The Anti-Adani protest has generated divisive anti-worker rhetoric. Preventative unemployment should be a key focus towards a post-coal world. This article discusses the importance of themes in the narrative towards a post-coal world and explores the approach to preventative unemployment policy.
The anti-Adani movement is growing. It has progressed from a place of prominence on social media to a place of prominence in main stream media.
I have spent countless hours trying to engage with the Anti-Adani movement. I have persisted for a long period to bring the topic of jobs to the centre of the discussion. Placing the worker at the centre of the framework is crucial, as we move towards a post-coal world.
This is crucial because the Anti-Adani movement’s aim to shut down the Adani mine is just the beginning. It is not the end. A move towards alternative energy and away from coal is evident. Protests against existing mines are just a matter of time. The industrial landscape will change forever.
However, any discussion regarding jobs is dismissed and not taken seriously.
Every Adani protester is protesting to shut down jobs and is part of a wider movement which will build and push to shut down even more heavy industry.
The wider narrative in the Anti-Adani movement, when the point of jobs is raised, makes this issue much bigger than Adani by default.
I have engaged almost every day in the Adani debate online, across various platforms for at least a year. In my experience, the rebuttals towards any argument put forward regarding jobs fall into a number of themes. The post-coal world is the framework for these themes, not just Adani per se.
This rebuttal insists that only Great Barrier Reef workers hold any importance and these workers are more important than Coal Workers.
This rebuttal dehumanises coal workers as a lower status of human. Job creation for this group is not considered. There is the assumption that these workers work in a dead industry and it is up to them to get out. Some insist it is up to the current coal mine owners to transition employees out now. Protestors see coal as an ugly and dirty industry. Therefore, stigmatisation of coal workers occurs.
This rebuttal is related to the above and shifts the blame of climate change to the actual worker. ie Coal workers are ruining the planet.
Coal workers will all automatically transition to a renewables job and this is the best fit for ex-coal workers is the assumption.
The assumption is that renewable energy companies will hire the ex-coal workforce. The other assumption is the same location will house the new industry. See above.
This rebuttal rejects that coal mining has any significant contribution to the Australian economy and renewables will generate much more revenue and jobs than coal. Also, local economies will remain unchanged. This rebuttal also assumes that small business or the allocation of public services funding and infrastructure funding will not change.
This rebuttal insists that we must sacrifice all coal jobs for the greater good; because if we don’t then there will be no world and no jobs.
When I raised jobs as an issue, the following themes occurred.
Personal investment – The major theme is ‘pro-coal‘. It is my observation that participants in this movement are unable to differentiate between pro-jobs and pro-coal.
Another theme is “Queensland Bias” as it is my home state.
Guilt – The other major theme is guilt. This is usually a counter-argument after jobs are raised. For example, accusations relating to; not caring about the Great Barrier Reef, GBR workers, First Nations people and land rights and not caring about Farmers.
From my perspective, it is important to include the personally directed themes, as these themes are quite prevalent. In addition, I would argue that these types of retaliations are an active part of a phenomenon which dismisses the worker by delegitimising the concern of the pro-jobs advocate.
This poses problems for any politician who tries argue the point for jobs. Not just at this moment regarding Adani, but as this movement progresses towards the insistence of more closures of heavy industry. On Qanda, the panel and audience ultimately dismissed Senator Canavan when he raised the issue of high unemployment for local areas near the mine.
The theme around this post coal transition within politics is largely devoid of any conversation around the transition of jobs and skills. The political themes are:
Climate Change Targets – This theme is central to reducing carbon emissions.
Alternative Energy – This theme is central to exploring the use of alternative energy, rather than the importance of transition of jobs within this shift.
Renewables the Best Fit – Renewables as the best fit for coal workers is assumed. Attracting other industry is not discussed. The redistribution of the public sector is also not discussed.
I have highlighted these themes, as I see them, as I believe they play a central part ensuring the recognition of the worker occurs.
Through the attempt to understand the current phenomenon using theming, we can then identify the actors within the phenomenon and what impact the phenomenon has as it develops. We can use this insight to shape society.
The worker will remain in the background unless we reflect upon these themes. Therefore, the worker will be an accidental casualty of the movement towards a post coal world.
In addition, these themes contribute to the way we insist that political parties approach a transition. For example, the emphasis placed on skills transition and profession transition.
Most importantly, whether political parties implement curative or preventative unemployment strategies to address unemployment.
Policy development towards unemployment takes two forms, preventative and curative. Essentially, preventative policy enables measures to prevent unemployment. Curative policy development is reactionary and punitive and seeks to address the consequences of unemployment.
It is essential that political parties develop a solid transition plan based on skills and jobs. However, there is not enough detail in the current Labor and Greens transition plans. A focus on energy rather than jobs is evident. I have been unable to source a transition plan by the Liberal National Coalition Government.
