Australians hit the panic button over rising inequality

Australians hit the panic button over rising inequality

Hundreds of United Voice members, including low-paid cleaners, early childhood educators, hospitality workers and guards are hitting the panic button over rising inequality.

Today hundreds of low-paid cleaners, childcare educators, hospitality workers and security guards will hold a noisy demonstration outside Flinders Street Station demanding the Federal Government take urgent action to address growing inequality in Australia.

A national poll of voters has revealed almost 70 percent of Australians believe the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and a similar number believe the Turnbull government is not doing enough to close this widening gap.

The poll of 3,896 voters across Australia found that 68.8% say the gap between rich and poor is getting bigger, including 50.3 % of LNP voters.

The poll also revealed extreme levels of concern about flat-lining wages and reduced job security. It found:

•       60% said the current minimum wage is too low, including 41.8% of LNP voters.

•       78.5% of voters believe jobs are becoming less secure, including 68.9 % of LNP voters, while just 5.8% of those polled said the minimum wage is too high.

•       67.8 percent said the Federal Government was not doing enough to address the gap between rich and poor, including 41.7% of LNP voters.

A United Voice analysis found that Australia’s current minimum wage of $17.70 per hour has fallen from 65 per cent of median earnings in 1985 to 53 per cent in 2015.

Earlier this week United Voice called on the Fair Work Commission to set four-year targets for minimum wage increases to arrest growing inequality, with a "floor" proposed as 60 percent of the median earnings by 2020.

United Voice's submission, filed on Monday and backed by the ACTU, estimates this would see the minimum weekly wage of $672.70 reach $866.68 in four years – an increase of 29 per cent that would boost the hourly rate from $17.70 an hour to $22.81.

The ReachTEL poll was conducted on the evening of Wednesday 12 October with 3,896 voters across Australia and has a 2.1 percent margin of error.

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