Greens Deputy Leader and industrial relations spokesperson Adam Bandt MP has today used an address to the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to announce that the Greens will establish an independent Future of Work Commission, charged with ensuring technology and automation improve people’s lives and job security, rather than creating more insecure work.
Mr Bandt noted that the Greens have already announced several policies to address insecure work, casualisation, underpayment and job flexibility, but broad, structural changes to the law may be required so that technological change doesn’t just entrench already high corporate profits and power.
The Future of Work Commission will also investigate whether to introduce a ‘jobs guarantee’ to address un-employment and high under-employment, especially amongst young people, as well as ideas like a universal basic income.
“Wages are stagnant, underemployment is stubbornly high and technology and automation could exacerbate this further,” said Mr Bandt.
“If left unchecked, the continued rise of automation and technology could make inequality and insecurity worse.
“This isn’t about being anti-technology. On the contrary, it’s about ensuring humanity’s amazing technological advances work for everyone, which may mean further regulation and government intervention.
“It is time to explore ideas like a ‘jobs guarantee’, where everyone who wants work can get a job, with government stepping if the private sector is unable to provide full employment.
“Without appropriate checks and balances, working people could be looking at a future where their lives are more precarious and less sustainable.
“The full effects of automation are unknown, which is why we need an independent Future of Work Commission to investigate how laws and regulations can ensure that productivity improvements and technological advancements help the many, not just the few.
The Future of Work Commission will be tasked with reporting to Parliament on policies and legislative reforms required to deal with technological advances and the rise of automation, including examining:
- How a Jobs Guarantee could be delivered through boosting government services in order to lift wages and improve the quality of life for communities;
- How to ensure productivity gains flow through to higher wages or more time off for people to pursue the things that they value;
- The opportunities available from technological advances to free up time if we share the benefits;
- A model for tackling underemployment by moving to a four day work week without loss of pay for full time workers in Australia;
- How to enshrine work-life balance as a workplace right for employees;
- Further development of an evidence-base for implementing a universal basic income in Australia.
- A new blueprint for social services and income support to ensure everyone’s standard of living is lifted and poverty is ended.