The Greens’ transition plan discusses the rehabilitation of mines as the main alternative job for ex-coal workers.
Labor’s transition plan takes a more holistic approach. However, I would argue that some points such as redeployment and relocation do not focus on community.
A detailed transition plan consisting of where the new industry will be developed, a jobs and skills forecast, including projected employment types, such as ongoing and casual should be developed. In addition, an examination of the reconfiguration of new industry and public services should occur.
The road to where we are heading, how we will get there and what happens when we get there is now urgent.
The Shorten Labor Government does discuss preventative unemployment strategies as part of their transition plan. However, this is more implicit, rather than explicit. We urgently need a strong voice pushing a detailed jobs narrative.
As the transition away from coal jobs occurs, an increase in the demand for labour is essential. A forecast of job losses in coal areas should enable political parties to develop a blue print for planning.
Business incentives to encourage businesses to relocate and set up in local areas could be advantageous. In addition, job creation through Government intervention would be beneficial.
Often skills development is discussed from a curative point of view of ‘getting the unemployed skilled for work’. However, within a preventative strategy, the addition of career development is an essential addition. The development of new skills to supply labour is essential as the transition away from coal assumes an increase in unemployment. This shift is structural and understood. Therefore, the worker can complete career development programs during their employment with a coal based employer.
A focus on preventative unemployment would see a national strategy employed where employers are subsidised to release existing labour for new skills development training.
Funding of Universities to develop appropriate courses and recruit staff ahead of time is also vital.
A micro approach to local economies should examine the requirements to reconfigure the labour market within Australia. Within a preventative strategy as alternatives or additions to renewable jobs and how this should be configured should be examined. For example, in conjunction with renewable jobs, local government areas may be identified as specific hubs. Such as telecommunications hubs, community sector hubs, aged care hubs.
A reconfiguration, redistribution and a reassessment of public sector need and staffing establishments required to adequately service the population should also be considered. Regional unemployment figures, rather than national unemployment figures, should be a measure of success.
The changes required towards a post coal world, including an increase in labour demand, a change of career and wages for many workers and a loss of increment/experience level is perceived.
The suppression of voice of the supply side of labour is a dangerous pressure from Liberal National Governments. They may argue that secure employment and strong labour regulations may reduce the desire for employers to employ more entrants into the new industry. They may argue that new industry in a new market is volatile and wages should be kept as low as possible and work as flexible as possible to enable growth.
However, a preventative framework should be a pluralistic framework. Therefore, the Government, employers and unions should work together to set the standards and improve worker security in new industries and in transitioning local economies.
Punitive measures underpin curative unemployment strategies. These have become increasingly harsh and prevalent since the 1990’s. Curative policies focus on the unemployed rather than the labour market. Therefore the motivations of the unemployed are questioned (and punished) rather than a recognition that there is not enough demand for labour in the market.
This transitional shift to a post coal world could also transition the job search framework. In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs, invest in skills and career development.
In a curative system, the underlying assumption is punitive. The jobless are blamed for their own unemployment. This is usually a lack of motivation and intrinsic propensity to learn or work. ‘Curing’ the causes of lack of motivation or desire to work are the strategies employed. Currently, these are financial penalties and working as free labour for welfare benefits.
In a preventative system creating labour demand to match the under-utilised supply would be the focus. A preventative unemployment strategy would see a Government motivated to intervene to create jobs. Also, invest in skills and career development of new and transitioning workers and incentivize business.
A consideration of the themes identified in the narrative in the shift towards a post coal society is critical to transition towards a narrative which places the worker front and centre in the climate change framework.
We need a detailed transition plan urgently. The implementation of preventative unemployment strategies will ensure a smooth transition to a post-coal world.
Since time immemorial, the worker has fended off constant attacks. PATH is another chapter in the Liberal’s playbook where they accurse the Proles to hell.
The Liberal Party of Australia formed to oppose the workers’ parties. How Liberals and Labor view the worker are worlds apart. PATH is a clear example of this.
The basis of the Liberal ideology is to enable growth in the free market. They believe the cost of labour should be as low as possible. Turnbull’s Liberals believe a worker’s labour should be a cheap commodity. The incessant need to eradicate workers’ unions and weaken industrial labour laws are a testament to this.
One could strongly argue that the aspiration of full employment is not on the Liberals’ agenda. High numbers of unemployed people result in a much larger labour pool. This, in turn, drives wages down. Or in the case of PATH – the creation of an opportunity where labour is utilised for free.
As Sussan Ley said on Qanda: Governments don’t create jobs
The neo-liberal ideology aim is to purchase a worker’s labour as cheaply as possible. Ideologues like Turnbull and Cash, view a law passed to create a pool of free labour, such as PATH, as an exciting achievement.
