Life Beyond Coronavirus: The Future of Work
Welcome. My. Name is Shahid Kapoor and this is episode five, of life. Beyond. Coronavirus. The, expert, view. Now. Australia, has weathered the first wave of this pandemic but. It has come at a big, economic, cost, with, much of that impact, yet to be felt and as. Australians. Return to work we ask how. Many will. Return, to work what. Are the challenges that business, leaders face, if, it, is so difficult to reopen large, office, buildings, is working. From home the new norm and if, working from home is the new norm how, do we deal with the fact that women have, been disproportionately. Affected. By the lockdown to. Discuss this and other topics I'm joined, by four world leading, experts, from, across the university of melbourne professor. Jeff Boland is a labor economist, and the true be Williams, professor, of economics. Professor. Jane Gunn is a general, practitioner, and the deputy, dean of the faculty, of medicine dentistry. And, Health Sciences. Associate. Professor Lee our opener, is a sociologist. And the co-director, of the policy. Lab an associate, professor Jen Overbeck, is a psychologist. And an expert in organizations. At the universe, at the Melbourne, Business School so. Jeff, Australia's. Entered into its first recession, in 29. Years what. Is going to happen in the next 12, months well. Shuted says there's many, scenarios, you could imagine over the next 12 months but if we want to be optimistic, and take a best-case scenario, I think it's possible. To think that in 12 months time we will have recovered. The majority, of employment, losses that we've seen so far due to covered 19. But, I think even under best case scenario, will still be some, way away from where we were in March before, right this events well Jeff you hold on to your optimism I want to come back to that but Jane do, you think it is safe for people to be returning, to the office of factory in large, numbers. I think. It's not safe for people to return in large numbers, all at once but. I think that it is very safe for people to start returning to offices right we'll learn more about that leer many, of us have been working from home for some time now. Have there been some clear winners, and losers, and just working from home business I'm, gonna say no I think everyone, has kind of lost as a result of it well thank. You that was a simple answer but a troubling one coming. Back to that Jen, the workplace, may never be the same what, is the most important. Thing that managers. Must know I think, there are three primary things managers, need to be keeping in mind during this time how, to lead effectively how. To connect, both themselves and people, who work with them and for them and then, how to avoid. The biases, and habits that could get in the way and derail effectiveness, alright we'll come and study all of those things but Jeff let me start with you now a lot of people focus on the total number of jobs and unemployment, percent. But, you actually tracked, the hours, people work tell us why that's important. Well. In Australia it's particularly important, because we've. Had the job Kapus game introduced, as a response, to covered, 19. And the. Job keeper, scheme means that a lot of people who would otherwise have been classified as unemployed, in, fact they're classified, in the Australian, Bureau of Statistics figures. As employed. So the. Best way to track what's happening in the Australian labour market is to look at what's happening to actual hours worked and, what's happening there well, what we know is that the. Most recent data tell us what happened between mid, March and mid April and yeah. We saw a decrease in hours work to speed, and a scale that we've never, seen before in Australia's, history basically. 9%. Hours. Worked reduced, by, in. That period and just to benchmark that we had processions, in Australia in the 1980s, and 1990s in, those, recessions. After, 18 months we. Got down to hours. Lost of about 6 percent so basically, in one month we've gone way past the.
Troughs Of those recessions, now and now this is despite the fact that the government puts in this massive. I'm called job keepers to. Protect, jobs. And. That's gonna be ending soon so, what is going to happen once, job, keepers, end, well. I think it all depends on the way in which job, keeper ends, I think. When. You look at the outlook, for employment. At the moment through to the end of September when job keeper, is a plan, to finish you. Would expect that if job keeper just finishes, there'll be a mass, transfer, of people, from. Employment. From receiving job keeper on to unemployment. And that's. Why a lot of economists, are arguing, that we. Really need continued. Stimulus, after September. And we, need there to be a transition. From job keeper rather than just stopping it in an incident we need a way to phase it out so, all right so we hope that transition, comes, but whether, job, keeper transitions, are not people are transitioning, back to work and Jane. What will the office, look like as people get back to work well, I think the office is going to look, similar. And familiar in, many ways but very different in others and one. Of the things about the office that's going to be challenging is us, maintaining. The physical, distancing, that's been one of the key control, measures for Kovan 19, and. Also the way that we interact with each other whether, we have face-to-face meetings whether we go. And grab a coffee, together, how. Close we we sit, with each other there's a thing about physical. Distancing, that I think is going to make the office a, different, place and my, peculiar. I mean I can share with with, our listeners that as we walked in today in these ABC, offices, I had to answer questions, on the intercom, and then, they sent someone to take my temperature then. Had to clean my hands with a sanitizer, then, I had to fill out a form and sign it twice I don't know why I had to sign it twice but the same form I had to sign in two different places is, this what's going to be how we come, to work every day I think for some offices that will be the case for a while but I think picking. Up on what Jeff said around, not. Doing things suddenly or you, know the fact that we need to phase transition. Back to work means, that whilst we might be filling out many forms, and doing lots of checks when we start to come back to the office as we, get more, comfort. And we, see that, we have maintained. Control, of covert, 19:00 those things will gradually, relax it, won't just suddenly return. To normal it will be I think a slow transition back, to what's very familiar, no no Jim I I understand. All of these you. Know restrictions. At, face, value they, make sense but. What's the science, behind this and let me tell you why I asked the. W-h-o says we need one meter distance in, Australia, we say 1.5, in, London, they say two I, mean, that's, a 200% variation, based on science. What kind of science is this yes well, look I think the science behind social. Distancing, has, really. Generated an enormous amount of attention over the last three months and also. There's. Been just furious work around the world to, really, understand, the science behind that so we've we've, seen people looking, at trying, to put all the evidence together about, exactly what you say is that one meter two meters 3 meters. Look, the simple answer to that is that a very very thorough systematic review. Which was published in The Lancet a couple, of weeks ago has, shown that pretty, unequivocally.
