wage stagnation monetary policy
(Image: Getty)

How do we fix wage theft when a huge cross-section of small and medium businesses continue to underpay workers? Crikey readers had a few practical answers to Bernard Keane’s question yesterday. Elsewhere, readers added to the discussion of where Australia can go in its relationship with Indonesia and what we can expect from incoming communications minister Paul Fletcher.

On wage theft

Peter Frank writes: Name and shame. It mightn’t have an impact in harvest and some other sectors but I’m sure it would in hospitality. Simply require every offending cafe, restaurant and coffee shop to prominently display a notice identifying them as shonks who are defrauding their staff of a fair wage. Maybe also a sticker on menus? This could be augmented by a parallel notice identifying  businesses meeting/exceeding fair wage entitlements. I’m sure most consumers prefer to buy their “fair trade” coffee from a barista getting paid a fair wage.

Michelle Robertson writes: This is a knotty problem. To motivate government, get treasury to do some modelling. Correct payment of workers would boost the economy and it would boost the tax take. Next, make it easier to find out correct rates of pay from Fair Work, including all the state laws, so it is easier for business to do the right thing. Make wage theft a crime (this was effective for OH&S) and ask the tax office to include correct payment of employees and the related tax in their audits.

On Australia-Indonesia relations

Alex Joseph writes: I love reading Michael’s articles, but I feel he made a small mistake when he said Indonesia is headed to be the world’s fourth biggest economy behind China, the US, and Japan. Not a chance in hell. At best fifth, behind China, the US, India and Japan. In fact, the future number five spot has so many potential contenders, it is pointless to speculate. I feel Michael presented a very fair and realistic picture of the Oz-Indonesian relations, the promise and the pitfalls. I wish our government put more energy into this relationship. For starters, every school-kid in Oz should be made to study Indonesian, just like most European kids are made to learn English. We will have a whole generation of Indonesia-savvy Aussies. It will stand us in good stead.

On the new communications minister

June Factor writes: Paul Fletcher was Richard Alston’s chief of staff when Alston was communications minister. And what a jolly time that was for the ABC.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey