Lowest Paid Australians Do Deserve a Pay Rise

Brendan O'Connor MP is the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

There is no doubt in my mind that Australians deserve a pay rise.

Both the economic and business indicators are matching what I am hearing from Australians as I travel the country – workers are feeling the pinch and struggling to keep up with cost of living pressures.

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Statist versus unionist solutions to #ChangeTheRules

Daniel Gerrard has been a Labor campaign manager in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT. He is currently working for Bec Cody, one of our ACT Labor MLAs, whilst doing a PhD in campaign methods.

We need to #changetherules, but first we need to get the balance right.

Normally when we see an argument run that we need to get the balance right on industrial relations, the argument is that we must ensure management and capital get a bigger cut of the profits, and workers should accept becoming poorer. That argument is rubbish, and so are the people who make it. There is another balance we urgently need to discuss though, and that is the balance between the role of Government (the state) and unions in getting working people their fair share.

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Tanya Plibersek Speech: National Press Club

Tanya Plibersek is Deputy Opposition Leader, Shadow Minister for Education and Training and Shadow Minister for Women

We are lucky to have in our midst today, the person Margaret Whitlam described as ‘the bravest woman in our land – now that Germaine Greer has left us to it.’ 

Elizabeth Reid was appointed by Gough Whitlam as the world’s first ever advisor to a Prime Minister on Women’s Issues.

In 1975, Elizabeth stood up at the UN World Conference for International Women’s Year and declared:

  • We women will no longer be excluded from the sphere of decisions.
  • We women will no longer be relegated either here or in our own countries, to a secondary position when hard politics are being discussed - as distinct from ‘soft’ women’s issues. 
  • We reject this distinction.

When Gough Whitlam won government in 1972, the women’s liberation movement was at full strength.

It was time for change.

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The Dilemma

Jim McIntosh is a former locomotive driver and lifelong unionist.


The Issue

As ordinary working Australians, do we have a basic right to be happy and prosperous? Is it a given that our children might expect a better life, with elevated opportunities and better outcomes than the one that we had? Do opportunities still exist, generally, for people within our society to increase their wealth and prosperity?

Australia as a wealthy and socially advanced nation remains prosperous. Since the 1950s and prior, each generation has held expectations of being better off than the one before. Generally, those expectations have sustained. But although the overall wealth of the nation has increased, that same wealth is now held in fewer hands and the opportunities for working Australians to improve and increase their share of it have markedly declined. Here, I want to look at the issue of wage decline and to posit some the reasons that underpin the phenomenon. My focus is on casualisation of the workforce, increasing use of imported labour in the marketplace and widespread wage theft. In doing so, I propose that this issue be seen in the larger context of class war against the Australian working class that has been evident and increasingly overt since the late 1980s.

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Priorities for the Left

Andrew Giles is Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools and Pat Conroy is Shadow Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Shadow Assistant Minister for Infrastructure

Our challenge isn't just to change the government, but to change the country.

Australia is on the wrong path - we are headed towards a society in which there is an unbridgeable gulf between haves and have-nots. Inequality is close to, if not at, record highs. Wages are stagnating while corporate profits are booming.

Families are being drowned by the pressure of insecure workplaces with the rise of casualization and mass underemployment.

But we can change course. This is what's at stake at the next election: a choice between a future in which all of us can have a stake, or one characterised by extreme inequality- of income, wealth, opportunity and power. 

It is the Turnbull Government that is pursuing class war, not those opposing their neo-liberal approach.

The National Left must ensure that Labor clearly articulates a path towards a good society. The platform for a Shorten Labor government must secure this objective.

If not more and more people will embrace the populist and hollow approaches of One Nation and Nick Xenophon.


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