There Is a relationship, between. Keeping. Away from people and not catching, a virus and, no. Surprise the further you are away the less likely you are to catch the virus I think, the thing with covert 19 that's rather. Makes. This physical. Distancing, important, is that it's spread just when people are talking or speaking, or whatever and they, may be asymptomatic and, this, is why it's a particularly. Contagious. Virus, and that's, this physical, distancing, 2, meters is probably better than 1.5. And 3, is probably better than 2 but. Anything. More than 1 is a, dramatic, improvement in, all reduction, in risk and that's, why you'll see different countries have settled, on different, numbers. 6 feet 1.5. Meters, 2 meters they're. All better, than 1 or, larger than 1 that's the important, cutoff the 1 meter cutoff, but, you see one of the things this will do is is that we have to keep these distances, in offices. The offices, will accommodate, less people so, a lot. Of us may have to continue working from home now, Leo you said there were no winners. From. Working, from home are. They're losers, yeah definitively, there are losers so one of the challenges, with working from home was that immediately, overnight. The, kids came, home right, schools. Closed daycares. Closed and all, of that work came into the home the, question is who picked up the work right so, we actually conducted, a study we were interested in this because the expectation. Is that women picked up the work and they, picked it up disproportionately. To men so we, can have our ideas of what we think happens but it's pretty essential to bring evidence and data right to support this so we conducted a study with the u.s. Study Center Latrobe. And the policy lab at the University of Melbourne and we looked to see who's doing what in the home at this period of time what, we found was that women are picking up much more of the housework men. Are doing more but women are doing significantly. More, they're, picking up much more of the home schooling the New York Times ran a piece showing, from, colleagues in the u.s. that women are taking 80%, of that work and the challenges, as everyone, has their kids home what. Happens to your work this, is a question about equity, equality, and quality, of work right I saw this amazing tweet, that said who's. Sitting at the kitchen table and who's, sitting in the office and if women are sitting at the kitchen table doing their work this, is an open space whose work is being protected at this moment in time the, reason I say there are no winners, is because, I mean I think about my kid right she's having the time of her life out of school eating snacks, hanging, out watching YouTube, but, the challenge, is this, is actually bad for the quality of learning so it's not good for kids this is widening, class-based, gaps about access, of who, has and who doesn't, if this.
Is A she. Session, which we can talk about Jeff I like your opinion on this and we know that women aren't gonna be re-entering, the labor market because their industries, are being wiped out not. Just slow to open, but you know potentially, gone, what, do you mean women's industries, have been wiped out, so what I mean is that it where is the recession in the the previous recession, the global financial crisis, came for construction right it came from manufacturing, this. One you see what's closing our tourism service, industry their restaurants, right and these are disproportionately. Worked. By women, women enter these occupations, I'm not talking about the nurses I'm not talking about the teachers we know that this is an essential work we know that this is female dominated, work but, if women are in these occupations. Tourism. Service. Industry, and we know that this is either going to be very slow to recover or, some. Of these these. Jobs, are going to disappear altogether what. Are these women going to do one and what. Are they gonna do what they have kids at home are, we gonna just see a retreat to the home are they gonna need to rescale, and always, the key component. That of this for women is, caregiving. Mmm. That's interesting so what's this she, session, did you say new words come up well, this is a recession for women well, just you know I think yeah lose my really important point about the the, impact of this downturn by gender and in fact it, I, think goes further than than. Lewis saying so it is exactly. As Leah said the, the, industry, concentration, of, this downturn. Is, on. Industries, that disproportionately employ. Women but, from, the analysis, we've been able to do so far even, when you look within industry, sort of women. Are being disproportionately, adversely. Affected, than men so so, even when you control for sort of this industry mix women. Are more. Likely to be the. Ones who are doing the zero out what we're calling zero hours work now yep. Having. Their hours reduced to zero and really only being employed counted. As employed because, of the job keeper women. Much more likely, to have moved out of the labor force as well so I think this is a major major, policy. Issue that that when, the government gets to its next stage of stimulus, and thinks about employment creation, they really need to be thinking about. Policies. That, disproportionately. Improve, job opportunities, right women right then I read, an interesting article which said that this. Incident. Has an interesting, effect some of us have back to the 1930s and, some, of us have gone forward to the 2030s. So, you know for some of us life has become entirely, electronic telly. I and, II and for, some of us it's gone back to go back at home no work take care of the kids now, what does that do, to productivity. You know the nations are always preoccupied, with how productive, we are this GDP, business yeah, what's. It doing to our productivity. Well the macro question about productivity should be directed to just as. The economists but at a micro, level if we, think about individuals.
