There is no productivity "debate" in Australia, at least not one involving Australian businesses and their media spokespeople the national newspapers. Instead, there’s an obsession with nasty unions and lazy workers, which like any good obsession involves an unwillingness to confront simple facts.

Today's Australian Financial Review editorial discuses this week's major speech on productivity from the senior Federal Treasury official, David Gruen, which, for the first time discussed the poor role management in this country seems to have in obtaining productivity gains. Gruen had based his comments on an international study had concluded that Australian managers were ranked well behind the likes of managers in the US, Germany, Canada and Sweden and that lifting the performance of Australian management to first rank levels would improve productivity in Australian manufacturing by around 8%.