Class And Poverty In Australia Essay

2164 words - 9 pages

Class is a key idea related to inequality, prejudice and discrimination in Australian society. It has been considered out of fashion, because some Australian people think that there is no class difference between people in Australia, everyone enjoys equality in society. In fact, the recent de-regulation of the workplace, and the widening gap in access to hospitals, schools and employment opportunities between the rich and poor, have made class more visible in Australian than ever before. Class is "a category of people who have generally similar educational histories, job opportunities, and social standing and who are conscious of their membership in a social group that is ranked in relation to others and is replicated over generations" (Kent, 1998:87). This essay argues that class cause continues to inequality in Australian society. Firstly, class structures labor market inequality. Secondly, class shapes the quality of a person's life. Thirdly, class inequality produces continuing class differences into the next generation. Finally, class has becoming a debate in Australian society, because class inequality encourages the `right' people to work more efficiently in the workforce and helps people to identify themselves in society, but continuing relevance of the concept of class is a matter in contemporary Australia.

First, class has determined inequality in labor market, because labor market is directly linked with the main source of income for most people, which provides everyday purchase on food, clothing, transport and housing. In Australian labor market, a large number people are employed in middle working class, for example sales, clerical or service job. However, there are a few people working in the top occupations, such as manager and administrator. The table 1 is about the difference types of full time job in Australia. It shows more then 2.8 million Australian people working in clerical, sales or service job. The number people, who are managers and administrators, is far more less than other occupations (just 634,400 million people). This consequence has caused the income hierarchy in workforce that more people in labor occupations earn far less than small number people in top occupations.

Table 1 also indicates that the average weekly earning in different occupation. The manager and administrators are enjoying the highest weekly earning than other people; the second higher weekly earning is professional occupation. Other occupations are considered lower weekly earning. Especially, laborers and related workers earn 445 dollars per week. In the income hierarchy, the top occupation of income is nearly 3 times more than the bottom of income; it increases inequality in workforce between different occupations. Indeed, women earn less than men in all occupations within class. In summary, labor market is directly related to inequality. Graetz claims "Income and wealth are important measures of material inequality" (2003:162). In...

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