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The two measures shown are headline CPI inflation and the trimmed mean measure.

We too have now joined the club of countries with headline inflation noticeably below the medium-term average, although we are a more recent member than many others.

Headline inflation here is 1 per cent and measures of underlying inflation are running at around 1½ per cent.

These low inflation outcomes globally and in Australia are coexisting with low wage outcomes. The first – and the most conventional – explanation is that the low inflation reflects the economic slack in the global economy.

This occurred just at the time that other structural changes in the economy were making jobs less secure.

This is one reason why open markets can be such a positive force for our collective good.

Today, many workers in the services sectors are now also feeling this same pressure, as they too are exposed to the increased competitive pressure from globalisation and technology.

And faced with more potential competitors, workers, like firms, are less inclined to put their prices up.

But, in many cases, increased competition means less pricing power, which means a lower level of prices.

Open markets and advances in technology mean that more businesses feel that if they put their prices up, they will not only lose market share to domestic competitors but to foreign competitors as well. For some decades, workers in the manufacturing sectors in most industrialised economies have felt the pressure of competition from international trade.

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