Most Australians want a good quality of life and a good standard of living. To achieve this, the availability of jobs in any region is essential. The Liberal National Coalition Government always, always claim to be the Party to look up to when it comes to jobs and business.
We see the main stream media support this claim with positive spin after positive spin in favour of the LNP or derogatory headlines and stories about Labor. I often wonder if there is a statue of Tony Abbott in the foyer of The Australian or a statue of Campbell Newman and Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the foyer of The Courier Mail; where journalists begin their day by bowing to these statues and vowing to serve them through the course of their duties. Then there are those in the voting public who believe what the Liberal National Coalition say about how they understand business and are great for jobs and repeat it without question.
When the LNP believe that they indeed are the best party for jobs and business, it then leads to a false dichotomy that those on unemployment must simply be lazy and that they simply don’t try enough. Obviously the LNP are in charge, so of course there are plenty of jobs to apply for!
Based on this false dichotomy, the LNP’s approach to assisting the unemployed jobs is to starve community programs of funding and punish the hell out of jobseekers by implementing the worst jobseeker support program in Australia’s history “Job Active.” Commentary on social media welfare sites from program participants, suggests that Job Active agencies are more focused on who they can get to pull out weeds for free under Abbott’s work for the dole program, than any real constructive assistance.
Commentary and anecdotes on social media also point to a system where there is no money to assist jobseekers find real work and assistance for study is not supported (unless it is pointless in-house training). With the Newman Government’s changes to vocational education over the last three years coupled with the Abbott Government’s punitive Job Active program, Jobseekers living well below the poverty line must pay out of their own pocket up front costs or pay the course off, as there is no HECS or HELP deferral scheme for many vocational education courses. Those on welfare need to weigh up their options between being able to afford food and housing or an education. As an Australian, I find this absolutely abhorrent and 100% unacceptable and this destroys this our way of life.
The Palaszczuk Labor Government has just delivered their first budget by Treasurer Curtis Pitt and have invested 34 Million to begin the repair of our vocational sector and TAFE, to provide real training options for jobseekers. I hope that this will be extended to ensure affordable access for everyone who has the right to an education, including those on welfare payments.
Sadly, also on social media you read the stories of many jobseekers who are anxious, depressed, frustrated, upset and at times indirectly or directly discussing suicide or ‘not living anymore’ as an option. This is how they are feeling as jobseekers under the Job Active program. Some of the comments I have read and the stories collected by the Australian Unemployment Union are absolutely heartbreaking.
To degrade the unemployed even further, in some towns like mine you are given a Basic’s card. Welfare recipients are given a cashless card and a small amount of cash. This leaves the jobseeker with very little real money to make purchasing decisions with. The Basics Card also seeks to stigmatise the jobseeker by giving them their own identifier which allows every shop assistant and member of the public at the checkout know that they are on welfare.
Couple this with the rhetoric that comes from the agenda of stigmatisation from the Liberal Government such as backbencher Ewen Jones who said: “look there’s your dole, go home, eat Cheezels, get on the Xbox, kiss you goodbye and we will never see you again’?” Add the sensationalisation of welfare recipients on television and so called ‘current affairs shows’; welfare recipients using a basic card, will be seen automatically by some as no good, lazy, bludging welfare thieves. Terminology used by many avid Liberal supporters which places those on welfare in a criminal category. Welfare recipients are not often seen as human beings who desperately want and actively seek work.
There is absolutely no option for those on welfare to blend in or not stand out as a recipient of welfare. This completely undermines the right to dignity and respect without judgement for so many Australians. Under the LNP their reasoning is to shame you into finding a job every time you stand at the checkout. The other misunderstanding about the Basic’s card, is that it is available everywhere. There are only a small number of shops and services which allow purchase with a basics card. This often forces the jobseeker, living below the poverty line, to spend money at more expensive stores. In some towns, they have no options at all. This places pressure on their already meagre budget.
