The Minimum Wage · 1907

31._The_Minimum_Wage_1907.jpgThe Government imposes an excise on businesses that do not pay employees a fair and reasonable wage. The owner of the Sunshine Harvester Works, H. V. McKay, goes to court to insist he should not have to pay the excise as – he contends - he pays his employees a ‘fair and reasonable’ amount. Justice Higgins, in what becomes known as the Harvester Judgment, determines that ‘fair and reasonable’ amounts to a basic wage that will support a wife and three children. At the time, this was calculated as 7 shillings a day. The idea of a basic minimum wage becomes entrenched in Australian industrial and political culture.

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