Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

"What alternate universe does the Australian Treasurer inhabit?


According to AMP chief economist Shane Oliver “consumer spending is being dragged down by low wages growth, slowing wealth accumulation, poor sentiment, high debt levels and rising energy costs."

In the 2017 September quarter households were spending less on clothing, footware, health, furnishings, household equipment, entertainment, dining out and alcohol - as the pressure on disposable income bites.

Yet this is the Australian Treasurer in December 2017……………
The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December 2017

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Tweet To Remind Us All


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Marriage Equality finally arrives in Australia



Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Will all working women in Australia ever achieve equal pay?


Most Australians appear to understand that gender-based discrimination against women is a fact of life females of all ages have to cope with at some point in their lives - often at multiple points in their lives.

This poll gives a clear indication of the level of community awareness of this issue.

Essential Report, Sexism and Discrimination Against Women, 5 December 2017:


A majority of respondents think there is a lot or some sexism in the media (64%), politics (60%), advertising (60%), workplaces (57%) and sport (56%).

Women were more likely than men to think there is a lot or some sexism in all areas – but especially in workplaces (women 67%, men 46%) and politics (70%/49%).

There has been some small changes in these figures since this question was asked in January last year – sexism in workplaces has dropped 4%, in the media up 6%, in sport down 4% and in schools up 8%. However, there has been more significant change in the differences between men and women on some issues. On sexism in the workplace the gap between perceptions of men and women has increased from 12% to 21%.

Despite society knowing that gender-based discrimination against women exists, institutions put in place by government to allegedly mitigate inequality and ensure fairness still manage to entrench such discrimination.

The shorter version of the observations and conclusions set out below is that if you are a female worker on minimum wage working in an industry sector which employs significantly more women than men, then you still cannot reliably look to either the private sector or the Liberal-Nationals version of the Fair Work Commission for the equal pay first promised by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1972.


Excerpt from Barbara Broadway & Richard Wilkinson, Melbourne University (October 2017), Probing the effects of the Australian system of minimum wages on the gender wage gap, pp.3-4:

In Australia, minimum wages are binding for a large part of the labour market: in 2014, 24% of all employees were paid the applicable minimum wage. Based on the above studies, one would therefore expect minimum wages in Australia to reduce the gender wage gap substantially. However, somewhat unusually, the Australian labour market contains many different minimum wages arising from industry and occupation-based ‘awards’ made by an industrial court. These awards specify legally binding minimum rates of pay, which vary considerably across occupations and industries, applying not only to the low-pay sector of the labour market, but to occupations of all levels, including high-skilled, high-paid jobs such as airline pilots, university professors and medical practitioners.1 The effects of these many minimums will therefore depend, in quite complex ways, on how men and women are distributed across occupations and industries and how minimums are distributed across occupations and industries.

The industrial court does not set different wages for men and women. However, it could, in principle, produce a gender wage gap by setting lower minimum wages in occupations and industries in which women are relatively more concentrated. A gender wage gap caused by legally set minimum wages could therefore be greater than or less than the gender wage gap created by market wages.

Indeed, the raw median gender wage gap among full-time employees in Australia is, at 18%, in the middle range of all OECD countries (Figure 1)2, providing a hint that the minimum wage system does not reduce the gender wage gap as much as might be expected given the high proportion of employees that are paid the applicable minimum wage. This is reinforced by the finding that the raw mean gender wage gap among full-time employees is approximately 20% (and indeed the gap has persisted at this level since the early 1990s (ABS 2016), despite relative growth in female educational attainment and work experience)…….

We therefore doubt that the observed job-femaleness penalty is actually derived from compensating differentials determined by the Fair Work Commission. Rather, what seems more likely is that the award-wage decisions have been influenced by observed “typical” wages in industries and occupations, and male-dominated fields have benefited from a long history of strong unionisation that led to higher average wages.

In any case, irrespective of whether non-skill-related differences in award wages are justified by other job characteristics, what is clear is that the gender wage gap among minimum-wage employees is greater than it would be were award wages neutral with respect to the gender composition of jobs.

Indeed, the gender wage gap within the award system would probably be negative if minimum wages depended only on the skill requirements of jobs, since the observed human capital of female minimum-wage employees is on average greater than the observed human capital of male minimum-wage employees…..

