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Delegitimising unions in the great game of labour v capital

It may not look it, but there are strong links between the Occupy protests here and overseas, and more formal political debate and public discourse, which naturally has been dominated by the Qantas dispute. And not just in the vague sense that both deal with the economy, or capitalism, or markets.

Let’s be clear about the long-term business agenda in Australia regarding industrial relations. It’s an agenda aimed not at improving productivity — as I and others have incessantly showed, the last round of IR reform led to a drop in labour productivity — but a more self-interested one aimed at reducing labour costs and neutering unions.

Business is quite tolerant of trade unions, as long as they do nothing that inconveniences business or increases labour costs. They can even be a useful form of alternative pressure on governments when industries set about rent-seeking. Neutered unions are quite acceptable. Real ones, that aggressively represent the interests of their members, aren’t. And ones that actually take industrial action, in particular, are regarded as outright enemies of business.

This is the ultimate thrust of IR reform — to pathologise industrial action, however legal, however justified. The point is to frame the right to withhold labour as an illegitimate form of economic vandalism, no matter what the circumstances.

Thus the incessant business complaint that the Fair Work Australia framework is too “pro-union” because it allows unions to take industrial action once a number of legal hurdles have been cleared. And the logic of Qantas’s actions on the weekend was to break free of the normal industrial dispute provisions under which it was operating, in which unions could continue to take wholly legal industrial action which (as Fair Work Australia found on Sunday night) did not pose a significant threat to Qantas.

This is business’s particular self-interested contribution to the liberal economic reform project. The IR component of that project, starting in 1993 with the Keating government’s provisions for enterprise bargaining and accelerating in 1996-97 with Peter Reith’s reforms to deliver individual contracts, was to remove the impediments of a centralised bargaining system from a modern, open economy, allowing enterprises to respond to competition more flexibly.

Coupled with globalisation, deregulation and corporate tax cuts, the reform project has delivered a huge increase in the corporate sector’s share of national income — at the expense of labour, as this graph from the Australian Council of Trade Unions shows:

The wage share of national income in Australia has only recently come off historic lows. But on this we’re no different from the United States or the United Kingdom, where wage share has also dropped over the last three decades to historic lows of around 50%.

Australian business clearly doesn’t believe the wage share has fallen low enough. That’s what drives its agenda to go further and undermine collective bargaining, a key part of which is the right to withhold labour, something businesses have been trying to do since the time of the Combination Acts in the early nineteenth century. Australia remains, for its corporate leaders, a “high wage” economy that struggles to compete internationally. For globally-mobile capital, there’s always a lower-wage country somewhere else to move to.

That same global market, however, has been the justification for a massive increase in executive remuneration, which as Prof David Peetz has shown, accelerated in the 1980s but then really took in the late 1990s.

Now, you can look at this from a union perspective and rail about income inequality and overpowerful corporations, or from a corporate perspective and point out that it’s the logic of a global market. And that market is currently delivering strong employment growth and growing income to Australians. But either way, it is driving the growing anti-corporate sentiment in the community, the opposition to further economic reform and the desire to reverse some reforms like privatisation. The Occupy protests are only the most vocal point of this deep and wide community sentiment that corporations get all the benefits of the economic system while the community gets all of the costs.

Where unions have failed is to tap into this sentiment. Capitalism operates most effectively by atomising the individual, by ensuring that an individual’s primary relationships are one-to-one relationships with producers as a consumer, and with employers, as a worker. Traditional systems that establish links cutting across these one-to-one relationships — unions, churches, political parties — have all been in decline in recent decades. Now the internet threatens to establish a different set of relationships and communities at odds with capitalism. But unions still retain some of the power that they once had to disrupt capitalist relationships, which is why business wants to neuter them.

The challenge for unions is to find a way to effectively channel those community concerns. Some of the more politically effective unions, like the Australian Workers Union, would argue that that is exactly what they’ve done through outcomes like the recent steel industry package. They also face an often hostile media environment that reinforces the illegitimacy of industrial action.

