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Bill Shorten says inequality threatens Australia’s economy and social cohesion

Katharine Murphy reports in The Guardian (21.7.17) on a key speech from federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, in which he declared that inequality is the greatest economic threat currently facing most Australians.

‘The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, will use a speech on Friday to argue the country needs a new focus on inequality, because growing inequality threatens the health of the economy and societal cohesion in Australia.

‘Shorten will tell an economic conference in Melbourne the system as it stands is “accelerating inequality, rather than addressing it, entrenching unfairness, rather than alleviating it”.

‘He will say inequality has consequences beyond the economic and the social – it is also creating a fault line in politics by fostering a “sense of powerlessness that drives people away from the political mainstream, and down the low road of blaming minorities, and promising to turn back the clock”.

‘Labor, Shorten will say, is prepared to reach into the “too-hard basket” and look at tax policy, subsidies and expenditures for the next election – “including reforms that in the past we might have dismissed as too politically difficult”.

‘He says inequality speaks for a fracturing of a nation and a fraying of old links: “The link between hard work – and fair reward, the link between playing by the rules – and getting ahead, the link between Australians’ daily lives – and the political debate”.’

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