Reform Agenda Series: Explaining the Rise of Australian Inequality

Monday 5 December 2016

Thank you to everyone who joined us at our final Reform Agenda Series forum for 2016, Explaining the Rise of Australian Inequality, with Dr Andrew Leigh MP.

At the forum, Dr Leigh outlined the drivers of inequality in Australia.  The big drivers of inequality, he argued, are low union membership, technology, globalisation, taxes and transfers, and market concentration.

The strongest friends of egalitarianism include a fair transfer system and good unions, while some of the biggest challenges are robots and monopolies.

Dr Leigh also highlighted an issue Per Capita has consistently argued for, which is  the retention of weekend penalty rates.

“Often, inequality can be complicated and statistical. But sometimes, the role of public policy economists is to cut through the dross, and say it like it is. Cut weekend and holiday loadings, and you’ll make the nation less equal. If you love Australian egalitarianism, one simple way to defend it is to support lower paid workers getting a bit extra for working when everyone else is on holiday.”

Thank you to Corrs Chambers Westgarth for hosting this public forum.

Click the link to Podomatic below to hear the full audio of the forum.

Download Dr Leigh’s full speech on the link below.

Download the full paper