Alternatively, the challenge for business is to find a way to address those concerns themselves, to stop the community seeing them as a problem, the beneficiaries of a rigged capitalist game. Continuing to reflexively wage industrial relations wars wouldn’t seem to be the best start in doing that.

135
  • 1
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    www .smh.com.au/travel/travel-incidents/afp-investigates-qantas-plane-sabotage-20111102-1muxm.html

    The Australian Federal Police are looking into an act of alleged sabotage involving a Qantas plane.

    The plane was undergoing maintenance in Brisbane when the alleged incident occurred last week, before Qantas grounded its entire fleet on Saturday during an industrial dispute.

    It is understood that after engineers returned from a lunch break, they noticed several wires had been cut on an in-flight entertainment system, The West Australian reported this morning.

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-incidents/afp-investigates-qantas-plane-sabotage-20111102-1muxm.html#ixzz1cVfuQM7e

    Looks like Qantas are vindicated as grounding all aircraft as a safety measure after announcing the lock-out.

    The unions are a safety and security risk.

  • 2
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Wow, a single alleged incident that’s still under investigation is enough to brand unions, generally, “a safety and security risk”?

    Probably better to view ‘safety’ as a canard that both sides of the dispute are attempting to harness, as clearly nobody wants planes dropping out of the sky.

    What I liked about Bernard’s story was that it pulls back to examine the bigger picture.

  • 3
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article Bernard.

  • 4
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - “Looks like Qantas are vindicated as grounding all aircraft as a safety measure after announcing the lock-out.” Do you know who cut the wires? And the cut wires were to in flight entertainment, hardly a safety risk. Also remember that it was the engineers who reported the damaged wires to Qantas.

    The one point I will make is that Australia, unlike the US still has had real wage growth over the past 30 years, in no small part due to union representation.

  • 5
    SonofMogh
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me or does Geewiz sound just like Truthie.

  • 6
    CTar1
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The problems with the 767’s entertainment wiring could have been done by anyone - just like the Alan Joyce ‘death threats’.

    What are ‘the Combination Acts’ ? (A spell check ‘problem’ on the Harvester case?)

  • 7
    ace ventura
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    if julia gillard didn’t cut the wires herself i bet she knows who did or even ordered it. even if thats not the case she should have done something to stop it happening in the first place just another labor stuff up!

  • 8
    R T
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I am new to Crikey but I am guessing that Geewizz is a troll so - enough said.

    This is an excellent piece Bernard. Thank you and I agree that the unions are not engaging well enough the ‘collective’ view and voice and thus allowing corporations to do what they do well, lobby the individual. Divided we fall and they know it!

    Ruth Townsend

  • 9
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    RT - If we look at Australia’ recent history (last 30 years or so) in IR we will see that in the late 70’s early 80’s unions probably had too much power and during the Hawke and Keating years the balance was moved more towards the middle. More recently Howard and big business tried to move the power too much towards the corporations and the unions were able to get this over turned and the power is now back towards the middle. Over this time we have had a sustained period of continuos economic growth, a sustained period of low unemployment, a sustained period of low inflation, real wages growth and an improvemtn in the GINI coefficient (that measures wealth distribution) to a point where we a among the best in the world.

    If you compare this with the US where Reagan smashed the Unions in the early 80’s and the now have about 8% representation you will see that we appear to have a good balance of union and corporate power benefitting everyone.

    Plus we need those corporations to make money to fund our super.

  • 10
    Michael
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    @Bernardo

    Man you’re unbelievable. 2011 and still fighting the revolution. Guess that’s what gives dryed up baby boomers like you some meaning to the last years of your miserable, hash riddled lives. So uncool. So passė. So predictable.
    By the way, is Crikey a union workshop? But you it’s not, Beecher is way too competent for that. So how do you negotiate your coin or are you paid by barter?

