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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.

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Responses (6)

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 



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]

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


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.

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


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


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.