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You may have to reconsider your reality, Scott

When Scott Morrison was asked how he could regain voters’ interest and trust, he replied “Just by being direct and honest about how you see things, not sugar-coat things and just be as real as you can be”.

Well, yes, that would be good, Scott.

But apparently, as “real” as Scott can be, is to cherry-pick figures, give no context, omit any that are unflattering, and to, half way through his second term in government, still blame Labor and especially that “untrustworthy” Bill Shorten.

With the Labor Party focussing on inequality and stagnant wage growth, the Coalition are being forced to start thinking about the workers.

Scott is proud of his slogan, “jobs and growth”, and says they will inevitably deliver wage rises.

“If you think about where is wage growth going to come from, it’s got to come from a growing economy. The money has to be there. My view is we need the best environment for businesses to grow. That is the best opportunity to ensure wages can lift,” says the Treasurer.

Arguably, that may have been the case in the past, but it is patently not so now.

Our economy has experienced uninterrupted growth for over 26 years.

As reported in WAtoday in November last year, statutory profits for the ASX 50 almost doubled from $61.3 billion in 2015-16 to $120 billion for the year to 30 June 2017, driven by a large surge in profits for the mining sector up $27.7 billion.

The surge was led by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, whose profits soared fivefold. The five miners, BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, together with West Australian companies Fortescue, Newcrest Mining and South32, reported a combined 13 per cent increase in revenue and a 426 per cent increase in profits as commodity prices and production picked up.

Imagine if we still had the mining tax.

The energy sector had a stronger year (AGL Energy, APA, Oil Search, Origin Energy, Santos, Caltex Australia, Woodside Petroleum) reporting a 6 per cent increase in revenue and a 127 per cent increase in statutory profit before tax.

Imagine if we hadn’t gone for the short term sugar hit of privatising our electricity generation and network. It also begs the question as to why we got such a big hike in our power bills.

Overall, according to the ABS, company profits rose by 20% to the year ended 30 September 2017, but the only wages that are going up are the excessive bonuses for CEOs.

The NAB monthly business survey for December said that “Strong business conditions are broad-based across all major industry groups with the exception of retail.”

The business conditions index was unchanged at a strong +13 index points, which is well above the long-run average of +5 index points.

So with business conditions and profits at very high levels, and supposed jobs growth of over 400,000, we should see wages going up.

Except they are not.

According to Alan Oster, NAB Group Chief Economist, “the NAB Business Survey employment index has not experienced the same wild swings in recent years as the official employment survey from the ABS, and tends to suggest the official figures may be currently ‘overstating’ the degree of job creation. The employment index implies employment growth of a little less than 300K at present, and a slowdown to around 240K per annum over the next 6 months, or a monthly pace of around 20K per month.”

In the past year, real household disposable income fell 1.9%, meaning that the level of income households have at their disposal is lower than it was five years ago.

And it’s not likely to change any time soon.

As reported by the ABC, Australian workers who have endured record low pay increases over the past couple of years are unlikely to see their incomes rise soon, with miserly wage increases locked into enterprise agreements (EBAs).

So to sum up, Australian businesses have never had it better. Business conditions and confidence are high, investment and profits are up. On the other side the equation, job creation figures are dubious, wages are stagnant and disposable income is going backwards.

You may have to reconsider your reality, Scott.


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  1. John Kelly

    With such an impressive result of 400,000+ jobs created in 2017, one struggles to grasp how the number of unemployed today (700,000+),, is the same as it was in September 2013. Could it be that population increase, not government initiatives, has generated the number of jobs created and, in fact, the government’s jobs and growth mantra has achieved nothing?

  2. Matters Not

    Everyone knows that governments don’t create jobs. Only the private sector does that. It’s become a mantra. It’s a proven fact.

    Now try telling that to Barnaby J, Matt C, Damien D, Vikki C, Di H, Jake S et al.

    Creating jobs is their speciality. And they’re high paying ones as well. But never fear – the mantra will live on because so much of the ideology depends on its continuation.

  3. Kaye Lee

    The December Labour Force stats say “Over the past year, the labour force has increased by 375,000 persons”

    The NAB business survey says “The employment index implies employment growth of a little less than 300K at present”

    On trend figures, unemployment in August 2013 was 712.400. In December 2017 it was 715,000

    So it depends who you believe but, they are barely, or not, keeping up with population increase. Hardly a reason to break out the champagne.