So lets see….who should really be punished. Is it the jobseeker or the Government? I have completed an analysis of job vacancies in my local area of Central Queensland to find out.
The availability of jobs is essential to a productive economy and enables the unemployed to actively apply for employment. Plentiful job vacancies also enable career development for the employed looking for jobs to advance their career. This opens up lower level jobs for others to apply for. In many cases, highly skilled workers are stuck at the lower end of their professions and not moving on as there are no jobs available to apply for. This puts a constraint on jobseekers seeking entry level jobs. It also puts a constraint on highly skilled jobseekers who also find themselves in the employment queue and now find themselves pulling weeds under work for the dole.
The graph below is job vacancy data for Central Queensland from March, 2012 to January 2015 of the Newman LNP Government and the new Labor Government from Feb 2015 to May 2015. This is where the data availability ceases. There is no data available after May, 2015, but I will be providing follow ups as it comes to hand. (you can click the photo to enlarge). I have completed an analysis on Central Queensland for two reasons. One is, it is the area I live in and I am very passionate about Central Queensland and the second is to bring some truth to light about how the Newman Govt affected regional areas. Many believe that due to the Public Service cuts and media around protests, it was mainly Brisbane which had felt the impact. This is not so.
Interesting Fact Number 1.
An analysis of job vacancy data for the period of the LNP Newman Government shows a dramatic decline of job vacancies for Central Queensland. Data available up until May, 2015 shows that in the first four months of the LNP Newman Government, Central Queensland Job vacancies declined by 378 vacancies. After one year of the Newman Government, there were 1781.7 less job vacancies for Central Queenslanders to apply for. By the end of the Newman Government, there were 2198 less job vacancies advertised in CQ than when the LNP took office.
By comparison, in the first five months of the Palaszczuk Labor Government, Job Vacancies have turned around and job vacancies have increased by 218 jobs for the CQ region in this short time.
Interesting Fact Number 2.
The sharpest decline in job vacancies for any month-to-month period was the period of November to December 2012, which saw a 16% decline in one month for Job Vacancies for CQ jobseekers, under the LNP.
In comparison, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has achieved the highest increase of job vacancies for any month-to-month period for the CQ Region, over the last three years. For the period from February to March 2015, Job Vacancies in Central Queensland saw a sharp increase of 16%. This is the highest job vacancy increase for any month-to-month period, since March 2012. In a few short months, the Labor Government has achieved what the Newman Government could not achieve in their entire period in office. That is, “to understand business and create jobs” This is an absolute positive and speaks volumes of the quality of MPs within the Palaszczuk Government. The graph below shows only job classifications with an increase of 20 job vacancies or more. This is not an exhaustive list.
Interesting Fact Number 3
During the period of the LNP Campbell Newman Government, job vacancies in Central Queensland declined by 56%. To put this in real terms, that is 2198 job vacancies not open for Central Queenslanders to apply for under the LNP. The graph below demonstrates the top 15 job classifications which experienced a decline in job vacancies over the period of the Newman LNP Government. The only job classification which experienced an increase in job vacancies under the Newman Government were: Farmers and Farm manager (0.9 increase); Carers and Aides (9.2) Education Professionals (12.2 increase) and Medical Practitioners and Nurses (12.8 increase) These figures are raw numbers, not percentages. If we look at the success of the Newman Government for Central Queensland, their achievement is basically an increase of 35 job vacancies across four job classifications, and a decline in all other job vacancies for their entire period in Government.
Interesting Fact Number 4
In the first four months of the Newman Govt, job vacancies in Central Queensland fell by 10%. In the first four months of the Palaszczuk Govt Jobs vacancies in central QLD increased by 13%
The term LNP has been used interchangeably throughout this post, meaning the Liberal National Coalition State and Federal. The LNP use a synthesis of blame and stigma to take the focus off their failings. The LNP repeat the misguided rhetoric that they are ‘good for jobs’ without question and place blame on everyone else, including the unemployed. As the data analysis of Job Vacancies for one area in Queensland show, the Abbott Government’s punitive approach is completely uncalled for. The harsh welfare measures implemented do nothing but feed into the Abbott Government’s agenda of Stigmatisation of those on welfare. Why? Because there are no better votes for the LNP those those created out of hate, disgust and fear.
