How would Australians vote?

The Swiss were asked to vote on whether a minimum wage should be established and set at a high rate.  Nearly three-quarters voted against the proposition.  I wonder how Australians would vote?

Worried about upsetting Switzerland’s strong economy or driving its high costs even higher, more than three-quarters of Swiss voters rejected a plan Sunday to create the world’s highest minimum wage and slightly more than half spurned a request to outfit the Swiss Air Force with 22 new fighter jets.

A tally by Swiss TV showed that with votes counted in all 26 of the Alpine nation’s cantons (states), the Swiss trade union’s idea of making the minimum wage 22 Swiss francs ($24.70) per hour fell flat by a vote of 76.3 percent opposed and 23.7 percent in favor.

The military’s controversial request to spend 3.1 billion francs ($3.5 billion) for Saab’s new Gripen fighter jets was narrowly defeated, with 53.4 percent against it and 46.6 percent who supported the purchase.

At a news conference in the Swiss capital Bern, members of the Federal Council of seven ministers, which includes the president, confirmed the vote results. They welcomed the decision on the minimum wage proposal. Trade unions had proposed it as a way of fighting poverty in a country that, by some measures, features the world’s highest prices and most expensive cities.

But opinion polls had indicated that most voters sided with the council and business leaders, who argued it would cost jobs and erode economic competitiveness, driving Switzerland’s high costs even higher.

“A fixed salary has never been a good way to fight the problem,” Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann said in Bern.

“If the initiative had been accepted, it would have led to workplace losses, especially in rural areas where less qualified people have a harder time finding jobs,” he said. “The best remedy against poverty is work.”

The proposal would have eclipsed the existing highest minimum wages in force elsewhere in Europe. Switzerland has no minimum wage, but the median hourly wage is about 33 francs ($37) an hour.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which adjusts figures for spending power, lists the highest current minimum wage as Luxembourg’s at $10.66 an hour, followed by France at $10.60, Australia at $10.21, Belgium at $9.97, and the Netherlands at $9.48. The U.S. wage, an adjusted $7.11 down from the actual $7.25 rate, came 10th on the list.

Adjusted for its high prices, Switzerland’s wage proposal would have represented about $14 an hour based on a 42-hour work week.

The nation’s defense minister, Ueli Maurer, who had pushed hard for the Gripen purchased, acknowledged the vote exposed wide “differences” in levels of support around the country that would need to be addressed because of “the void that will be created in our country in terms of aviation security.”

Voters also faced two other decisions at the polls Sunday, a result of Switzerland’s unique system of popular rule that is expressed in endless citizen-inspired referendums, a weak federal government and strong cantonal governments.

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68 Responses to How would Australians vote?

  1. Fred Furkenburger

    Oh Judith, having seen the reaction to the Federal Budget I suspect that, like turkeys voting for Christmas, they would vote for a high minimum wage if they could. But, silly me, they have already done something similar in continuing to vote Labor in time and again.

  2. Kenny

    Can anyone comment on the nature of news coverge in Switzerland. Are the Swiss well informed?

  3. Kel

    :…Can anyone comment on the nature of news coverge in Switzerland. Are the Swiss well informed?..”
    Based on the outcome of the vote, it appears that the Swiss are very well informed.

  4. The Swiss strive to meet their Kyoto “commitments” by staying right out of the EU schemes and flushing local carbon taxes and cap-and-trade proceeds back through their own economy. A bit of nonsense to keep the climate botherers happy.

    They seem unwilling to get into agreements and arrangements with the rest of Europe, like it’s a shark pool of bloody minded shonks who neither trust nor like one another – not even at Eurovision.

    Now what, in the last century, could have given the Swiss such an impression?

  5. Senile Old Guy

    The Swiss were asked to vote on whether a minimum wage should be established and set at a high rate. Nearly three-quarters voted against the proposition. I wonder how Australians would vote?

    Given recent events, which major party would bother to ask?

  6. crocodile

    It’s a dumb question. The only ones who give a fuck about high minimum wages are those that are either on them or face that prospect.

  7. Dave Wane

    Given that most Australians, according to todays polls, want to put the Labor Socialist Wreckers back in power to continue their big-spending, big-taxing, big-regulating, big intervening, big-borrowing ways, I imagine Australians would vote entirely the opposite to the Swiss; that is – approximately 25% would vote to reduce the minimum wage (as recommended by the Audit Commission) and the other 75% would vote to increase it. We are very much a dumb country, thanks to the nanny-state, “gimmee” welfare state mentality that was created in 1972 under Whitlam and has continued to bring us down ever since.

