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Tens of thousands march in Australia for higher wages

The labor party's union allies say the living standards of Australians have fallen significantly
The labor party's union allies say the living standards of Australians have fallen significantly AFP
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Melbourne (AFP)

Tens of thousands marched for better work conditions and higher wages in Australia Wednesday, bringing the city of Melbourne to a standstill, ahead of national elections in May.

The opposition Labor party wants to make stagnant wages a focus of its election campaign, with its union allies claiming "Australians have seen the largest fall in their living standards in 30 years".

The governing conservative Liberal-National coalition has argued the best way of boosting wages is through company tax cuts.

Many demonstrators wore fluorescent "hi-visibility" workwear and carried banners with "Change the Rules" written on them.

State premier Daniel Andrews said the rally should remind Canberra that Australians are demanding a proper "living wage".

"People are angry. They are out in the streets. They are out in force but they are campaigning for something very simple: 'a fair go'," he told reporters as he joined the mass rally.

City commuters endured a second day of disruption in less than a week, after animal rights activists blocked busy streets Monday during a surprise peak hour demonstration.

Some Labor supporters have argued for a slew of workers to receive higher minimum wages and a cap on the number of foreign workers entering the country.

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