Comparing mean wages of award-reliant men and women shows there is indeed a gender pay gap among award-reliant employees, although it is considerably smaller than among non-award-reliant employees. The mean wage is $20.74 for men and $18.63 for women, corresponding to a mean gender pay gap of approximately 10%, compared to 19% among non-award employees.

1 These minimum wages are, however, less likely to be binding in high-paid occupations, where greater proportions of employees receive a salary that is above the applicable award rate.
2 Note that the OECD estimates are not entirely comparable across all countries because of differences in the way the median gender gap is calculated. For example, the wages variable may be measured over an hourly, weekly, monthly or annual time-frame. Figure 1 nonetheless provides reasonable indicative information on where Australia fits relative to other OECD countries.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Australians with lower incomes are dying sooner from potentially preventable diseases than their wealthier counterparts


The Conversation, 28 November 2017:

Australians with lower incomes are dying sooner from potentially preventable diseases than their wealthier counterparts, according to our new report.

Australia’s Health Tracker by Socioeconomic Status, released today, tracks health risk factors, disease and premature death by socioeconomic status. It shows that over the past four years, 49,227 more people on lower incomes have died from chronic diseases – such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer – before the age of 75 than those on higher incomes.

A steady job or being engaged in the community is important to good health. Australia’s unemployment rate is low, but this hides low workforce participation, and a serious problem with underemployment. Casual workers are often not getting enough hours, and more and more Australians are employed on short-term contracts.

There’s a vicious feedback loop – if your health is struggling, it’s harder to build your wealth. If you’re unable to work as much as you want, you can’t build your wealth, so it’s much tougher to improve your health.

Our team tracked health risk factors, disease and premature death by socioeconomic status, which measures people’s access to material and social resources as well as their ability to participate in society. We’ve measured in quintiles – with one fifth of the population in each quintile.

We developed health targets and indicators based on the World Health Organisation’s 2025 targets to improve health around the globe.

The good news is that for many of the indicators, the most advantaged in the community have already reached the targets.

The bad news is that poor health is not just an issue affecting the most vulnerable in our community, it significantly affects the second-lowest quintile as well. Almost ten million Australians with low incomes have much greater risks of developing preventable chronic diseases, and of dying from these earlier than other Australians.


Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Volunteering levels in Australia and on the NSW North Coast


There has been some talk in local media about volunteering levels, with one bright spark suggesting that volunteering be made mandatory.

But are volunteering levels in Australia in such dire straits?

If one looks at available statistics it appears that Australia is fairly well served by people willing to give their time and effort to local communities.

The same can be said for the NSW Mid & Far North Coasts.

Here is a breakdown of volunteering levels.

Volunteering Australia, 27 June 2017:

The 2016 Census revealed that Australia’s population is 23.4 million people. Of this:

* 3.6 million people or 19.0% of the population aged 15 years and over are engaged in voluntary work through an organisation or group.
  This is a 1.2% increase from the 2011 Census  results, where 17.8% of people responded they were engaged in voluntary work.
* The rates of volunteering are highest among males aged 45-54 years at 302,612 people.
* The rates of volunteering are highest among women aged 35-44 at 399,889 people.
* Overall, the rates of volunteering are highest in the 45-54 year age group at 679,602 people.

Prior to release of 2016 Census results the Australian Government released, Giving Australia 2016,  Individuals: Volunteering Overview:

An estimated 43.7% of adult Australians volunteered a total of 932 million hours in the 12 months prior to when surveyed in 2016. On average, volunteers gave 134 hours of their time over 12 months in 2015-16* or about 2.5 hours a week. The median number of hours volunteered annually was 55 hours (half did more and half did less).
*Participants were surveyed over February to September 2016 about giving in the 12 months prior.

Women are more likely to volunteer than men,  people aged between 35 and 44 are more likely to volunteer than other age groups, with 45–54 year olds the second most likely to volunteer, and volunteers 65 years and over volunteered the most hours on average.

Some 38.2% of people responding both volunteered and donated to nonprofit organisations.

The average donation was $1,017.11.



