A fairer future for… the next generation
Leaving a fairer future for the next generation is a shared goal for many. As IEUA-QNT members cast their vote this weekend, they too will be considering the long-term impacts of parties’ proposed policies.
As educators and school support staff, IEUA-QNT members have some of the most important jobs in our community: that of enriching the minds of the next generation.
The need to build a fairer future for our next generation could not be more apparent.
Young Australians may be the first generation to be left worse off than their parents according to modelling released in 2014 – a prospect which has been presided over by the current Coalition government.
Young people are facing greater debts associated with soaring house prices and higher cost of living as well as less secure jobs, higher education costs and the looming burdens of climate change and supporting an ageing population.
Unions have long-warned that inaction by the current Coalition government on matter of inequality could see Australia heading towards an Americanised industrial landscape populated by a society of working poor.
Australia Institute Director Josh Bornstein posed the question this week: ‘has there ever been a federal election that so strongly illuminates the thorny issue of intergenerational inequality?’
Inequality is a multi-faceted issue; however, research has shown Australians are generally becoming wealthier but that this wealth is concentrated in the hands of older generations.
Bornstein highlights the stark divide between political parties on the issue of penalty rates. The current Coalition government presided over reductions to penalty rates for hospitality, pharmacy and retail workers.
When the Fair Work Commission (FWC) decided to cut penalty rates, it accepted employer arguments that penalty rates were a disincentive to employment and that reducing rates would stimulate jobs.
Subsequent research has shown that the penalty rate cuts have failed to create a single new job and instead simply resulted in an arbitrary pay cut for workers.
“It is a bitter irony for young workers that several years into an unprecedented slowdown in overall wage growth, the Fair Work Commission decided to cut pay further,” writes Bornstein.
“The low pay crisis is an economic crisis unlike any other.”
The parties endorsing the Change The Rules agenda have committed to reverse the cuts to penalty rates.
A long-term view on policy for younger Australians
The McKell Institute has released research ahead of the election outlining the long-term impacts of significant party policies.
On penalty rates, the Institute found workers would be $2.87 billion worse off under the cuts supported by a re-elected Coalition government.
It also found economic benefits of the Labor Party’s proposed policies on two issues that significantly impact younger Australians: housing affordability and job growth.
According to the research, Labor’s $6.6 billion affordable housing policy would, in addition to social benefits, create 46,000 jobs and boost GDP and government savings. Similarly, the Australian Investment Guarantee policy could create 77,000 jobs while boosting wages by $1,500, according to the McKell Institute modelling.
Changing the rules for the next generation
In addition to the reversal of penalty rate cuts, the Change The Rules agenda would: address casualisation, the gig economy and other forms of insecure work; repair the broken industrial system to ensure fairer pay and conditions; reduce wage theft; and, address gender inequality.
As Bornstein concluded, all Australians now have an opportunity to look to the future.
“Australians who have so benefitted from the vibrant economy of the past should now think about how to help the next generation build successful work lives of their own,” he wrote.
Vote to Change The Rules for the next generation, vote for a fairer future.