And Their productivity, you know I think there. Are a few things, first. With. Regard to work from home in the notion that there have been no winners I think, it's important, to remember that during kovat it has not just been work from home it's been school from home it's, been cafe from home it's been daycare from home it's been gym from home everything. Has been taking place in the home and that's, a lot of burden to, put on the. Home I think. What. We're hearing from managers, at the business school is that they've been pleasantly. Surprised even, astonished. At how well people have done that workers, have risen to the occasion that, they've shown an agility and, a nimbleness that, they didn't. Show before that that kind of crisis, mode really brought out a lot of energy and a lot of effort and I. Think carried, those. Businesses, that were able to maintain, employment. Through the, early phases I think. In. A rewarding, way I think. Their risk right now is that people are getting very tired, they're. Getting fatigued, with the experience, of being in quarantine and having to juggle all of these things I think you, can really see the longing, to get back to normal but we, know as James has said that normal, isn't going to look like normal wait, a while, so. I think right. Now we're. At a bit of an inflection, point and I think there are some things that are really positive for, example work. From home might actually be, work from home I don't think we've had an opportunity yet, to see how it works I don't think that this is a good test for Australian. Businesses, of whether working from home is a viable option in the future because so, many things have been thrown into the mix and confounded, with the working, but but yen the world isn't going to stop to allow us to do a test so you know we come to randomize myself. One. So how, do you think this is going to play out so, I think what we're gonna see is people. Are going children, are going to start going back to school that's. Already begun I. Got. An email yesterday from, my gym saying it's opening, off from 22nd, June I won't be there yet but many, people will and, so. We'll be able to start moving some activities, outside the house but, I don't think it's there's nothing magical, and and you're right we're not going to stop and do a test the point is that life should facilitate. A bit, better balance, but, that's not going to happen unless we're very intentional, about it we were thrown into kovat and we had to react the, way we come out of kovat I think has to be guided by a, greater, sense of planning. And perspective, and intention, if we want to land, softly, so tell me how this, would be managed, in the sense let's. Say some of the people get back to work some of the people don't so, now you're having a meeting in your office and, there's three people here, or you know one is on zoom' one is on skype the other one's on team the other ones on the phone. What. Does this do, to the sense of team cohesion, team-building. I mean, it definitely poses, challenges what we know from the research on remote work and we've got really. Decades at this point of research the. Chief obstacle, to.
Success With, remote remote, work is. The. Feeling of disconnection, between people. So. You know there's, a lot of concern about not being in the corridors, and not encountering. People casually and, some of the, ideas. And decisions that get generated during, those times and that is a loss the, but the main loss is the sense of just, relatedness, and connection, and engagement that people feel and yeah, when you have people who are present. In different moods it's harder, to create a sense of immediacy in, a sense of connection and I, think what that does is it changes the roles of managers. And leaders that. Part of their job becomes, less. About monitoring, and surveilling. You know looking over your shoulder to make sure you're doing your work and more. About sitting. Back and thinking, about how do i engineer, opportunities, for people to connect how, do I keep, top of mind who, all the people are so one. Concern. That's been expressed as. We transition. Back to work is not just women. But. Racial. Minorities, ethnic, minorities, who. Already. In the workplace, tended. To be sort, of less visible, and last top of mind for employers. And. It might be just. Easier, to forget, and overlook, certain members of the team so what. We'll, come back to that important of course you know all of us realize. There's. George. Floyd and black lives matters, and I think that's another overlay, to this which. May impact the way we come out of it but before, I get there as, I'm working. This through in my mind you, know one of the striking. Features. Of the, world's big cities used to be their CBD, it used to be this density. Of offices, be, that midtown, Manhattan, may it be the city in London the, CBD here in Melbourne will, there still be a CBD, Jeff well. People need to come into these very, dense, concentrations. Packed, in Subway's, or is. That now something in the past no I think they'll definitely be, still. I think as Jane said I think, the extent to which people come, back to the CBD. Yahoo. Is obviously you know it's. Going to be a transition, back but I think yeah. The, the drivers. Sort of towards, people, congregating. In CBDs, and large urban areas. You. Know that, they haven't gone away okay. So, you're saying don't sell your stock in the CBD but, but Jim help me if, that office, can now you, know allow only for half the occupants, and then, standing, in lifts becomes, very delayed, and you know you got to make lines outside. How. Will this work for well. I think we've, been covering a lot of the ways that will work in the conversation. Because. I, think we're probably going to see the end of this very strict working, day for many people in the CBD for example, and. That one of the things that as. Happened throughout we've, tested very. Suddenly. People. Can work more flexibly and, it's, been remarkable, that people have been able to you, know around about mid-march suddenly, leave the office overnight. And, really. Keep working, if they've managed to maintain employment let, me add without. Missing a beat now. I think this has probably challenged. Some managers, mindsets. That who, like to have everyone right there so they can see what they're doing and they can keep, an eye on things and that gives them a sense that something's, happening, whereas. I think they've they've realized that things continue to happen even when people, are dispersed, and that, this hopefully, will give more flexibility, to the workplace. Now that's, flexibility. For those who do cognitive, work there, is of course a lot of people who work with their hands you know construction. Meet, pact sure you know assembly line well they've kept working haven't, they and I think that I think that's remarkable, too that all those people in factories, and bringing us essential, services, have, continued. To go to work every day but. I think we need to remember that part of the reason that they've been able to continue, to go to work every day is that, the people that do, the office base work which is a large proportion of, society, have stayed at home so, that means that you know when they've traveled on public, transport, when, they've gone about their business they've.