Volunteer Australia, submission, July-August 2017:

A 2017 Senate inquiry report into the Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce also highlighted this with, “83 per cent of residential facilities and 51 per cent of home care and home support outlets utilising volunteer staff.” The inquiry also heard that “there are five volunteers for every paid worker in the not-for-profit sector, at a value of about $290 billion per annum. In 2016, 23,537 volunteers provided 114,987 hours of care to older Australians in residential facilities.”

North Coast NSW Medicare Local, North Coast Health Needs 2014:

The percentage of people volunteering in each LGA on NCNSW is higher than the NSW average.


Northern Rivers Social Development Council (NRSDC) undertook a Community Wellbeing Survey to measure how people felt about their quality of life and to highlight current social conditions. Forty one percent of people reported they volunteered with a local group (36% nationally). Forty four percent of survey respondents felt valued by society and 90% felt that they could get help from family and friends if needed.

By 2016 these were the volunteer levels across the NSW Northern Rivers region:

* 18.2% of the Tweed LGA population;
* 19.5% of Richmond Valley LGA population;
* 20.7% of the Clarence Valley LGA population;
* 22.9% of the Ballina LGA population;
* 23.2% of the Lismore City LGA population;
* 25.0% of the Byron LGA population;
* 26.1% Kyogle LGA population;

were reporting doing some form of voluntary work in the last twelve months. [ABS Census 2016 & profile.id.com.au]

Overall it appears that an est. 21.1 per cent of the Northern Rivers regional population does voluntary work, which is a higher percentage than the 2016 NSW state benchmark of 18.11 per cent .

Basically volunteer levels in the Northern Rivers are holding steady at last count. Every local volunteer should give themselves a pat on the back!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How the NSW North Coast voted in the national same-sex marriage postal survey


Across Australia 12,691,234 registered voters responded to the Australian Marriage Law Postal  Survey with 61.6% of respondents answering YES and 38.4% answering NO to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?

In NSW, 81.3% (2,147,973) of eligible females and 77.5% (1,947,546) of eligible males responded to the survey.

By NSW North Coast federal electorate:

Richmond – 67.9% of survey respondents answered YES and 32.1% answered NO
Page -  59.7% of survey respondents answered YES and 40.3% answered NO
Cowper – 60% of survey respondents answered YES and 40% answered NO

For a full breakdown of survey results go to https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/results/

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Coalition senators cut and ran from their own Ensuring Integrity bill



Amends the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 to: include certain serious criminal offences as a new category of ‘prescribed offence’ for the purposes of the automatic disqualification regime in relation to registered organisations; establish an offence for a disqualified person to continue to act as an official or in a way that influences the affairs of an organisation; allow the Federal Court to prohibit officials from holding office in certain circumstances or if they are otherwise not a fit and proper person; allow the Federal Court to cancel the registration of an organisation on a range of grounds; allow applications to be made to the Federal Court for a range of other orders; expand the grounds on which the Federal Court may order remedial action to deal with governance issues in an organisation; expressly provide that the Federal Court may appoint an administrator to an organisation or part of an organisation as part of a remedial scheme; introduce a public interest test for amalgamations of registered organisations; and make minor and technical amendments.

The Australian Senate refused to support this bill on 17 October 2017 so the Turnbull Government read the bill a second time, had a short speech read into Hansard and immediately adjourned the debate.

The Senate next sits on 13 November 2017 and one suspects that attempts to swing the cross benchers towards supporting this bill has ratcheted up more than a few notches.

If you don’t agree with this almost constant attack on the existence of unions in Australia then your state senators can be contacted here.

Asylum seekers in Australia forbidden to have 'unauthorised' pets. Sound familiar?

 
Department of Immigration and Border Protection Directive – Australia 2017

SBS News, 19 October 2017:

People [asylum seekers] receiving government payments while they wait to see if they will be granted protection have been told they must seek permission from the immigration department and their landlords before buying an animal.

