November 1, 2005
by Dr Don Edgar
Howard's claim that average workers have enjoyed a real pay rise of 14 per cent since 1998 (and his use of that figure to justify his proposed industrial relations changes) is equally shaky. The mean average of course includes the top 10 per cent of wage earners, part of Costello's 3 per cent of Australians who earn enough to pay the top tax rate of 47 cents in the dollar. It hides the fact that the median wage rise (50 per cent of wage earners above and 50 per cent below) was only a 2.6 per cent pay rise, and the bottom 20 per cent of wage earners had an increase of only 1.2 per cent. In stark contrast, incomes for the top 50 Australian chief executives rose by 194 per cent between 1999 and 2004.