  8. TerjeP

    Switzerland currently has no minimum wage. Nor does Germany or Sweden or several other European nations.

  9. .

    Would Australians reject:

    Occupational licensing
    The true level of taxes they pay
    On costs to employ staff if they knew the costs nearly double the base wage rate

    If they knew the full facts and it went to a vote?

    I reckon so.

    The problem is people are misinformed.

  10. Aussiepundit

    The left own the wage issue in Australia due to their successful campaign against workchoices. while the unions remain politically powerful and well financed this issue will never gain traction in Australia.

  11. viva

    This is the predictable first wave of a backlash against tough love from the right which is the right’s historical mission. It was bound to happen as the ship of state starts to be turned around – however slowly. Everyone just has to hold their nerve.

  12. Everyone just has to hold their nerve.

    Indeed.
    And the people who most need to hold their nerve are Abbott and Hockey, and not get spooked into mistakes like breaking a solemn promise made to pensioners only nine months ago…..
    oh, wait….

  13. Senile Old Guy

    It was bound to happen as the ship of state starts to be turned around – however slowly.

    You’re joking? Right? Under Abbott/Hockey it’s full steam ahead with more taxes and more spending. They haven’t reduced spending, merely moved it around.

  14. David Palmer

    The post election poll results, including Shorten ten points clear of Abbott makes for depressing reading.

    And if we are worried about the caliber of our politicians, Australians might only be getting what they deserve. Ouch.

  15. viva

    You’re joking? Right? Under Abbott/Hockey it’s full steam ahead with more taxes and more spending. They haven’t reduced spending, merely moved it around.

    No mate – you are the one who must be joking. You can see how difficult it is to make even small changes to spending – which by the way are set to start having an impact a little further down the track (and there is more to come according to the government). Culture change is very difficult – if the government is not suicidal enough to suit your taste well too bloody bad.

  16. Fibro

    Switzerland, except for one canton Schaffhausen does not have compulsory voting.

    I suspect that in Australia a similar result would be had if voting was also non-compulsary.

  17. No we’re not getting what we deserve. That would mean we knew what we are voting for.

    If you order a salad sandwich and you find that inside the paper bag is, instead of a sandwich, a cold pie, you didn’t “get what you deserve.”
    You deserved a sandwich.

  18. You can see how difficult it is to make even small changes to spending – which by the way are set to start having an impact a little further down the track

    If they had kept all their promises, slashed spending to bits, and announced a surplus, do you think the polls would be better or worse right now?

    It is inconcievable that they would be worse. To put that another way: if they’d stuck to their principles it wouldn’t have been any worse.

  19. viva

    if they’d stuck to their principles it wouldn’t have been any worse.

    That’s a rather big call to make …. from your armchair.

  20. Rabz

    “The best remedy against poverty is work.”

    Whoa there – this is a European politician uttering these words?

  21. nerblnob

    Switzerland is an engineering country. The popular image as a banking country is only partially true.

    OK, it is heavily taxed, but take a look around if you ever go there. Without centuries of bridge, road, tunnel, rail building the country would not exist as a single entity. The people have a very practical mindset.

    This country with a third of Australia’s population and higher costs has successful export companies such as Australia can only dream of. The big chemical companies like Roche. Liebherr, who have a factory in Adelaide. What Australian manufacturer has a reputation and reach like that?

  22. Demosthenes

    I’m glad the result was a super-majority, rather than squeaking by. Such sensible people.

  23. nerblnob

    Most of Scandinavia (leaving Switzerland for the moment) are monarchies with no minimum wage and some still have National Service. That’s a part of the picture that “inequality” campaigners and the like leave out when pointing to these countries as examples we should follow.

    The Swiss still have to do one or two weeks of national service a year, last time I asked.

  24. mundi

    I honestly think it would get the same treatment here in australia. The right won’t go for it, the left union ranks won’t either once you tell them that higher minimum means their wage will go down slightly, either literally or due to higher taxes because of unemployment.

  25. Adam D

    I agree with aussiepundit. What makes this budget pain so much worse is that it doesn’t even fix the problem. Spending and taxation still go up and the coalition is getting hammered from every angle. As I’ve said before they may as well of done it properly so they could show the benefits come next election, such as massive tax cuts

  26. will

    Everyone just has to hold their nerve.