My Conclusion? If you want to starve a region of jobs. Want to punish the unemployed unnecessarily. – Just vote for a Liberal National Government!
Stay tuned for more analysis drilled down on specific classifications and other nerd-filled data excitement!
The topic of conversation across many pages on Facebook, across newspaper forums and even current affairs shows has been a statement from ex-ALP Minister Gary Johns
“Former Labor Minister Gary Johns suggests linking the dole to contraception.”
The comments from a wide and diverse range of people regarding this topic has certainly been an eye opener.
Firstly, I need to get something off my chest….. I find it absolutely remarkable, that an overtly sexist comment from an “Ex-ALP Minister” hits the headlines three days after the polls screamed loudly that Tony Abbott is falling out of favour with women. Now call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I do find that linking an extremely sexist and controversial statement to the ALP three days after polling highlighted that women would rather #putyourironout rather than vote for Abbott again, an attempt at political strategy by the right. #diversion.
John’s originally wrote his article as opinion for The Australian and they labelled John’s as an ‘ex-ALP’ Minister whereas the Australian Newspaper could have labelled him either senior fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) (Abbott linked right-wing think tank) or the Associate Commissioner of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission from 2002 – 2004 under the Howard Government. I find it interesting that the Murdoch press chose to link John’s to the ALP instead, although he hasn’t been a Minister of the ALP and has been critical of the ALP since at least 1996. The Australian may as well have gone onto social media and asked some random their sexist opinions on welfare and contraception.
Which takes me to my next point. I have taken a selection of comments via Facebook, across various pages and groups. This is just a small sample and if you could quantify the negative comments supporting this argument, I would estimate it was approximately 70% (in favour) 30% (not in favour) across the board. The narrative in this country is something that we need to look at a lot more closely.
Some of the themes from those on social media go something like this (hit it)
Facebook Comment: “Still my point is valid…. There are other ways to prevent people from having children! Sterilisation is a good one! Some people have children completely dependant (sic) on the government… Those people need to be told NO!”
According to this Facebook User (and many like this person) I should not exist. You see, my father was an invalid pensioner (completely dependent on the Government) and my mother on the wife’s (carer’s) pension. So going by what this person is saying, because my father had a disability and mum looked after him, she should have been sterilized. This is the type of person who would vote for a Government to forcibly sterilize a woman because that woman is not ‘their ideal woman who should be breeding.’ But give her a job and she will be Mother of the freaking year!
In fact, with this line of thinking, I should not exist and neither should my two sisters or three brothers. Why? Because we are not the product of a ‘born to rule’ ideology that salivates at the thought of social cleansing, where only those ‘not in need’ have a space in society? This person and many commenting like this person, obviously dream of a society, where the ‘undesirables’ (aka those on welfare) are left to rot or be eliminated altogether.
What these sort of people don’t understand is when you have kids and you are on welfare, it is usually the mother who goes without to accommodate the needs of the children. People just make do with what they have. They don’t scream and ask for more to live a wealthy lifestyle.
Facebook Comment: How anyone can disagree with this is beyond me. Bums breeding more bums! And so the cycle will continue.
and this gem
Facebook comment: What about the rights of children not to be born to deadshit parents?
