“The Work Choices legislation is helping keep a lid on wages growth, despite further evidence of the booming economy and plunging unemployment,” The Australian reports today.

Whoops! That wasn’t in the government’s script.

While Labor and the union movement have been highlighting case after case of individuals who have lost out under the new IR arrangements, the government has been pointing to the macro figures. A key one of these has been real wages growth over the past 10 years.

Wage levels, however, appear to have only increased by one per cent in the first quarter of this year.

You could normally bet that low unemployment and a skills shortage would have pushed the figure higher.

The effects of the Fair Pay Commission’s 5.6% minimum wage increase have also flowed through in this quarter.

Low paid workers may be better off, but the low overall rise in wage levels mean that there isn’t much more in the pockets of other workers.

And we all know how hip pocket nerves influence voting behaviour.