Wage growth is not my job, he admits the economy is weak

The prime minister says the economy was weak during the Coalition rule. Well, not explicitly, but it is the logical consequence of his efforts to avoid responsibility for wage stagnation.

Scott Morrison on day 29 of the federal election campaign (Image: AAP / Mick Tsikas)
Scott Morrison on day 29 of the federal election campaign (Image: AAP / Mick Tsikas)

Scott Morrison doesn’t want to talk about wages. They fell in real terms while he was prime minister, and that fall is accelerating. They have been stagnant for the past nine years. And he certainly doesn’t want any suggestion that this is – as Labor puts it – a deliberate Coalition policy.

Morrison’s payline line is another version of “it’s not my job” – only business can raise wages. There is no magic pen that Labor can use to raise wages, it is a favorite joke of the prime minister, the one he still uses today.

Except that Morrison heads the country’s largest employer, the federal government, and has for years been suppressing public sector wages first in the name of fiscal discipline first and then, during the pandemic, as a kind of punishment for civil servants not losing their jobs like private sector workers were.

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