazy to look.

  5. Matters Not

    Speaking of Pearls and Irritations (Menadue’s site), scroll down this link to the graph titled Age and primary vote. (about half way down in colour). Note the popularity The Greens in the 18 to 24 demographic and their decline as the population ages. Unfortunately there’s no historical info provided for comparative purposes but one notes this comment.

    The findings that will keep Labor analysts pondering for many years relate to social class, income, and education. In line with tradition, those identifying themselves as “middle class” went for the Coalition while the “working class” stayed loyal to Labor. But there was not a clear gradient in relation to income: the Coalition did better among those with incomes up to $40K than among those with incomes in the $40K to $80K band, and those with incomes above $130K, who predictably voted strongly for the Coalition, were also strong Green voters. On education, the Coalition did poorly among those with “no qualifications” and with “tertiary qualifications” (38 per cent in both categories), and well (46 per cent) among those with “non-tertiary qualification”, confirming impressions about “tradies” and their political support. (The AES does not classify a trade qualification as “tertiary”). The Greens did best among those with tertiary education.

    Self-identifying is rather interesting in itself. Don’t know too many who identify as lower class or upper class.


  6. Aortic

    Even those who bother to look David are either unwilling or unable to accept facts as they are.

  7. RosemaryJ36

    I identify as middle class. Never in a blue fit would I vote liberal. I am deeply disappointed in Labor and see no future in a power context for the Greens.
    As a progressive supporter of social justice, who can I vote for?

  8. Matters Not

    Seems to me that tax avoidance by multi-nationals is the elephant in the room and is the perfect issue for a sustained Opposition attack on an apparent impotent government. Note that Macron acted (to the chagrin of Trump) against Google, Amazon et al which act exactly the same way in Australia. Morrison may prefer to wait until there’s an international agreement of sorts but that’s no reason for Albo to hold fire. Launch the missiles, lob the grenades, full frontal attack – take no prisoners. There’s hardly a vote to be lost. But there’s plenty to be gained.

    Note also that Energy Australia is moving a little.

    EnergyAustralia finally paid a skerrick of tax. Having belted out $30.2 billion in revenues over the prior four years, the energy giant, which is controlled in the notorious British Virgin Islands, stumped up $68.7 million; not much on its annual $7.7 billion from tapping energy customers, or even its taxable income of $368 million.

    C’mon Albo – demand retrospective payments with interest and penalties. Who cares if it’s not legally possible. Make a fuss. Do your day job. Then there’s Glencore – and so many more.

    Fleecing Australia: Tax Office data dump shows the usual large culprits paying no tax

  9. Yeah Righ

    The green vote will gradually increase as the younger people start to take an interest and more Australians realise that we need to do something about climate change and that neither of the majors are doing anything/enough. I am also curious how the country as a whole can let somebody like Clive Palmer have such an impact on the election process with hardly a peep. I really don’t get it.

    As for Labour at the moment. WTF?

  10. Matters Not


    see no future in a power context for the Greens.

    Yep – there’s no chance in my lifetime that The Greens will occupy the Treasury benches but that doesn’t mean they lack power (the ability to drive change.) First, they can gain significant primary votes which means dollars flows their way. Dollars which might have gone elsewhere. Given that the vast majority of Green preferences flow to Labor that constituency becomes a contest and Labor has to move (policy) to claim some of that electoral ground. To make it a contest.

    Second, from the link provided above, note that in the 18 to 24 age group more than 35% voted Green. And they are the future. Note also that The Greens did best among those with tertiary education. In an increasing credentialed world, that will have the Labor hard-heads thinking deeply.

    The Greens don’t have to be in government to exercise power. And neither do you. Why Greta can’t even vote.

  11. Kaye Lee

    Jun 22, 2018 Opposition frontbencher Anthony Albanese has challenged his party’s toxic relationship with business

    May 30, 2019 Labor leader Anthony Albanese will reshape Labor’s economic agenda, pledging to work with business. “Labor will be seen as pro-business as well as pro-worker.”

    I am concerned that Albanese wants to be “friends” with everyone. I am sure his intention is to get business and unions together at the table but I have little faith that he has the strength to ensure that big business fulfills its share of the social contract. It is very early days and I am very open to being proven wrong but I am still reeling from the timing of Albanese’s shout out to coal.

  12. Matters Not

    If Anthony Albanese ‘attacks’ multi-national tax avoiders he will probably get support from local business. How can local Travel Agents compete against Booking.com (for example) who pay virtually zero tax in Australia. Same with Expedia.

    Accommodation duopoly Booking.com and Expedia still book most of their revenue straight offshore.

    On a smaller scale but still outrageously unfair.

    Foreign multinationals are again the worst taxpayers. The predatory IKEA for example paid just $5.7 million versus local furniture group Nick Scali which paid $17.9 million.

    And then there’s:

    Trust structures (tax payable by members) such as tollroad operator Transurban, Sydney Airport, Stockland and Mirvac paid zero collectively.

