Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Guaranteed ! Jobs or Income ? Politics in the Pub – 25th March, 2017

Guaranteed! Jobs or Income?
Family Hotel at 15 Parke St, Katoomba on Saturday, 25th March, 2017.

Have we become a country of “working poor”? What can we do to decrease income inequality?

The gap between the “haves”, the “have nots” and even the “have somes” is widening. Insecure work, job losses through automation, low wages growth and other factors are causing a shift of collectively created wealth to a smaller group of recipients.

Social demographer Mark McCrindle’s analysis of Australian Bureau and Statistics data shows that the wealthiest 20% of Australia’s population receive 50% of the income while the poorest 20% receive only 4%. The engine that drives our economy, Australia’s middle class, is disappearing.


Some countries are considering a guaranteed or universal “basic income” – a form of social security where each citizen has an entitlement to enough income to pay for basic needs like accommodation, food and household bills with no requirements, such as looking for work or studying, in exchange – as a way of sharing wealth more fairly.

Past Australian governments addressed income inequality with policies of “full employment” where the government would not permit the unemployment rate to fall below 2%. These policies were abandoned in the mid-1970s with the ushering in of the neo-liberal age.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of a guaranteed basic income? How could it work? Could we ensure a right to food and shelter with a basic income? Can we overcome a cultural desire make people “pay”, even suffer, for any support they receive as the government demonises Centrelink recipients as “leaners” and “fraudsters”? Would it be more effective to ensure that Australians are not unemployed or underemployed? Can the two policies complement each other?

Blue Mountains Unions & Community have invited two experts to speak to explore the pros and cons of a guaranteed “Basic Income”.

Dr Jennifer Mays, PhD (QUT), Master of Arts (Research) (QIT), Lecturer, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology completed her doctoral dissertation on the history of the Australian disability income support system from 1908 to 2007, with a comparative examination of an alternative model of income support (Basic Income).

Dr Victor Quirk, B.A Hons (Latrobe), PhD (Newcastle) is a Research Associate at the Centre of Full Employment & Equity, and currently lectures in policy development at University of Newcastle. He advocates for the right to work and his PhD examined the political opposition to full employment .

The audience can ask Dr Mays and Dr Quirk about their views of Basic Income in the Q&A session of the free event “Politics in the Pub – Guaranteed! Jobs or Income?” at the Family Hotel at 15 Parke St, Katoomba on Saturday, 25th March, 2017.


Authorised by D Smith, Secretary, Blue Mountains Unions & Community (Blue Mountains Unions Council Inc), 52-52A Great Western Hwy, Mount Victoria, 2786

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