ABC News, 20 October 2017:

The policy change specifies taxpayer money cannot be spent on pets or their "vaccination, equipment, toys and bedding"



Jan. Collection of fur coats or any furs from Jews. Also any woollen clothing or shoes.
Feb. 17 Jews may no longer subscribe to newspapers or magazines.
March 26 Jews must mark the entrance doors to their apartments with a black “Jewish Star”.
April 24 Jews forbidden the use of public transportation.
May 15 Jews forbidden to have dogs, cats and birds. [my yellow highlighting]
May 29 Jews are no longer permitted to visit barber shops.
June 9 Jews must surrender all dispensable clothing.
June 11 Jews no longer receive smoking coupons.
June 20 All Jewish schools closed.
July 17 Blind and deaf Jews may no longer wear armbands identifying their condition in traffic.
Aug. 24 Jews forbidden to perform religious services during Jewish High Holidays.
Sept. 18 Jews can no long buy meat, eggs or milk.
Oct. 4 All Jews still in concentration camps in Germany are to be transferred to extermination camps.
Dec. 24 Economics Ministry orders the confiscation of all metal from Jewish cemeteries (including graves, fences, and gates).

Monday, 23 October 2017

There is more than one path to academic success and a job you love


Sharna Clemmett on Facebook:

On Friday I gave a speech at my old high school, for the year 12 final assembly. I was asked to publish it, so here it is.

********************
1. I am a former Kadina student. I was in year 12 in 1996.

2. It is 21 years since I last attended this fine school. That makes it 21 years since I dropped my bundle, dropped out of school, and spent about a year on Centrelink benefits, wondering what life was all about, what to do with it, and why.

3. There you have it: the thing that for years I felt was something of which to be ashamed: I never obtained a Higher School Certificate. I am a high school dropout.

4. At your stage, I didn’t have a plan. My plan fell apart in year 12. I moved out of home when I was almost 17. I was sharing a house with a fellow Kadina student and her 6 month old baby. We had very little money. It was tough. Centrelink, in its wisdom, gave me a choice, which was the choice required by the rules: either study full time, or look for work full time. You are not eligible for out-of-home benefits if you study part time.

5. It all got too hard, and I dropped out.

6. At this point, it doesn’t sound like a success story in the making. But really, that was just the start of my journey on a windy road. If I’d known that at the time, I would have been much less despondent about my life.

7. After I dropped out of school, Centrelink gave me another choice: undertake a 6 month, government-funded training, work-for-the-dole program, or you lose your benefits.

8. Off I trotted to work at St Vincents Hospital in Lismore as a Patient Service Assistant. I worked in the surgical ward. I rode my rusty bicycle across the Lismore basin to work every day, starting at 6:45. I learnt some medical terminology. I wiped down and made beds; pushed beds and trolleys; helped wash patients; ordered stock for the ward; organised patient notes. Even though I had no desire to ever be a nurse or a doctor, and there was nothing in particular about a hospital that appealed to me as a place to spend my working life, I always made sure I talked to the people around me, and I worked hard. I had sore feet at the end of most days.

9. At one point I worked out, on average, that if my fortnightly Centrelink payment had been calculated based on the hours I was working, my hourly rate was $3.20 an hour. I was always at work early, I often worked half way through my lunch break, and I often did not finish until after my rostered time.

10. Because I had demonstrated that I worked hard and effectively, the hospital employed me as a casual in administration at the end of the training program. After about 6 months I realised that this – working in hospital administration – was likely to be the pinnacle of my working success if I stayed where I was. I decided to move to Sydney to see what other opportunities there might be.

11. I was in Sydney selling insurance from a call centre (“welcome to NZI, this is Sharna, how can I help you?”), and I got a call suggesting I contact a someone about a job at a new hospital.

12. A senior executive from St Vincents, who had noticed me working hard, had moved to Sydney and was involved in starting up North Shore Private Hospital in St Leonards.

13. So that was how I landed a role in admissions and reception for the Day Surgery and endoscopy unit at North Shore Private. I still hadn’t decided that I wanted to work in a hospital, or be a doctor or a nurse – but I had decided I didn’t like selling insurance in a call centre. So sure, why not?

14. After I had been at North Shore Private for about a year – always at work a bit early, usually leaving late, and making sure the day surgery admission process worked like it should, an anaesthetist asked me whether I would be interested in a change in employment. He said his rooms were looking for someone, and he thought I’d be good. I said I wasn’t looking to move, but I’d call and have a chat anyway. Why not?

