PODCAST EPISODE

Minimum wage mistruths and National Party climate change corruption

New Politics: Australian Politics

15-10-2021 • 29 mins


How many times have we been told by conservative business groups in Australia that minimum wages need to be kept low so businesses have more finances to employ more people? And not just minimum wages, but all wages? The only problem is this erstwhile neoliberal pipedream doesn’t actually work and there’s a recent Nobel Prize for Economics out there to prove it’s absolutely false. Since 2013, wages in Australia have stagnated – coinciding with the time of the Liberal–National Coalition government – and in 2018, the Turnbull government reduced penalty rates based on old economic orthodoxy. These were real-life experiments and the promised increases in job numbers never actually occurred – and corporate profits went up, while wages went down. It was a false elixir, and help to move Australia towards a recession in early 2020. New economic thinking is needed at this time, and the Coalition seems to hold onto old economic ideas, even when there’s new research to prove them wrong. And if new thinking is needed on economics, there’s certainly a need for new thinking on climate change in Australia – or at least, any kind of thinking because, there’s been a paucity of intellect on developing good policy for the environment in Australia. And the latest roadblock on climate change and sensible environmental policy? The National Party, whose intransigence has been like anarchic nihilists who aren’t quite sure about why they’re resisting so much, until we explore that link between National Party MPs, mineral and gas resource companies, and the mining industry. The National Party claims to act in the interest of regional Australia. If this was true, they would be at the forefront of climate change action and management of the environment, because it’s the people in the regions that will suffer the most through water supply issues, rising temperatures and drought. But they’re not: the National Party is the party of corruption and vested interests and are holding the country to ransom, even though only 4 per cent of the electorate voted for them. If the electorate really does want effective action on climate change and the environment, it won’t be provided by the National Party, or by the Liberal Party. It’s best if these people are voted out of office; that’s becoming more obvious by the day.

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