Friday, April 01, 2016

National minimum wage should be lifted $30 a week, Australian Council of Trade Unions says

The rise sought is proportionately small but it may in absolute magnitude be enough to cause some small businesses to shut.  A lot of businesses in the hospitality trade are marginal and most have minimum wage workers.  I would support an inflation adjustment only

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has urged the Fair Work Commission to lift the national minimum wage by $30 a week.

The union has lodged its submission as part of the Commission's annual wage review.

ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said more than 1.8 million of the nation's lowest paid workers should receive $686.90 a week, or $18.07 an hour.  The current national minimum wage is $656.90 per week, or $17.29 an hour.

"The minimum wage is still sitting around 40 per cent of what average wage earnings are and if this trend continues we could end up with a US-style working poor in this country."  He said the minimum wage had barely kept pace with inflation.

"This is an insult to every low-paid worker in the country, $10 in an environment where childcare costs are going up, utility costs are going up, education and housing affordability are skyrocketing," he said.

The ACTU denied that jobs were at risk if wages were increased.
Wage hike should not make work harder to find: industry group

In its submission, the Australian Chamber of Commerce urged the Commission to increase the minimum wage by no more than 1.2 per cent, or $7.90 a week.

Australian Chamber spokesperson Patricia Forsythe said more than 730,000 Australians were out of work, including more than 250,000 young people.

She said any jump in wages should not make it harder for people, particularly youth, to find work.

"Economic data shows there is spare capacity in the labour market, indicating that many low-paid and low-skilled workers are struggling to find work," Ms Forsythe said in a statement.

"We must be careful that the minimum wage does not exacerbate the risk of unemployment for these workers."

The Australian Industry Group said the minimum wage should increase by 1.6 per cent, or about $10.50 a week.

Group chief executive Innes Willox said economic growth remained patchy, so a modest increase was needed.

"The panel needs to fully take into account the needs of those whose jobs will be threatened (including many low paid workers) if an excessive minimum wage increase is awarded," he said.


Federal Labor party clueless about schools

Bill Shorten, Chris Bowen and Kate Ellis have today demonstrated that Labor either don't have the faintest idea of how our school education system is structured in Australia or that they are hell-bent on telling lies all the way to the election. 

"Malcolm Turnbull has today said that he will abandon school education in this country." - Bill Shorten, Transcript – Press Conference, 30/3/16

Fact: The Commonwealth doesn't run any schools or employ any teachers. States and territories run 100 per cent of government schools in Australia.

"It [school funding] is a core responsibility of the federal government." - Chris Bowen, Transcript – Press Conference, 30/3/16

Fact: In 2013-14 the Commonwealth provides just 13 per cent of the average per student funding in a government school. School funding is a core function of the states and territories, who provide 87 per cent of funding. (Source: 2016 Report on Government Services)

"We don't want to see the system broken down into each state and territory having totally different systems, totally different funding models." - Kate Ellis, Transcript – Press Conference, 30/3/16

Fact: States and territories do run different systems and apply different funding models. For example, 2013-14 per student funding for government schools in Victoria was less than $12,000 but in Western Australia was more than $17,500 for government schools. (Source: 2016 Report on Government Services)

Labor love a system where accountability is blurred and the buck can always be passed from one level of government to another. 

Labor’s implementation of the Gonski model resulted in 27 different funding arrangements with government and non-government sectors, resulting in different payment levels depending on the deal they could get out of Bill Shorten on the eve of the 2013 election.

However, Australians deserve better than a further blurring of the lines in school education and the pretence that funding is the only thing that matters. 

The Turnbull Government wants to deliver clarity, accountability and the incentive for our school systems to innovate and be their absolute best rather than being strangled by multiple levels of government bureaucracy.

Press release from Senator Birmingham

A staggering number of Australians were born in another country

Australia is regarded as a multicultural nation, and now we have the figures to prove it.

According to migration data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) earlier today, the proportion of Australians born overseas hit the highest level in over 120 years in 2015, rising to 6.7 million persons. That’s 28.2% of Australia’s estimated residential population.

The table below, supplied by the ABS, reveals the top 10 nations of birth for residents not born in Australia.