The Australian Labor Party was borne from the struggle of the worker. They believe that a worker’s labour is valuable. In simple terms, they believe that the ‘supply’ side of labour has the right to participate in setting the value of the labour. Hence their close connections with the unions. In simple terms, Labour Unions are there to protect the working class from the disintegration of rights and fair pay as imposed by the ruling class.
From this perspective, laws that negate this right, disempower workers and remove individual agency.
This is a punishment inflicted upon the working class.
The Turnbull Government introduced the PATH Program in the 2016 budget. This bill passed the Senate on 10 May 2017; with the assistance of Cory Bernardi, Derryn Hinch, Nick Xenophon Team, Jackie Lambie, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Family First all supporting the Government.
Only David Leyonhelm opposed the Bill, along with Labor and Greens.
The PATH program offers young job seekers an internship by contract with an employer. This contract legally reduces the value of a young jobseeker’s labour. The taxpayer pays the intern at a rate of $4.00 per hour.
This is $14.29 an hour less than the minimum wage.This is $6.04 less than a 16 year old junior and $16.08 an hour less than a 21-year-old level 1 employee rate set down for many industries detailed on the Fair Work Australia payment guides.
The PATH scheme enables an employer to decrease the value of the intern’s labour by a minimum of 80% based on the scantest of entry-level wages in the country.
Internships are often painted as ‘work experience.’ However, work experience places the worker at the centre of the framework. Work experience is usually a short-term experience in a workplace. This enabled the worker to determine if they should invest in developing skills to seek future work in that industry.
PATH places business at the centre of the framework. An internship is:
The internship is designed around the needs of the host organisation and the intern’s skills, experience and interests. (Item 4, Sample Path Internship Agreement)
The employer must sign off to agree that they have a vacancy available now or in the near future. They have already identified that they need staff to meet operational requirements.
The employer is already in a willing position to outlay money on recruitment and selection of new staff. They are already in a position to employ a jobseeker in a casual, temporary or permanent capacity.
This is not an incentive to increase staffing. PATH is an incentive to reduce recruitment & labour costs for staff that the organisation has already identified are required.
Businesses can make considerable savings in induction, training and performance management costs during the probation period, in addition to recruitment and selection savings
The PATH program enables an employer to try a number of potential employees for free. This also frees them from all the associated costs during the probationary period.
Businesses are able to increase profits through the tax payer funding the PATH program. This is not the same as work experience or on the job learning, such as an apprenticeship or traineeship. This is a free labour program dressed up ‘helping the jobless who seek to work.’
The PATH program strips workers of their own agency. The worker has forced upon them, a lower dollar value in exchange for their labour. Employers have an opportunity to reduce costs and increase profit.
Labour, raw materials and overheads are the inputs in the production of goods or services. The through-put is the phase that mixes all inputs, including labour, together.
The output, being the end product or service is purchased or consumed by the consumer at the point of sale. The employer factors into consideration the costs of all labour and materials in the input and through-put stages. The final product or service is sold for a percentage amount above the cost to produce that product or service. This is the profit.
The cheaper labour is, the greater the profit for the employer. The Government is creating a legal way for employers to reduce the cost of one factor of production.
The PATH program simply offers employers a way to reduce the cost of developing their product or service, enabling them to make a greater profit.
The PATH program offers no guarantee of future secure employment. It does not offer a qualification that may be determined by the worker to be a sufficient value to trade for the monetary value of their labour.
What are the impacts on the emotional health of a young worker, if they are not retained? What are the supports in place?
Experience as a payment does not automatically equal the same value of labour. Labour is given in exchange for money, conditions and other benefits. There is no formal equivalent offered to the value of the loss of wages, such as a degree that has a beneficial use to enable the worker to sell their labour to another organisation.
There is no solid case that this experience will be valued by the young worker so much that it will negate any negative affect the young jobseeker will experience if they are not retained.
My main area of interest is emotions in the workplace. I would encourage other bloggers to approach the PATH program from the aspect of the emotional well-being of the intern. I strongly believe we need as many people as possible investigating this issue.
We are working people.
Even laugh about it sometimes.
None of us are winners.
(Cameron Wolfe – Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak.)
These six lines boom, boom, boomed like a heart beating in the middle of page 25.
Marus Zusak has captured the essence of so many Australians. This is who we are.
The struggle of the working class in this country is a dire story. Sure, we have a history of hard fought victories. But as long as free marketeers live and breathe on the parliament floor, this struggle is endless.
Past struggle lives like a dormant beast within every, single worker.
The scars that punctured the body and mind, the endless nights staring at jail cell walls and the lives lost, of those before us, embodies the beast which stirs within the heart of every worker.
