Economy

Is it any wonder polls show 58% of Millennials think of socialism in a positive way? Many are questioning capitalism, for the simple reason they are wondering how they will be able to afford to move out of home. Housing once was a rite of passage in Australia. Now, it is barely considered a human right.

Here’s a novel idea: Instead of politicians voting themselves another pay rise, how about we give them a pay cut? A real pay cut. We ask them to do what a couple of million Australians are expected to do, week in and week out.

The Newstart Allowance received by Australia’s jobless (if they are lucky enough to get it) stands at $273 a week. The last time it was raised, relative to the Consumer Price Index, was in 1994. Last year, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research calculated the poverty line for a single adult was at around $510 a week (including housing costs). That corresponds to a present figure of about $521. This means Newstart is now $248 a week below that miserably low poverty line.

The Finance Sector Union has slammed a plan to "embed" financial regulatory agency officers inside the Big Four banks and the financial management giant AMP. The FSU says that officers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which has been criticised for being “too close to the banks”, would be unable to penetrate the unethical internal culture of the banks.

The entire August 5 New York Times Magazine was composed of just one article on a single subject: the failure to confront the global climate crisis in the 1980s, a time when the science was settled and the politics seemed to align.

Corporate CEO salaries have hit record high levels over the past year, according to the latest CEO pay report from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). The report shows that pay for company bosses has reached its highest level for 17 years thanks to "persistent and increasing bonus payments".

Below is an abridged version of a speech delivered by socialist unionist Robynne Murphy to this year’s ACTU Congress. Murphy spoke alongside three women from the Electrical Trades Union, who had formed the “Sparkettes”, a network to support other women in their union.

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I worked at the steelworks in Port Kembla for 30 years, during which time I was involved in a long campaign with mainly migrant women for the right for women to have secure and well-paid jobs.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Stastics on July 24 show 28,600 or 16.5% of people experiencing homelessness in Australia have full-time jobs.

The figures also show more than one-third of homeless people aged over 15 are employed in some capacity.

A total of 61,500 people are employed in some way, but their wages do not pay enough to put a roof over their head.

Nearly half the homeless population — 45.6% — is either in work or looking for work, and the unemployment rate for people experiencing homelessness is 22.5%.

There is a common trend when arguing against a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to use critiques that could apply to any policy. The logical thing to do, if we were to take this line of reasoning at face value, would be to stand for nothing.

Before looking into these criticisms, we should begin by addressing exactly what is a UBI. A UBI is an unconditional, liveable wage for every citizen. If it does not meet the three metrics of 1) unconditionality; 2) liveability; and 3) for every citizen; then it is not a UBI.

Currently more than 800,000 people are without paid work and are struggling to meet basic needs such as housing and food. There are countless stories of those living on welfare having to choose between paying a bill or eating a meal. Anyone who has been unemployed knows it costs money to seek employment, from printing your resumes to the cost of travel to interviews, appropriate clothing or a haircut. It is nearly impossible to look for paid work if you are homeless and hungry.

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