wages economics Alan Krueger

If you’re expecting wages to rise anytime soon — given the government’s economic management and the muting of Treasury’s influence — then you might be waiting a long time, readers suspect. If the economic downturn doesn’t convince you, then the Coalition’s attacks on industrial relations will. Elsewhere, readers discussed the Coalition’s newly solidified power in the Senate, and the lack of balance in school funding.

On the economic slump

Robert Garnett writes: Why anyone would expect that wages would rise under any circumstances now is beyond me. The corporate coup detat of Australia is complete. The economic, political and industrial environment is a guarantee of low wages. Unionism now stands at below 20% of the work force; strikes are virtually illegal; outsourcing, offshoring and privatisations have further weakened workers’ bargaining power; the industrial commission has been stacked with employer friendly judges; the constant propaganda from the mostly private media always favours bosses’ rights over workers’; and legislation that enables the government to use the armed forces against any workers or dissidents who decide that it is time that democracy in Australia was reinstated.

On Senate preferences

Lesley Graham writes: The crazy Senate preference system that exists in this country really needs to be fixed, whether the current incumbents like it or not. This I think is the reason why so many people didn’t vote as they are completely and utterly disgusted by the whole political system that is so broken, knowing that those in power wont take steps to fix it as it works to their advantage.

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Gwen Clark writes: The left (if the ALP still has a left) is indeed in tatters having lost an election that should never have been lost. Senate preferences simply reflect Labor’s low vote for the senate. The senate reforms only make sure that obscure parties will have great difficulty now accidentally getting a senate quota. The only blame for the ALP loss has to fall to the ALP itself.

On school funding

Richard Pennycuick writes: It has always annoyed me that non-Catholic private schools style themselves as independent while happily taking the increasing largesse that conservative governments have given them since Menzies introduced what was then called “state aid” back in 1962 or thereabouts. Perhaps “taxpayer-assisted” would be a more accurate name.

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