  4. Royce Arriso

    Morrison is a hand puppet, a mouthpiece.
    His ‘understanding’ of economics extends no further than the Neoliberal dogma he has imbibed.
    His job is to maintain the whoppers which keep money flowing upwards, away from the daily-enlarging army of working poor.
    Number one, upon which the whole rotten edifice of Neoliberalism is built, is the ‘household analogy’.
    This lunatic notion asserts that govt expenditure exactly resembles that of a giant domestic budget. Ergo sum, the govt can actually run out of its own money–impossible, since it is created ‘ex nihilio’– justifying the deliberate underfunding of depts.
    Why ?
    As a prelude to privatisation.
    Also arising out of the household analogy, comes the dogmatic insistence on budget surpluses as ‘money left over to bank’, a patent absurdity in a sovereign currency economy.
    Plus that other bit of boneheaded dogmatism, the ‘intergenerational debt’, again utterly without anchoring in reality, which insists that (Commonwealth) so-called ‘debt’ is like a maxed-out credit card or unpaid mortgage.
    It is nothing of the sort.
    It is denominated in the very currency the govt alone creates and controls.
    So it can always be paid.
    As it always is.
    It is beyond belief that bods in high office mouth such kindergarten-level crap as Morrison does.
    There are wombats with a better grasp of economics.

  5. Jaquix

    Scott Morrison just has no credibility whatsoever. If increased profits for business, as listed, Rio TInto, BHP and others, means increased wages and/or jobs as Turnbull & Morrison claim, then they should surely have employed a lot more people, or increased the wages of the ones they’ve got. Now if T&S could show us these sort of figures, they might have a case. But they never do. Its always the airy-fairy “everybody knows that” line, which people are just not buying. Listening to Kevin Rudd today at the National Press Club, gave Turnbull a few choice serves, and tossed in an aside about their electoral chances in Queensland. Not good, because he had just been there. Loved how he gave The Australian a good whack too, pages 1 – 12 full of Labor bad, Labor worse, Labor struggling etc.

  6. Matters Not

    Royce Arriso re:

    His ‘understanding’ of economics extends no further than the Neoliberal dogma he has imbibed.

    Maybe. So how will things change under a Labor government with Bowen (or any other Labor member) as Treasurer? Same ideology? Same ‘common sense’? What about The Greens? PHON? Australian Conservatives? Jacqu … ?

  7. Christopher

    Thank you Kaye. Keep the blow torch on these people.

    After reading the following bs on ScoMo’s facebook page:

    If you want businesses to spend more on employing more Australians and paying their workers more, you don’t force them to spend more on higher taxes being paid to the Government.
    That’s not a theory. That’s just common sense

    I’ve posted the following:

    How disingenuous can you get, mate. Australia is not in a competition for business, plenty want to invest here. Unless you are talking about grubby corporations like Amazon…. we’ve got enough unethical businesses already, like our banks, who think that social responsibility is to make as much money as they can to the detriment of everyone else, employees, customers and suppliers.

    You seem to think that if corporations pay less tax (that’s a joke, they are masters at avoiding it, see Apple, Alphabet, Rio etc etc), they’ll magically employ more Aussies, or hey, give them a raise in pay. Is that that dribble onto effect that we hear about in the media?

    Common sense? Not very common where you work, enjoying $280 per day in expenses, while the Newstart languishes on $263 per week. So out of touch.

    And, it’s not as if the Federal Government needs taxes to spend, that’s just a convenient lie to deprive Australians of nice things. Hetero economists like self fully understand how money and taxes work when you have a traded exchange rate and your own currency. Let me make it easy for you to understand, and everyone who reads this:

    It’s spend then tax.
    Tax then spend.

    Taxes simply destroy the money you’ve already spent. Everyone who has a clue about how modern economies work understand this.

    And, while we’re looking after corporations’ interests, how about you stop them being able to buy Aussie land. This is how a lot of our real estate gets bid up by overseas nationals who wouldn’t be able to buy houses in the first place.

    Limited liability – another free kick to corporations, while our young, my own son, has debt that he is unable to discharge in bankruptcy.

    We’re not all stupid, pal. You can only pull the rabbit out of the hat so many times. You are the lamest Treasurer, the most unqualified, I have seen in this country. Can’t wait for you all to be kicked out

    By the way, where is the dislike button on this site?

    The masters in power want that social media presence; they allow comments and it’s a good way to have a dig at them as they have lots of followers. Someone’s watching our PM’s page as my unhelpful call for him to sack Barnaby was recognised as spam, ffs, and deleted. So you may need to disguise your disgust as something complementary. I’m having trouble at that approach…

    You’ve also been described by one fb commenter to me as turgid lefties, so you must be doing something right.

  8. Chris

    I’m not sure any of you deserve it….but check this out (from Norway). 😉

  9. Kaye Lee

    turgid – tediously pompous or bombastic.

    bombastic.- high-sounding but with little meaning; inflated.

    pompous – affectedly grand, solemn, or self-important.

    If there was ever a person who deserved the adjective turgid, it’s Scomo

  10. Matters Not

    Leigh was suitably deferential tonight. Nothing changes. She’s easily swatted away. Another waste of time.

  11. Chris

    turgid is also engorged with blood so maybe they meant Barnaby

    This is a good joke : => Maybe they meant turbid tur·bid (tûr’bĭd) adj. Having sediment or foreign particles stirred up or suspended…. 😉

    ….need I say more….. 😀

  12. Christopher

    Thank you, Chris and others. Yes, was out of left field, scuse pun. But seems plenty of punters still willing to forgive this government, but not many with any real sense of what’s happening. Here is a link to his turgid comment, from a person who covers up his face:

  13. Kaye Lee

    Christopher, I added my thoughts to the thread in question.

    “Pork barrelling ‘undermining public trust’ says former Turnbull minister Darren Chester.

    Despite being on a safe seat of more than 30 per cent, Mr Joyce has the third highest rate of funding in the country, taking in $28 million since 2014.

    In the lead up to the New England bylection in December, his electorate received a $2 million grant for a landing system at Tamworth Airport, following a $500,000 grant for an aged care facility in July and an $8.5 million boost for a new equestrian, athletics, cycling centre and indoor sporting centre in August and Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange getting a $600,000 upgrade, thanks to a grant .

    So we use public funds to give Barnaby’s girlfriend a job and we use public funds to buy support for Barnaby’s election yet he still can’t pay his own rent.”

  14. Matters Not


    yet he still can’t pay his own rent.”

    Well, objectively, he can pay his rent but why should he when another is doing so out of the goodness of his heart. No doubt, his donation will be tax deductable while the recipient might not have to declare same to the tax office if the accountant is on the ball. Barnaby was an accountant after all. Thus:

    *Everyone’s a winner baby *

  15. Glenn Barry

    I want to see Morriscum in a cute little skirt, nice read shoes singing somewhere over the rainbow, because he’s in F#$@ing fantasy land

  16. iggy648

    If you do my favourite thing and keep plotting million hours worked, the slope HAS increased. My guess is that this is largely due to the employment of NDIS workers. This is mooted to cost $22 billion per year when completely rolled out, or roughly the equivalent of Kevin Rudd’s stimulus package every 2 years. Hopefully the Government isn’t borrowing this money from China (or anywhere else). Is it possible the Government has been forced to embrace MMT ? If the upturn in employment hours IS due to the NDIS, the government should get down on their collective knees and thank Julia Gillard for forcing them to accept the NDIS.

  17. Glenn Barry

    @ Kaye Lee – they’re all three fantastic in the true sense of the word, who amongst them can hold a tune, Morrisons shrill squealing in question time obviously won’t cut it

  18. Kaye Lee


    the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will require about 70,000 full-time equivalent workers over the next three years, or one in five of all new jobs created.

    The catch? Many of those jobs are casual.

    Unions and disability service providers are concerned the rollout of the NDIS is building a huge workforce of casuals with not enough training or experience.

    “By the time the scheme is fully implemented in 2020 we will need about 160,000 full time equivalent jobs – that’s a doubling of the workforce over that time,” CEO Mr Baker said.

    “That’s going to be a significant challenge.

    “It is not growing fast enough to meet that target.”

    Many of the positions are being filled by 457 visa workers.

    Alarmingly, Christian Porter said “it has always been envisaged that in the longer term prices [charged to clients with disabilities] will be deregulated and determined by market forces.”

  19. roma guerin

    Christian Porter – Always? Envisaged by whom?

  20. Royce Arriso

    ‘Matters Not’
    You’re dead right of course.
    All those you identified have swallowed the Neoliberal Kool Aid.

