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Tuesday, 3 April 1973
Page: 958


Mr MARTIN (BANKS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed the Minister for Labour. What is the present figure of average weekly earnings? How is the figure arrived at? Does the figure include overtime and shift work payments? In view of the fact that the bulk of workers receive a wage much less than the figure of average weekly earnings, will the Minister give consideration to publishing also figures which show the average normal wage excluding overtime and shift work payments?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I thank the honourable member for the question without notice. The average weekly earnings at the moment amount to more than $100. The figures are issued each quarter. The number of people who do not receive the average weekly earnings amounts to about 64 per cent of the total employees in the Australian work force.


Mr Fulton - Shame.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 admit that it is a shame and it indicates clearly that the award rates are far too low. The reason that average weekly earnings appear to be high - and they certainly give a distorted figure of the true position - is that the salaries of everybody who is designated as an employee are included in the total figure. Therefore the salaries of Prime Ministers, Judges, Ministers, leading executives and all other highly paid people are lumped together with the earnings of those who are receiving only $51.10 a week. Then the total sum is divided by the total number of wage and salary earners in the work force which amounts to about, but not quite, 4.5 million people. It includes, of course, overtime and also the salary that the honourable member for Boothby gets as managing director of McLeay Carpets. It all adds up.


Mr Whitlam - A carpet-bagger.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Yes. And it includes all other carpet-baggers. It is a distorted figure and should never be quoted as representing the amount that the ordinary wage and salary earners get.







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