Thursday, October 27

Cracks and painful realities emerging in Australia as an egalitarian society

Australia, has in the past been regarded as an egalitarian society, where we have tended to opt for a living wage rather than let people rely on tips and have embraced a flatter social structure than for instance still exists in the UK. About 92% of people still describe themselves as working or middle class.   

But cracks are beginning to emerge as is evident in the latest HILDA survey, which is a paper compiled by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research. However one of the more interesting conclusions by the author Professor Roger Wilkins from the University of Melbourne was I think perhaps one of the remarkable features of Australia since the economic slowdown is that inequality hasn’t discernibly risen and poverty rates have actually declined slightly, since the GFC, so to date Australia has handled the slowdown quite equitably but whether that will continue in the future I’m not so sure.”
The HILDA survey is an extremely useful snapshot of Australia and I agree with the assertion that “I think we do face the prospect that income inequality will widen and economic disadvantage will increase over coming years, but it all depends on what particular budget measures are introduced to bring the deficit down and so it’s certainly not inevitable that that will happen.”

 “We collect information on virtually all aspects of life in Australia be it employment, income, health, wealth, education, family life and so on, and so that richness combined with its longitudinal nature really makes it a unique source of information about life in Australia.”
We do not have to follow the lead from overseas and our current system is not broken but must be maintained and enriched to ensure the class warfare we see evidence of abroad, does not become embedded in society.    

If you would like to read the full report – click here

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