    And yet we make a song and dance about ‘Robodebts’. We are so very easily distracted. Quick, kick that very little head over there. The big heads are donors so look the other way.. More and more like the USA.

    Fleecing Australia: Tax Office data dump shows the usual large culprits paying no tax

  13. crypt0

    Re. “corporate profits are booming.”
    So, like so many other things, if now is not the time for wages to increase, when would be ?

  14. Hotspringer

    Dog bless us all and Tiny Tim.

  15. Kaye Lee

    Workers rarely get something for nothing. We gave up pay rises in the past to get compulsory superannuation which is saving the government a lot of money on aged pensions.

    I think there should be a conversation about giving up holiday leave loading in return for a proper pay rise.

  16. Matters Not

    Good article on that very point and also on the history of Taylorism (rise of scientific management.) An increase from twelve tons of pig iron moved every day to 47.

    Increase your output, get paid more. Wages go up with productivity. Until, it turns out, they don’t anymore. The unwinding of this agreement in recent decades, such that workers must continue to produce more without expecting it to show up in their pay stubs, has now been the subject of a good deal of discussion and debate. The decline of unions, the rise of inequality, the crisis of liberal democracy, and the changing face of American culture all, in one form or another, relate to this transformation.

    Then there’s this new ‘culture’.

    found in her experiment was that employers now “demand a workforce that can think, talk, feel, and pick stuff up like humans—but with as few needs outside of work as robots. They insist their workers amputate the messy human bits of themselves—family, hunger, thirst, emotions, the need to make rent, sickness, fatigue, boredom, depression, traffic.” The results are “cyborg jobs,”

    The article is a summary of several others and certainly worth a read.



    giving up holiday leave loading in return for a proper pay rise

    Surely you jest.

  17. Kaye Lee

    “Surely you jest.”

    If you get 4 weeks with holiday leave loading, you get annually the equivalent of 52.7 weeks pay.

    If you gave up leave loading for a 4% pay rise, you would get 54.08 weeks pay equivalent at previous rate, 53.56 for a 3% pay rise. I am of course talking about a one-off rise on top of the normal annual increase, not instead of.

  18. wam

    In recent time the trickle down replaced the crumbs so that now the bastards just piss on us. Where the &*%%are you albo shorten could have got bitten by qld mozzie and got ross river but he didn’t and QED.
    It is time for you, albo, to move or get narcolepsy.

    My best PM that australia ever had was also a slimy greedy lawyer.
    The unions should join her greed and just accept the automatic increase from her independent(my arse) tribunal.
    I heard tiger woods answer a septic question today. He said it wasn’t easy, they didn’t give us the win we had to work for it’.
    Summo couldn’t say that, could he boobby???

  19. Matters Not


    If you gave up leave loading for a 4% pay rise

    Yes, but I’m not talking about the mathematical possibilities which are almost endless. And besides who’s talking about 4%? Rather I’m talking about the whole IR landscape going back to the Accord years where unions accepted a degree of responsibility for Australia’s broader economic health which was often at the expense of their own members’ interests .

    The whole notion peddled at that time that we are all in this together so let’s hold hands and sing kumbaya was arguably a critical moment in the ever accelerating destruction of the union movement. Must admit I was a sort of happy-clapper at that time as was left-wing officials like Laurie Carmichael of the Metalworkers Union (at one stage.)

    My jaundiced view is now – offer nothing – because labour is not coming from a position of strength but from a position of relative powerlessness. Sure there’s so much that can be bargained away but a glance at the historical record suggests that ‘good ideas’ for reform. more often than not, come at the expense of the working class.

  20. Florence

    The problem is the wealthy are no longer sharing the pie the workers help make. They are taking the lot.

  21. johno

    MN, Interesting to see those stats where votes go in relation to age. I fit in the small group of green voters 55-64. Sad to see arms sales increased by 4.6 % last year, most of the growth coming from US and France.

  22. Wobbley

    How about “they” give up something for once. Ever since I’ve been in the workforce we the worker have had to Bargen off some condition or other just to stay even with where we were then, not gaining anything. Now the Union busting bill, which is what it is, will be the last nail in the coffin of the union movement and hence the poor Australian worker. Our rights are nearly non existent now, what of the future? By the way did anybody hear the interview between the airline pilots association rep and some woman host on ABCIPANINESTOKES radio. I thought it was someone from the government ripping into the bloke but no just someone doing the fascists job for them as usual on the ABC.

  23. Still Nothing

    Perhaps its time to start considering if perhaps the system is actually more rigged than we joke about. I mean, the coalition are ahead in the polls? The approval rating for ScoMo is going up? The Coalition won the election? All while the country looks like the start of the Apocalypse and the rest of the world is condemning us? Perhaps im too far to the left to understand how a “quiet Australian” brain works, or perhaps there is more dodgy shit going on than we think? Thoughts?

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