Victoria is a Chinese province

These comments from Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas beggar belief – they are almost beyond shocking.

Read them carefully and see what he does:

Pallas was asked for his views on Australia’s diplomacy with China, responding: “I think I’ve been pretty clear that I’m not a big fan of the way the federal government have managed the relationship with China more generally.”

“I think there are occasions when we do need to assert our independence, and I made it clear when I was asked should there be an inquiry into the pandemic, I took the view, yes, there should be …

So far, so good. But then he starts making things up:

… but I don’t think in the sense that we should be vilifying any particular nation,” he said.

Where is the vilification?

“Every country will have to stand to account, their leadership will have to stand to account with how they reacted to the challenges that coronavirus actually presented to our respective economies and the welfare of our citizens.”

So does Pallas see China’s tariffs as retaliation for Australia’s stance on an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19?

“Oh, well, I can’t hazard to speculate what goes on in the minds of leaders of other countries. All I can say is I don’t suppose it would come as a surprise to anybody that this was the consequences of the way that the federal government have conducted themselves.”

So he won’t assume to know China is thinking (how could he? they’re so great and he’s so very small) but he blames the Australian Government.

Then he starts talking bullshit:

“Something quite traumatic has happened in the world economy and in the world population, they are owed an explanation from every government about what they did and how they conducted themselves, and that includes China, but it also includes many other countries as well.”

Is that even a sentence? And what does the Australian Government have to explain to China?

This is a fascinating theory from a serious economist

Professor Ian Harper is a serious thinker – he used to head the Howard Government’s Australian Fair Pay Commission and he also led a review into Competition Policy in Australia (the Harper Review – let’s hope they didn’t pay a consultant to come up with the title).

He’s come out against a wage rise for people on low incomes, saying that unless they’re in a job then businesses would be spurred to find savings and efficiencies to reduce their wages bill.

It’s a fascinating idea.

What if the minimum wage was used as a way to create a more efficient business community?

But this is also a shock, from the Reserve Bank (section 9; May 2018):

There is widespread interest in understanding the effects of minimum wage increases. I add to the evidence base by using an identification strategy uniquely suited to Australia and a dataset that provides several advantages over those used previously in the literature. I provide the first causal estimates of the effect of minimum wages on wages in Australia, and one of the few credible estimates of the effects on hours worked and job loss. I find that small, incremental adjustments to awards are mostly passed on to wages in award-reliant jobs. These adjustments appear to have little adverse effect on hours worked or job loss. These findings are consistent with the international evidence and the FWC’s (2017) current assessment of that evidence base.[16]

There are several things to keep in mind when interpreting these findings. Firstly, as discussed earlier, my results are for adult employees only and do not include juniors. Secondly, the results may not necessarily generalise to large, unanticipated changes in award wages. There will always be some point at which a minimum wage adjustment will begin to reduce employment. Thirdly, my paper studies fairly tight windows around FWC decisions, and thus gives valid estimates of the effect of the minimum wage on hours worked and job loss only if employers take less than six months to adjust to changes in the award wage (Borland 2018). Finally, although I find no statistically significant evidence of an effect of award adjustments on job destruction, this does not rule out an adverse effect on employment. For instance, the adverse consequences of higher wage floors may be borne by job seekers, rather than job holders. Evidence from the Productivity Commission (2015a, p 67) tentatively supports this possibility.

This is important as it sustains the theory that unions are better for existing workers and may damage industries in the long term in order to benefit current members.

Australia’s rich tapestry of minimum wages provides other avenues for future work. Given that award wages are set at many levels throughout the distribution of wages, marginal effects could be estimated at multiple minimum wage levels. This could contribute to our understanding of the optimal level of the minimum wage.

So many OHS laws broken. Good

FEATURE IMAGE: Twitter: Lisa Tucker.