“We need Australian consumers in the 2020s walking around with money in their pockets, confident that they’ll still have money in their pockets next week. That’s our pathway back to sustainable growth.”

Ms O’Neil said at the pace of growth in household income for the period from 1994 to 2010, the standard of living of Australians doubled every 23 years. But at the rate of growth from 2010 to 2018, it would take about 100 years for the standard of living of Australians to double.

In a veiled swipe at Labor’s internal climate wars, Ms O’Neill will say no issue was more at the forefront of Australians’ minds than their standard of living.

“In national politics it is incumbent for us to go to that place every day – where the minds, anxieties and stresses of most households are located,” she will say according to a draft version of the speech.

“As serious as many of the debates in Australian politics are today – none are more serious than the worsening standard of living of our citizens. This is a problem that I frankly do not believe is getting the national attention it deserves. And until we all bring our focus there, I think there will remain a disconnect between voters and the Parliament.”


Under the Morrison government’s planned new workplace laws, businesses will be allowed to strike pay deals that leave some workers worse off as part of a suite of government industrial reforms to help the economy rebound after the coronavirus pandemic and boost enterprise bargaining.

Industrial commissioners will be told to effectively override the so-called better off overall test (BOOT), a central safeguard in Australia’s workplace system that mandates enterprise agreements improve workers’ position compared to industry minimums, for two years based on factors including workers’ approval and the virus’ impact.

Business groups have lined up to back the government’s proposal, saying it would let their members survive hardship while letting prospering firms tailor industrial rules to their individual needs and create jobs.

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter has said to gain a greater wage share of national income, more people needed to be in work.

“If you grow jobs, you grow the wages, if you grow wages you grow the wages as a share of national income,” he said last week.

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