Labor’s Poor Record on Jobs

Below is an extract from an article published on Wednesdays’ AFR opinion page, with the addition of the last half of the article in italics. This analysis has been put together as part of a series of Fact Sheets being published by the HR Nicholls Society in the lead up to the election scheduled for 14 September.

Wednesday’s article addresses the oft repeated claim by the Gillard government  (most notably by Treasurer Swan) that 900,000 jobs have been “created” under Labor. Even leaving aside the question of whether governments create jobs, the analysis below shows that the growth in employment under Labor has been relatively poor when compared with the recent past – certainly nothing to write home about.

Of particular interest is that more Australians are now out of work than during the height of the global financial crisis.

The poor performance of the labour market under Labor undoubtedly reflects in part the increased regulation under the so-called Fair Work legislation and the administration thereof. This regulation, which considerably increases the power of the union movement, will be examined at the conference on “Unions in Control?” being held by the HR Nicholls Society on 8 July at Morgan’s 401 Collins St.  Read more

Replace commission and boost productivity

The following is an expanded Letter to The Editor by Des Moore, member of the HRN Board of Management, in the Australian Financial Review:

Two things stand out from the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase the so-called minimum wage by 2.6 per cent (“World’s highest low-paid workers”, June 4).

First, the decision to cover 1.5 million employees means there is an unnecessary increase to the many earning well above the lowest award rate who do not need social protection. Indeed, the Commission acknowledges that “a significant proportion live in middle to low income households” and that the tax-transfer system can provide (it does) more targeted assistance. It is obvious that the coverage is grossly excessive.

Second, the Commission also acknowledges that its decision “may reduce the capacity to employ the marginalised”. In reality there is no “may” about it: [it means that employers are unable to employ low-skilled workers at an annual rate of less than about $32,000. The union leader who winged on television about the supposed financial difficulties of those on the minimum (apparently she also owns a house and a car) should spare a thought for the many who cannot be employed at a lower wage. ]

More generally, the decision illustrates the need to replace the Commission with a regulatory body which gives priority to increasing national productivity.