    This was the informed view at the Cat for the Liars (Trade Union Branch) to keep Gillard as PM for the election.

    Unfortunately the Liars (Trade Union Branch) replaced her with Rudd.

  27. Alfonso

    Indeed, non compulsory voting plus voter ID would be a body blow from which the comrades might never recover.
    Otherwise LibLab will keep those cheques in the mail coming.

  28. gary

    Citizens Initiated Referenda are what we need in this country. A chance for ordinary Australians to impose some rules on the elected politicians so that politicians are not dictators for three years then tell some lies to get elected for another three years.

    A Citizens Initiated Referendum to restrict taxation and government spending at state, local and federal levels would be the hopefully the first to go the people.

  29. mundi

    If anything, the Luba are getting backlash for both sides because the budget is a disaster. Spending is up, revenue is up. Most of the ‘tough’ calls in this budget are just to fund something else, merely a shuffling of deck chairs. However the part that hurts Abbott is that the spending is shifting to areas people don’t understand or see, while they will see the high petrol price and the doctor visit costs.

    Also why didn’t Abbot just decrease the Medicare payment by $7? This would force only doctors who want the $7 to pay for it.

    I live in the poorest area of QLD, I can get a doctor to house visit me and I pay $0 – it’s 100% bulk bill, with the doctor still earning a decent wage (he can usually make 3 calls per hour). So the amount paid by Medicare seems to be completely out of touch with market costs. (I know one doc averages 25 house calls per day – as I have seen his schedule).

    I can only imagine the ones who do 10 minute bookings, they can see 50 people per day – government pays $35 per person seen.

    Yes you get what you pay for – but the truth is most doctor visits to poor people are for virus, which the doctor does nothing, they just medical certificates for work/ centrelink.

  30. H B Bear

    The Australian democracy isn’t even sufficiently advanced to allow a considered debate on these types of questions. It is over 20 years since there was bipartisan agreement on economic policies that were undoubtedly in the national interest.

    There is no danger of that happening while Tits and the Clown Posse are around. And you could probably throw the Libs in there too.

  31. tomix

    <em
    Can anyone comment on the nature of news coverge in Switzerland. Are the Swiss well informed?

    Dunno, but only a few years ago being a Swiss correspondent for a foreign news service was illegal, penalty 2 years gaol. Unsure now, but years ago European state education ran rings around Australias. Englands 10 year olds were at the level of our 12 year olds.

  32. Infidel Tiger

    Citizens Initiated Referenda are what we need in this country. A chance for ordinary Australians to impose some rules on the elected politicians

    Sounds good in theory. Then you walk around and look at who ordinary Australians are and you squirt a little but of urine into your reg grundies from fear.

    A Citizens Initiated Referendum to restrict taxation and government spending at state, local and federal levels would be the hopefully the first to go the people.

    There’s a useful description of Australians who actually would like this – “fringe dwelling freaks”. I’m one of them.

  33. .

    I’m* for CIR, but only to strike down bad laws.

    *Another Fringe Dwelling Freak

  34. stackja

    Liberty Quotes
    Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.
    — Robert Heinlein

  35. H B Bear

    Anyone in favor of CIR should probably go and spend some time in California to cure themselves of their wrongheadedness.

  36. Notafan

    I live in the poorest area of QLD, I can get a doctor to house visit me and I pay $0 – it’s 100% bulk bill, with the doctor still earning a decent wage (he can usually make 3 calls per hour). So the amount paid by Medicare seems to be completely out of touch with market costs. (I know one doc averages 25 house calls per day – as I have seen his schedule).

    Those locum services amust be a nice little earner, I would imagine most of them in capital cities go to nursing homes and assisted accommodation, am sure they get to do multiple patients per visit.

  37. However the part that hurts Abbott is that the spending is shifting to areas people don’t understand or see, while they will see the high petrol price and the doctor visit costs.

    The part that hurts Abbott is the blatant lying, and not even being fussed about it.

  38. That’s a rather big call to make …. from your armchair.

    I’ve been predicting this poll disaster for weeks from the same armchair.
    I’ve been hopping up and down in that armchair, busting the springs in agitation at the incredibly stupid decisions taken in the budget.

  39. Switzerland is the best country on earth. Why? First, because the Left can’t destroy their society, as they have with ours and most Western countries, because the Swiss can vote down any attempt by the Left to vandalise their society. Second, it has natural beauty that is unsurpassed elsewhere. Third, they have some of the best food on earth. Fourth, the cost of living (once you know your way around) is very reasonable – in fact food, and accommodation are cheaper than in Australia. Switzerland has everything you could wish for … except beaches.

