Mark Seymour on Youth Wages

Political material on a campaign against Coalition “youth wages” policy that Mark Seymour supported.

Author: Kylie Budge.

Date: February 22 1993.

Original URL: [unknown…]


Article Text

NUS, ACTU campaign against Coalition

By Kylie Budge

MELBOURNE — Mark Seymour from the band Hunters and Collectors was one of the speakers addressing the February 22 launch of a joint National Union of Students-ACTU campaign against the Coalition’s “youth wages” policy. The forum also heard ACTU president Martin Ferguson and Sharon Burrows from the Australian Teachers Union, and was chaired by NUS president Ken Fowlie.

Seymour said that a youth wage would be “disastrous” and a vote for the Liberals would be returning young people to industrial slavery.

Martin Ferguson said that he was disgusted by the level of youth wages proposed by the Liberals. He said that Hewson and Kennett had no concern for the future of young people but award restructuring had created “career opportunities” for young people. He did not elaborate on how this had happened.

Rachel Evans, spokesperson for the radical youth organisation Resistance, who attended the youth forum, later commented: “You can’t help but feel this forum was just an ALP election stunt. There were virtually no young people present at the forum, and it was dominated largely by the media and trade union and student union bureaucrats.

All speakers only explained one side of the youth wage scandal. What the Liberals are proposing is disgusting, but so is what the ALP is up to. The ALP is proposing a `youth traineeship’ where young workers will be paid about the same as the Liberals’ youth wage, approximately $3.50 an hour.

Both mean starvation wages and exploitation for young people.