Hard Times for economic refugees

As people are already aware, the main focus of the 2007 election campaign is interest rates on housing mortgages. This is underlined by the number of times the shadow treasurer, Wayne Swan, mentioned interest rates in the debate with Treasurer Costello on 30 October 2007.

Video: Port Hedland Refugee Detention Centre, 2001

Unfortunately it is the lower paid people with large mortgages that will pay for banks increasing the cost of borrowing.

Who can blame these people for their concern?

Especially those who have paid off mortgages and the others who hold shares in banks that are producing record profits and returns on investment.

The latter have benefited from the current boom in the economy.

This is a system that rewards the better off while lower paid, time-strapped workers pay the price.

Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs)


For example, Telstra, with its record profits, recently offered their technicians AWAs.

One was offered an extra $5000 a year for working an extra hour per day and no travel allowance.

As a result, he will be on a reduced hourly rate.

This is the impact of WorkChoices – a reduced hourly rate, loss of allowances and penalty rates and increased control by the employer.

This later point will be useful to governments (Labor or Liberal) in downturns.

The impact is devastating for the unskilled and bad for the skilled but more surreptitious.
As Gore Vidal said: “It is not enough that some will succeed, others must fail.”

For those that wish to read the analysis behind these statements you can read the LeftPress publication After the Waterfront: the workers are quiet

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