You’ve heard this story before, right? The one where working class Australians aren’t really thinking about environmental issues at all, but at the same time feel constantly threatened by Australia’s inevitable transition to renewable energy? I call it the Fitzgibbon Paradox.
It’s a comforting story for politicians that have no interest in tackling climate change to tell themselves. The idea is that caring about clean air and drinkable water is just a niche obsession for inner-city dilettantes who are detached from the everyday pressures faced by working people.
The problem is, it’s just not true.
The Jamie Duries at the reserve bank have predicted a good harvest for Australian workers. “Our forecasts are for wage growth to pick up from here, but not immediately and then only gradually,” Dr Luci Ellis told a conference in February. “Wage growth” will happen, says the RBA. Just wait.
The reserve bank’s language, and the confidence with which such forecasts are intoned, are designed to persuade us that wage growth will be the inevitable consequence of an established and well cultivated system: wages will “grow” because economists have kindly provided big business with the conditions for them to grow…
Luke Hilakari is the Secretary of Victorian Trades Hall Council — the voice of Victorians at work.