    Here is a link to a Swiss government website that explains Swiss people’s rights. It makes you realise what a socialist dump Australia is.

    Kenny (second comment in the post) asked: Are the Swiss well informed?

    I met a New Zealand woman who was fortunate enough to have married a Swiss guy and she told me that everyone takes an interest in political issues and they know their local representatives and do not hesitate to make their views known. Because the Swiss are enfranchised they know they have political power, so they take an interest in politics. We on the other hand, being disenfranchised, know that our politicians will crap on us and there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

  40. Notafan

    What budget could the LNP have handed down would have been a roaring success at the polss?
    A budget with the massive cuts proposed by the LDP would have seen a better result for the LNP?
    Any cuts to welfare were going to see a slide.

  41. Kaboom

    Aussiepundit:

    “If they had kept all their promises, slashed spending to bits, and announced a surplus, do you think the polls would be better or worse right now?

    It is inconcievable that they would be worse. To put that another way: if they’d stuck to their principles it wouldn’t have been any worse.”

    Damn right! I put my hand up as another “fringe-dwelling freak”.

    Jesus fucking Christ, if the “average” Australian voter had to vote for a minimum wage, it would be north of $50 per hour.

    Most of the glassy-eyed mouth-breathing ‘tards who “vote” would have absolutely no cognisance of the consequences of their actions – I mean, just look at the recent popularity polls!

    Memo to self: Start refining your exit plan.

  42. Notafan

    Switzerland, my lasting impression of Geneva in January, a Gypsy women standing in the snow holding her little baby, begging. In fact, beggars everywhere.
    Not quite the utopia I’d be looking for.

  43. MT Isa Miner

    There’s a useful description of Australians who actually would like this – “fringe dwelling freaks”. I’m one of them.

    That’s three of us. I want it too.We could do it. I want us all to be more bloody Swiss- totally anal about work- is there a frigging screw missing- FIND IT, not “shrug”.

    No non contributing immigration- the Swiss told the EU to go fuck itself and they’re still standing- we grew balls too, thank you Abbott and Morrison.

    Australia and Switzerland (along with what Iceland and USA and Canada?) are the 5 oldest stable , that means uninterrupted, democracies in the world. Maybe NZ? We lot are something else. Even if we are the apprentices in the scheme of world affairs. The Swiss are totally flag fanatic proud of their history, we need to be proud about our history, our achievements too, our Australia. Treaty, Yeah? No, NO Treaty Never.

  44. Notafan, there are beggars all over Europe. In most cases they are from the poorer eastern European countries. It in no way reflects on Switzerland. Do a Google on gypsies in Italy. Here’s an example.

  45. Tel

    Switzerland currently has no minimum wage. Nor does Germany or Sweden or several other European nations.

    http://m.thelocal.de//20131121/germany-to-introduce-minimum-wage

  46. Fisky

    No non contributing immigration- the Swiss told the EU to go fuck itself and they’re still standing- we grew balls too, thank you Abbott and Morrison.

    The Swiss have an enormous foreign-born population, but the path to citizenship is extremely long so there’s not much in the way of Leftist vote gerrymandering that goes on here.

  47. MT Isa Miner

    Notafan

    #1311217, posted on May 19, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Switzerland, my lasting impression of Geneva in January, a Gypsy women standing in the snow holding her little baby, begging. In fact, beggars everywhere.
    Not quite the utopia I’d be looking for.

    Exactly why they voted to stop free movement of people across the boarders, Nota. The Schengen Agreement has meant lots of them and Africans. This would have meant the East/Romania= Gypsies. The Swiss government weasels are currently “negotiating” about letting Croats into Switzerland to work as a peace offering.

  48. Notafan

    I’m talking about Australia, I don’t want women with babies begging on street corners, maybe Australians are apathetic because we have yet to face the issues that confront Europe.

  49. Kaboom

    Nota, go to any street corner in the Alice, and you will see what you fear.

    Similarly, Darwin, Cairns, Townsville, Freemantle.

    Too late, methinks…

  50. H B Bear

    Through the expansion of its borders and the free movement of people, the EU is currently in the final phases of bankrupting itself. Sovereign borders and controlled immigration are the nation states equivalent of private property rights – namely the ability to prevent the flow of benefits to outsiders.

