Extract from an article by Tim Colebatch
Country Australia is losing out on full-time jobs, forcing its young to head for the cities
At long last, we are talking about the growing inequality that has marked Australia in the post-reform era. At last, we have a political party that is prepared to tackle at least part of the problem: the tax loopholes that allow so much income to avoid redistribution through the welfare safety net. And even the Coalition is taking some steps down that path.
But in some people’s minds, it seems, the debate about inequality has got tangled up with the rise of minor parties. The economic slump in the Midwest rustbelt clearly played a large part in Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s US election, just as factory closures, high unemployment and stalling incomes have fuelled the growth of the National Front in France (especially the north), the growth of Podemos in Spain and, to a lesser extent, success of the Brexit campaign in Britain. Is the same thing now happening here?
No, argues David Marr, in his recent Quarterly Essay, The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race. Hanson’s support, he claims, is based on her appeal to racists, with a dash of nostalgia. No, implies the Grattan Institute, in a new working paper this week, which arguesthat regional Australia, where One Nation’s support is highest, has matched the city in income growth and unemployment rates over the last decade.
The Grattan report, say its director John Daley and co-authors Danielle Wood and Carmela Chivers, “is part of broader work at the Grattan Institute trying to understand why the vote for minor parties has risen rapidly over the past decade, particularly in regional electorates.”
They are concerned that the rising vote is “being used to justify all kinds of policy changes such as increased income redistribution, more spending on regional development, tighter migration controls, and more security regulation… based on assumptions about what is really driving voting patterns.” By asserting that the bush is doing okay, the paper is clearly arguing against “increased income redistribution” and against more spending in the bush…(continues)
SOURCE: Tim Colebatch, “The country–city divide: more evidence of how inequality is growing”, Inside Story, 12 August 2017
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