A new report (PDF) by the University of Sydney shows Aussie workers are doing markedly worse under a Howard government.
His desperate bid to buy them back this week with the offer of tax cuts doesn’t address the deep unfairness they’re being subjected to by his doublespeak-ish “Work Choices” legislation.
The Australia@Work study, published this month, surveyed more than 8000 workers and concluded that those on Howard’s individual work contracts earned on average $106 a week less than those on collective agreements.
Howard’s “Work Choices” legislation is a lot like National’s Employment Contracts Act of the 90s. It’s designed to abolish collective bargaining and undermine the rights of workers. In Australia it has allowed bosses to cut overtime payments, public holiday pay, maternity leave and meal breaks.
To add insult to injury it looks likely that Aussie workers will now be subjected to further steep interest rate rises as a result of Costello’s cynical bid to buy back their votes.
The ABC reports that his tax cuts “will make the Reserve Bank nervous and could push interest rates higher”. A senior economist is quoted as saying “It certainly means interest rates would be higher than they would otherwise be… I cannot imagine were it not for an election the Treasurer would be contemplating these tax cuts of this order.”
There have already been five interest rate rises since the last Australian election and mortgage repayments are up sharply there – somewhere in the order of $65 a week on average.
The combination of tax-cut fueled interest rate rises and draconian employment relations legislation makes things look decidedly grim for workers across the Tasman.
If I was a worker there I’d see Howard’s tax cuts for what they are: a desperate attempt from a government trailing in the polls – in large measure as a direct result of its unrelenting, decade-long assault on the rights of workers.