According to this Facebook user all children of welfare recipients should be cast aside as ‘Bums’ before they are even given a chance in society. In my own lived experience as a child of welfare, every single one of us has gone on to achieve a full and productive life. I have worked in Management across private, public, community, vocational and higher education sectors. I have gone on to postgraduate education and also have a partially completed PhD which may or may not ever get finished. My brothers and sisters have all worked in either a professional capacity or in management. We all have families and children. My family is not a unique example. Many great leaders have also come from very poor backgrounds. To deny a child a life, because others seek to cleanse society of children not born to “Women of Calibre” is beyond the sickest ways of thinking.
What people like this do not understand, is that there is more to life than money. Sure, we lived in commission, didn’t eat fancy meals, but the values that our parents instilled in us, cannot be bought with money. How one parents is not governed by how much money someone has. In fact, there was more love in my home growing up, than what I had witnessed in some of my much better off friends homes growing up. Turn to any Youth Agency and you will also see that young people who need assistance come from a wide and diverse background. Not just welfare.
This type of person believes that people born into welfare are Bums or their parents are ‘deadshits’ and have nothing to contribute. Please tell that to Oprah Winfrey and J.K. Rowling, just two successful women with links to welfare.
Facebook Comment: Besides there needs to be a cull of the human race anyway. Weeding out bottom feeders bogans just plain right pieces of crap from society. This is why we have such a f u ked (sic) up society because of all the bottom feeders who have kids that dont (sic) bring them up with morals and values respect this is why there is alot (sic) of kids on the dole its (sic) all they know (Just imagine the punctuation is there. You can do it!).
and this gem
Facebook Comment: Agreed. The rats have a screw and produce a rat might be different size whatever u still breed a rat a bottom feeder (Once again, use your magical powers so this makes freaking sense!)
Once again, we have the mentality that thinks Eugenics are a fine thing to implement in society. Do these people really believe that only a certain ‘type’ of person should be allowed to have children? Do they really believe that the Government should have the right to stop the bloodline of those that are in need of social supports?
The rat comment is also even more chilling, as the Jews were referred to as rats during the Holocaust, a time where there were those that thought a blond haired blue eyed race was the only race that should exist.
What these people do not realise is, if Eugenics, Social cleansing or the likes were adopted, there will always be someone ‘at the bottom of society’ and that person could very well be you.
Then we move on to the ‘related topics’ that show how people’s mind link other negative societal behaviors to those on welfare.
Facebook Comment: Totally agree and don’t forget to drug test as well
This comment is actually from a person who is well known in a certain town and aspires to be a Lord Mayor. You know – making decisions about people and their lives in an entire region/community. As Keating said, “God help us….God help us.”
This type of (let’s face it) brainless idiot, touts this sort of rubbish, because it gives them a sense of self-importance. The problem is it only feeds the ego and not the brain, as statistics on drug use are completely contrary to what this person is implying. This type of person seeks to further stigmatise the already stigmatised in society, as it makes them feel so much above everyone else when in reality, they are the lowest of the low.
I won’t go any further into this one, as I have already published two articles on this topic of welfare and drug testing.
Drug Testing and the LNP’s Ongoing Stigmatization of the Poor and The LNP’s agenda for welfare. A clarification of what drug testing really means
Facebook comment: Dude it’s what is happening. It’s not only adults popping kids out now a days it’s teenagers. You walk in to centrelink and there’s 16 year olds sitting every where with kids on there hip
It always fascinates me how people specifically target young women who are mothers as the primary burden, almost a parasitic burden on society. It also fascinates me that although we now have Google and no longer need to trawl through the Funk and Wagnells, people just can’t be bothered checking facts before they open their bigoted mouths.
Only 10% of lone mothers are aged 15 – 24 and the peak group for lone mothers is age 35-44 years of age and the major contributor to sole parenting is the break down of marriage. 12% of sole parents are men, and are usually over 35. Doesn’t this indicate to people that if a relationship breaks down for a younger woman, that it is the younger woman who is most likely left to care for the baby? Let’s not target and label bright, young enthusiastic women, because they have the extra responsibility of sole motherhood. They have much to contribute to society.
