Post-Budget Forum: A Return to Full Employment – the why and how

Friday 12 May 2017

Thank you to every one who attended our Post-Budget Forum on Friday 12 May 2017 at Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Melbourne, with Wayne Swan MP, Emma Dawson, Stephen Koukoukas and Warwick Smith.

At the forum, Swan argued that we’re facing a jobs crunch.  That our headline rate of unemployment disguises a dearth of good well-paid jobs with good career outlooks.  Underemployment is at record highs. Hours worked are at record lows. Wage growth is at record lows.

Our economy is bedevilled by a squeeze on low- and middle-income people.  “You cannot have a strongly growing economy where a declining share of GDP goes to working people”, said Swan.

“Full employment is the most fundamental thing you need to deliver if you want stronger growth, a fairer society, and social mobility.”

At the event, we release our new report, Unemployment Policy in Australia, by Warwick Smith.  Said Warwick at the forum, “The thing that stands out the most at looking at the history of unemployment policy in Australia is the shift from seeing unemployment as a collective responsibility to seeing it as an individual issue of employability.”

“Today, we have a dialogue about testing the unemployed for drug use, or kicking them off the dole for not going to an interview for a job they weren’t going to get anyway. and about keeping the unemployed running endlessly in a mouse wheel of pointless activity when there’s no acknowledgement that there are far more job seekers than there are jobs.

We should acknowledge it and collectively take responsibility for it.”

Click below to go to the report or the podcast from the forum.