Australia news LIVE: RBA faces major shake-up; Unions push for the largest minimum wage rise in decades
- Union boss says ‘nice feeling’ to have government support for pay rise
- ACTU secretary says wages are ‘historically low’ and wants rise
- Unions push for the largest minimum wage hike in decades
- RBA poised for biggest shake-up in three decades
- Pope Francis in hospital with respiratory infection
- This morning’s headlines at a glance
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Union boss says ‘nice feeling’ to have government support for pay rise
Staying with ACTU national secretary Sally McManus, who says she welcomed hints from the government that they backed a rise to the minimum wage.
The union boss said the past 10 years had been “pretty lonely”, when they were one of the few people pushing for wage increases.
“That’s a nice feeling to have the federal government support pay increases however they choose to do that makes a difference. We saw that last year, we saw the difference that made last year,” McManus said on RN Breakfast this morning.
Tony Burke said the government’s wage submission will be revealed by the end of the week.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
She said the government didn’t put a figure on the wage increase last year, but unions are pushing for a rise of 7 per cent.
The union secretary said they were paying attention to what the government had been saying but hadn’t seen what their submission to the Fair Work Commission was.
“Obviously, we haven’t seen what they’re putting in, but we’ve also heard their what they’ve been saying. If they choose to do that they’ll make a difference. It’s very welcomed,” she said.
Her comments come after the Albanese government signalled it would back a second consecutive rise for the nation’s lowest paid in line with inflation – which fell to 6.8 per cent in February.
Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said yesterday that Labor’s values had not changed since its previous submission to the commission’s annual wage review.
“Our values haven’t changed, and what you’ve referred to there is a pretty strong value statement from the prime minister,” he said.
The union secretary argues inflation is being driven by record business profits, rather than wages.
ACTU secretary says wages are ‘historically low’ and wants rise
The ACTU national secretary Sally McManus has defended the call to raise the minimum wage for Australians.
Speaking on RN Breakfast this morning the union boss explained why the movement was pushing for a 7 per cent increase to the minimum wage, the biggest pay rise in more than 30 years.
She defended the push to increase wages for the lowest paid workers, when asked if it would make the Reserve Bank of Australia’s job to reign in inflation harder.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus wants to see a 7 per cent rise in the minimum wage. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
“The RBA is talking about overall wages not about the wage rises to the lowest paid and overall wages … they’re [wages] are historically low given the fact that people are going in one year 4.5 per cent backwards in real terms in one year,” McManus said.
She said there is in “no evidence” there’s no effect on current wages on inflation here or overseas.
“The impact of this wage increase on 2.6 million people has a little bump, you know … a tiny little bump on overall wages,” McManus told host Patricia Karvelas.
She said for low-paid workers this change would help people pay for the basics.
“It’s not even about people getting ahead. This is about being able to pay the basics and because you can’t control how much your housing is and how much things like fuel are, people are choosing to cut back on things like groceries and that is unacceptable,” she said.
Unions push for the largest minimum wage hike in decades
The nation’s union movement is demanding a 7 per cent increase in the minimum wage, the biggest pay boost in more than 30 years, amid signs Australia’s cost-of-living pressures are starting to ease.
As the Albanese government signalled it would back a second consecutive rise for the nation’s lowest paid in line with inflation – which fell to 6.8 per cent in February – the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) revealed it would seek to lift the minimum wage to $45,337 a year.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus wants to see an increase in the minimum wage.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
While unionists argue another minimum wage rise to match inflation will enable workers to catch up on the cost of living, businesses and economists worried that the flow on from lifting the lowest incomes could keep inflation simmering above 3 per cent for longer.
The full story on the proposal to raise the minimum wage is here.
RBA poised for biggest shake-up in three decades
The Reserve Bank is facing its biggest shake-up since the early 1990s, with the institution’s first review in four decades poised to recommend changes to the way it operates and communicates with the public.
Interest rates set by a committee of economic specialists rather than the current board, fewer meetings to discuss rate settings and regular press conferences by the bank governor to explain monetary policy settings are all expected to be canvassed in the final report from an independent panel of experts that have spent the past six months reviewing the RBA.
Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe.Credit:Natalie Boog
But an overhaul of its use of interest rates to target the rate of inflation is unlikely amid concerns any radical change would become embroiled in a political fight that could undermine the bank’s independence from the government of the day.
Read the full story on the changes to the RBA here.
Pope Francis in hospital with respiratory infection
Pope Francis has a respiratory infection and will need to spend “a few days” in hospital for treatment, the Vatican said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement said the 86-year-old pontiff had complained of breathing difficulties recently. Tests showed he did not have COVID-19, it added.
“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” the Vatican said.
Pope Francis helped to get on his car at the end of weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Credit:AP
The statement came hours after the pope was unexpectedly taken to hospital for tests. The Vatican initially said the check-up had been scheduled, but Italian media questioned that, saying a television interview with the pope set for Wednesday afternoon had been cancelled at the last moment.
Earlier in the day, the pope attended his weekly general audience at the Vatican and had appeared in good health.
Pope Francis suffers from diverticulitis, a condition that can infect or inflame the colon, and had an operation at the Gemelli hospital in 2021 to remove part of his colon.
He said in January that the condition had returned and that it was causing him to put on weight, but that he was not overly concerned. He did not elaborate.
The pope also has a problem with his knee and alternates between using a cane and a wheelchair in his public appearances.
This morning’s headlines at a glance
Good morning, and thanks for your company.
It’s Thursday, March 30. I’m Caroline Schelle, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.
Here’s what you need to know before we get started:
- The Australian republic movement believes King Charles’ coronation in May will increase support for the country to split from the monarchy.
- Unions will demand the largest minimum wage hike in decades, but there are fears a raise could keep inflation above 3 per cent.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia is set for a major shake-up under a government review.
- Soaring property prices means many prospective home buyers are relying on inheritance to be able to buy their first home.
- In NSW, the chief scientist will investigate fish kills as new Premier Chris Minns visits Menindee.
- China praised Victoria’s premier for his “determination” to build a better relationship with the country, as his visit raised concerns about if it clashed with national interests.
- Pope Francis has a respiratory infection and will need to spend “a few days” in hospital for treatment, the Vatican says.
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