  51. Notafan

    Okay Kaboom, at least there isn’t snow.
    But I’ll add those towns to my avoid list.

  52. Eyrie

    “fringe-dwelling freak”, here!
    Notafan, add Tennant Creek to your list.
    Oh well, Mrs Eyrie is a card carrying Kiwi so that’s the bugout.

  53. Kaboom

    No! Nota, you should go to the towns I mentioned!

    All are reasonably civilised (Freemantle is wonderful!) and you will enjoy the infusion of the local spirit immensely.

    However, in each of them, there is an underclass that portends itself to begging on street corners, with babies in arms.

    If you really wished to get to the front-line of street corner begging (with or without babes-in-arms) try Tenant Creek, Moree, and a few other places like those.

    There are many such other places, as well.

  54. Kaboom

    Eyrie – you’ve been to Tenant Creek recently, as well??? Snap!

  55. Notafan

    Is okay, I’ve been to Fremantle and Cairns.

  56. Kaboom

    Shit! “Tennant”, not “Tenant”. Sorry, I was thinking of renters.

  57. 2dogs

    The Swiss vote on practically everything; over half of the world’s referendums are undertaken in Switzerland. Because the popular vote is so powerful, it is very much worth their while to be informed.

  58. Kaboom

    Double Shit! “Fremantle” is quite correct, and using “Freemantle” will see one being “docked” quite quickly.

  59. ProEng

    Switzerland has come a long way since this engineer spent some time there. I remember the 4.8SFr =1$A, having a bank account that paid interest at 1.5% for anything positive and paying 2,5% for anything negative. I recall that all the Swiss were very well informed, very concerned about the future of the country. It was expensive to buy a house but they got mortgages for 50 years at low interest which they could pass onto the kids. I was told that the Swiss think first of the country (eg national service ) then the community, then the family and only then self. They say at the core of Switzerland is the oldest democracy dating to 1215. The States do the taxing and pay a set amount to the Federal Govt. When I was there 3 states had no tax other than that paid to the Federal (for defence etc)
    Australia could be much better by moving to the Swiss political structure. Give taxing back to the States. That for a start would curb the power of the Federal government which should withdraw from the UN and just take observer status without pouring in wasted money. Then the states should be split into regions eg Victoria into West, East and Melbourne. Say 21 self governing states or provinces.

  60. rickw

    We also need the Swiss Model, but not just the political bit, the whole military service aspect as well, which seems to help feed into the process. Currently working with a Swiss guy, excellent! (also great builders of machinetools: Schaublin & SIG, lovely !!)

    Interesting the vote on the fighters, who needs them when you have mountains and rifles! (WWII Swiss general was asked what the Swiss Army would do if the Germans directed their attention towards Switzerland (they had a numerical superiority of about 2:1), Answer: Shoot twice and go home!)

  61. johanna

    The Swiss are armed to the teeth. Lots of civilians have guns, but their culture is very different to the US. They don’t go around shooting each other. Heaven help anyone who tried to invade the joint, though.

    There is a wonderful sequence in one of John Le Carre’s Smiley novels (forget which one just now) about Switzerland. The British agents have just been sprung, and need to get out in a hurry. The senior and experienced operative (Toby Esterhase) calmly finishes eating his pastry, tips the bandleader, pays the hotel bill and the carparking bill before they quietly exit the country.

    As the junior operative remarks, I learned one thing about Switzerland – always pay your bills before you leave.

    Says a lot about the country.

  62. nerblnob

    The Swiss can be bloody boring though. They need a bit of chaos now and then. Just a bit.

    Next time you hear some wet dishrag going on about Scandinavia and how socially right-on they are compared to Australia or something , remind them that all Scandi countries have compulsory military service, except Sweden, which did until 2010, so effects not really felt yet.

    Not saying it’s a great thing, and the professional military don’t always like it, but maybe it explains some of the legendary social cohesion that these countries have, or had.

  63. Streetcred

    #1310887, Senile Old Guy posted on May 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm
    —-

    Proves the point that Australian’s are not well informed and possibly a bit dim in important matters.

  64. Eyrie

    Kaboom, not quite two years ago on our fly ourselves around Oz trip. Never again.
    An Army helo pilot told me to give it a miss and when we got back I had to tell him he was right.

  65. Switzerland does not have a president as reported in the post.

    Switzerland has a Federal Council made up of seven members.

    This Federal Council is a collective head of state and executive branch.

    There is a rotating president of this Council for meet and greet purposes. He has no special powers.

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