Michael Pascoe: If the government unveiled laws to boost productivity

Michael Pascoe's satirical take on productivity.

Michael Pascoe's satirical take on productivity.

Productivity growth is a lot like climate change – everyone talks about it but nobody does anything to change it. Until now.

The Federal Minister for Productivity, Lance Hoffanon, on Monday will announce a world-first policy to boost lethargic productivity growth, the Holy Grail of sustainable economic growth.

The centrepiece of the landmark policy the Albanese Government is hoping will restore its poling is to ban ironing.

“We asked the Productivity Commission to put aside all its theoretical whimsical waffle for once and give us a single concrete policy to really boost productivity in this country and that’s what they’ve come up with – the population needs to stop wasting so much time needlessly ironing clothes,” Mr Hoffanon exclusively told The New Daily.

“During the lost decades when the Coalition was in power, nobody ever stopped to wonder why ironed shirts were being held up to be superior to the more natural, organic look of un-ironed shirts, shirts and skirts that are happy and confident in their own creases.

“The Liberal Party’s facile preoccupation with keeping up appearances should be seen in the context of the patriarchal coloniser mentality – oppressing people by keeping them needlessly chained to the ironing board.

“Macquarie bankers will be just as filthy rich in crumpled cotton as in smooth, school kids will learn as much or as little however their uniforms come out of the drier or off the line, the whole ‘white collar’ community will be better off with immediate impact on our productivity bottom line by ceasing uncreasing, wasting billions of man and woman hours ironing.

“Some people were excited by the supposed productivity benefits of people working from home, saving all that time lost commuting. Of course that hasn’t shown up in the figures when the extra time has just been spent watching cat videos.

“The ironing ban is different though. It won’t liberate enough extra time to settle down with a streaming service, but it will provide an extra 10 minutes a day per person, on average, for productive pursuits.

“With a workforce of 13 million people, we’re talking about an extra couple of million person hours a day for the economy, give or take a bit for the tradies already ahead of the trend with polo shirts and footy pants.”

The importation and sale of irons and ironing boards will be banned from this Monday, April 1, and the government will be launching a major advertising campaign featuring leading influencers in praise of the rumpled, creased and generally unsmoothed natural look.

“We are confident Australians will quickly embrace this major step forward in clothing liberation reflecting our lifestyle and priorities,” Mr Hoffanon said. “If you turn up at the office looking like a steam roller just had its way with your wardrobe, expect to be the laughing stock of the watercooler set.”

The Minister said drycleaners will be permitted to continue to offer cleansing services, but pressing will be banned.

“You know, when you think about it, what clown ever decided an uncreased shirt was somehow better than one with character?” the Minister asked.

“If we want a society that can sustainably boost wages, this is the way to go.”

The Business Council of Australia has welcomed the initiative. Banning ironing was considered a much better way to boost productivity than waiting for Australian enterprises to invest in productivity-enhancing processes and equipment.

“When you’re doing pretty well operating in a mon, du or oli opoly and nobody’s rocking the boat, you hardly want to go investing in the company’s long-term future instead of your bonus,” said BCA spokesperson Intha Clubb.

“It’s like wages – it’s just easier to keep them down rather than feel pressure to become more productive,” said Ms Clubb.

“There are some crazy ideas out there about taking a Darwinian approach to businesses, allowing those that can’t handle higher wages to go broke, thus freeing up resources for more productive and resourceful enterprises.

“Well, that sounds painful, not in the spirit of privatising profits and socialising losses at all, so you can rely on the C-suite to be turning up with Byron Bay-style wrinkled linen outfits next week.”

The Small Business Association of Australia was not as impressed, saying its drycleaning members would have to be compensated for the loss of business, but given enough government money, members would live with it.

“If we can dodge the hard stuff that is otherwise involved in improving productivity, we’ll go for it,” a spokesperson said.

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