Been Able to do that safely much, more safely than if we, had all said oh I must, sit in my office and I refuse to leave I'm going to stay here because my job is important, it has, meant that the for those of us who can work from home we, we've, done that and that's been one. Of the key ways that we, interesting. Thing so you're saying that in some sense there are office workers, staying, at home has, made it safer, for those who had to go to their factory. Absolutely. Safer and, I think we need to be mindful of that as we transition, back to, the face to face things that whilst, we all want to do that I think we have to prioritize who. Gets first, dibs on doing that hmm and that has to be done sensibly. In each work environment, it will be a different priority, list and those, things will start to happen and some, of us who used to maybe be on the top of the pecking order, and like to be in our office have. To be at the bottom and this, is well, it's very interesting in our university, you know our vice-chancellor. You think he'd be the one would have the biggest office and be there first, well he's chosen to work from, home so, that the others who are in some sense more essential. To be physically, present in their, labs can can, get there but, but let me ask you what this means for. Managers, you. Know the traditional, sir the. Sort of Charles Dickens view of the manager was a person going around looking making, sure you were there then, we came to this more evolved, I would, say late 20th century manager. Who was trying to cheer up their team, but. Now you're neither monitoring. Nor. Physically, present to cheer up your team and do, team-building. What. Does the manager do they just look at excel sheet. For. Quite, a while now in business schools we have been, looking at the rapid, state, of change, constant. Change in the world and thinking about how managers need to cope with that and. Really. An adaptive. Style of management and leadership seems, to be. Seems. To be the way to go it's improvisational. It's setting. Plans and yet being responsive. To the current moment and I guess the metaphor that I like best to think about this is that the manager, these days is like the conductor of an orchestra you. Know you don't stand over the tubas and make sure that they're playing the notes right you're, you, think. About the entire piece. What it is that you're trying to achieve and then, all, you do is you, use your hands, at a remote, distance. To. Bring. Up some of the volume here, and ease some of the energy, there and together, that, facilitates. You, know the production, of something, as an. Organization, or collective, you use. The metaphor of orchestras, because there is one business that has been so greatly affected, by this first they can't get together to play yeah, then the rest of us can't get together to listen so, you know but nonetheless yeah, I get, the analogy, that that you need someone who's sort of a conductor, in that way but wouldn't, they also need to be a dr+ a health inspector because, I worry that you know we. All used to make jokes about occupational, health and safety yeah, that's. Going, to go viral in this, context, because. You could and and rightly so you could say that, within there'll. Be an obligation of the employer to make sure everyone's. Maintaining, 1.5, so, no communal, kitchens, a lift, monitor, who makes sure only four people get into the lift, this. Will change the office relations, what would be the point of going to an office if you, won't really be interacting, with people having lunch or chatting, or things like that I think, that you raise a very good point I think that the role.
