Honest History has had a special interest in inequality for more than three years. Under our homepage Inequality thumbnail we have collected a mass of links to resources – reports, comments, even some policy proposals from government – which track the many dimensions and drivers of the issue – income inequality, wealth inequality, unequal access to housing, digital divide, rural and regional disparities compared with metropolitan, taxation rorts, wages policies, and so on. The resources found under our First Peoples thumbnail are also extremely relevant.
Inequality was always slated as an issue to be covered in what became The Honest History Book, particularly because there seemed to be a glaring gap between the alleged Australian egalitarian ethos and today’s reality. Chapters by Stuart Macintyre, Carmen Lawrence and Peter Stanley examine aspects of inequality. Earlier, we noted that the so-called ‘War Census’ of 1915, despite questionable statistical methods, threw up evidence that, even then, Australia endured a surprising degree of income and wealth inequality.
Below are some links to recent commentary on inequality. We attempt no analysis; the more that people read this material (and the relevant primary sources) for themselves, perhaps the less likely inequality will remain, for many Australians an issue hidden behind the comforting facade of however many quarters it is of economic growth. It has been hidden there for far too long.
Poor families living under canvas, Sydney, 1946 (Wikimedia Commons/SLNSW/Sam Hood)
- Peter Lewis from Essential comments on the politics of Opposition Leader Shorten dusting off inequality as an issue (Guardian Australia).
- Journalist Tim Colebatch has more on the politics, particularly in reference to Shorten – plus some statistics (Inside Story).
- Labor MP Andrew Leigh reprises some earlier material on the extent of inequality – and takes a whack at the government along the way (Pearls and Irritations and elsewhere).
- John Falzon of St Vincent de Paul on how inequality arises from and is exacerbated by political choices (Guardian Australia).
- Former departmental secretary Michael Keating on the economics of inequality (Pearls and Irritations).
- Peter Martin in Fairfax with one of the many commentaries on the wide-ranging HILDA survey.
- Roger Wilkins from Melbourne University with more on HILDA – this piece on housing, but links to other HILDA articles (The Conversation).
- Jeyaratnam and Henderson interrogate HILDA about stay-at-home mothers – and (at least indirectly) their impact on inequality between families (The Conversation).
- Daley, Chivers and Wood from the Grattan Institute on the rural/regional-urban disparities – maybe less than thought? (The Conversation).
- Janet McCalman, Melbourne University, on social mixing in cities – another angle on inequality? (The Conversation)
- Peter Whiteford of ANU points out that our conclusions on the extent of inequality depend on what statistics we use, what drivers we take account of (The Conversation).
- Finally, Frank Bongiorno of ANU (Honest History President) explores the links between the idea of meritocracy and the reality of inequality.
See also under our Inequality thumbnail.
3 August 2017