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The debate surrounding the survey on marriage equality is throwing up a range of issues that sit oddly with over 100 years of historical marriage patterns of heterosexual Australians.
Social media feeds, on line news, the radio, newspapers and television are heavy with people discussing the issue of marriage equality whose only real claim to be heard is their religious belief and their status within their church, synagogue, temple or other religious lobby group.
There are few, if any, declared atheists or marriage celebrants on these news and chat shows outlining their views on same sex marriage. This is despite there being more people of no religion than any other faith.
For some unknown reason, the overwhelming bias towards those with a religious affiliation promotes them to a point where they have a special status to pontificate as to whether people should vote yes or no to the marriage equality survey. Their views are getting a disproportionate coverage, including relative to how Australians are now choosing to get married.
For over 100 years, Australians getting married have been shying away from church based ceremonies and instead are opting for a marriage celebrant to allow them to legally tie the knot.
This alone should put the status of religious organisations and their spokespeople as authorities on the issue of marriage on very thin ice.
Penny-pinching on education leaves the nation lagging
Educational attainment is a proven path to higher incomes, not only for the individual concerned, but also for the nation as a whole.
The latest research from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Education at a Glance 2017, shows that in each of the 38 countries in the survey, adults with below upper secondary education were paid an average 25% less than someone with upper secondary education. There was an even more extreme difference with a 56% average pay advantage for those attaining a tertiary education against upper secondary schooling.
Put together, this means that someone with a tertiary education will, on average, get roughly double the income of those with below upper secondary education.
The public policy implications of these findings should be obvious.
The first step should be to ensure that all children get fundamental reading, writing and arithmetic skills, without which completion of upper second education is impossible, let alone the step to tertiary education. Targeted, sufficient and productive public investment in human capital (education) via skilled teachers and high level, up to date resources for students are a bare minimum. Any shortfall in this infrastructure to provide a good start to education will show up in a short fall in educational attainment in later life with negative implications for the economy.