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SMH – ‘Australia needs a raise’: wage-earners have rarely collected a smaller share of the economy

Aug 8, 2018News

Things were so different in the 1970s. Safari suits were in fashion, the Holden Kingswood was a best-seller and Australia still qualified as a workers’ paradise.

One statistic shows how good things were for wage earners back then: the proportion of national economic output being paid to workers was at an historic high.

That “labour share” – as economists call it – had climbed steadily during the post-war Menzies era and peaked at just over 58 per cent of gross domestic product in 1975.

It was a function of labour market rules at the time which fostered wage growth and a more equal distribution of income.

But things have changed.

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