Of The, occupational. Health physician, for example, being a medical practitioner as, one that's going to re-emerge as an important, occupation. Now. We, obviously have, occupational, health physicians, but, probably a lot of people don't don't know that much about, them and I think that that covered, 19 has seen the, requirement. For people to think really deeply about how safe and healthy our workplaces, are in, a way that is more akin to how we think about health, care settings hmm, and it's like the workplace has almost become a version, of a hospital, you know sanitizer, and signing, and all of these things so I. I think that that's. Going to really, require us to work with, architects. And people that design our office, spaces to think creatively about how, you still make them engaging places, to be if we're. Left with. Future. You know future. Proofing us against, viral. Pandemics, like we've just had, is. It going to be worth to reshape, the way that offices, are built at cetera yeah well is it all just temporary and if we put up a few partitions, in, you know one monthly one years time we, can be back just back, to normal because you know in the last 10 years we've. Been making a virtue of this thing called the open plan, yeah you know it helped interaction. Free flow of conversation, not that everyone agreed with it not the evidence was very good but everyone. Liked open, office plans what, what happens to open. Offices now I think. That's a huge Channel. In, one way in another it's it's probably, in. Terms of covert 19 we know that the worst places to be are in. Poorly. Ventilated small. Environments. So, actually, large, open. Space, open, air outside, even even, better is, going to be potentially. The new norm so, maybe, it's not the end of the open plan office but, the people squash, together like. A tin, of sardines that's. Not such a great idea so, that's why maybe the, same space will be used but, we won't all sit there for the entire day or all together and, maybe that's why we will need to start with more flexibility. And use, our space differently. Can. I make a comment on this notion two of the managers. As potentially. Needing to guard, people's behavior, and I feel a little strange saying this to two, prominent. People from the medical school but, from hand-washing. Research, we know that when physicians, are told. In a very monitoring. And controlling way you need to wash your hands, there's a lot of reactants, and there's a lot of resistance to doing so as much as everybody knows it's important, but. When the message, is capitalized. On physicians, in need caring, for their patients, and they emphasize. The way that your hand-washing, is going to keep your patient safety then that tends to amplify, compliance. With the people with the behavior, and so I think as we consider, how, to manage. Workplaces, it's. Important, to keep people psychology, in mind if the manager, is taking, the role of the, scold and the. Occupational. Safety and health you, know overseer. Then people I think are going to you, know subconsciously, reject that so, it's important to think about messaging. We're, ought to think about using people's concern for their own safety. And for their care for others to to get their behavior to change so we've talked about a number of these concerns, but all of these have been in the context, of Australia, and it would be fair to say that is a country, we've been doing very well I think it was by design and luck but we got there but. The challenge is that we're a country that interacts. A lot with the world and the, world isn't doing. So well. Whatever we do internally, our borders, are likely, to remain, closed for some time for free travel and some, estimates are that that might not, just be weeks it might be months could be years, unless there is a vaccine now. How, much of our economy Jeff, depends. On open, borders, well. It it depends. On, tried. And our borders in a couple of ways you know one way which I think you're alluding to dishes that. You. Know there's, there's people transfer. Between countries, that you know tourism. We're. Very much aware, education. But. As well we're dependent, on the health of the world economy through. Other. Goods and export, goods and services, that we export, so you, know coming back to, right. At this at the start, when. You ask me what's, the outlook for twelve months time when I said well look I think will will, have made significant. Steps towards recovery, but we won't have got all the way there yeah, that's one of the blockers, sort of to us you're really getting all the way back to where we were in March, the the international. Situation, the. Fact that there are some sectors it will continue, to be affected, by, people.
Not Being able to travel between countries, and and the fact that yeah, so far I guess our major trading partners, you know seem to be moving into recovery now which is a good sign for exports. Of goods and services but, yeah. To, the extent that sort of other countries we tried with you I don't recover, so quickly or, it goes on for a while yeah that'll continue to be a drag on the economy but, I mean our, stuff might, go out but. We had a large trade of people coming in it was largely tourism. Yeah which Australia's, rightfully, Femmes and education. We, were very good at and. We are here at the University, of Melbourne which which benefited, a lot from that and contributed, a lot in that way yeah, what. Are your thoughts about these sectors, of the economy I mean New Zealand's in a similar situation they've, got a perfect, situation at home apparently they're there were rugby matches starting, all over again yet not a single tourists, coming in yeah none, of those those. You know one of the one of the really distinctive. Things about this episode, is how it's it's it's it's affected, your particular industries. And sectors. Like. As we talked about right at the start. Accommodation. And and food services, retail. Arts, and recreation initially. Because of the health, related closures. I think, as, we are unwind. Those health-related restrictions. Exactly, as you're saying because, we've got these other restrictions. So that they're going to keep binding, so we are going to continue to see impacts, on the, higher education, sector we're, gonna continue, to see impacts on those parts of accommodation, and food services and tourism, and aviation. That relate to travel, they continue, to be negative effect airlines, may never, be the same again now, many say that the answer to all of this is we, need to become self-sufficient, that. Australia needs to start manufacturing again. We, can't rely on these, long supply chains, they're very vulnerable is, that, the answer. No. I think, I, think. It would be yes, silly to you. Know completely turn things around based, on the knowledge we have of sort of the way the world is at the moment and the way it might evolve. Yeah, you learn from episodes, like this and you may decide, that that, yeah, look there are particular Goods that we think it would be it. Would be useful for us to be able to bring into production more quickly if episodes, like this occur but, if the question is should Australia, go back to, your. Making, frigate, motor I. Think. The, answer, the answers probably. No, probably. No so what should astray Leah Ben go, ahead if not going back to manufacturing. There's. A lot of talk about high-tech and, digital and and if you actually look at the stock markets, the. Stocks that have really, risen are. Actually, the high tech companies, most. Of them being in the u.s. not. That many here, so, is that the future, is that going to disproportionately. Benefit. As a result of what has happened well. It, certainly, benefitted. A lot in the short run and I guess your stock, markets. You. Know sometimes have a tendency to overreact, to yeah, what the. Short run and not. Be that perfect at forecasting. The the long, run, yeah I think it it I mean, yeah the the nature of economic activity, in developed economies has been moving away from, agriculture. Away from manufacturing, industry towards, towards services. And so you, know Australia. Was already sort of predominantly, a service, yeah right honor me before they sin and so I think yeah that's not, even more that's the vegetal, services, and an alia you studied these high-tech companies, and you know how they've been changing their ways and some have already announced no office which, one was it is it Twitter who said don't even come back to 2021, I think Facebook, is saying so Facebook, has said people don't have to come back and they can work wherever they want they're gonna adjust salaries. Based on where. You live so you can live anywhere in the world and then they'll pay you less which seems yes. Okay. I'll move to Nebraska and that'll get paid twenty thousand dollars in whatever anyway, but I'm this is not who I am um but.