When Liberals and Conservatives think they can take away agency of the jobless. When they insist upon total control of their spending with a plastic card. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When they deny us and our children the opportunity of a skilled education, to learn a trade or a profession. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When they make a rule that says the weekends are only important to people who can afford to not work on the weekend. the beast of past struggle stirs.
And when they think they have the right to tell young people who are desperate for work that their labour has no value. The beast of past struggle stirs.
When the beast of past struggle stirs in many of us, the beast of past struggle ROARS!
This is the third article in a series which discusses how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation is attacking the worker and the poor. I am asking One Nation voters to reconsider their vote.
Anecdotally and through observation of social media engagement; One Nation Voters do not represent the elite and wealthy class in Australia. The majority of One Nation voters appear to be either working lower to middle class or recipients of full or part welfare payments.
Other suggestions have been that this party is also the third party choice of ex-Palmer United Party voters. Voters for Palmer were identified as low socio-economic, suburban and rural voters, low education status, unemployed or working part time.
One Nation has decided to support the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission) and six billion dollars worth of cuts to welfare.
The support for the ABCC will see a return of a star chamber style inquiry for workers who may stop work due to safety breaches (including deaths in the workplace). There is a punitive motive behind this commission. That is to deter workers from striking. By sending the message that they will may be fined or jailed if they stop work. The Government is protecting the profits of business.
The worker will have less rights than a murderer, rapist or drug dealer. They will not be entitled to a lawyer and they will not have the right to silence. They can go to jail if they refuse to answer questions.
For One Nation voters reading this, is this the type of workplace you want for either yourself, your family, friends or your children? How will you cope when your seventeen year old apprentice tradie is facing jail time? Facing jail because they chose to stop work because someone died from an incident on site? One Nation supports that the worker should keep working. They support this even if this means the hazard has not been controlled. They support this even if the workers may be in danger.
Here is what your support for this party, along with Coalition voters will bring to workers:
I get that there are many people out there who absolutely hate the worker and hate unions. These people normally support the Liberal and National Parties and Family First. I find it difficult to reconcile that One Nation voters would support a bill that endangers the life of workers. Or vote to see them jailed. I find it hard to reconcile that many people in this group fought hard against the VLAD laws under Newman in QLD, and would support a party that takes away the civil rights of the worker.
Abbott and Turnbull have worked their hardest to bash unions and create a lot of distrust. The existence of unions isn’t some fun game where you get to join in to bash unions. Unions have a legitimate purpose in the workplace. One of their key responsibilities is to ensure the employer provides a safe working environment. A safe working environment means you go home the same (or better) than you went to work.
I think there are a lot of people out there who should be standing up and on the side of the worker and unions. However for some reason choose the side of the elite and the wealthy. Why?
As a voter of One Nation, I have heard you say time and time again, that you “Stand up for Australians.” Well where is your empathy for working Australians? Where was your outcry the last few weeks when five workers died in construction and transport? Where is your attack on Pauline Hanson and her ilk? Crickets
Voting isn’t a game. Vote with your heart and your head. The support of this bill will ruin the lives of hard working Australians and you are now a part of that.
The harsh reality that One Nation voters will need to face, along with Liberal and National party voters, is that workers will die because of this bill.
If you voted for One Nation in the faith that they would be good for the “Average Australian” please start taking a lot of notice of what they support in the Senate and reconsider your vote.
The other plan that Pauline Hanson announced that they are supporting, is six billion dollars of cuts to welfare.
In a nutshell, this is taking money away from anyone who receives family payment, all pensioners (including veterans) and families who have just had a baby. In addition, if you lose your job you will need to wait for four weeks for any unemployment benefit. Some who live week to week will get kicked out of rental accommodation. They will not be able to afford food. They will not be able to even purchase items for hygiene such as soaps, shampoo or women’s sanitary products, which are essential, not a luxury item.
This will increase homelessness, poverty and crime. Having no money for phone or transport will actually make it harder for people to find work. This then makes it easier for the Government to punish people and cut them off unemployment for longer periods.
The original period was six months and Labor, the Greens and Jackie Lambie fought against this and now the Government is ‘compromising’ and have changed it to four weeks.
Here is a video about poverty in Australia. Pauline Hanson thinks that by making poverty worse, it will force people to get a job. You know and I know that, that is a ridiculous way to look at the world. Especially if you have lived it or are living it. Especially when you know that there are 19 jobseekers for every job.
I know people who voted for Hanson, understand what it is like to live week to week. I know they know what a struggle that is. Imagine at the end of that week when you are checking your bank every five minutes – there is another three weeks to go. What would you do? What is the party you voted for supporting? I am asking you very sincerely to really think about this. Please put yourself in their shoes, if they are not your own. I am asking you to have empathy for these people and I want to know why you are not angry – because I am livid.
