The Broken Bargain: Australia’s Growing Wages Crisis with Sally McManus

by Dan Nahum

In this episode from The Australia Institute’s webinar series, ACTU Secretary Sally McManus outlines the political and legal reasons why wage growth is so low in Australia.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, wage growth in Australia was anemic.

Historically, a working class with power to organise and bargain, and a broad commitment to the social wage ensured Australia’s wealth was shared. But the last 30 years have seen a dramatic shift of the share of Australia’s prosperity going to profit and away from working people.The shift in the distribution of GDP from the mid-1970s to today has transferred 10% of GDP directly from workers to corporate profits. That’s more than $200 billion – or almost $20,000 per waged worker – per year.

Australians are facing a wages crisis, and Government actions and inactions are making this problem worse.

In conversation with Australia Institute Deputy Director Ebony Bennett, and Centre for Future Work Director Jim Stanford, Sally McManus outlines the reasons why wage growth is so poor, and the way back for working people to once again be at the heart of a strong economy.

Recorded live on 14 July 2021, as part of the Australia Institute’s 2021 webinar series. A transcript of Sally McManus’s speech is available below.

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