  • 11
    chris.white1@internode.on.net
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Bernard again makes telling points. As a former union official I not only have argued against the severe repression of the right to strike by corporations from Howard in WorkChoices and retained by Gillard in Fair Work Australia, but also I urge reviving the strike weapon here http://chriswhiteonline.org/2011/10/on-strikes-and-their-revival/

    The employer lock-out weapon ought not to be allowed in the Fair Work Act.
    The lock-out should be banned to allow some fairness and balance for emploees against the more powerful corporations in our collective bargaining system.

    

Qantas is a case study. The lockout with no notice in response to the limited and responsible protected action by the members of the three Qantas unions should in the public interest be unlawful. 

http://chriswhiteonline.org/2011/10/the-lock-out-to-go/

  • 12
    Dogs breakfast
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    As others have said, troll guy, the engineers who found the cut wires would have been unionists, it’s fair to assume. At least they are represented in this by a union.

    Cut wires on an entertainment unit do not constitute a health and safety threat. Do we need to explain that to you geewhiz. I can go into some detail if you like.

    Is that the best troll feed that Qantas management can come up with? That is was justified to ground the airplanes because disgruntled staff constituted a health and safety risk?

    I have seen Health and Safety laws used in spurious circumstances before, and the unions are usually the chief protagonists, but hiding behind that fig leaf to shut down your operations requires a substantial leap of imagination.

    Good article Bernard, yes there is a connection between the occupy movement and the Qantas debacle, even if Joyce and his 71% pay rise haven’t worked it out yet.

  • 13
    Maninmelbourne
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Great article.

  • 14
    ace ventura
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    grounding a whole fleet on 3 hours notice because of apparent cut wires in an entertainment unit on one plane. rational decision making that….uh huh. i’d say that sound even worse in some respects.

  • 15
    ace ventura
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    sorry, add to that discovered one week prior to the grounding?

  • 16
    davidk
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It has long bewildered me why businesses which rely on staff to serve the cutomers and make profits for the company seem to go out of their way to piss said staff off. Counterproductive surely and another sign of poor mansgement skills. Weird!

  • 17
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Ace & David - Would you really want to work for someone who believes you could commit mass murder to prove a point? Not to mention telling the media of that belief!!

  • 18
    ace ventura
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    i must be a bit slow, would you care to me what you mean?

  • 19
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I mean Qantas has come out and accused the unions of sabotaging the planes and forcing them to ground the whole fleet for safety reasons. If this is the case then they believe that the unions would have no trouble k*ll*ng a whole plane load of innocent people.

  • 20
    davidk
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t trust Joyce to tell the truth.

  • 21
    ConnorJ
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I love that spike in business profits at around about ‘08 mark, around about the time workers seemed to be taking a hit to keep business profitable during the GFC crisis. Once again workers are left to eat a big pile of shit with no real reward for their efforts.

  • 22
    SBH
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Neutered - so that would be why the major corporates are happy to let pope Joe run ‘Australia’s largest union’.

  • 23
    ace ventura
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    oh i get it. anyway, according to the age:

    There was no operational safety risk at any stage,” the Qantas statement said.

    http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-incidents/afp-investigates-qantas-plane-sabotage-20111102-1muxm.html#ixzz1cWEnIuhG

    so all this “it was because of the wires. and gillard.” is really a moot point. except for the gillard part, it’s still her fault.

  • 24
    cpobke
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Great discussion around the relationship between unions, business and workers/consumers. I don’t quite follow some of the supporting stats though.
    Figure 5 and the text around it appears to suggests that some kind of expropriation has taken place (robber barons impoverish workers by taking their share). However, real wages (or rather real Compensation Of Employees) have grown greatly over this period. Gross Operating Surplus has grown faster, leading to a rise in profit share. Much of these gains have also been distributed to workers through their ownership in these companies in the form of shares (i.e super).
    The article also implies that there is a ‘right’ profit share and that it is too high in Australia. This may be true, by the grounds for determining what share is appropriate is not straightforward, and interventions to change the share would influence the growth (and possibly level) of total factor returns. Few would support a higher wage share if it meant lower actual wages.
    Incidently, the share of wages was highest (and profit share lowest) in the late 1970s. Dissatisfaction with the macroeconomics performance of this period (real wage growth, inflation, unemployment) was impetus for the ‘liberal economic reform project’.

