National Economic Panel



ESA National Economic Panel Polls





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Author's Name: Margaret McKenzie
Date: Tue 04 May 2021

Margaret McKenzie

Dr Margaret McKenzie

Margaret McKenzie currently holds the position of ACTU Economist at the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Her role includes preparing the ACTU’s submissions to the Annual Wage Review at the Fair Work Commission which determines the minimum wage and award wage rates. She is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Federation Business School, Federation University Australia. She has lectured in economics at universities in Australia and the UK, most recently at Deakin University. She has worked in a wide range of economic policy areas in the Australian public service, mainly at the ACCC. She has written and presented widely in the media. She has a PhD and an MSc in economics from Birkbeck College London, and a BA (hons) in anthropology from Monash.

Subject area expertise

Macroeconomics, labour economics, privatisation and outsourcing, industry policy, trade policy, development, income distribution and poverty, market failure, empirical

Responses (3)

Intake of permanent migrants

Poll 52

"What do you think the intake of permanent migrants should be in coming years"

Australia’s leading economists have overwhelmingly endorsed a return to the highest immigration intake on record, saying Australia should aim for at least 190,000 migrants per year as it opens its borders, up from the target of 160,000 per year set ahead of COVID.

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



190,000 is not enough

We need an open and nondiscriminatory migrant and refugee intake. The government needs to plan in detail all the aspects of policy which are needed to support that intake which will serve to enrich the Australian economy and society.

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"


National advertising campaigns

Paid vaccination leave for all workers, especially for casual workers is an essential measure, because worry about losing pay is a major barrier to getting vaccinated. Unions have won this right in workplaces covering 1.6 million workers, but we now need to include it in the National Employment Standards to cover all workers. A dramatically scaled-up national education campaign and other forms of employer support such as onsite vaccinations are also important.

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"



Maintaining high government spending in order to boost aggregate demand;Reforming industrial relatio

There is plenty of evidence that tax cuts don't work to raise wages or stimulate activity particularly in an equitable way. We need to remove the overly prescriptive rules associated with bargaining and provide access to industry bargaining so that workers have some real and not hypothetical capacity to negotiate wage increases.