The Australian: Christopher Pearson: No job? No cash? Sod off [October 29, 2005]
I just read Christopher Pearson's weekend column on IR reform (link above), and this part is particularly interesting:
"In the US, not only is there no social security safety net to speak of but the minimum wage is little more than 30 per cent of median full-time adult earnings. In Britain, which has a social security system similar to our own, the Low Pay Commission has set the minimum wage at 43 per cent of median full-time adult earnings.
In Australia, thanks to the AIRC, the minimum wage is 58.4 per cent of median earnings, the highest ratio in any of the 12 comparable Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development economies. It's worth noting that the AIRC, without conceding any adverse effect on employment from raising its cost, has belatedly let minimum wages fall by all of 2.2 per cent relative to median earnings since 1996.
The Howard Government is proposing that the last award by the AIRC become the benchmark for minimum wages, so that they will be eroded by time and inflation rather than any sudden intervention"
It sure indicates that the expected gradual lowering of the minimum wage to even something like the equivalent of Britain's is going to take quite a few years; which would have to be good politically for the Liberals at the next election.