Pauline Hanson is not standing up for Australians. It is time to have a think about whether she is just another politician who has pulled the wool over the eyes of voters. It is time to think about what her real motives are.
I am targeting Pauline Hanson and the One Nation party because they asked genuine good hearted Australians for their vote, on the illusion that her party would help people who are doing it tough. Hanson knows very well, that Australians are passionate about standing up for the battler. She marketed her party to appeal to those emotions.
I know that so many people have lost faith in politics. I know that so many people out there are looking for a third option. Pauline Hanson knows this and this is why she has made a come back. I am angry because she has tricked so many good people and promoted her party based on lies.
Pauline Hanson is an ex-Liberal party member who was sacked from the party because her racism against Aboriginal people and Asian people was so nasty, even the Liberals did not want her. She has always believed that those who own their own businesses are ‘harder workers’ than the average Australian worker and she has never had time for anyone on welfare.
For those who say that ‘I need to familiarise myself with Hanson’s policies’ she is proving that her policies are not worth the paper they are written on.
A leopard does not change it’s spots and Hanson will not change hers. If you truly voted for this party, not because you agree with her racist beliefs, but you truly believed that she would stand up for the battler and the average Australian. Please take heed of her history and her actions now and reconsider your vote.
With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”
Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?
Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.
Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.
However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.
I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking, of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”
I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.
Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country. Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.
Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.
They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.
They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy. Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.
Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.
The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.
Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies.
Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.
Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.
Labor – Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.
Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).
Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community. They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.
Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.
Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.
Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN
Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.
His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same. His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!
His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies. There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.
Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development. A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.
As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.
Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”
Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus. Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.
Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.
As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.
I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.
In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.
I had the opportunity to ask a question. He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.
He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.
I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.
I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history. I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.
It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership. It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.
Whether you think post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.
Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.
For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values – have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?
The Hashtag #MalcolmWasSoPoor has been trending around the Twitter-verse. This is in response to a recent public video from our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In a cruel morbidly satirical twist to the election; our obnoxiously wealthy, high end of town associated, Cayman Island investing, Australian Prime Minister has tried to prop himself up as the very battler his own party oppresses.
Turnbull tells the story of his single father – A hotel broker – a life of real battles and struggles. He speaks about this battle and struggle of a hotel broker parent as synonymous with the lives of other single parents – the low paid workers and the welfare dependent.
In his out of touch way, he also tries to draw the implicit comparison that genuinely poor people understand, and that is that ‘sometimes love is all that gets us through.’
Love is all that gets us through when we need to eat hot milk, bread and sugar to fill our tummies and keep us warm; not when we are worrying about what the elite private school we are attending might be serving us for lunch!
It is well known that Turnbull has had a privileged life, attending a school for the wealthy, has had high-flying well known connections to assist him to get ahead in life and is now a multi-millionaire. Australians are not dolts and the viral hash-tag shows that many Australians are beyond belief at this latest grab for votes.
This attempt to identify with those in poverty, would have been more palatable, if he had recognised his privilege, but identified that he has used that privilege to listen to people and work on ways to help them. But he did not.
The release of this video in the midst of an election – an election with class-war as the centrepiece, draws parallels to cultural appropriation in the form of poverty appropriation.
You simply cannot dress yourself up as a poor and disadvantaged person and ‘borrow’ that way of life as if this gives you entitlement to the pain and struggles of these people. It is insulting and denies the credit of the struggle of the poor and disadvantaged that they deserve. Poverty appropriation is a new low in politics.
The disconnect of Turnbull and the Liberal party to the poor and disadvantaged demographic is ingrained within their constitution:
2. d (vi) looking primarily to the encouragement of individual initiative and enterprise as the dynamic force of progress. Which translates to:
This is a stuff and nonsense platitude that does nothing but add another label or ‘laziness’ or ‘bludger’ to the poor and disadvantaged, who are already stigmatised by the empty LNP rhetoric and their harsh policy decisions.
Turnbull doesn’t want us to look at the Duncan Storrar’s of this world and say ‘how can we help as a collective – as a nation? How can we work together to do better to assist people like Duncan lead a better life? What can the Government do about this?’
No, Turnbull wants us to look at people like Duncan and cry:
“Shame! You have not used your own initiative, you are lazy and can do better! The Liberal Party gives you the individual freedom and punitive welfare measures to push you forward and make you work hard and the free market to do this in. It is your fault if you cannot be the best you can be.”
…and this was very loudly backed up by the Liberal Party’s biggest advocates – The Murdoch Press.
There are kids who are the real battlers of today, who do not need to use some type of poverty appropriation to experience it, to empathise with it or identify with it – they live it every day. Here are ten kids poorer than Malcolm:
1. The eight year old boy in regional and rural Australia who is struggling to get a proper education because his family has no access to the internet.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his judgement of rural and regional Australians that he completely misunderstands their communications needs and how a communications infrastructure is essential and affects their prospects for the future.
