The prime minister says the economy has been weak throughout Coalition rule. Well, not explicitly, but it’s the logical consequence of his efforts to avoid responsibility for wage stagnation.
Scott Morrison doesn’t want to be talking about wages. They’ve fallen in real terms while he’s been prime minister, and that fall is accelerating. They’ve been stagnant for the past nine years. And he certainly doesn’t want any suggestion that it is — as Labor says — a deliberate policy by the Coalition.
Morrison’s line on wages is another version of “it’s not my job” — only business can lift wages. There’s no magic pen that Labor can use to increase wages, is a favourite line from the prime minister, one he used again today.
Except Morrison is the head of the biggest employer in the country, the federal government, and for years now he’s suppressed public sector wages — first in the name of fiscal discipline and then, during the pandemic, as a kind of punishment for public servants not losing their jobs as private sector workers were.
Read more of Crikey’s coverage of the federal election campaign.
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