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Who Benefits

2 Aug 2012

At least you have to give business credit — it is consistent. No matter what the actual facts say about how one builds prosperity and how an economy thrives, we keep hearing the same whinging and hand-wringing: the economy suffers from a lack of productivity and that is holding down growth. Uh, nonsense.

This is all going to be in the wind as the government rolls out its review of the Fair Work Act. Surprise, it’s been good for workers:

”After considering the economic aspects of the Fair Work Act the panel concludes that since the Fair Work Act came into force, important outcomes such as wages growth, industrial disputation, the responsiveness of wages to supply and demand, the rate of employment growth and the flexibility of work patterns have been favourable to Australia’s continuing prosperity,” it says. It also criticises Work Choices. ”Of the four bargaining frameworks over the last 20 years, Work Choices is least like the others. Its period of effective operation was relatively brief and during that period it was significantly amended.” [emphasis added]

This should not be a surprise. Let’s be clear: businesses’ complaints have nothing to do with productivity or growth. It’s about power and profits and greed. It may be dressed up in rhetoric but people in business want unilateral control over workers and they want to siphon off the lion’s share of profits into their own pockets. Those are just facts.
But, the facts also say that a society is most prosperous when the fruits of an economy are shared broadly…growth comes when real people make a decent living and can afford to spend on stuff like travel, clothes, education, cars and other goods. That’s why Fair Work has been, based on facts, a boon to society.