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Author's Name: Sue Richardson
Date: Tue 12 Feb 2019

Sue Richardson AM

Emeritus Professor Sue Richardson

Sue Richardson obtained her degrees from the University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. She has worked at La Trobe, Adelaide and Flinders Universities. At Flinders, she was Director of the National Institute of Labour Studies. She has been on a number of boards and government advisory bodies, including the Industry Commission and the Essential Services Commission of SA.

From 2010 - 2019 she was a part-time member of the Fair Work Commission, sitting on its minimum wage panel. Her areas of research are the labour market, income distribution, wellbeing and poverty. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and was President of that Academy and a Member of the Order of Australia.

Sue is Emerita Professor at Flinders University and Adjunct Professor at the University of Adelaide

Subject Area Expertise

Poverty, income distribution, labour markets, skills development and shortages, migration, ageing and climate change.


Responses (10)


Promoting vaccination uptake in Australia

Poll 49

"What measures should Australian governments adopt to promote demand for vaccination once supply is no longer a constraint?"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"

 

Vaccine passports for higher-risk settings (eg. flights, restaurants, major events);National advertising campaigns

The first thing that should be done is to make access to the vaccine widely accessible--it must be easy to get from a place where people are comfortable to be. Then we should take active steps to increase vaccination rates. Advertising campaigns need to be clever and engaging, especially for younger people. Give the topic to the Gruen Project! Use the evidence. Many strategies have been tried in other countries and we should study these carefully to see what we can learn from them. Appeal to the greater good, not just to one's own safety. Ads need to be tailored to the different demographics and reasons for reluctance to get vaccinated.


October Budget 2020 - preferred four programs

Poll 42 

"The October budget will see the government announce additional policies to support recovery.  Please nominate the four programs you think would be the most effective (for an intervention of a given size) over the next two years"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 

 

Permanently boosting JobSeeker (Newstart) beyond December 31, 2020, Social housing, More funding for education and training, Funding higher quality aged care

I take "supporting economic activity" to mean increasing jobs. At the same time, it is sensible to pursue expenditure that provides a longer lasting economic and social benefit. To increase employment, expenditure should be on activities the have a high local labour content, such as aged care. Boosting Jobseeker will increase consumer demand, while also reducing poverty. Social housing is sorely needed and will employ blue collar men, while aged care will employ lower education women. Education and training is quite labour intensive and will help the younger people who have been severely hit by the pandemic: better for them to be developing skills, than being unemployed.


The legislated increases in compulsory super contributions should...

Poll 41

"The legislated increases in compulsory super contributions, which are set to climb from 9.5% of wages to 12% over the next five years should...."

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 

 

Proceed as planned

8

9.5% is not enough to have the desired effect of providing an adequate retirement income. It is unlikely that there would be an equivalent rise in wages should the increase be deferred. Small steady increases are better than occasional large ones, so a deferral would be hard to recoup. Compulsory super would be much improved by making its benefits less concentrated at the top end of incomes.


Policies to deliver higher wage growth

Poll 48

Our panellists were asked

"Higher wages growth is now a top priority of the RBA in its efforts to sustain stronger economic growth. Please identify the three of these government policies you think would best help deliver higher wages growth".  

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"

 

.

Restraining growth in labour supply by cutting temporary migration (including international students

Changes in the wage/profit share have some influence on the level of wage growth. Systematic and sustained efforts to reduce union power have been successful and are probably part of the reason for low wage growth. But over time, the biggest influence is the growth in labour productivity


Government Debt during the COVID19 Crisis

Poll 40

"Governments should provide ongoing fiscal support to boost aggregate demand during the economic crisis and recovery, even if it means a substantial increase in public debt"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 

 

Strongly agree

9

The problems that face the economy are mainly lack of demand, caused by shut downs and people?s caution about exposing themselves to the virus. They include also disruption to supply chains and increased uncertainty and costs of operating in a Covid-safe way.


Social Distancing Measures, May 2020

Poll 38

"The benefits to Australian society of maintaining social distancing measures sufficient to keep R<1 for COVID-19 are likely to exceed the costs"

 

Strongly agree

7

If the infection rate was widespread and growing, I think that individuals would themselves take steps to distance and isolate themselves, regardless of what the rules were. I think it is very unlikely that people would behave, as consumers and as workers, as they did before the pandemic, if there was widespread transmission occurring. That is, a return to 'normal' is not an available option.