I Think one of the things I just to kind of piggyback I've if you don't mind me dominating, the conversation to. Piggyback a little bit on some of the things Jane said and then if I can ask Jeff a question, yeah one, of the things that I think this pandemic has done is really, amplified, existing, inequalities right. We had these inequalities that were happening we had racial inequality, we had gender inequality, and what we saw was once that pandemic hit, that. Those inequalities became. Just, crystal clear right who are the people that are on the bus, you know still going to work so we talk about now, is the moment for people to step back people, with flexibility. People, with autonomy, people in professional positions, like us, Jane. Rightfully, said now's the moment for you to step aside so. That everyone, else can have better health but. I think there is a really important question about who are the people that are on the buses and, what you know this is race and class and gender after, it often intersecting. In ways, that have shown inequalities. That have been long rooted, and that, are now just becoming more exacerbated so, we're asking certain groups of people to, put themselves at risk and, others. Can stay at home and I think we cannot ignore that anymore, isn't. It ironic that it's in the name of essential. So. So. Those, those, people who are on the bus are the ones we deem essential and they're the ones who get to put themselves at risk, let's pay them the the amount of money they deserve to. Be this essential, workforce to make sure we're well fed right it's young people at Kohl's they're being I mean we could go through the details of who these people are but there is a moment where we need to take a step, back and say we need, to acknowledge, that this exists, I'm. Curious Jeff in what you think about this so one. Of the things that has been discussed, is that AI is the future automation is a future that you know that's, a segment, of the population of, the workforce is just, gonna disappear that. Was anticipated do. You think come in 19 will make that come quicker. Well. Yeah, I'm not someone. Who thinks that like robots, are on the way to destroying. Sort, of jobs. That you know to a world, without work, but, I think what yeah what technology, does what it's always done is, it. Has distributional. Consequences sort. Of it does create winners and losers. And I, think you're, an episode, like this is you. Know potentially, will you know accelerate. The adoption of some, types of new technology. And so, it will. Have sort of a more rapid period of of winners. And losers being created, sort of then if technology, was sort of going along in, its usual sort, of way instead we're going to have this you, know blip up in the adoption of technology, and so it's, a really important, part of the the. Story of government. Policy, I think of what, they'll need to do to respond, to you. Know the economic consequences, have covered that we're. Very likely to see the, concentrated. Period of what economists would call structural change, sort of you know do - yeah but. But. But you know the big structural, change when industrialization. Came led to a term we now call the Luddites at, that point in time we didn't look at the Luddites as we do now because now we've become a very industrialized, society at that time it was a progressive social. Movement, trying to make sure that the capitalists, don't destroy society now, we said winners and losers what if the losers say we're not gonna take it anymore and in. Some sense Yin you were referring to that that you know we're, in this era of black lives matter we're just living in the shadow of the very tragic, incident George, Floyd and look it may have just happened in the US but, it has touched a chord across. The entire world yeah. Well. I think it's true, that you're, seeing. You're. Seeing frustration. And. I think we're seeing it particularly sharply, because there's a sense that it might be heard at this moment, and.
