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Stagnant wages and growing inequalities have made Australia more unequal and endangered the country’s “traditional egalitarianism”, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said.

On Saturday evening, Plibersek will deliver the Light on the Hill speech, in memory of former Labor Prime Minister Ben Chifley.

She will accuse the Turnbull government of “cowardice” over its postal inquiry into same-sex marriages and call on Australia to become the first country in the world to achieve “inclusive prosperity.”

Speaking to Labor loyalists, Plibersek will deplore high corporate profits and executive wages at a time when “the link between increased productivity and improved living standards for workers has been broken.”

“After 25 years of continuous growth, our society is less egalitarian than it has been in 75 years,” she said.

“This week it was reported that wages had increased by about only $ 3 a year for the past decade.

“Yet corporate profits continue to soar and executive salaries have skyrocketed.”

The Light on the Hill Speech in Bathurst is an annual speech given by a senior Labor Party official.

The speech is a tribute to Chifley’s “Light on the Hill” speech of 1949, which outlined the goals of the Australian labor movement.

In recent years, it has been used to reflect on the state of contemporary politics.

In 2014, Anthony Albanese used the speech to reflect on the impact of the 24/7 news cycle on political stability, arguing that “the pace of change and turmoil that we have seen does not reflect well the body politic ”.

But, citing Chifley’s role in the “Great Strike” of 1917, Plibersek will use the address to display Labor’s links to the wider labor movement and call for “a new story of growth” supported by wage increases. minimum and “a rebalancing of the industrial relations system”. give workers greater bargaining power ”.

“Ben Chifley was an outspoken – so let me put it bluntly: any day give me a union leader rather than an investment banker,” Plibersek will say.

“We need a new story of growth, a new plan for inclusive prosperity, a new way to build an economy that works for everyone.

“We must face the new challenges that are thrown at us and be courageous and innovative to meet them. “

Plibersek will also use the speech to target the Coalition on the Postal Inquiry into Same-Sex Marriages, drawing a comparison to the 1946 referendum, which gave the Labor government increased power to provide social services, including maternity allowances and benefits. unemployment benefits.

The campaign surrounding the inquiry has led to heightened tensions on both sides as the vote continues.

“Ben Chifley did not organize an unnecessary postal inquiry into a fundamental equality issue,” Plibersek said.

“He organized a national referendum because it was necessary for him to take responsibility, so that he could achieve unprecedented national progress.

“Chifley’s referendum was not an act of cowardice, imposed by his backbench.”

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