2. The ten year old girl who can sing like an angel, who has the potential to be another Dame Joan Sutherland, but is unable to compete beyond the local eisteddfod, as her parents cannot afford singing lessons, let alone the travel for state or national competition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of how a few spare dollars a fortnight can make the future so different for some children, when his party cut Family Payments.
3. The seven year old girl in a regional community who misses her dad so much when he goes away for treatment for weeks at a time, as the regional hospital does not have the services to treat his condition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of the crucial role public health plays, particularly in regional communities when his Government cut critical health funding by $80 billion dollars.
4. The six year old boy who sees the shame in his mother’s eyes simultaneously with the judging eyes of the shop assistant as his mother hands over her Basic’s Card and he feels the not yet understood feeling of stigma.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his life experience that he cannot empathise and feel the shame and stigma that income management brings.
5. The nine year old girl with undiagnosed learning problems who will get further and further behind, because the school cannot afford additional remedial support staff to assist her.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his choosing a life dedicated to individualism and the free market over democratic socialism, that he cannot comprehend how an ideology based on individualism hurts those most in need and it is the chain that holds them back when he chose not to ‘Go the Full Gonski – whatever that means.’
6. The three young children who were so hungry their stomachs hurt, because they were unlucky to live in a disaster prone area when a flood hit and they had no access to funding for food after all of theirs was spoilt and destroyed.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in the checking of his privilege when he supported his party to cut Labor’s disaster funding guidelines which excluded so many needy disaster stricken families in desperate need of financial assistance.
7. The eleven year old girl who knows how to grab her four year old brother quickly to find the hiding spot and knows how to keep very, very still and not make a sound as she cries when she hears her mother get thumped and dragged and beaten and her heart races with every blood curdling scream, because Mummy says there is no where for them to go.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his commitment to feminism when the Liberal party cut funding to domestic violence services and Community Legal Centres in Australia and decided to inadequately address funding needs for this sector in the budget.
8. The young person who will suicide next week due to not being able to cope with early onset of psychosis and his family cannot afford $600 to see a private psychologist.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding that all lives matter more than dollars when he made the commitment to discontinue organisations such as the The Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program.
9. The young teenage girl who will develop serious health problems and die at only age 26, as in making the choice between a paying for a blood test or food, she chose food.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his foresight that destroying and privatising Medicare that this situation will be a young person’s future reality.
10. The thirteen year old boy who is so afraid inside, but must show he is brave as he continually swallows the urge to cry, as he sleeps tucked up inside a stolen sleeping bag in an abandoned industrial building with his new ‘friends’.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his comprehension that being a homeless youth is terrifying, lonely and dangerous when the Turnbull-Abbott government cut more than $500 million from homelessness support services.
As a child raised below the poverty line, this latest Turnbull video – an attempt at garnering votes saw me initially remain silent. Regardless of Turnbull’s intention with this video, it has made me feel by ‘borrowing the lived experience of real poverty’ as his own, he has mocked my childhood and my experiences with contempt as he lilts and lulls his inflections with aplomb and tries to romanticise a life of disadvantage as ‘one that is the foundation of success’, as long as you have a ‘good dad.’
As someone who normally enjoys political satire, I have not been able to participate in the #MalcolmWasSoPoor Twitter frenzy and mock Turnbull’s attempt at poverty appropriation. I did not know why, until I worked out how this had actually made me feel.
I can only speak for how I feel and not for others, but this latest political stunt has developed a seething inner child who has screamed so loudly to stand in solidarity with the children of poverty who exist today that I was compelled to pen this post and give them voice through this medium.
To say the least, writing this list has been extremely confrontational, even with my own lived experience. I have used poetic licence to bring these stories into the context of today, but every single example is a built from a real example of someone I have made a connection with throughout my life, except for number 9, which is a hypothetical of the result of a Medicare system under destruction. These stories are not fiction.
Rich or Poor we have the power in this country to make our world better for these children and we can do that with a vote. There are children like these in every electorate, this is their reality. Vote for an end to the conservative agenda permeated with individualism and put the LNP last on July 2. Our voice is our power. Please use it wisely.
The news reader triumphantly announced with over-enthusiasm the other day that our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy had spent $130,000 of their own money to refurbish the Lodge. I think this was supposed to impress me, the listener and for some reason I should feel buoyed by this news. However, I just made an instinctive ‘I’m gagging face” and kept on peeling the potatoes.
This made me aware of a few things. Firstly, how my body and face reacts and contorts subconsciously when our self-appointed, undemocratically elected leader speaks or if someone is praising him.
