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Yesterday, the chair of the Productivity Commission (PC), Michael Brennan, delivered a speech with the explosively populated title of Productivity Priorities Post-Pandemic, to one of the last bastions of neoliberalism in the country, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia.

As readers may recall, Brennan was a long-term Liberal staffer and would-be Liberal candidate in Victorian state politics (though Brennan's former boss, Nick Minchin was unimpressed with our assessment of him), who was appointed to replace the excellent, and very independent, Peter Harris. While Brennan has kept closer to the traditional Gary Banks school of slash-burn-deregulate productivity thinking than Harris' more imaginative and thoughtful approach, we should note Brennan's speech actually refers to "a reasonably flexible labour market", which we found fairly shocking.

After all, aren't we constantly being told our industrial relations system is broken, inflexible, job-killing and productivity-impairing by the Coalition, employers, and media commentators? Perhaps Brennan had read, and properly digested, the PC report that the government commissioned when it first got into office, which concluded that, yes, the IR system was flexible and working pretty well.