15. That’s how I ended up managing the diaries of 42 anaesthetists who worked all over Sydney. I was paid very well in that position, because the responsibility was huge. If I didn’t do my job, there would be a surgeon standing around at a hospital waiting to start an operation with no anaesthetist. That happened once. Only once. A vascular surgeon was standing in theatres with patients waiting and no anaesthetist. There was fury. It still makes me feel slightly ill to think about it. At first, a number of the anaesthetists didn’t think I was up to that job. I was only 20. It required a lot of tact and discretion. They thought I was too young. Damn I worked hard to prove them wrong.

16. Then I got a bit bored. I thought I’d start a tertiary preparation course by distance education, to try to get into university, but didn’t finish it. I sat the STAT test. 6 years after I had dropped out of school I was offered a spot in a communications course at UTS, as a mature age student.

17. That was a course requiring a 98 TER, or tertiary entrance ranking. Absurd. I still can’t help but think the university made a mistake with my application.

18. Because I had forged such good relationships in my work, and worked so hard, my employers sat me down and asked me how many hours I could work whilst I went to uni, and how much they needed to pay me so that I could live. They increased my hourly rate so I could survive. Had I worked on the basis that I would be paid just to turn up to work, as opposed to being paid to get the job done in the best possible way, that would not have happened.

19. Anyway, a year into uni, I picked up a few law subjects as electives. I didn’t think I’d be any good at law. I’d never had any desire to be a lawyer. I just wanted to see whether it might be an option. Turns out it was. They let me into law.

20. In my second year, I applied for summer clerkships. A clerkship is supposed to be an ideal way to start your career in the law: law firms get in keen law students over summer, then offer them jobs after they graduate. I didn’t get one. I was gutted. So I looked for an alternative, and went and worked for a barrister in chambers. Turns out that barrister was then appointed to the AWB Inquiry, or the “Wheat for Weapons scandal”, as Kevin Rudd called it. The barrister took me along with him. At one point, when I was instructing senior counsel at the Bar Table in the inquiry, I wondered what would happen if all those barristers, and Commissioner Cole, knew what a fraud I was - that I was a high school drop out, from Lismore, sitting in the middle of their Royal Commission.

21. The contacts I made in the Royal Commission (and my university results) have helped me at every stage of my career since. After the Royal Commission I got a job working as a tipstaff to a Judge in the Supreme Court. The Judge asked me why I had not finished school, and told me I should not be ashamed of not having finished school. He was much more concerned about why I did not get a distinction in the Law of Evidence.

22. I went on to practice as a lawyer for 3 years. Then I sat the Bar Exams. Once again, I did not believe I was up to it. I did not think I would pass. But I worked hard and I passed.

23. So here I am. High school drop out; barrister in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. [**put on robes]

24. It’s funny, I used to hate my school uniform. Now, in the course of my work, I often get dressed up in this, to run trials in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. A horse hair wig. It’s funny how our preferences change over time.

25. This year, it is 21 years since I left Kadina without a Higher School Certificate.

26. It is 10 years since I was admitted to practice as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

27. It is 5 years since I qualified as a barrister at the NSW Bar.

28. Soon you will be sitting your final HSC exams, then you’ll get your results. You’ll be given a university admission ranking, if that’s what you’re going to do. This might also be looked at by future employers.

29. This is a pretty scary time. There’s a bit of pressure on you. Even if your parents and teachers are not putting pressure on you, it’s likely you feel the weight of their expectations, or at least their hopes for you. Even if you don’t feel that from other people, it’s quite likely you’re putting that pressure on yourself anyway. Then there’s the question of “what am I going to do afterwards?”; “what does the world have in store for me?”

30. Had I tried to pick up all the pieces at once - done my HSC, and gone straight to uni - after I dropped my bundle in 1996, there is no prospect I would be where I am today. I wouldn’t have thought to study law. I just worked with what I felt I could at the time. And I worked my arse off, consistently. I worked my way through from shit kicker jobs, to well paying jobs, to excelling at university. I found a career I love.

31. If you drop your bundle, just pick up the pieces you can carry and work with them. Do something, and do it to the best of your ability. Make meaningful connections and use them. People will respect you if they see you work hard.

32. I have been told that my life has been like a series of lily pads, in which I just jump from one to the next. But I made those lily pads, dammit. And you can make yours. The secret to your success is: you.

