Published: 29/03/2022
Category: On The Job
Published: 29/03/2022
Category: On The Job

If Josh Frydenberg’s career as Federal Treasurer comes to a grinding halt at the next election, he can always take up a residency in Las Vegas.

The Member for Kooyong is a master when it comes to smoke and mirrors, sleight of hand and illusions. He has more tricks in his kit than Penn and Teller!

Following on from his block buster hit of 2019 – ‘Back in the Black’ – The Great Frydo launches his latest magic show with the 2022 Budget.

Central to his whole shtick will be the claim that the Liberal Government is going to prioritise wage rises because they’ve just discovered that working Australians haven’t got enough money to pay for petrol and fill their fridges.

Funny that. After nine years of keeping wage growth low, they’ve suddenly realised that people with empty pockets aren’t so easily convinced with their economic wand-waving and empty gestures.

And so it’s off to another Great Frydo magic show for more of his infamous tricks. It’s a pity that hard economic facts are blowing the cover off this magician’s secrets.

Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham was left flapping on ABC News Breakfast when asked about the Budget papers outlining wages growth of around 2.3% for the year while inflation is predicted to hit 5%.

Not even the Great Frydo with all his trickery can convince us that this is anything other than a cut in real wages.

This represents a disaster for workers who have been battling flatlining wage growth for nearly a decade and now face even steeper prices putting huge pressure on family budgets.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese isn’t buying a ticket to the Great Frydo Show. He is busy warning others to avoid it as well.

“This government have promised on 55 occasions [wage rises] on different wage forecasts, and on 52 occasions, guess what? They’ve missed,” Mr Albanese says.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil says workers see right through the Government’s desperate attempts to recast themselves as being on the side of workers.

“We’ve had nine years of this government and nine years of workers’ wages being stagnant,” she says.

“What that means is that the amount that workers’ wages have gone up has been pretty much the same or less than what the inflation rate or cost of living is gone up.”

The sharp incline in prices are hardly out of the blue. Long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Morrison Government had kept wages low while inflation kept rising.

“So the prices of things like groceries petrol, childcare, rent, going through the roof, and workers’ wages are not keeping up with that. So in real terms, workers’ wages are going backwards,” Ms O’Neil says.

The Great Frydo will be out with his bag of tricks selling his story over the next few days. He’ll try to convince everyone that a government that admitted that low wages were part of its economic plan, suddenly cares about workers’ wages.

There will be claims of real wages going up, one off payments here, a cut in the fuel excise there, maybe a cheaper beer at the pub next time you go.

Ms O’Neil is warning us not to fall for it.

You need a strategy to address wages and make sure that wages are going up, because that’s what will get people through, not a one-off payment that disappears so fast when you pay the next grocery bill.

Michele O’Neil
ACTU President

Michele O'Neil  -  ACTU President

One-off payments do little to address the on-going problem of insecure work, Ms O’Neil points out.

“If your job is unreliable, if you don’t know how much you’re going to earn week to week or month to month, or you don’t know if you’re going to get that next shift or roster, a one off payment gets eaten up so fast,” she says.

“We really want to see changes that set workers up in a better and fairer way for ongoing life for them and their families. And that means fixing in secure work and lifting wages.”

The Budget magic show full of bogus tricks and illusions

The Budget magic show full of bogus tricks and illusions