It’s the Vibe.

Cats are funny.  Cats are smart.  Cats are wise.

How is this for a proposal.  There must be a lawyer out there who might have a view.

The basic single Newstart allowance (unemployment benefit) is about $275 per week.

The national minimum wage is $719 per week.

For those not arithmetically inclined, that is a difference of $444 per week (an unfortunate number).

What the minimum wage basically means is that it is illegal for someone to work/employ someone at a rate of remuneration of less than $719 per week.

But what if there was a worker who was prepared to work for $650 per week and an employer prepared to pay that amount?  Well sorry.  That is against the law and someone will go to jail.

Another way to look at this is that the Commonwealth Government is preventing someone earning income between $275 per week and $719 per week.  Now given section 51 xxxi of the Australian constitution says:

the acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws

Is the Commonwealth “confiscating” people’s productivity, labour and intellectual property without just compensation?  Could this mean that the Commonwealth unemployment benefit must be the same as the Commonwealth minimum wage so as not to fall foul of the Constitutions?

Clearly, if this was the case, either the unemployment benefit must increase significantly or the national minimum wage must drop – both unlikely scenarios.

The only way that such rate differentials could hold would be for the national minimum wage to disappear to be replaced by a state minimum wage.  Perhaps a step in the reversion of industrial relations policy back to the states and away from the Commonwealth.

This could allow the states to compete for labour such that low cost of living states (eg SA) could attract labour from high cost of living states (eg NSW or VIC).  You know like the constitution originally envisaged competition between the states.

Is this realistic?  Can it be done?  Is Dennis Denuto accepting briefs?

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28 Responses to It’s the Vibe.

  1. Suburban Boy

    Sorry, but there is no “property” being acquired by the Commonwealth so no need for compensation under para 51(xxxi).

    The sad truth is that governments can commit all sorts of outrages against the people without legal recourse. This is one of them.

  2. pete m

    Wot he sed. Also the Newstart allowance is not a wage but a benefit which has no caps or minimums.

    A simpler way around is to employ the person for less than a full week.

    So long as being paid hourly rate correctly, you can pay someone for say 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, and you may find they are just as efficient and effective as the full timer.

  3. Pyrmonter

    But TAFKAS …

    that means making the moral case for markets. Something no-one in Oz politics has done since 1996: not Howard, not Costello, not Turnbull and certainly not that moralist Abbott, whose adherence to any particular idea (as opposed to identity) is about as fixed as a wind-vane.

  4. Percy Popinjay

    the unemployment benefit must increase significantly

    One of the first items on the agenda of the Teats Peanuthead/Greenfilth 1,000 Year Carbon Free Collectivist Goat Rodeo.

  5. Pedro the Ignorant

    There should be no such thing as a minimum wage.

    If an employer cannot justify a worker being worth the $719 and all the aggravation and hidden costs that go with hiring a permanent worker, then that job will disappear or be contracted out.

    No wonder casual work is increasing and the “underemployed” are a growing force.

    Try and abolish the minimum wage though, and you will unleash a monstrous horde of howling frightbats and cretins.

  6. Enoch Root

    It’s amazing how people easily loose track of history.

    https://fee.org/articles/the-eugenics-plot-of-the-minimum-wage/

    But tell anyone about the minimum wage being really a plan to exterminate the African Americans and watch how quickly you become a racist.

  7. The Australian minimum wage pre-dated the US one(s) and was designed to price out chinese labour.

    See http://catallaxyfiles.com/2018/06/07/minimum-wage-wars/

  8. It not only is legal to pay below $719 per week, it is happening.
    It is in modern awards.

    $232.18 is the pay rate for a job advertised yesterday.
    This is the legal award rate, for a full time position.
    It is the same job I held when I left school.
    Two Hundred and Thirty Two Dollars and Eighteen Cents per week.

    I checked this at the Fairwork Ombudsman website.
    Yep, the job is paying the legal award rate.

  9. Dr Fred Lenin

    I always thought the unemployment benefit was a charity,not a right ,given out of generosity by the taxpayers to the indigent (not the indigenius ) .

  10. Chris M

    But what if there was a worker who was prepared to work for $650 per week and an employer prepared to pay that amount? Well sorry. That is against the law and someone will go to jail.

    Make them contractors like Australia Post do.

  11. Fat Tony

    Socrates at the Pub
    #2959160, posted on March 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm
    It not only is legal to pay below $719 per week, it is happening.
    It is in modern awards.

    $232.18 is the pay rate for a job advertised yesterday.
    This is the legal award rate, for a full time position.
    It is the same job I held when I left school.
    Two Hundred and Thirty Two Dollars and Eighteen Cents per week.

    Is that all that fluffers get paid? Disgusting…..

  12. BBL

    Why not the old chestnut Section 92 – why not cross border employment contracts being a ‘form of interstate trade’.

  13. Enoch Root

    The Artist Formerly Known As Spartacus, posted on March 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    The Australian minimum wage pre-dated the US one(s) and was designed to price out chinese labour.

    See http://catallaxyfiles.com/2018/06/07/minimum-wage-wars/

    Eugenic nevertheless… 😉

  14. FelixKruell

    Is the Commonwealth “confiscating” people’s productivity, labour and intellectual property without just compensation?

    I heartily approve of the vibe.

    But sadly, doubt that the people’s ‘productivity and labour’ (IP isn’t really an issue here) constitute ‘property’ for the purposes of the constitution.

