When the Government starts relying on anecdotes and stereotypes over obvious facts to formulate its work for the dole policy, alarm bells should be ringing, writes Greg Jericho.
Anecdotes are great fun at a sportsman's night, but when a government is using them to develop policy, they're scary - especially when it affects the lives of some of the most vulnerable.
The Government's new policy measures for the unemployed, announced on Monday by Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker, encapsulate this Government's belief in the anecdotes and stereotype over facts and well-researched policy.
Among the biggest changes are that jobseekers will have to apply for 40 jobs a month, and those under 30 will have to perform 25 hours a week of work for the dole, while those under 50 will have to do 15 hours.
The entire premise is based around the rather fact-free proposition that the reason most people are unemployed is because they are not trying hard enough to get a job and that somehow working for the dole and forcing unemployed to send out 40 applications a month will improve their chances of getting paid work.
Given the Government is spending about $5.1billion on its policy, one would hope it was supported by extensive research. But alas, no.
read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-30/jericho-sorting-fact-from-fiction-in-dole-policy/5631940
The Abbott government’s tougher requirements on job seekers are likely to backfire, harming rather than helping their chances of finding work, job agencies and welfare groups have said.
Asked to assess the likely net impact of the policies unveiled to date by the Coalition against their goal – more people finding work – experts said some measures could help but the net effect would probably be negative.
The Coalition has unveiled new draft contracts for job search agencies, requiring 40 job applications a month on top of 15 to 25 hours’ a week “work for the dole” for some unemployed people, dole payments for only six out of twelve months for job seekers under 30, tough compulsory periods of non-payment for those who refuse a job or fail to meet requirements and a new system of employer subsidies.
Immediate attention has focused on the requirement for 40 job applications a month. Business groups have warned they will be swamped with pointless job applications and the employment minister, Eric Abetz, said he was listening to business concerns because “we as a government do not want box-ticking to take place. We don't want red tape and inconvenience to employers.”
read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/29/tougher-job-seeker-rules-will-have-negative-impact-say-interest-groups
Australian mining engineers say the changing nature of the resources industry has put their job prospects on shaky ground.
The Federal Government says Adani's newly-approved $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland will be a jobs bonanza.
It is expected to create about 6,000 positions, but many highly skilled mine designers believe they will miss out.
Structural designer Chris Gifford said although his skills were in high demand during the resources boom, he was now one of thousands out of work.
He said many skilled workers feared the new Galilee Basin coal projects would be designed overseas.
"[I'm] not confident we're going to see many jobs," he said.
"Brisbane was quite vibrant with mining work until the end of 2012."
Mr Gifford said he had been out of work since the coal industry slowed down.
"Engineering houses in Brisbane have shut down," he said.
Graham Short from the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said there was a growing unemployment problem for specialised mine workers.
"There's been ongoing concerns within the professional sector working with the mining industry," he said.
This week came yet again the calls from business that “we’ll all be rooned”. They started with the release of a report by the Business Council of Australia, and were accompanied by Gina Rinehart yet again suggesting we need to be more like Africa.
The great thing about Australian business leaders is they always have something to whinge about, and almost without fail the amount they have to pay their workers will be top of the list.
On Tuesday, the Australian’s front page pictured Rinehart looking across the Indian Ocean with wistful longing. Under the headline High costs hurting mining, she argued that an example of Australia’s poor competitiveness was that “Rio Tinto, which has been in Australia for decades, and made most of its revenue from Australia, is now arranging multibillions of dollars of investment for a major resource project with substantial infrastructure in Guinea in Africa”.
Her positive view of Africa compared with Australia is long held. Back in 2012 she was saying that “Africans want to work, and its workers are willing to work for less than $2 per day. Such statistics make me worry for this country’s future.”
It’s worth noting that she wasn’t worried about what having people work for $2 a day in Australia would do to the social fabric of this country.
It’s also worth noting that Rio Tinto does continue to invest heavily in Australia. It’s 2014 second quarter report noted it has projects in Australia in the earliest stage for aluminium, copper and uranium, at the advanced stage for copper, and at the evaluation stage for copper, aluminium, uranium and iron ore.
read more: http://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2014/jul/31/business-leaders-should-stop-whinging-about-australias-competitiveness
I have an idea: Send Gina and her cash to Africa...
We need to stop pretending that the Government's work-for-the-dole scheme has anything to do with "mutual obligation", or helping the unemployed get a job, and just accept the obvious: its intention is first and foremost to discipline and punish jobseekers while avoiding dealing with the circumstances that cause unemployment in the first place.
It is the very fact that the Government is incapable of actually dealing with unemployment - and has no interest in doing so - that makes it necessary for them to project their failure back onto the unemployed themselves, to design a unemployment scheme that is less about getting people jobs than about blaming workers for the fact that there aren't enough jobs to get.
The Kafkaesque nature of this charade was beautifully illustrated the other night by none other than Eric Abetz, the Employment Minister, who had this wondrous exchange with host, Emma Alberici:
EMMA ALBERICI: Now you want people to apply for 40 jobs a month - that's roughly two jobs per working day. Are you confident that especially in places like your state of Tasmania, there will actually be that many positions available for each person?
ERIC ABETZ: What we're asking most of the jobseekers to do is to seek a job of a morning and of an afternoon and I think that is a reasonable request to make of our fellow Australians...
EMMA ALBERICI: I am sorry to interrupt you, but the question specifically I was saying was: will there be that many positions to apply for in a place like Tasmania, for instance, where jobs are already so sparse?
ERIC ABETZ: When jobs are sparse, it means that you've got to apply for more jobs to get a job.
Wrap your head around that. When jobs are sparse, the way to get a job is to apply for more of the jobs that, by definition, don't exist in sufficient numbers, because they are, as the Minister himself said, sparse.
Like Tony the Turd, Abetz is an idiot.
Tony Abbott has left the door open to expanding welfare quarantining, but in a more limited form than proposed by the mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who wants almost all government benefits to be paid into income-management accounts.
Forrest’s review of Indigenous training and employment has called for the introduction of a “healthy welfare” card to dictate how Australians on welfare should spend their payments, a wide-reaching proposal described by the Greens as a “scary picture”.
The government-commissioned Creating Parity report, released on Friday, recommends that the welfare card should be compulsory for all Australians, Indigenous or not, in order to manage incomes and “stem passive welfare”.
The card would see all welfare payments, apart from age or veterans’ pensions, paid into a savings account accessed by the card, which could “block the issue of cash and the purchase of alcohol, gambling and illicit services, and gift cards at the point of sale”.
“This card directs spending to purchases that sustain and support a healthy lifestyle for the recipients and any children of those recipients (e.g. essential goods such as food, clothing, utilities, rent) and to savings for larger expenses,” the reports states.
Financial institutions would assist with this radical escalation of income management, with the card able to be used at any Australian retail store or online facility that accepted credit or debit cards, except for alcohol and gambling outlets.
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