Transition to electric cars

Poll 47

This month, our panellists were asked whether Australia should take action to speed the transition to electric cars.

"As part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Australian governments should take action to accelerate the take up, or take no action to accelerate the take up of electric cars"

Photo credit "Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND"

 

Remove the luxury car tax from all-electric cars, Subsidise the purchase of all all-electric cars, Subsidise public charging points for electric cars, Set a date to ban the import of petrol and diesel cars

10

The most important and first thing that Australian governments should do is to put serious limits on tailpipe emissions of new cars. At present, Australia is unusual among developed nations in not having such a limit. It means that car makers around the world send their high emission cars to Australia, and do not send their electric cars. Electric cars are used by car makers to reduce the average emissions of all the cars that they sell in a country, to meet country emission limits. Since there are no such limits in Australia, they save their electric cars for elsewhere. Petrol and diesel cars emit particulates that are harmful to health. They also emit CO2. Both of these are harmful externalities that are not paid for by the user. It is efficient to charge an additional tax for petrol/diesel cars, or to subsidise electric ones, to account for the externalities. To reduce the impact of transport on greenhouse gas emissions, it is necessary for the electricity that is available at charging stations to be from non-fossil fuel sources.


The Federal Budget May 2021

Poll 46

"On May 11, the government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to 'secure Australia's economic recovery and build for the future'.  What grade would you give the budget given that objective, A, B, C, D, E, F?"

Photo credit Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

 

.

C

I was tossing up between C and D. I chose C because the budget at last turns its back on the ?debt and deficit? mantra, that was never justified. This will assist with the ?economic recovery?. The commitment to a more ambitious notion of full employment is also very welcome. The spending on aged care is also a big contribution towards a decent future for our growing number of elders. The big fail, is that it is a budget for the past, not for the future. There is a very large expenditure on small business, which on the whole is not the engine of growth. The infrastructure spending is mostly on the very traditional ?roads and ports?. The future is one of zero net greenhouse gas emissions. The transformation of the energy, agricultural, transport and manufacturing systems that this requires is enormous, will require unprecedented levels of investment and needs to start now. There is little in the budget that supports this transformation. It is an extraordinary lost opportunity. Related to this, there is very little to support the large scale adaptation to the coming hotter and more dangerous climate that is now unavoidable. Finally, the future for Australia implied in this budget includes even greater loss of our unique plants and animals, as they succumb to ?development?, land clearing and invasive pests and animals. Apart from the very welcome extension of marine parks, there is little in this budget to give hope for an end to the further destruction of nature.


Top economists want JobSeeker boosted by $100+ per week and tied to wages

Poll 44

"Ahead of a decision about any permanent increase expected early next year, The Conversation and the Economic Society of Australia asked 45 of Australia’s leading economists where they thought JobSeeker should settle."

Photo credit : Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

 

Be indexed in line with wages

Keeping jobseeker payments so low that people lose dignity, hope and suffer real material deprivation is unnecessarily punitive in our wealthy country. It is very harmful for the many thousands of children in unemployed households. I know of no evidence that it is an effective way of increasing the likelihood of an unemployed person getting and keeping a job.


Does the budget rebuild our economy and create jobs?

Poll 43

"On 6 October, the Government delivered a budget designed, in the Treasurer's words, to 'rebuild our economy and create jobs'.  What grade would you give the budget given the objective?  A, B, C, D, E, F"

Photo Credit: Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND 

 

C

The level of deficit spending was probably commensurate with the size of the macro-economic task. But it is risky, because it is relying on the private sector and households to do the job creation, by responding in the hoped for way to the economic incentives in the budget. Further, the very high levels of government spending seem to be intended largely to recreate the economy of the past, rather than invest in the economy of the future. The economy of the future will, among other things, need to have much lower greenhouse gas emissions and much greater ability to cope with the unavoidable damage arising from climate change. As a recent paper from Oxford University concludes: "The recovery package can either set the global economy on a pathway towards net-zero emissions--or lock us into a fossil fuel system from which it will be nearly impossible to escape." It goes on to conclude that there is a higher short run employment multiplier from renewable energy investments, and from energy-efficiency projects, than from traditional forms of stimulus. [C Hepburn, J Stiglitz et al, Oxford Review of Economic Policy 36 (S1) May 2020]