Author: Brian Lawrence

  • AUSTRALIA

    'Single person household' slight on working poor

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 14 April 2015
    6 Comments

    A fair minimum wage has to be fair to workers with family responsibilities, many of whom are currently working poor and living in poverty. But in its 2014 Annual Wage Review decision, the Fair Work Commission  decided that the 'appropriate reference household for the purposes of setting minimum wages is the single person household'. This was the first time in more than a century of minimum wage setting that an industrial tribunal has decided that minimum wages should exclude the needs of the low paid with families.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Who fathered the Family Tax Benefit?

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 30 May 2014
    2 Comments

    There may be debate about whether the current Family Tax Benefit, Part B is adequate recognition of the economic and social value of domestic child care. But there is no doubt that the $5.75 per week proposed in the recent Budget would drive low paid families deeper into poverty. The side issue of whether Howard or Keating was the father of the threatened payments could impact on post-Budget strategies and positions in the Senate.

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  • RELIGION

    Churches fight for economic justice

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 29 November 2013
    12 Comments

    In his recent address to the Yarra Institute about Christian social thinking, Fr Frank Brennan expressed the view that 'Christian churches are all but absent from the economic debate other than making the occasional, predictable utterance about ensuring that no one is left worse off as the result of new policy measures'. This seriously understates the public advocacy of the Australian churches and does a disservice to many people and organisations.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Wage inequality leaving workers in poverty

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 28 May 2013
    6 Comments

    The rivers of gold into Treasury have dried up and programs that have provided some relief to struggling families are being wound back. Whether or not large cohorts of workers and their families continue to live in poverty depends on the decisions of the Fair Work Commission in the current Annual Wage Review.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Resurrecting Work Choices

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 28 September 2012
    10 Comments

    While Tony Abbott maintains that Work Choices is dead, Senator Nick Xenophon is advocating a position that adopts one of its central features. It is immoral to hold back wage increases or drive wages down on account of economic circumstances when there are other ways to promote job protection and create employment opportunities.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What matters in Qantas confrontation

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 01 November 2011
    9 Comments

    The Qantas industrial dispute is likely to make a major contribution to the history of Australian industrial relations. The important issue is whether Qantas should have been required to threaten substantial damage to itself and to the national economy before it could gain access to arbitration.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott and Costello meet Catholic Social Teaching

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 10 October 2011
    12 Comments

    Former federal treasurer Peter Costello has revealed his fears that Tony Abbott's education in the collectivist principles of Catholic Social Teaching will frustrate the Coalition's ambitions for free market reform of workplace laws.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Census and Labor's Catholic vote

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 09 August 2011
    14 Comments

    The Census will play a central role in the planning of the next Federal election. Past results show that while much of Labor's working class base has abandoned it, a solid base of Catholics remains. But many of these supporters are now standing near the door bemused or angry. These figures show that while low income earners have abandoned Labor, a solid base of Catholics have stuck with it.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Losing the fight for fair wages

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 08 June 2011
    5 Comments

    The 2011 wage review occurred 120 years after the release of the papal document Rerum Novarum, which had a significant impact on the development of Australian minimum wage-setting. The minimum wage provisions of the current Fair Work Act cannot be regarded as a success.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The Church and the workplace

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 17 February 2011
    10 Comments

    Despite extensive welfare activities, Catholics have made only a modest contribution to public debate about the economic foundations of family life. Yet the Australian institution that is most associated in the public mind with 'pro-family' policies is the Catholic Church.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Abbott and Australia's new poor

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 08 June 2010
    9 Comments

    Tony Abbott told ABC radios's AM program that 'low and middle income families with kids are Australia's new poor'. He is half right. Yet this year's national wage review failed to address the needs of low income working families.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Preserving the real benefits of fair pay

    • Brian Lawrence
    • 03 June 2008
    2 Comments

    Labor has followed the former Howard Government by not nominating a figure in its submissions to the Fair Pay Commission's review of minimum wages. If the commission discounts wage increases to balance tax cuts it will tip the scales against disadvantaged working families.

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