Economic growth and higher living standards in Australia are being held back by casualised work, according to former federal treasurer Wayne Swan.
“It’s economic bullsh*t. That’s what we know, it’s even been called out by the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. The IMF makes the point that if you have an economy in which incomes are becoming more unequal, then that will mean weaker growth.
“If you have an economy in which incomes are becoming somewhat more equal, you will have stronger growth, because it’s just common sense to understand that.
“And people don’t have to accept that from me as a former Treasurer, the current Governor of the Reserve Bank is making this point so strongly you might think that he could have been there on Labour Day, marching out front. Union Power.”
As current President of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), Swan believes the ALP is the best party to achieve positive outcomes for workers.
“It’s not a surprise that conservatives in the political system believe in having a higher profit share and a lower wage share. Now, it’s up to the labour movement and Labor Governments and progressive forces to fight back against that.
“We [the ALP] live to fight for increasing the bargaining power of average people of having a progressive income taxation system that allows us to spend and invest in people, which is actually what we need to do anyway, to drive growth and higher living standards.”
Despite the fight ahead, Swan remains optimistic about the future, drawing hope from the political shift in the US – particularly the election of Biden and his subsequent promoting of the work of unions.
“It warms the heart, doesn’t it?” Swan said.
“It really does, because this bloke who was characterised as being passed it, he was nowhere near as left wing as Warren or Sanders has turned out to be someone who’s going to be quite consequential in history.
“Because what he has done is he has buried trickledown economics in every respect.
“And he’s done it from a position of respect for the hard work of ordinary people. For a US President to say that he not only stands for jobs, but well-paying jobs, and good union jobs, shows that he absolutely understands everything that’s gone wrong with economics and politics over the last 40 years.”