Crisis. In the form of coven might have prepared the ground a bit people's. Experience. Of sacrifice. And difficulty. Might, have made them willing to take, more risk to, be heard at this time. So. It's. Certainly possible that there could be that degree of frustration to be honest, I'm I'm, not sure that I first see as extreme, a response, in Australia, as I do, somewhere. Like the US and I would attribute it largely to the economic, policies, and the economic, care that Australia has taken and citizens. Willingness to. To. Be in it together you know that's been a slogan around the world but. I feel that there are many places and. There. Are many places where it hasn't necessarily been, embraced. Or really truly acted. On here. I think there was much more of a you know government. Policies, were, created, that would support people, I think, neighbors. Felt. A sense of looking out for one another in, my neighborhood. Somebody. Put little notes in everybody's mailbox, and started a Facebook group so that we can look out for older. Neighbors and people who might need help but might need support so, from. From the macro level to the very very micro level I think you've seen a collective. Action and a collective spirit that, if anything, can help carry us through that that would be it but I agree, with Leah's cautions. And I think once, again I'll come back to this notion of intentionality that. If we operate by defaults, which I think it's very human, to do then. It would be quite easy to fall into patterns of letting inequalities, fester, and I, think those frustrations, could then amplify, but, if we're very intentional we might the question is do we as a nation have an opportunity, to lead you. Know the world is looking for new models. We. Are absolutely. At the cutting edge in terms of getting on top, of the fur wave I'm, carefully, using the word first way because you never know where work the future holds but certainly if there, was you know an Olympics, of this at the moment we'd be on on the metals table but. Is, there an opportunity for us to now show that beyond, just the public health in, the way we come back to business and the way we reorganize. As a society, in the way we value. People. That we call essential. Workers, but, then then pay them the lowest wage in society. What. Are our options to, lead it's interesting because the the New York Times actually ran an article about what Australia, has done with. Exactly this argument, that Australia, is leading the, world in their policies, and they, were asking this exact. Question why are they leading the world and one, of the comments that came through was that the, advice that had been given to this government, was it in times of crisis, it's. Not political, you don't do politics, you just do the best policy, right you pick the policies that are not necessarily. Aligned with your own political party but. You make the best policy, at that moment in time whether it comes from the left the right the centre from, Mars it doesn't matter I think the challenge, now is because, we've been successful right. That, there is a movement, backed to the tribal politics so. Why is it that at this moment in time when Jeff is saying Jeff, I love you you're saying we, need to throw out lifelines right the the rest', emulation is to continue, why, are we ending John job keepers why. Are we ending, free. Child care we know that women are disproportionately burdened, we know that they're going to be knocked out because in ways that are unparalleled we know that even in the industries in which they occupy, they're being knocked out because they they are the lower wage, workers, why. Is the government now realigning, along political ideology. And throwing lifelines to construction and manufacturing but, not throwing, lifelines to things like child care or job keepers and this, is where I think if we're leading right now there. Is a pivot, point where, this government, could shift. From being the world leader back, into tribal politics, with very serious consequences. For, certain groups and demographics, within, the Australian population and, this is well look I'm not trying to defend the government it was nice of you know a minister, was here too. But this is what they might say and I think to give them their fair deal they would say we, have borrowed. From. Tomorrow's, generations. To, save your, problems, today so.
There. We need to keep that borrowing, in limit not, you, know in anywhere, to be punitive to someone it is to protect that the future generations, don't have debt burdens, which, will limit their healthcare their childcare, and their school care the chat can I enter you, respond. To the government not to me. Government. The challenge, however is that actually, when you look at who's disproportionately. Burden it is young people right if you is so we're saying we're borrowing from your future generation. Right but, why don't we ensure that in this generation is actually building wealth, this generation, has secured employment so. If the idea and use some of those resources to ensure that we're shoring up not, just others but also young people at, this moment in time the, challenge, will be is if we keep, things as they are we already, know that young people women. Yeah, we'll, take young people as an example right because we're talking about their futures have. The difficulty, accessing full-time secure employment are in, this gig economy if, the, idea then use some of the money from the future to make sure these young people. Have. The wealth that they need the security that they need so, that when they have to pay it back at. Least they have the jobs that will allow them to do that afford, them to do that and we have a more thriving Society my concern is that we're going to go back to the way in which we were and we're, gonna say you know we're only funneling. Money into certain, industries, or is oh there are only certain winners, winners, and losers in this and we're gonna lose, kind. Of what we've done which has been an equalizing. Yes. It has been a great equalizing. Moment albeit borrowed from the future borrowed. Significantly. At a rate and pace we've, never done and I think this is something we. Will now find out how it plays over the many many years to, come, Jeff. On the issue of borrowing we borrowed a lot of money to, reduce pain in the last three, to six months what. Impact, will it have on our future well. Yeah, I am, of the view that we should really focus. On. Now. To. Come, to the question you asked before as well about you. Know do we have this moment where we can show. The world sort of like the way ahead well I think, we shouldn't get too far ahead of ourselves because to go back to what I said right at the start we, still have we've done very very well I agree with what everyone's, saying about that but, we still have a significant. Way to go with, economic. Recovery, and I think what, we need to do is keep, doing what we're describing. Incrementally. About. The problems we have with the economy, and thinking what, the best policies, are to solve those, problems rather than starting. To think grand plans about all we're going to reform the industrial, asian system. Thank. You for bringing us back we need to we need to just worry about the problems, we've got at the moment the thing is that, the costs, of the cost of unemployment, the cost of people losing their jobs now they're, concentrated.