33. So here are a few loose rules to live by:
1. First: No matter what result you get in the HSC, the secret to your success in life is you. It’s not numbers on a page. They may help. But it comes down to you: what you put in dictates what you get out. You are the secret to your success.
2. Second: Take opportunities when they arise, even if you don’t think you want them. (It’s amazing what doors a seemingly shitty job can open.) If you miss an opportunity you think you want, take the next one.
3. Third: If you drop your bundle, just pick up the bits you can carry and work with them.
4. Fourth: Talk to people and make meaningful connections. The connections you make will help you through, give you a leg up, and lead to opportunities that may surprise you. And I’m not just talking about work or career opportunities. I mean life opportunities.
5. Fifth: You might have a plan, but you can get to where you want to be, one way or another, and you can succeed, by a different, perhaps more windy, path than the path you have mapped out in your mind.

********************

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Australia - where the rich get richer as wealth & income inequality grows (interactive mapping)


The Guardian, 12 October 2017

Australia is among countries with the highest growth in income inequality in the world over the past 30 years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Vitor Gaspar, the IMF’s director of fiscal affairs, has told an audience at the launch of the IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor that Australia’s income inequality growth has been similar to the US, South Africa, India, China, Spain and the UK since the 1980s.

Last month the treasurer, Scott Morrison, said that income inequality was not getting worse in Australia.

Morrison told the Business Council of Australia in late September that Treasury and the Reserve Bank had found, in specific analysis of current wage fundamentals, that Australian wages were growing slowly across most industries in the economy, and most regions of the country, so the slow growth was evenly shared.

However, he would not release the Treasury analysis.

Graph showing inequality by country by the IMF. Illustration: IMF

Gaspar said IMF staff had used the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s income distribution database, Eurostat, and the World Bank’s Povcalnet data, among other sources, to calculate that income inequality had increased in nearly half of the world’s countries in the past three decades, and Australia had experienced a “large increase” in that time.

“Most people around the world live in countries where inequality has increased,” he said.

The IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor, released overnight, is dedicated to the global growth in income inequality. It warns that while some inequality is inevitable in a market-based economic system as a result of “differences in talent, effort, and luck”, excessive inequality could “erode social cohesion, lead to political polarisation, and ultimately lower economic growth”. 

It also warns that income inequality tends to be “highly correlated” with wealth inequality, inequality of opportunity, and gender inequality……

Earlier this year, the OECD economic survey of Australia in April found “inclusiveness has been eroded” in the past two decades.

“The Gini coefficient has been drifting up and households in upper-income brackets have benefited disproportionally from Australia’s long period of economic growth,” the report said.

“Real incomes for the top quintile of households grew by more than 40% between 2004 and 2014, while those for the lowest quintile only grew by about 25%.”

In July the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, when asked about his views on inequality at a charity lunch in Sydney, said it had grown “quite a lot” in the 1980s and 1990s and had risen “a little bit” recently, but it was important to make a distinction between income and wealth inequality.

“Wealth inequality has become more pronounced particularly in the last five or six years because there’s been big gains in asset prices,” Lowe said. “So the people who own assets, which are usually wealthy people, have seen their wealth go up.”

He said income inequality had increased slightly in recent years, but wealth inequality was more pronounced because of rising asset prices.

So how do individual regions across Australia fare?

The Guardian on 4 February 2016 published this Australia-wide interactive graphic:



Income Distribution in NSW Northern Rivers Region (based on Australian Taxation Office data for 2012-13)

Byron – top 10%  of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 38.5% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.544

Kyogle – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 33.9% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.554

Ballina – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 33.2% of income – Gini coefficient 0.495

Tweed – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 31.7% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.473

Clarence Valley – top 10%  of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 31.1% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.493

Lismore – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 29.7% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.459

Richmond Valley – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 28.1% of total income  – Gini coefficient 0.448

*  Some low income earners, eg. those receiving Government pensions/allowances or earning below the tax free threshold may not be present in the data, as they may not be required to lodge personal tax forms. [Australian Bureau of Statistics, Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Total Income, 2012-13]

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Political Tweets of the Week




