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Redundancy bleg

The meaning of an employment redundancy is, I assume, that a position is either no longer required or if an employer is bankrupt. I’ll ignore the second possible reason for “redundancy”.

I assume that a “redundancy” does not arise if a worker on a high salary is replaced by one on a lower salary and […]

Mike Smith’s stupidity

The CEO of ANZ Mike Smith urged the government to cut unemployment benefits to induce labour shifts to Western Australia. This proposal would make sense if unemployment benefits permitted a luxurious lifestyle that inhibited work incentives but that is not the case. The argument is well analysed by Adele Horin in the SMH. Unemployment benefits […]

Labor values

Michael Alexander Williamson was National President of The ALP from 2009-2010. His past history of other important positions suggests he is a model citizen in the Australian labour movement. Indeed an aristocrat.

He has some explaining to do. So too does the ALP and the trade union movement. This is not just an incident which […]

Workers are better off with lower company tax

Peter Martin gets it right in The Age. In a small open economy such as Australia boosting supplies of international capital boosts the productivity of labour and hence their wages. The trade unionists, such as Paul Howes, who oppose such moves are ignorant reactionaries. Their prejudiced ignorant views damage the welfare of their memberships.

Pokie sale fiasco

Labor Party corruption and/or incompetence seems to have reached new heights with news today that 27,500 pokies were sold for an average of $37,000 per machine for a 10 year entitlement on each machines. These machines generate on average about $100,000 per year. The report by Victoria’s Auditor General claims that Victorian taxpayers lost up […]

Unskilled Australia?

Sinclair Davidson at Catallaxy points out an article in The Australian claiming that up to 8 million Australian workers don’t have the literacy and numeracy skills to enter a trade or a professional occupation. I wonder.

Last time I looked the Australian workforce was 11.5 million so this analysis says almost 70% have basic literacy […]

Carbon pricing for Australia

I am pleased that the Australian Government will introduce a carbon tax of sorts from July next year – a common guess is that it will be about $26 per tonne CO2 although the size of the tax has not yet been announced. Then an emissions trading scheme in 3-5 years after that. The little […]

Carbon pricing versus tariff reform have an interesting piece comparing the ‘weak-kneeded’ approach of the Gillard Government to carbon pricing to the ‘courageous’ stance of the Hawke Government in promoting tariff reform.


Gillard & queue-jumpers

Provided Julia Gillard can gain the co-operation of the East Timorese – things sound very much up in the air at present – her solution to the problem of illegal, queue-jumping migrants, by setting up an offshore processing facility is a good one. That it replicates the Howard Government’s policy doesn’t matter at all – […]

Labor’s job destruction package

Julia Gillard’s moves to reregulate Australian labour markets should be rejected by the Senate. The proposed moves helps trade unions but will destroy jobs in vulnerable industries such as hospitality where huge wage increases are about to occur. Regulating huge increases in holiday rates for restaurant staff has a simple and immediate effect as a […]

Baggage handlers strike

45 baggage handlers struck at Melbourne airport today. Thousands of commuters who pay the salaries of these irresponsible shirkers were maximally inconvenienced by this immoral wildcat strike. Passengers were told that:

Passengers were told the bag handlers stopped work because they wanted more money for breathing in smoke from the state’s bushfires that blanketed Melbourne […]

Keep wages high to increase misery

As unemployment in Australia looks ominously set to soar the mindless are at it again endorsing preservation of real wages in the face of the most serious threat to employment Australia has faced since the Whitlam and Keating years. The reason they claim – keeping wages high will stimulate aggregate demand and the role of […]

Trade union policies for increasing unemployment

The Whitlam-inspired wage breakout in the 1980s drove unemployment to 10.4%. Another Labor-driven wage breakout in the 1990s exacerbated the recession we ‘had to have’. This was Labor’s economic legacy. I remember my left-wing mates at the time telling me that 30% wage increases given to metal workers would boost purchasing power and stimulate the […]

Freeing up international trade with poor countries & wage inequality

Paul Krugman in today’s NYT summarises a widely-held assessment of the impact of trade with low wage countries on US growth and inequality. There is nothing radical about his claim – free trade with poor countries increases growth but increases wage inequality by driving down unskilled wages.

The same general message applies to effects on […]

Labor has no IR mandate

Kevin Andrews points out that at the recent election the ALP scored 43.38% of the vote and the Coalition 41.78%. Over 5 million people voted to return the John Howard Government. Many of them were workers who have benefited from a prosperous economy and from improved employment possibilities in labour markets.

While in power the […]

The case for further liberalising labour markets

Economists seek economic efficiency by utilising the effectiveness of free markets. They do this because they want markets to maximise the value of net outputs produced – to maximise the size of the social pie. The idea is not to ignore ‘fairness’ or ‘equity’ concerns but to realise these objectives in quite different ways using […]

Nurse dispute resolved as teacher union makes its move

I am puzzled by the resolution of the nurses wage as announced today. Health Minister Daniel Andrews said the deal for the state’s 29,000 public-sector nurses was consistent with the Government’s 3.25% a year public-sector wages policy.

This is difficult to understand since:

Pay rises range between 3.8-6% The state will fund an extra […]

What if Buchanan is a leftie?

I am unimpressed by the attacks on Dr John Buchanan by politicians and right-wing commentators such as Janet Albrechtson in The Australian. It is irrelevant from the point of view of assessing his criticisms of the current industrial relations system whether he is a partisan, socialist supporter of the ALP of not.

In the […]

Australians@Work disappoints

The Australians at Work report claims that AWAs reduce wages of unskilled workers and increase their working hours – in short that AWAs decrease their hourly wage rate. Common law contracts deliver a better deal the report claims. The system of AWAs is claimed to lead to what amounts to almost child abuse.

This is […]

Working in a call centre

The Four Corners show ‘Tough Calls’ telecast Monday dealt with the introduction of new management styles in Telstra call centers. The show made me rethink. As an economist I teach the principles that are being employed by Telstra but, to be honest, I have never been in a call centre and in fact I have […]