OK, first a little bit of history. Then it's time to get triggered.

Here in Australia we used to have a concept of something called the "basic wage." Around the turn of the previous century there was a lot of wrangling over exactly what that should include, but a general definition was given by Justice Henry Bourne Higgins in the Harvester Judgement of 1907. He established that employers should pay not just market wages, but enough to support "the normal needs of the average employee, regarded as a human being in a civilised community."

4-D oppression-chess master Higgins.

That particular decision against manufacturer HV McKay was struck down shortly afterwards, but it still shows what the thinking used to be at all levels of society about the place of work and its relation to the other aspects of life. Despite our minimum wage laws and all the cheap imported crap we're able to buy, it would be an impossible judgement today.

Why? Because not only did Higgins survey the workers and their wives on their day-to-day needs; he also took into account the expectation that an unskilled labourer, on just his wage alone, should be able to support a family of five.

Think of it. Would that be remotely possible anywhere in Australia today? In Melbourne (or any other city)?

Now it's trigger time.

On the eve of International Women's Day, one of Australia's biggest energy companies has thrown down the gauntlet on equal pay.

Energy Australia has shut the gender pay gap, announcing women will be paid the same as male colleagues for doing the same job.

The company is spending $1.2 million to boost the pay packets of 350 women who were getting less than their male counterparts, and promising a review in five years to ensure men have not negotiated their way back on top.

Maybe time to switch providers? Under normal market conditions, if one company starts throwing money around like a pre-revolutionary French aristocrat, you would expect them to go down to their competitors.

Thing is, all the others will probably have to do the same thing now, because these days ideological conformity trumps the bottom line.

Energy Australia's managing director, Catherine Tanna, who also sits on the Reserve Bank board, apologised that it had taken so long to fix the problem.

"I am really pleased that we're able to say this year, 2018, at Energy Australia, we're bridging that gap," she told The Business.

"But I'm sorry that it's taken so long and that our women at Energy Australia have had to wait for this day."

Fewer large Australian companies are run by women than are run by men named John. Or Peter. Or David.


"A lot of employees would have a lot of pride that, yes, there is an issue but we have acted and we're telling and sharing our story about that," said Bianca Graham, who is a stakeholder engagement lead.

I don't think I understand a word of that last paragraph, especially that job title.

"I'm like any human being — I've got a mortgage and bills, so the financial benefit is significant.

"But I think there is a lot of symbolism and equality and fairness — I put in the exact same amount of work and high standard of work and pride each and every day I walk through these doors, so it's nice to be recognised equally."

See, she's just a generic human being. An interchangeable jobsworth of irrelevant sex. She's got to pay that mortgage herself, and she don't need to man to do it for her.

And as for all that "symbolism and equality and fairness": Can we really say we've achieved it until the likes of Mzzz Graham can legally marry their job? Equal love, equal rights.

Way back in 1969, Australian women won the legal right for equal pay for equal work but, almost 50 years later, many are still waiting for their pay packets to reflect that.

Official figures put the pay gap at 17.3 per cent for base salary.

But when bonuses, shift loading and other extras are included, it grows to 22.4 per cent, or an average $26,500 a year.

OK, I'm not going into detail about why the "gender pay gap" is bullshit. At this point anyone with at minimum half a brain can rattle off several reasons.

I will just point out one little irony that is apparently escaping these triumphalist powersuited human beings. Any attempt to justify the concept of wage discrimination implies that the ones discriminating are putting prejudice above economic self-interest. That may seem unlikely on the face of it, but as I alluded to above, it does actually happen. And any time it does, it's always women, non-whites and various shades of pervert who benefit (or think they do).

Think about it: Does it make sense that a company where until yesterday sexism was ingrained at the highest levels, and where women are so cowed that they can't ask for a well-deserved raise, would (a) have a female managing director, and (b) implement a policy like this?

Wait...Maybe what the faceless male chauvinists aren't telling us is that the implementation date is set for April 1st?

[Customer Care Leader] Ms Kaminskyj knows there is not always an easy fix.

"It's a complex issue, that's why we haven't fixed it yet," she said.

"There are things like achievement, tenure and experience that are still relevant in this conversation and that's not about gender. What's important here is that we are on the journey."

LOL. "We do actually have to admit that the reason these men were getting paid more is that they work harder and longer, and are more capable, but the important thing is that we're on the journey to...?"

Full speed ahead to clownworld!

But [Libby Lyons, director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency] said boards needed to start taking action.

"[The] boards have to step up here and start demanding information about what's happening in their organisation in terms of gender equality, but particularly around pay."

Perhaps it is a sign the times are changing and more companies will follow and give women what is 50 years overdue.

Professional feminists like Libby Lyons are outraged at the lack of women in business class, but they care nothing about the rising cost of living and the impediments to family formation that result when you turn society into a workhouse strewn with cheap chic decor.

In the "bad old days" of naked patriarchal oppression, men like Justice Higgins were laying the foundations for a society where ordinary people could get married, own a home and raise a family as members of a civilised community. The basic wage was part of that.

Husbands went to work and did things such as building the world's most cutting-edge farm machinery, while wives looked after the home and found time to do voluntary work.

Today, men and women compete for jobs in pointless "industries" such as energy retail (which produces nothing and is merely a form of tax farming where public services built by Australians are sold off to Chinese billionaires so we can be charged twice over).

Today the same young man and woman who might already have had a family together can be found sitting in nearby cubicles furtively texting their Tinder dates for the evening, or seated silently next to each other on the train that carries them home to their respective one-bedroom apartments.

Yay progress.