  • 25
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Davidk - The truth is such an odd thing, I believe Joyce is telling the truth when he says he told the Govt he might have to ground the fleet, but I believe he said it in a way that put emphasis on the “might” and conveyed that it would be a long way into the future.

    I also believe that when speaking to Abbott and Hockey he might fo put more emphasis on the “ground the fleet” which gave them a more realisitic picture of his intentions.

    This allows him to say he told the govt and the opposition to to claim they didn’t know for sure and still be telling “the truth” but also lying through their teeth.

  • 26
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Cpobke - Great points and I completely agree.

  • 27
    davidk
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    @ connorj The Left looks to the whole while the Right looks to the self. Easy really.

  • 28
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Wow, a single alleged incident that’s still under investigation is enough to brand unions, generally, “a safety and security risk”?”

    Someone purposely cutting electrical wires on a passenger aircraft is something everyone should be taking seriously.

    It’s tantamount to terrorism.

    Lucky someone spotted it and it was only the inflight system wires cut, could have ended up being much much serious.

  • 29
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - I’ll ask again, do you know who cut them? And if it was th unions why did they report the issue to Qantas?

  • 30
    davidk
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    @ jimmy you’re quite right of course but I’m sick of businesses, media and pollies playing duplicitous games while the planet burns. Surely there are more important things to worry about.

  • 31
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    The problems with the 767’s entertainment wiring could have been done by anyone - just like the Alan Joyce ‘death threats’.”

    I’d assume you’d need security clearance for access to the hangar so I think we can assume it was somebody who works at the airport.

  • 32
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Davidk - I agree although it is generally the more important things they are playing the duplicitous games about.

  • 33
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - “I’d assume you’d need security clearance for access to the hangar so I think we can assume it was somebody who works at the airport” You are assuming the damage wasn’t done in an area accessible from the cabin.

    But assuming that it was only someone who works at the airport that still leaves a large number of people who 1) aren’t even employed by Qantas and 2) are not affiliated with the union in anayway. This includes Qantas management.

  • 34
    ConnorJ
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    geewiz said:

    Looks like Qantas are vindicated as grounding all aircraft as a safety measure after announcing the lock-out.

    The unions are a safety and security risk.

    From the union:

    [But the federal secretary of the Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Union, Steve Purvinas, rejected the notion that the incident was sabotage.

    It was his union’s engineer members who spotted damage to an entertainment system wiring loom as it was being fitted, he said.

    It happened last week when some wires were found to be damaged in a wiring loom that was being fitted to a new [entertainment] system,” Mr Purvinas said.

    The most likely situation is that these wires were damaged during manufacturing.

    It was actually members of ours who picked it up - and reported it,” he said.

    The wiring looms normally come preassembled, Mr Purvinas said.

    It was during the fitment of those looms that our members noticed that some wires were damaged.

    It’s quite often that when we’re installing new wires in aircraft that looms are too short, or that pins have been put the wrong way around.

    Any suggestion that it was sabotage from our members is clearly another attack by an airline that is leaking information to the press on purpose to take the heat off them for their actions [in grounding the airline] on the weekend,” Mr Purvinas said.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-incidents/afp-investigates-qantas-plane-sabotage-20111102-1muxm.html#ixzz1cWNtYNky

    And from QANTAS:

    Looks like Qantas are vindicated as grounding all aircraft as a safety measure after announcing the lock-out.

    The unions are a safety and security risk.

  • 35
    Observation
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    With the continuous demonising of the unions in the limited news which the bulk of the population seems to consume in one line headings alone there will never be a balanced point of view circulated.

