Finally, the Government has laid a glove on Kevin Rudd. The subject is productivity; too arcane one might have thought for Australian political leaders, untutored as they are at the Sorbonne, or Harvard, or even Oxford.

Now it’s official. The OECD, full of staffers from the abovementioned places of higher s-domy — correction learning — has supposedly supported the Australian Government.

As we pointed out on 11 May:

Innovative spending on education is needed to overcome our ongoing “productivity crisis”. As the Harvard competitiveness guru Michael Porter puts it, ‘productivity is the prime determinant in the long run of a nation’s standard of living’. The graph shows the potential to do better by again getting closer to US productivity levels. Do not forget to read the excellent paper by Treasury on this topic.

Australia’s newly flexible workplace relations laws will increase Australia’s productivity in the long run — by encouraging and allowing unskilled workers to get into the workforce — but almost by definition it reduces productivity in the short run. Simply compare the growth of employment at 3.1 % over the past year with growth of GDP, probably not much higher.

There can be no argument that a better educated population will be more productive, and in the long run WorkChoices provides added incentive for employers to provide on-the-job training.

Kevin Rudd can be excused for not having read and absorbed the latest OECD thinking overnight, but how can he (or his minders) have missed Henry’s succinct summary? Too much time in the sun as kiddies in Queensland?

What an Aussie hero is Noel Pearson. Stop the grog, apply decent normal standards –kids fed, clothed and made to go to school and do homework — get the bruvvers back to work so they don’t have time to loll about getting p-ssed and abusing kids, wives and anyone else who can’t defend themselves.

If non-indigenous Australia, including the Federal and Queensland governments, do not provide the support Pearson has asked for it will be a real scandal. Beware Messrs Howard and Beattie, Henry will hold you to account on this one! Check out our 2003 report on several related matters, especially the material in green (this article is from our technicolour phase). 

Read more at Henry Thornton.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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