Though the UK, at 5.2% of Australia’s population, still retains top spot by some margin, it’s clear that mantle is likely to be challenged in the years ahead by the likes of New Zealand, China and India.

As a proportion of Australia’s total population, the percentage born in the UK has fallen steadily over the past decade while the proportion from New Zealand, China and India has steadily grown.

“Over the last 10 years, the proportion of the Australian population who were born in the UK decreased from 5.6% in 2005 to 5.1% in 2015,” said the ABS. “Conversely, the proportions increased for people born in New Zealand (from 2.1% to 2.6%), China (from 1.1% to 2.0%) and India (from 0.7% to 1.8%).”

As for where new arrivals tend to settle upon arrival in Australia, it’s clear that most continue to head to the most populous states within Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

According to the ABS, 66,100 migrants settled in New South Wales in the 12 months to June 2015, equating to 39.3% of all net overseas migration over this period. That was followed by Victoria (54,100), Queensland (19,100) and Western Australia (14,100). Tasmania, at just 100, had the lowest net increase in migration.

Overall net migration totalled 168,183 during this period, with 478,557 persons arriving and 310,374 departing.


Tony Abbott: I was right to put national security before moral posturing

Tony Abbott has penned a 3,706-word essay for the rightwing magazine Quadrant defending and celebrating his two-year period in office.

Australia’s former prime minister says he is proud of his decision to not “join the human rights lobby” and take a stand against what he describes “tough but probably unavoidable actions taken” by the Sri Lankan government during the civil war there.

He doesn’t indicate what actions or lobby groups he is referring to. The UN has said it found evidence “strongly indicating” torture, executions, forced disappearances and sexual abuse committed by Sri Lankan security forces against the country’s Tamil ethnic minority, who were fighting a separatist war.

Abbott says not mentioning the alleged war crimes would have pleased the Sri Lankan president, which was important because it was a “seminal truth” that “all politics is personal” – an aphorism he attributes to the US vice-president, Joe Biden. He suggests his diplomacy allowed the two countries to cooperate more strongly to stop asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia.

That sort of diplomacy is also embodied, he says, by an interaction he had with Indonesia: “As a very early sign of good faith to the Indonesians, I had West Papuan activists, who’d arrived in the Torres Strait claiming asylum, quietly returned to Papua New Guinea.”

West Papua is a province of Indonesia, which has been fighting for independence. Indonesia has been accused of shooting and beating activists and there have been claims of torture.

When it came to stopping the asylum seeker boats, Abbott says that even before he was sworn in as prime minister he met with border protection agencies and told them their duty was “to stop the boats by all lawful means notwithstanding fierce controversy at home and possible tension abroad”.
Tony Abbott writes: ‘A country that can’t control its borders sooner or later loses control of its future.’ © The Guardian Tony Abbott writes: ‘A country that can’t control its borders sooner or later loses control of its future.’

He continues: “Some media claimed that harsh treatment of boat people was being hidden. Some government lawyers claimed that the operation was beyond power. Some senior officials fretted about the consequences for our relationship with Indonesia.

“But the government simply had to stop the boats – our national interest and our self-respect as a country demanded it – and succeed we did through an indefatigable resolve to get it done.”

He adds: “A country that can’t control its borders sooner or later loses control of its future.”

Abbott also trumpets his efforts against terrorism. Because of his decisions – and “despite the Turnbull government’s recent decision not to commit specialist troops to ground operations in the Middle East” – Australia is the biggest contributor, after the US, to the battle against Islamic State.

He links the fight against Isis to Islam itself, saying the conflict must continue until either Isis is destroyed “or until Islam rids itself of all notions of ‘death to the infidel’”.

On the home front, of legislation compelling telecommunications companies to retain metadata for two years, he says: “The problem is not just terrorism but those who would justify or excuse terrorism without actually advocating it. As prime minister, I was determined to advance our interests, protect our citizens and uphold our values around the world.

“The best way to do this was usually to be as practically helpful as possible in our dealings with other countries. That meant putting aside the moral posturing of the Rudd years to be a country that said what it meant and did what it said.”


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