    The blatant lies put into print to skew public opinion in there preferred direction is disgusting. And there never seems to be any retraction or apology when this occurs. Isn’t there some sort of law that has these bulldust bandits fined or prosecuted?

    If the unions were to go it would be the death of any moral or fair employment contracts.

  • 36
    GeeWizz
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    But assuming that it was only someone who works at the airport that still leaves a large number of people who 1) aren’t even employed by Qantas and 2) are not affiliated with the union in anayway. This includes Qantas management.”

    Why would Qantas management sneak down and cut the wires on their own planes?

    I think we are heading into lala land country now.

  • 37
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Quite right Jimmy and as ACE said, it was all done a week before the grounding.

    This was a political stunt by QANTAS who plainly thought looking like mad-dogs would help them in negotiations.

  • 38
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz - “Why would Qantas management sneak down and cut the wires on their own planes?” Why would an engineer cut the wires just to report them to management?

    I am not saying they did do it just that they had the same access ass any of the unions and many others. As for motivation, how about “Gee these strikes are really annoying us, maybe if we cut a couple of wires we can accuse the unions of sabotage and ground the fleet to force a suspension of the industrial action”

    Fran - I really can’t see the logic in Qantas’ strategy, they seemd to be winning the PR war prior to the weekend and now they are losing it big time.

  • 39
    michael r james
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Excellent piece by Jessica Irvine today (below) and also look at the Saul Eslake article earlier (at bottom). These are hard headed economists not youthful “partying” Occupiers.

    [(theage.com.au/opinion/politics/top-bosses-riches-are-undeserved-20111101-1mttj.html)
    
Top bosses’ riches are undeserved Jessica Irvine November 2, 2011
Australian
    .
    CEOs say they must be remunerated so as not to be tempted away by jobs as international CEOs. But running a company is a tougher gig in the big, deeper pools of larger economies. Better to be a big fish in a small pond.
    .
    
CEOs also say they need to be compensated for the risks involved in running these very large companies. But what risk? Running a big bank in Australia is about as risky as running a large bureaucracy, and we don’t pay public servants anything like these guys get.
    .
    The membership of the top 10 companies in Australia is remarkably stable. These are not companies that fall over. In fact, the big four banks have an all but explicit guarantee they will not be allowed to fail.
.
Sitting in a CEO chair at the top of the ASX food chain is a great gig. These companies are simply not at risk of going under and their CEOs simply don’t deserve what they get.
    .
……..
    [(theage.com.au/business/why-some-incomes-are-just-gross-20111028-1mo9g.html)

    Why some incomes are just gross Saul Eslake October 29, 2011
.
    However the real income of the richest 1 per cent of Australian households rose by 189 per cent between 1980 and 2007 - about the same as in the US. ]

  • 40
    david
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    SonofMogh…Truthie the coward troll who trolls under different names as he gets caught out..you can safely assume his latest trolling cover is indeed Geewizz

  • 41
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Michael R james - Very Interesting post. One point though;
    “However the real income of the richest 1 per cent of Australian households rose by 189 per cent between 1980 and 2007 - about the same as in the US. ” The big difference to the US is the amount workers real wages have grown in the same time. In the Us they have only grown about 6% in that time, here while not 189% it is significantly more than 6%. Also as I posted earlier our Gini coefficient is actually improving n the last 20 years and is significantly higher thanthe US.

  • 42
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Business left to operate in a vacuum of it’s own-their overall desire- is the most dangerous threat this planet is facing.

    There is not one single person, including trolls like GeeWhiz in this country who could not enjoy one of the most enviable lifestyles in the world without the hard work of unions.

    Take away unions and worker’s power to negotiate with bosses equally and the ramifications are dire.

    With no security of a job or if we all become part -time workers, few people would be able to get a mortgage. That is just for starters.

    QANTAS must obey rules of conformity just as the corner shop does albeit with sensible modifications for each industry, just as laws apply to us all.