However, on a more serious note, this made me aware that Malcolm and Lucy were so comfortable and self-assured that they would be living at the Lodge for a long time; that they had no problem spending their own money on it. They must feel quite safe and secure.
If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, safety and security would be the two things he either remembered and longed for to feel again or tragically had not yet experienced. Wednesday, 13th April is National Youth Homelessness Matters Day. Today, I take a crystal ball view at the tautological, verbose, pontificated lectures Malcolm Turnbull would bestow upon us, if he was, (by way of innovative technology of course), somehow transformed into a homeless youth.
If Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would stand in the town square and provide us with a lengthy lecture on the gross unavailability of housing for low and middle-income earners in Australia. He would close his fist and jut out his chin and use marvellous adjectives to describe the abhorrence of under-funding and cuts to youth and community accommodation services. Cuts that mean the difference between support and safety or homelessness and fear. He would speak of the absolute “criminal act” of negative gearing that gives tax dollars to people who own three or four or even fifty houses, when that money could be used to sustain a ‘viable and sustainable safe society for those who are homeless.’ He would tell us that, ‘as Australians we have no better duty than to stamp out homelessness.’ He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister who uses empty words and takes no real action. He would not grow up to be a leader who protects the rich and speaks of the poor as ‘others.’
As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.“
When Turnbull is happy he makes sure he is seen everywhere. On trams, trains, taking selfies in the street. When things don’t seem to be going too great for Turnbull, he skulks off without speaking to the media, head down hurrying the treasurer along into a waiting vehicle. He wants to be invisible at that point in time.
For some homeless kids, their homelessness is invisible. Some are not living rough on the streets, but possibly couch surfing with friends, relatives or sometimes complete strangers. Some have escaped domestic violence and may still be with a parent or siblings or they may have escaped sexual abuse and are alone and sometimes even ostracised or abandoned by family, just for being a victim. Regardless of the circumstance, regular everyday kids can fall into homelessness quickly and some still try to maintain the normality of attending school. They still desire and deserve an education.
If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would be one of over the 20,000 plus young people of high school age who have no security, safety or privacy of their own home. Malcolm, not shy of the spotlight would stand up and argue that schools need more funding for specialists teachers and resources for children who may fall behind due to circumstances beyond their control. He would argue forcefully that he and others like him, ‘did not ask for this.’ He would advocate with great passion that we need to fund schools so every child is equal. He would tell us that, “We must recognise that our youth are our leaders of tomorrow and all children….. OUR children deserve an education.”
He would indeed give a Gonski. He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister who does not believe that education is for all. He would not grow up to be a leader with strong arguments to fund public schools and leave the public schools to the inequitable system of taxpayer dollars in each state. He would not grow up to the Prime Minister who disrespected and flipped off funding the most thorough review of education as “The full Gonski – Whatever that means.”
As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.“
Our Prime Minister is well known for his wealth. He has an enormous fortune and monetary wealth that most people cannot even comprehend (including me!). He defended his ‘freedom’ to use offshore banking in the Cayman Islands, claiming he has not broken the law. Luckily for Malcolm our laws protect the wealthy. These types of laws are protected and fought against from change by wealthy Australians. However, if there are laws to manage, control and stigmatise the poor and homeless, they are broadcasted with confidence and aplomb and the public are reassured how much these types of laws are needed to protect us from those who are unfortunate enough not to have a job.
However, if there are laws to manage, control and stigmatise the poor and homeless, they are broadcasted with aplomb and the public are reassured that these types of laws are needed to protect us from those who are unfortunate enough not to have a job. The protection of taxpayer dollars from the unemployed who live below the poverty line is paramount.
For some homeless youth, this is their world. A navigation of a welfare system where they are managed as a number, with no real practical assistance, punished by the implementation of punitive measures such cutting benefits and having their money controlled, monitored and restricted by the use of the Basics Card or the ‘Healthy Welfare Card’ if they are unfortunate enough to live in one of the listed areas. The agenda of stigmatisation is underpinned by legislation and the culture of stigmatisation is enabled by politicians and the mainstream media, through the use of negative labels such as ‘bludgers’ and ‘welfare cheats.’
For some homeless youth, they are living in share accommodation with others and need income to pay for the necessities as food, clothing and shelter, electricity, transport and communication such as phone or the internet.
Many homeless youths desperately want employment to improve their circumstances. Some cannot manage employment, due to circumstances beyond their control. But yet, are still judged and still punished by the system. Homeless youth face incredible barriers to employment, many which are hidden barriers to employment. If they find work, they are most generally amongst the working poor. Many have significant barriers preventing them from seeking work, gaining work. Even if they have work, they are prevented from sometimes taking shifts, particularly in regional and rural areas with limited public transport. They are often under agreements that have low wages or have penalty rates taken away. Some agreements are still under the Work Choices legislation.