Quotes of the Week


”Homosexuality was decriminalised in NSW in 1984. The first state or territory to take homosexuality out of the criminal code was South Australia in 1975 and the last was Tasmania in 1997.” [Julie McCrossin writing on ABC News, 23 September 2017]

“There are around 3,000 reported snakebites each year in Australia, resulting in 500 hospital admissions and an average of two fatalities.” [The Flying Doctor Service, 5 October 2017]

“In the first few months of 2017, more than 440,000 Australians have donated to a GoFundMe, demonstrating the staggering increase of people engaging with social fundraising across the country.”  [The Northern Star, 3 October 2017]

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Oh, it burns! It burns! #2


On 20 September 2017 first term Liberal MLA for Brindabella, Shadow Minister for Housing & Shadow Minister for Gaming and Racing Mark Parton rose to his feet and unthinkingly touched on the matter of male priviledge.

The match was lit.

He said in ACT Legislative Assembly:


know that much of this debate is about social inclusion. I get that. It is easy to say that this debate is not about taxes and charges. But I am here to tell you that when you feel the squeeze from all directions—when you feel the pinch from rising rates, rising land tax, rising electricity charges, rising rego fees, rising regulatory fees in every direction—and you are pushed into a financial space whereby you are struggling to breathe, you do not feel included. These people feel as though they have been left out; they do not feel included. 

On a broader level, I always find it fascinating that we focus on all of these groups who we are not going to leave behind. If you are a heterosexual, employed white male over the age of 30, you are not really included in anything. I know that those on the other side would say that heterosexual, employed Anglo males have opportunities aplenty, so we do not need to look after them; they will be okay. Madam Assistant Speaker, let me tell you that 75 per cent of suicides in this country are men, and overwhelmingly they are men aged 30 to 54. When we commit to inclusion, we should not be picking favourites; we should commit to including everyone.

She said in the mainstream media:


Director of the women's equality foundation 50/50 by 2030, Virginia Haussegger, said Mr Parton's comments were "foolish" and "offensive to all those not part of that privileged class".

"As Mr Parton is aware, our federal Parliament is overwhelmingly run by white, heterosexual men aged over 30, who hold the majority of power, influence and key decision-making roles," she said.

"They dominate among state premiers and chief ministers, across all three defence forces, our judiciary, academia, local government [and] across all religious denominations.

"White men aged over 30 rule the majority of Australia's publicly listed companies, they overwhelmingly control the boards, our financial institutions and our banks and operate in workplace environments that severely lack gender and ethnic diversity.

"What's more, they get paid more than women to do it."

Ms Haussegger said if Mr Parton was concerned about suicide rates among men there were better ways to draw attention to the issue.

"To suggest heterosexual, white, employed men aged over 30 are somehow missing out on attention or inclusion is not only daft, it is damaging to the gender equity project and has a heavy whiff of backlash about it," she said.

"If Mr Parton is suggesting that a particular cohort of men is struggling with mental health issues, as a result of missing out on attention, then perhaps it would be best to invite serious discussion about that important issue, rather than take a swipe at minority and disadvantaged groups who are in need of focused funding initiatives."

Sunday, 1 October 2017

On average one woman has died a violent death every week in the first nine months of this year

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
From 1 January to 30 September 2017 the total number of female violent deaths reported in the media has reached 38 women – averaged out that is one woman per week.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Turnbull Government's insistence on denying a basic human right to so many Australian citizens is a disgrace


The Guardian, 2 September 2017:

The former human rights commissioner Gillian Triggs has called for an end to the Northern Territory intervention and the government’s cashless welfare card trial, labelling them violations of international law.

The professor is one of 200 prominent Australians, including Cathy Freeman, Ian Thorpe and former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes, to support a statement prepared with Indigenous elders that calls the intervention a “crushing” failure.

Speaking at the University of Melbourne on Monday, Triggs said the NT intervention had harmed Indigenous communities since its introduction 10 years ago.

  “Assault and sexual assault convictions are about the same as before. Domestic violence has significantly increased. Incarceration of juveniles is now at world record heights.

“We’ve had a 500% rise in Indigenous youth suicide since the years 2007-11,” she said.

The intervention, enacted in 2007 under the Howard government, suspended the application of the Racial Discrimination Act, enacted harsh penalties on alcohol and pornography, and removed customary laws in certain areas of the territory after reports of high rates of child sexual abuse.