  21. Pete

    So Fizza is out there waffling on about how wages are going to start growing, then a couple of days later we hear inflation is tipped to rise to 2.6% this year, we could be looking at around $430 annual increase in electricity bills (because his gas industry reform was a dud) and then we find out public servant’s pay will remain capped at 2% per year into the next round of employee agreements. Oh and those who have yet to sign agreements had their request for a ‘tide them over pay rise” due to the length of time taken so far.

  22. Outsider

    Neoliberalism is well established in both parties and until Bowen and Shorten that supports him is not removed we do not have hope.
    On the news: “Labor considers company tax reform after budget returns to surplus”

    Quote from Bowen:
    “When the budget has returned to surplus then you can look at further tax reform of both personal and company tax, but you have to be able to afford it, you have to pay for it,”

    So, voters should may reconsidering their position because removing a bad one to put in place one not so bad it is not the option.
    Instead of wasting energy every day in trying to change the behavior of this government it will be more productive in changing the policies of the ALP neoliberal leadership.
    AIMN is a good place to start it because the majority of the readers are potential ALP voters.

  23. jimhaz

    [“When the budget has returned to surplus then you can look at further tax reform of both personal and company tax, but you have to be able to afford it, you have to pay for it,”]

    With the spending trends we have now with NIDS and Aged Care, that would be never. We do need to rid ourselves of the 18 billion interest, so more than just a return to surplus should occur, the debt needs to be paid off.

  24. jimhaz

    NIDS is essentially a luxury. Expenditure should be minimised as much as possible.

  25. Phil

    An ask to our most esteemed writers at ‘theaimn’ – would anyone care to explain what are the necessary conditions/circumstances that must prevail in order to make wages rise. Kaye Lee has shown us that a growing economy is not one of those factors. I realise that once upon a time when there was a shortage of certain skills, then employers in that particular market competed for a limited labour pool and that meant wages and conditions increased. Then there were trade unions and their overarching ACTU with collective bargaining powers that forced employers to offer more than the standard labour servitude that capitalism demands.

    But the capitalists and their puppets in parliaments the world over found devious ways to undercut the power of labour by moving offshore to cheap labour countries where no environmental laws and no health and safety laws impeded the right to extract maximum profit.

    Then the capitalists discovered that you could stay in your domestic market and simply bribe your political puppets to invent cheap and nasty foreign worker visas – what could be better than to stay local, make huge profit and use virtual slave labour.

    While this strategy proceeded apace in the last couple of decades, the angry conservatives ramped up their union killing campaign using draconian laws criminalising collective bargaining and using their media puppets to vilify unions.

    So this might be why wages today simply cannot rise because the very circumstances that once made for a just and workable capital/labour system have been systematically dismantled by the sort of mongrels that Scott Morrison represents.

    Am I onto anything here or am I pissing in the wind?

  26. Royce Arriso

    “We do need to rid ourselves of the 18 billion interest, so more than just a return to surplus should occur, the debt needs to be paid off.”
    Evidence of the ‘household analogy’ in action.
    Because the govt so-called ‘debt’ is just like a maxed out credit card, eh?
    HINT–in what currency is the so-called ‘debt’ denominated ?

  27. Christopher

    Even the Bank of England has said that MMT is the correct view of the world.

    The Australian Government’s budget is just a political convenience. They could credit every pensioner every week without taxes or borrowing.

    It’s spend then tax, not the other way around. Everybody knows this.

    Taxes simply destroy monies already spent and are necessary to avoid inequality, inflation, currency depreciation; and they create demand for the currency.

  28. Matters Not

    Phil February 13, 2018 at 7:34 pm Seems to me that you need to add technology (including the explosion of artificial intelligence) to your analysis. Technology, broadly defined, is not taxed, doesn’t take a holiday, isn’t paid overtime, operates 24/7, never strikes and the like.

    In short, technology is much cheaper and more reliable that labour. Further, this trend will continue and indeed, will accelerate.

    Here’s today’s example:

    Real-time funds transfers between bank accounts, even from different institutions, will be made possible from January next year thanks to a billion-dollar infrastructure upgrade.

    … US-based Capital One offers a glimpse of the future for Australian banks, where artificial intelligence and machine learning can help them stay on top of suspicious transactions.

    AI is all about diplacing labour. Thus workers lose their bargaining power.

    I should add that the ALP is thinking about the ‘future of work’ with people like Jim Chalmers involved. An attempt to be strategic and not just tactical.

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