||Issue No. 267||10 June 2005|
Rivers of Gold
Interview: The Baby Drought
Industrial: Lies, AWAs and Statistics
Workplace: The Invisible Parents
History: Bruce’s Big Blunder
Politics: All God's Children
Economics: Spun Out
International: Shakey Trials
Legal: Civil Distrubance
Review: Crash Course In Racism
Poetry: You're Fired
The Locker Room
All The Way With The USA
Expensive Door Charge
Teen Years in Detention
Court Cases are Media’s Drug
Lang Is Right
Hertz Meenz Hurtz
Feds Wrong on Minimum Wage
After hearing months of evidence, the seven-member bench chaired by Justice Geoffrey Giudice, accused the Federal Government of putting forward a submission that breached its own laws and would have pitched many people into poverty.
The bench rejected big business claims, echoed by Prime Minister John Howard and Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, that it didn't pay sufficient attention to employment levels.
In delivering a $17 a week increase for Australia's lowest paid, it was critical of the Government's failure to supply it with information about the number of Australians dependent on the minimum wage, despite repeated requests to do so.
Mr Giudice said the Commission was bound to consider impacts on employment, living standards, inflation and international competitiveness.
In the last 10 years, he said, productivity had risen 25 percent; economic growth 35 percent; while, significantly, the number of employed Australians had increased 19 percent; and the number of unemployed had fallen 26 percent.
"In light of the growth in employment over the past eight years and the fact that unemployment has declined to its lowest level in 28 years, it would be difficult to accept that the commission's safety net adjustments have been excessive," the Commission said.
It said the Government's call for an $11 a week minimum wage increase, would have seen Australia's lowest-paid workers fail to keep pace with inflation.
This year's minimum wage claim, run on behalf of 1.6 million people by the ACTU, is expected to be the last.
Federal Government has unveiled plans to sideline the IRC as an "independent umpire" and replace it with a hand-picked committee to review the figure "periodically". The committee, to be known as the Fair Pay Commission, is expected to slash minimum wage growth in line with Coalition policy.
If the IRC had accepted government submissions, since Howard's 1996 election, Australia's lowest paid workers would be $2600 a year worse off.
The government delivered the IRC a final snub by refusing to show up for this week's decision.
Andrews said there we "no obligation" on the Government to respect tradition in the matter.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|