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Corporate profits blamed for inflation and Australians swelter to save money

The gender pay gap narrows, and the Yes camopaign for the Voice kicks off with a $5 million donation. This is your Friday morning wrap.

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Australians swelter to save money on energy bills

Australians swelter to save money on energy costs

Australians on the lowest incomes are sweltering through summer at the expense of their health as air conditioning stretches budgets too far.

A new survey by the Australian Council of Social Service found two thirds of people on income support could not afford to cool their homes, instead struggling through temperatures reaching 45C.

As electricity bills rise, more than 80 per cent of those surveyed said they found it hard to keep up with the cost.

Meanwhile, 73 per cent said they had cut back on using fans or air conditioning and more than 65 per cent said they had gone without food or medicine to afford energy bills.

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Corporate profits fuelling inflation, research finds

New research points the finger at excess corporate profits as a core driver of inflation and says there's scant evidence of a wage-price spiral in the Australian economy.

Numbers crunched by the Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work revealed businesses had bolstered prices well above elevated expenses for labour, materials and other inputs and contributed much more to inflation than wages.

The inflation rate hit 7.8 per cent in the December quarter, with surging inflation prompting nine interest rate rises from the Reserve Bank (RBA) to take demand out of the economy.

But the analysis from the think tank's Jim Stanford found inflation would still be within the RBA's target band of 2-3 per cent if Australian firms weren't making excess profits for goods and services.

Gender pay gap narrows

Australia's gender pay gap has shrunk to its narrowest on record but women are still earning around $250 less per week, on average, than men.

Numbers crunched by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency - based on official earnings data - found the pay gap had tightened from 14.1 per cent in August last year to 13.3 per cent in February.

As of November, the average woman working full-time earned $1,653 a week compared to the $1,907 average earning for men.

This amounts to women earning 87 cents to every dollar a man makes.

West Australian women experienced the biggest pay gap at 22.1 per cent, followed by Queensland at 14.6 per cent.

Yes campaign for voice launches with $5m donation

A campaign to drive national support for an Indigenous voice to parliament has received a $5 million shot in the arm.

The "yes" campaign was launched on Thursday at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide, in the lead-up to the referendum, which will be held between October and December.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation, one of Australia's leading philanthropists, announced it was backing the voice by donating $5 million to Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition.

Hundreds of volunteers and advocates from faith groups to businesses, gathered to discuss the nationwide rollout of the campaign.

Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition co-chair Rachel Perkins said the "campaign now has tremendous momentum as we head towards a referendum later this year that offers a chance for a moment of national unity".

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Smiling women and piles of Australian cash
Smiling women and piles of Australian cash