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Bishop calls Living Wage Case the 'test of a just society'

An adequate 'living wage' - and not market forces - is the best indicator of an economic system that is functioning justly, according to Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC) chairman Bishop William Brennan.

Bishop Brennan yesterday drew attention to what he regards as the crucially important Living Wage Case on the occasion of the Feast of St Joseph the Worker,

"One of the tests of a just society is the adequacy of the wages of the lowest paid workers," he said. "If people in full time employment are not able to live decently on their wages, we can hardly claim that our economic system is functioning justly."

Bishop Brennan pointed out that the Living Wage Case has recently become an important mechanism for promoting adequate wages for the lowest paid workers.

He said: "The Church's position is that a just wage cannot be anything less than a living wage and that ensuring such an outcome cannot be left entirely to market forces. We have been arguing that the needs of low paid workers be taken into account in the determination of the minimum wage rather than relying solely on macroeconomic indicators."