The Budget magic show full of fake tricks and illusions

If Josh Frydenberg’s career as federal treasurer comes to an abrupt halt in the next election, he can still move to Las Vegas.

The MP for Kooyong is a master of evasions, sleight of hand and illusions. He’s got more tricks in his kit than Penn and Teller!

Following their 2019 hit – “Back in the Black” – The Great Frydo is launching their latest magic show with the 2022 budget.

At the center of his whole shtick will be the claim that the Liberal government is going to prioritize pay rises because it has just found out Australian workers don’t have enough money to pay for petrol and fill their refrigerators.

This is funny. After nine years of keeping wage growth low, they suddenly realized that people with empty pockets are not so easily won over by their economic wands and empty gestures.

And so it’s off to another Great Frydo magic show for more of his infamous tricks. It is a pity that hard economic facts are shattering the secrets of this magician.

Liberal Senator Simon Birmingham was left hanging on ABC News Breakfast when asked about budget documents outlining wage growth of around 2.3% for the year as inflation is expected to hit 5%.

Even Grand Frydo with all his cunning cannot convince us that this is anything other than a reduction in real wages.

This spells disaster for workers who have struggled with steady wage growth for nearly a decade and now face even higher prices, putting enormous pressure on family budgets.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is not buying a ticket for The Great Frydo Show. He is busy warning others to avoid him as well.

“This government has promised 55 times [wage rises] on different salary forecasts, and 52 times, guess what? They missed,” says Mr. Albanese.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil said workers see through the government’s desperate attempts to redefine itself as being on the workers’ side.

“We’ve had nine years of this government and nine years of stagnant wages for workers,” she said.

“What this means is that the amount of increase in workers’ wages has been about the same or less than the increase in the rate of inflation or the cost of living.”

The sharp drop in prices is not unexpected. Long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Morrison government had kept wages low while inflation continued to rise.

“So the prices of things like gas for groceries, child care, rent, roof, and worker wages are not keeping up with that. So in real terms, worker wages are going down,” says Ms. O’Neil.

The Great Frydo will come out with his bag of stuff selling his story over the next few days. He will try to convince everyone that a government that has admitted low wages is part of its economic plan suddenly cares about workers’ wages.

There will be demands for increased real wages, one-off payments here, reduced fuel excise duty there, maybe cheaper beer at the pub the next time you go.

Mrs. O’Neil warns us not to fall into the trap.

It takes a strategy to tackle salaries and make sure they go up, because that’s what will get people through, not a one-time payment that disappears so quickly when you pay the next utility bill. ‘grocery store.

Michele O’Neil
CUTA President

One-time payments do little to address the persistent problem of precarious work, Ms O’Neil points out.

“If your job is unreliable, if you don’t know how much you’re going to make week to week or month to month, or if you don’t know if you’re going to get that next shift of work or this list, only one payment is consumed so quickly,” she said.

“We really want to see changes that allow workers to be better and fairer for a continued life for them and their families. And that means securing secure work and raising wages.

Brian L. Hartfield