    If it were so, bedlam would result – all sorts of laws about maximum working hours, prohibitions on trading hours etc would be unconstitutional.

  15. Shy Ted

    If you can’t get $719 out of Centrelink every week you’re not really trying. Easy peasy if you’re on of the pros as so accurately portrayed in Housos.

  16. woolfe

    Wages increase with age up to 21

    Age % of national minimum wage
    Under 16 36.8%

    16 47.3%

    17 57.8%

    18 68.3%

    19 82.5%

    20 97.7%

  17. That job I mention above:
    Livestock Hand Level #1 with keep.
    $6.11 per hour, = $232.18 per week.
    Full time permanent.
    Pastoral Award. (which has 3,650 separate pay rates & allowances)

  18. hzhousewife

    Pastoral Award. (which has 3,650 separate pay rates & allowances
    )

    Good Lord.

    No wonder the fair Work Commission has an unending job making employers wrong. Who could ever get the pay right?

  19. Leo G

    I always thought the unemployment benefit was a charity,not a right ,given out of generosity by the taxpayers to the indigent.

    It’s possible their could be a net benefit in electing (hint) to pay some to protect society from the effect of their employment.

  20. No wonder the fair Work Commission has an unending job making employers wrong. Who could ever get the pay right?

    hzhousewife, erm…er… the Pastoral Award is a particularly simple award.
    (I erred, btw, it hasn’t 3,650 pay rates, it has 3,670)

    The Hospitality Industry General Award, (the one I operate under) has 10,140 separate pay rates & allowances. Ten Thousand One Hundred and Forty.
    The pay rate table alone is Ninety Two pages long.

  21. 2BePerfectlyFrank

    The easiest way to sort out wage rates is for to be illegal for the employer to pay and the employee to receive the incorrect amounts…..and accordingly both fined the same amount for daring to undermine the state

  22. 2dogs

    with keep

    That’s where it comes in.

    $487.52 is a lot to pay for a week’s food and accommodation in a remote location.

  23. 2dogs

    KAP have suggested an alternative source of such labour: basically, the reintroduction of convict assignment.

  24. Rob MW

    Another way to look at this is that the Commonwealth Government is preventing someone earning income between $275 per week and $719 per week. Now given section 51 xxxi of the Australian constitution says:

    Short answer to the question – No

    However, if it was assumed that the unemployed worked for the Gov’t under the assumption that they are paid or contracted to actually look for work (the Commonwealth cannot gift taxpayers money for uncontracted personal use, other than a non-recourse loan) then could it be argued that awards governing public servants salary packages be brought into the equation ?

  25. with keep
    That’s where it comes in.
    $487.52 is a lot to pay for a week’s food and accommodation in a remote location.

    Were that the case, it would be “with board & keep”
    I keep forgetting how few employers there are on the Cat.

    “with keep” = tucker only. Accommodation is a separate arrangement.

  26. John Stankevicius

    As an employer of highly skilled non union labour I am seeing salaries stagnating or going backwards where as the low skilled and union labour rates going up. Govt emlployees rates are out of this world and their skill level and effort is numbing low.

    The impact is small and large businesses cannot afford to hire locals as these wage increases cannot be on charged.

    With the recession, business owners are facing compression of stagnant prices and increased labour costs. Then there are the on costs – super, wcover, payroll tax, training, occ health and safety, and entitlements of annual leave, sick leave, long service leave, bereavement leave, domestic violence leave – any thing left out.

    I employ a receptionist for $50k a year yet a highly skilled accountant, lawyer , surveyor, printer, carpenter is paid $64 to $70k.

    As a way of maintaing profit and being able to pay my bills for BAS, Super Guarantee, Power, Licences, Registrations I outsource to India or Asia. If I am a trades I employ people from SE Asia through the 457 visas. As businesses owners tell me they are not high maitenance, work three times as fast and shit them selves when work is running low.

    I my business, If I want to employ a local I will have to increase the number of people I employ overseas to afford a local.

    Further, I would like to employ a student, have them work 2 – 3 days and do the lower skilled work – but value wise what I could pass on to the consumer I could afford to pay about $15/ hr – this is getting to be around the mark for a employee from Asia.

    The education requirements for university required jobs has to change. The students are to work part time while studying and living at home or boarding. I know this opens up the debate for country students or mature age students not being able to afford to eat. These people are paid what they ask as employers understand their employees needs and these people actually are more focused, have life experience and have greater motivation.

    For the majority of students being trained in the work force for a lower rate while studying, just like trades employment is the best way to learn.

    You will also find these people are so busy with work and study that they become goal orientated, do not hang out, have no time to get pissed or go on benders. As the end of the day they are that exhausted they crawl into bed.

  27. Ridiculous argument that confuses the minimum wage for a permanent full-time job with income. Millions of people have an average weekly income of more than Newstart but less than the minimum wage, thanks to countless combinations of casual, part-time and contract work and perhaps some welfare payments.

  28. 1. You are legally allowed to work while on the unemployment benefit. In fact, you are encouraged to because …
    2. IF (and it’s a big if), the beneficiary reports this income, the following benefit payment is reduced by (I believe) 50 cents in the dollar.
    3. However, when employers and employees collude to minimise the impact of tax and regulation (to their mutual benefit), this results in people receiving the benefit plus say 200 or $300 (or more) a week cash in hand.

    hth

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