Jericho, Greg: Malcolm Turnbull’s myth of “middle Australia” ignores both gender and reality

Greg Jericho

Malcolm Turnbull’s myth of “middle Australia” ignores both gender and reality‘, Guardian Australia, 18 April 2017

Looks at taxation statistics to ‘highlight that middle Australia earns much less than the government would have you believe and that women across all occupations continue to earn much less than men’. For example,

the 2014-15 taxation statistics released last week revealed that the median taxable income of the 9.95m Australians with a taxable income was just $54,543. If you earned more than that, then you earned more than at least half of Australians.

We always need to be a bit careful, however, before suggesting that is the median Australian income. Taxation statistics provide information on individuals, not households. If two adults living together with no children are both earning $54,543, they are most likely doing a lot better than half of Australian households.

And the difficulty is that we need to talk about more than just average and median, we also need to talk gender.

When Turnbull talks about average full-time earnings nudging $80,000, he is talking about men, not women. The current average total earnings for men working full-time is $89,221, for women full-time workers it is $72,212.

The article includes more than a dozen instructive graphs, including ones on the incomes of barristers and schoolteachers, sports stars and sales assistants.

There are many references relevant to inequality (and its multiple causes) collected under our Inequality thumbnail. The Honest History Book includes chapters by Stuart Macintyre and Carmen Lawrence on aspects of economic and social policy, including the growing gap between Australia’s egalitarian values and current reality.

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