They're Focused, on particular people, the, borrowing, we, do that's repaid, over a long period, of time spread. Across many, people sort of so to, me I, would. Put much more weight on borrowing. No more to, reduce the costs now to, get the economy up and running again because. Yeah of course there's cost in the future but those have spread out over time and across the population, risk the cost of a downturn are very concentrated and, at the moment all right we got that message what. History has taught us is, that, whenever these big, you, know world-changing. Events happen usually there been Wars they. Leave behind a lot of destruction, and tragedy, but, good does, come, out of them and you know if you look back the, things we take for granted now things, like Public Health Social. Security all of them came out through periods of great hardship. So. As we look forward from this period of great hardship and Jeff I'm not saying it's over but from this period of hardship what. Is the good that, could come out of it so, what. Could be the silver lining what could be the lasting, legacy what, could be the new programs, that. 30 years from now people will look back and say you know what oh yeah, they have that co wid thing and after Co wit look, the world got X, and X has been so good so, perhaps, I could start with you chin what. Good will, come out of this well. The. Primary thing that I've seen that I think is really positive, is that. Like. So many traumatic, difficult, experiences. This one has prompted people to look at, purpose. And meaning, and why. We do the things that we do and I think they've. Reassessed. Their connections. With others, and. How they wanted to spend their time and what since. I speak to the workplace. What. Work meant to them and what role they wanted it to have in their lives as opposed to simply letting it take, over and be their life. Now not everybody I want to acknowledge has had the luxury of spending a lot of time thinking about this but, I do think. Even. In the front lines maybe especially in the front lines there has been reason, to confront. What. Am i doing this for what's the purpose I think, that if we can hold on to that sense of thinking. About purpose, and thinking about meaning, that, that could be a foundation, that could really serve us well that's, a wonderful thought so it's been a period, of sort of global, self-reflection. Exactly, it's, on almost an enforced to retreat, yeah everyone's had to take time face themselves, and hopefully, this this will make us better. In some ways all, right that's a good thought Leah, okay I'm like a little bit less hopeful which is hard for me because I'm an American and we are always hopeful, but um so, I think this is a pivotal moment if, we can actually make good decisions at this point in time I am hopeful if we don't I think we will erase 50 years of progress around gender, equality .. I am, hopeful that this, will be a moment in which we see care, care. And I don't mean just children, I mean care of parents care of partners, care care because, the care crisis is here in the care crisis is coming with, this with the baby. Boomers aging etc, etc I could go into this for an hour but I won't but, we need to put knowledge. That care is, essential. It's economically, important, it knocks people out of the labor market and the burden is so great, that people can't do it alone so, that's that's, it that's a very good thoughts a reflection. Care. And be fair to point out we are one of the world's leading nations, to develop this endless system, the National Disability Insurance, Scheme now there are various views, on whether it's right or not but the bottom line is we, took a step and you're saying much, broader, concept, of care all. Right Jane, I think. That this. Pandemic has given, us the opportunity to see just how vulnerable, life, actually, is and. How much of it hangs by a thread actually, but, that we face that challenge really. Remarkably, well as a country, and. That. We've been able to come through it albeit, only. Partway in very good shape and that, should give us enormous. Hope you, know every generation has, their challenge, and. This or has, been ours to, date and. I think it sets us up well for future challenges that. We're able to respond, very. Effectively. As a. Community, as a nation, and I think that is probably the most hopeful. Thing you could have and you, know a country, to live in right, that has done this I must, say that immediately after the bush fires I wasn't feeling like that, but but I think you're right in pointing out now one does and and, that sense of resilient, confidence.
Is It. Would be a wonderful thing to be sustained at Jeff. I. Think. What. Would be a really nice silver lining would be an, increase, in trust in public, institutions. In government, I think you know we've had. A sustained, period of people questioning, sort of what you can achieve through, politics, questioning. Sort of the direction, motivation, of politics I think as everyone's you know really highlighted. This, episode, has shown that government, can you, know achieve for the good it's never going to be perfect sort, of especially when you're operating in such a difficult, environment, but. Australia, has done, remarkably. Well obviously, yeah. Unfortunately. Law your lives lost people, out of work but when you compare to, the predictions, that were being, made so. I think sort, of this is a lesson in what government. Can achieve what good policymaking. Can achieve but. I think the caveat, is exactly, what we have said before which, is that Trust, will only be there if we. Sort, of if we're not immediately, going back to the tribal, politics, of that we, really need to see a continued. Emphasis on dealing, with the problem, sort of making the problem the priority, based on evidence well, there you go so, global. Self-reflection. And emphasis. Of care, resilient. Confidence, in us as a community trust, in our public institutions and, if I had to add something, to that I would, say respect, for thoughtful experts. Who, acknowledge, uncertainty. And I, think in that regard it's been wonderful to, have you here as thoughtful. Experts, who acknowledge, uncertainty. As you repeatedly pointed out and with, that it is time to bring this, session to a close so, please join me in thanking our experts, and let, me thank you for, your interest, and attention now. This was episode 5, we return, with, episode, 6 which, will ask the 64, million dollar or perhaps I should say the 64, trillion. Dollar question, what. Can, we do now to prevent, a future. Pandemic. As ever. We, are looking for your questions, which, help us shape the, next episode, we encourage, you to share your ideas and questions on the, University of Melbourne social, media channels, the details of which are on your screen now and we, will try to address your questions, in our, next, episode, with, expertise, and with, evidence so, till next time thank. You for joining, us.