Having a child out of wedlock is not a crime and the only people who are bastards are the people who think this way.
After reading comments across so many different forums yesterday; it is quite evident that the Australian narrative needs to be scrutinised further and Australians themselves need to be openly challenged in their thinking. If we did not have the safety net of unemployment benefit, what impact would this have on the economy? It could be assumed that most people would keep spending to a minimum so they could support themselves in the event of job loss. So many people are so judgemental, yet, never question the tax payer funded benefits of big business, but feel it is just and moral to kick the boot in to the already disadvantaged. The derogatory vilification of people in dire circumstances, simply needs to stop. To quote my most favourite politician Anthony Albenese:
It’s time for a more serious debate on welfare – one that goes beyond dog whistling and demonisation of the poor
One theme very evident through all the comments, is that taxpayers feel they have some type of ‘ownership’ over the lives of those on welfare. Kind of like the Master / Slave mentality. It is quite appalling really, that these people think they can dictate to others how they can live their lives. Most people who are on welfare at one point in their lives, have contributed to a tax system, which is used to pay for welfare. For those that never have and never will pay, it is the duty of the Government of this country to ensure that these people are supported and they simply do not deserve the disrespect dished out to them.
(taken from a Facebook user on the Sunrise thread) I will end with this post with his comment:
Facebook Comment: Some of you seem to think that unemployment benefit isn’t a right… well, you are not correct. It’s right there in Hansard.
(He sounds NOTHING like the Liberals of today – who are these people?)
I was in the audience at ABC’s Q & A (Monday 06/10/2014) and I listened to the question from Ms. Stevens to Bob Katter about denying /homosexuality and the links to stigma and mental illness. Everyone cheered. The feeling of everyone’s passion to overcome injustice and to recognise individual rights in that one space was emotionally overwhelming.
Dr. Louise Byrne’s response about overcoming stigma and explaining to others what her job was, which exposes her illness, speaks to the face of real action on reducing stigma.
Every time I see anti-burqa posts on my newsfeed, in letters to the editor, on forum posts, my heart sinks. I believe that narrative shapes society. What we choose to express, publish and share and how we position ourselves in conversation, shapes society.
I find that all such anti-burqa posts and comments advocate stigma.
Ms. Stevens put to Katter, “that your reluctance to address homosexuals as well as their civil rights is quite detrimental to their mental health”. This question can be used again and again, replacing homosexuals with other marginalized groups and the answer should be that it is unequivocally unacceptable.
Hundreds of women are being vilified, ostracized and attacked violently in Australia, simply for wearing religious/cultural coverings. Women in particular are being targeted for attacks; women who deserve a space in our society, the same as everyone else. Why are sections of our community intent on condemning, vilifying and advocating violence against such a small minority of women; when there is no evidence that the wearing of any cultural/religious covering has threatened our security or way of life?
Growing up in the very racist 70’s and 80’s and working in community mental health in the 90s, has shown me that stigma has the negative consequences of denial of freedom of expression, mobility, achievement, integration and community contribution.
I have followed the burqa debate for a number of years and the same arguments pop up. On the issue of security, the same concern is not expressed about men in full faced beards and hats or men in suits, beards and sunglasses; but only of women expressing their individual freedom to pay respect to their religion or culture.
Then there are those who post snippets from the Koran as ‘evidence’ and boast ‘they have read the Koran.’
I think people who have a misplaced fear of women who wear any cultural religious covering, should refrain from expressing their bigotry and hatred and step away from studying parts of the Koran and go to the library and read the following books:
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
Stigma; notes on the management of spoiled identity – Erving Goffman
Witch Hunts: A graphic history of the Burning Times. Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton and Greg Chapman
Maybe these bigots and advocates of hatred and violence may want to publish their thoughts and interpretation of each book below and if it has affected their thinking on civil rights and freedom in our society.
image sourced from: http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/ban-burqa-mural-in-newtown.html