Monday, March 04, 2019
According to demographer Bernard Salt, there’s a big cultural shift in Australia towards being your own boss. And it’s a lifestyle thing. In The Australian Bernard referred to:
… profound changes to the way we earn a living…Part … caused by the rise of the gig economy … but part is also due, I think, to the ageing of the population and to a cultural shift in attitudes to work.
Bernard said that there has been a six-fold increase in the sole-trader population since the end of the mining boom. He gives a break-up of the data by state, capital city and regions. He refers to entrepreneurial ‘hotspots’ such as the Melbourne CBD, but also regions such as Kings Meadows in Launceston with a 23 per cent increase. Bernard asks:
What could be better than living in a seachange idyll? Being your own boss in a seachange idyll like Victor Harbor, or Torquay, or Busselton, or Ulladulla, or the Gold Coast.
He concludes that:
A new be-your-own-boss narrative is driving the Australian obsession with lifestyle.
But there’s a problem. There’s a whole bunch of powerful groups who hate this Australian lifestyle urge.
- Australian unions only get members from big business and government. They are currently blaming the ‘gig economy’ for the collapse in their private-sector membership to around 8 per cent. They want to close it down.
- Bill Shorten has told unions that he will crack down on the gig economy if he wins the election.
- We’ve seen the ATO shutting down people’s ABNs, denying them their self-employed rights.
The anti-gig economy thrust is simply an excuse to hit self-employed people, a decades-old agenda.
And a key indicator of what’s coming is the Victorian government’s inquiry into the gig economy intended, in our view, to build a false reason to clamp down. The inquiry’s discussion and approach, however, are full of misleading drivel. And we’ve said so in our lengthy detailed submission, In Search of Unicorns:
- For more than a century, variants of the same gloomy fiction have been cycled and recycled, almost in clock-like manner. On-demand platform work is the latest variant of a moral fairy-tale that pits the ‘good employee’ against the ‘wicked independent contractor’.
- …the (Victorian) Background Paper … assumes an air of suspicion about independent contractors.
- So much of the discourse around both the platform economy and the independent workforce is inflated, overstated and alarmist … [with] … nightmare scenarios of Technological Armageddon and the End of Work.
Oh spare us the idiocy! And we appeal that please—
- A good bucket of icy cold-water needs to be tipped over the protagonists of this hyperbole. That includes governments.
It looks like we’re in for a long argument with these self-employed haters. But that’s what we’ve been doing for almost 20 years!