Minimum Wage & S African Unemployment

Among the many important issues which are at present subject to debate in society and the media, there is an inclination to let pass the determination by the Fair Work Commission of the minimum wage. It has received limited attention partly because the body allocated the job of regulating workplace relations has long determined the minimum and even though its analyses have been poor. The FWC has made decisions which have put Australia’s minimum rate at or very close to the highest in the world (over $36,000 pa). But this has not benefited the less skilled because employers cannot afford to pay such a rate for them. Instead of being employed they go on to welfare or crime.

Some Important Policy Announcements

Just announced have been some important policy decisions both here and in the US. The US changes are the most important but Shorten’s proposed changes to restore double taxation are of course most significant too (see Shorten’s Tax Breaks). This shows today’s Letters to the Editor , which include one by former Treasury Head, John Stone and are headed“An attack on hard-working savers and job creators”. I envisage that I will include further comments in due course. As to US developments, as Andrew Bolt points out in the attached (see Bolt on Tillerson Dismissal),

Climate Change Debate on Q&A & in The US

The ABC ‘s Q&A program tonight has a panel discussing global warming and Tim Flannery will be on the panel, but apparently with no skeptics. Below Andrew Bolt suggests some questions that might be posed to Flannery. Also below is a report on a public debate which occurred recently in the US between two experts on climate change with different views. Note in particular the different rate of increase in electricity prices between the US state which has a high usage of renewable and the rest of the US.

Trump Makes Good Deals

The most important development in political relationships and authority is the recognition now being given to changes in the US under Trump’s Presidency. It has taken time for Trump to establish credibility and there is still considerable opposition to accepting him as a leader who can change the course of events in a way consistent with western values/interests (as well as America’s). But, whatever objections may be made to his personal behaviour, there is now little doubt that he has “made it”.

Some Implications from Joyce’s Affair

Now that Joyce has made the right decision to resign as Leader of the National Party and hence Deputy PM, it is pertinent to attempt an interpretation of the various events and their potential implications. I don’t often agree with Paul Kelly’s analyses but his observation in an article today seems correct, viz “The entire crisis exposes again the essential problem of the Turnbull government: disastrous political management. The government was a sitting duck in the fallout from the Joyce affair. Turnbull and Joyce were never frank enough with each other even to devise a strategy. The fiasco is extraordinary” (see Kelly on Joyce’s Resignation).For Australia’s leading journalist to express such a view is an indication of the extent of the problem facing Coalition MPs.


The failure of Joyce to handle his affair with a staffer, starting with his astonishing attempt to “explain” it as only a private matter, has led to a failure by Turnbull to display the leadership role he is supposed to play as leader of the Coalition and PM of Australia. It will be surprising if tomorrow’s Newspoll does not show a drop in both the Coalition’s TPP (which was 48/52 a fortnight ago) and Turnbull’s satisfaction rate (37 to 50 dissatisfied). The political editor of The Australian suggests in his Inquirer article (see Shanahan on Joyce/Turnbull) that both leaders will see a fall in their satisfaction rates (Shorten’s was 34 to 52 last time). That is quite possible: the electorate is sick of the behaviour of both sides in Canberra.

Joyce & Public Interest

In my Commentary yesterday I suggested that various aspects of Joyce’s “affair” with staffer Vicki Campion were of public interest and not simply a “private” matter, as Joyce (and some other Coalition Ministers) had suggested. Today’s media has now woken up to the public interest (some journalists apparently knew about the affair some months ago) and have written about it, albeit in mostly soft tones. But Andrew Bolt identifies a number of questions which require answers (see Joyce’s Affair is of Public Interest),