If Malcolm Turnbull was a homeless youth, he would speak out against the stigmatisation and hindrances of the current welfare and job seeker assistance systems. He would passionately argue how demeaning stigmatising language is used by the media and some politicians. He would say that ‘cultural change against stigma for homeless youth, begins with our narrative.’ He would remind us of our responsibilities as citizens. He would demand action for practical solutions to assist those seeking employment. He would demand an end of income management and an end to punitive measures. He would twirl his glasses and deeply furrow his brow and speak of the untapped potential there is amongst homeless youth, if only they were given a chance.
He would not grow up to be a Prime Minister that whole heartedly supports every measure of a punitive, and stigmatising budget of his predecessor. He would march in the streets to save penalty rates. He would not grow up to be the great pretender who is now in a complete state of discombobulation because he used to say one thing and now does another.
As an outspoken young man with a love for politics, he would convey his heartfelt emotion that politics changes lives. He would stand upright and close his eyes as if to convey some magical transfer of emotional contagion and encourage people with all of his might and say “Youth Homelessness matters so put the Liberals Last.“
Some of you may wonder why this blog post about homelessness has a political angle. Through my eyes, politics changes lives. A cure for homelessness is not as simple as joining a protest, or sharing a meme or making a donation. All of those things are important, but the relief comes when the public push for change politically. The relief comes when supportive and progressive decisions are made and implemented.
To me, the political parties and leaders we democratically choose to lead us, are our responsibility and we must, we simply must stop and think of the consequences of that vote. We simply must become more aware, more engaged and more involved in political parties or support independent candidates, wherever our persuasion lies. These elected representatives are the voices we choose to speak for us and for those we speak up for because they can’t. The wrong party, the wrong leader and the wrong decisions have dire consequences for individuals, communities and our nation. Jack Layton (Canadian New Democratic Party) sums it up as:
Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”
After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!
In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”
Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!
Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.
To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used….If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.
The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:
Education changes people’s lives. The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education. It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.
The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.
This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.)
I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.
Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.
The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die. This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country. No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.
Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work. How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it. Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?
The push from the Abbott- Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.
The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging. The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.
The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.
One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion. I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday. The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.
Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?
Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.
Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.
By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress. As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.
It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months. Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks. To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.
That is just a list of 20 examples of people who don’t just have a difficult day, they have a difficult day every single day whilst your Government is hurting everyday Australians. Please call an election. It’s not just the Speaker who needed to go. Your entire Government needs to go.
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 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.
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?)
Letter to the Editor of The Morning
During the election campaign Ms. Landry reassured voters that she knew what it was like to struggle. She could empathise with battlers and she understood their plight. I now wonder if Ms. Landry’s understanding of ‘battler’ is the same as mine and many others in this community.
After the budget announcement, I turned my thoughts to the people who make up this great community that I grew up in. Ms. Landry’s Government’s focus is to treat with extreme harshness, the disadvantaged in this community. People under 25 will not receive any assistance, unless they are enrolled in a study or employed. If they don’t they will have no income. Food, clothing and shelter will not be a viable option. No money to even purchase personal hygiene products. No money to give them even a skerrick of dignity.
According to the 2011 census data, in Capricornia we have 19,786 people between 15 and 25. Of the 13 253 Young people in the Labour force, 1,149 are jobseekers. That is an 8.4% youth unemployment rate in Capricornia, based on 2011 figures. However TMB reported in February that the current youth unemployment figure is 13.6% for 15 – 24 year olds. Therefore the following figures would be expectedly worse based on current data. If we look at entry level jobs, according to vacancy data for March for CQ, there were 949 vacancies across, entry level jobs. Even if this group were all job-ready (which many are not) and secured a job, 200 young people in this region would have no income at all. However, this group are competing with 1,905 unemployed persons across other age brackets, who most likely have more experience. Therefore, hundreds of Capricornian young people will be destitute, homeless and starving.
Census data for 2011 stated that 3060 were seeking work in Capricornia and the vacancy figures for CQ for March show there were 2433 vacancies, across all areas. Considering 1466 of these vacancies are for experienced and qualified jobseekers, this makes the employment search for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged a terrifying impossibility for some. I never thought I would ever live in a country where the Government imposes poverty on its citizens. Ms. Landry, you are a part of that and the people who voted for you are also now part of that. Albeit inadvertently. If you had been honest with this electorate about these cuts, would LNP still hold this seat today?
Could TMB interview Ms. Landry about what she is going to do for people in this community who will fall down the cracks and live in abject poverty? What are her plans for job creation? How will she respond to the increase in need to access charity services? How will she respond if the crime rate goes up? What do the victims of this budget focus on as their hope, when all hope is taken away?
Our only real hope is if the Senate blocks supply and this vindictive, cruel and heartless Government is dissolved and we go back to the polls.