    As for the so-called attempt at sabotage : grow-up Gee Whiz. I do not believe QANTAS bosses OR workers would ever sabotage a plane they may one day fly in. Unless they were a psycopath.

    And if QANTAS was right to ground their fleet because of your claim-did they check every plane currently put back in service the following day ?. It doesn’t make sense nor do you.

  • 43
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Oscar Jones -
    “Business left to operate in a vacuum of it’s own-their overall desire- is the most dangerous threat this planet is facing.” I agree in general with this statement (it might be overstating a little) but the reverse is also true. One of the reasons we have had such a good period in the last 30 years is the balance we have had between the unions and business.

  • 44
    drsmithy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    The employer lock-out weapon ought not to be allowed in the Fair Work Act.
    The lock-out should be banned to allow some fairness and balance for emploees against the more powerful corporations in our collective bargaining system.

    So what mechanism _should_ be in the Act to counterbalance a Union’s ability to bring an entire business to a halt ?

  • 45
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    From Jimmy above:

    Also as I posted earlier our Gini coefficient is actually improving n the last 20 years ……”

    From the ABS below:

    Gini 1997-8 - .303

    Gini 2007-8 - .331

    Remember close to 0 is equality [good], close to 1 is inequality [bad]

    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Household%20income%20distribution%20%285.3.2.1%29

    And in case the link doesn’t get through just google “ABS gini Australia”

  • 46
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    From Jimmy above:

    Also as I posted earlier our Gini coefficient is actually improving n the last 20 years ……”

    From the ABS below:

    Gini 1997-8 - .303

    Gini 2007-8 - .331

    Remember close to 0 is equality [good], close to 1 is inequality [bad]

    And in case the link doesn’t get through just google “ABS gini Australia”

    Edit
    Moderated
    So I re-commented without the link.

  • 47
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Fredex - I was using these figures;
    According to the CIA World Fact Book, the U.S. is ranked as the 42nd most unequal country in the world, with a Gini Coefficient of 45.

    In contrast:
    – Tunisia is ranked the 62nd most unequal country, with a Gini Coefficient of 40.
    – Yemen is ranked 76th most unequal, with a Gini Coefficient of 37.7.
    – And Egypt is ranked as the 90th most unequal country, with a Gini Coefficient of around 34.4.

    Australia’s Gini index was 35.2 (1994) and 30.5 (2006)

    At worst you could argue we have stayed roughly the same but it still ne of the best in the world.

  • 48
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Which doesn’t alter the fact that, according to the ABS, the Gini coefficient in Australia has worsened over the most recently measured period from’98 to ‘07.

    Perhaps you should not rely on the CIA, whose credibility, particularly with respect to Australian statistics, is well below that of the ABS.

  • 49
    dave
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    davidk
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t trust Joyce to tell the truth.

    Very selective quote by GeeWizz. Nice try at fitting up but you have been found out yet again.

    William did well to permanently ban you from PlooBludger.

    The article GeeWizz links also goes on to say -

    … federal secretary of the Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Union, Steve Purvinas, rejected the notion that the incident was sabotage.

    It was his union’s engineer members who spotted damage to an entertainment system wiring loom as it was being fitted, he said.

    The most likely situation is that these wires were damaged during manufacturing.

    It was actually members of ours who picked it up - and reported it,” he said.

    The wiring looms normally come preassembled, Mr Purvinas said.

  • 50
    Jimmy
    Posted Wednesday, 2 November 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Fredex - “Which doesn’t alter the fact that, according to the ABS, the Gini coefficient in Australia has worsened over the most recently measured period from’98 to ‘07.”
    Or we could say that it has improved from 1994 to 2007 from 35.2 to 33.1.

    Perhaps you should not rely on the CIA, whose credibility, particularly with respect to Australian statistics, is well below that of the ABS.” Do you have any evidence to suggest that the CIA is unreliable in this instance, it isn’t like the figures are poles apart.

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