Why is this important?
Big corporations' profits are soaring but inequality is the highest it's been in 70 years. This is why we're joining with the ACTU to call for an increase in the minimum wage to to a living wage.
In 1999, our minimum wage fell below the median wage for the first time. Since then, it's only plummeted further. Over the past decade, we have experienced the largest fall in minimum wage as a proportion of full time average earnings of any country in the OECD.
The Greens will introduce legislation to set the national minimum wage at 60% of the median full-time wage, to be phased in at the earliest possible time in a manner determined by the Fair Work Commission.
The UK Government has already set a target for its minimum wage to reach 60% of median earnings by 2020, rising according to increments recommended by its Low Pay Commission. The ACTU recently sought to have the Fair Work Commission adopt a 60% rate for the national minimum wage as a medium-term target, but this approach was rejected by the Fair Work Commission. The Greens’ move would have the ACTU’s approach enshrined in law.
Tying our minimum wage to 60% of the median wage will lead to a minimum weekly wage of $852.60 for Australia's lowest paid full time workers. It means over $150 more every week for minimum wage workers.
The national minimum wage needs to lift because:
- The national minimum wage has not kept pace with this relative poverty threshold for almost 20 years. The national minimum wage is currently only 55.1% of full-time median earnings, down from well over 60% before 1999.
- Almost 1 in 4 people in poverty are working full-time, meaning we have a growing class of working poor.
- One million people – over one-third of people living in poverty - are in households where wages are the main source of income.
- Since 2014, the government estimates that the number of adults on the minimum wage has increased by 25%, increasing the number of people in Australia who are living in, or close to, relative poverty.
- Wages growth is flat-lining.
 ABS 6333.0 - Characteristics of Employment; Living up to the promise of Harvester, ACTU, pg. 7
 Poverty in Australia 2016, ACOSS and Social Policy Research Centre, pp 25-26
 ACOSS Minimum Wage Submission 2018, p9
 Australian Government submission to the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2015, chart 2.1; Australian Government submission to the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2018, chart 2.1
 ABS Cat. no. 6401.0, ABS CAT. no. 6345.0; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-16/wage-price-index-march-quarter-2018/9766438