In 2012, the Gillard government passed the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Act, which extended the laws until 2022.

“The Act and its extension breach the Racial Discrimination Act, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the important Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Triggs said. 

“While it was nominally designed to protect children, it’s become a chilling act of political cynicism and opportunism, an overreach of executive decision-making, a failure of parliament and the manipulation of truth.”….

Speaking on Monday, Triggs also condemned the NT’s BasicsCard and the government’s trial of cashless welfare cards in Western Australia and South Australia.

“There are significant problems with the card [and] the evidence on the ground is to the contrary. It is wrong and illegal as a matter of international law to penalise Aboriginal Australians where the impact of the BasicsCard is racially discriminatory.”

Friday, 1 September 2017

A possible explanation as to why in 2017 Liberal and Nationals politicians in Australia still hold the poor in such contempt?


In the 45th Australian Parliament 86.9 per cent of Liberal MPs and senators and 59.1 per cent of Nationals/CNP MPS and senators have formal higher education/professional qualifications.  

A total of 175 of these 196 qualified Coalition parliamentarians graduated from university, with the majority of qualifications being in law, commerce, economics and finance. [See 45th Parliamentary Handbook of The Commonwealth of Australia]

As a group Coalition parliamentarians have a higher percentage of members with higher education qualifications compared with other parliamentary political parties.

By comparison, in the general Australian population 48.9 per cent of 35-44 year-olds, 38.2 per cent of 45-54 year-olds, 33.9 per cent of 55-64 year-olds had tertiary qualifications in 2015 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data.

Both Liberal and Nationals MPs and senators also feature prominently in a list of parliamentarians with significant investment property portfolios.

However, belonging to the current affluent political class doesn’t completely explain the level of arrogant entitlement our Coalition politicians display on the floor of federal parliament and elsewhere.

Unless for many in this affluent group a sense of privilege began generations before…….

In Australia a wide collection of rarer surnames, predominately of British/Irish origin, were used by Gregory Clark (University of California), Andrew Leigh (Parliament of Australia) and Mike Pottenger (Melbourne University) to study social mobility between 1870 and 2017.


In this paper we derive equivalent surname status correlations for Australia 1870-2017. These show that despite the fact that Australia was an immigrant society incorporating migrants from a wide variety of backgrounds, and without some of the entrenched social institutions and rigidities of England, underlying social mobility rates all the way from 1870 to 2017 were just as slow as in England. Also there is no sign of any increase in mobility rates in the most recent years……

In 1900-9 someone with the rare elite surname was 16.5 times as likely to get a degree from Melbourne or Sydney as someone with a common surname. Over the decades this overrepresentation declines, but more than 100 years later in 2010-17 the rare surnames are still 76% more represented among degree recipients than would be expected......
With this structure the social system behaves as though it has a longer memory of family status. The predicted status of children depends not just on the parents, but also on the grandparents, uncles, aunts and other relatives. In high status lineages, large short-term declines in status by a child tend to be corrected in the next generation, the grandchildren. For lower class families large upward movements in social status tend also to get corrected in the next generation.
Another feature that should be emphasized is that our data does suggest there will be complete social mobility in Australia, if we wait enough generations. The descendants of the Colonial elite are becoming more average with each passing generation, and will eventually be completely average in status. However, this process takes a very long time. The holders of rare elite surnames in table 2 had an average occupational status 1.54 standard deviations above the social mean in 1904. With an intergenerational correlation of 0.75 in occupational status their average status will lie within .1 standard deviations of the social mean by the generation of 2204. It takes about 10 generations, 300 years, for such an elite set of families to become effectively average.
It is not obvious how we should weight the two different elements of short run and long run mobility in terms of evaluating the degree of social mobility in Australian society. Indeed, policies that increase parent-child social mobility may be desirable even if we expect that there will be some reversion in the next generation. But it is clear that in terms of long-run social mobility, Australia has been just as immobile a society as its sclerotic parent England.
It appears that Australian society is as stratified as ever with dominant groups retaining high status through the generations and working class families remaining relatively fixed in lower status groups and, a genuinely egalitarian society in this country is not to be expected for another 300 years - if at all.