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PATH: Proles Accursed To HELL! Enough!

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.

A Worker’s Labour is Valuable

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.

Australian Liberals

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 Liberal’s 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.

Australian Labor

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 Rise of the PATH

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 to Nothingness

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.

intern wage decrease

Business is at the Centre of the Framework

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.

Additional Cost Savings to Business

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.’

Lower Labor Costs Equal Increased Profits

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 other 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 at the input and throughput 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.

No Employment Guarantee

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.

Work. Struggle.

We are working people.
Even laugh about it sometimes.
None of us are winners.
We’re survivors
(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.

The Beast of Past Struggle

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!

In a civilised society, labour is purchased for its determined worth, not stolen through the rule of badly designed laws.


Originally published on The Red Window Blog



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  1. Michael Taylor

    Brilliant, Trish. Simply awesome post.

  2. Freetasman

    Excellent article, what frustrate me no end is that the union cannot do nothing without the support of the members which are in decline in numbers or get the support of the non union workers that cannot see that their job and wages are at risk.
    Also not forget that we have another tactic by the neoliberals and it is the workforce casualisation which continue to increase.
    On the top of that we have the cut in the penalty rates.
    How we can get out of this? bugger if I know when the victims remind quite.

  3. Trish Corry

    How can we get out of this? Union wise, the answer is Sally McManus.

  4. Freetasman

    Trish, I like her, but for long time I have lost touch with the unions and ALP so I would like to know how much support she has by the ALP.
    It appears to me that her ideas are not going hand on hand with Chris Bowen.

  5. Trish Corry

    I’m not sure. Even if things are not supportive 100% great change can come from dissent. I’m confident Sally will be focused 100% on the workers. I haven’t felt this way since watching Bob Hawke talk about fairness for everyone when I was 11. Unions just won a right to request permanency after 12 months casual. From memory that was abolished circa 2004 (it used to be 6 months).

  6. Freetasman

    I wish her the very best and to be strong, it is for the good of the working class and the next generations.
    That permanency after 12 month is just not good enough if you read the small print but all in all is a good step in the right direction and half of the job done for the next Labor government.

  7. Trish Corry

    Oh yes baby steps indeed. Never know, when Shorten retires as PM, Sally maybe PM with Andrew Leigh as Treasurer. That would make me happy. I don’t mind Bowen but Andrew Leigh is super freaky smart. I’d take advice from him anyday. Look out for my new weekly blog every Saturday about what Sally has been up to. First one is this weekend. I’ve rejigged my blog and I’m doing some recurring themes.

  8. Matters Not

    While Andrew Leigh might be super freaky smart , he is not aligned to any faction. While intellectually capable, he is therefore politically dumb – given current arrangements.

    Yes Goss went down that path as did Paul Braddy (in your neck of the woods) their non-alignment was but temporary.

  9. Trish Corry

    Each to their own. I kinda really like nerds. I’d describe him as a nerd. I’m left faction, but I think ideas are more important. It’s still one party in the end.

  10. paulwalter

    Can I say, “hang the capitalists”?


    Nah, have nothing to offer tonight, just, “that is all”. Does this happen to other people as they grow older?

  11. jamesss

    Trish, it seems the NLP through their actions, internal and external will be the cause of their demise. An unforeseen consequence if you will. An outcome beyond any thought bubble, history is filled with such evidence. How delightful.

  12. Mal

    I remember as a high school student, with my brother, working on a tobacco farm that was quite a way out of town; probably at least 5 miles that we had to walk to and from. Needless to say that didn’t last long. One of the older workers found this out in the due course of conversation as we snapped off the suckers from each plant on our way down the rows. He “went off his brain” about this and stormed off to “rev” the boss up. I can’t remember what happened after that but since that incident and many others in the various jobs that I’ve held, I’ve learned that respect is never earned by demand and work wasn’t and should never be a dirty word. The ignorant bastards that treat our kids like that are bringing it upon themselves. A great number of young people who find themselves in the Path (etic) system will devise their own means of equalising the situation as each sees fit. I imagine if I were unfortunate enough to return to slavery, whoops I mean work, the employer would get what he or she pays for; a dithering fool who likes to play pranks, break equipment, disrupt the well meaning and generally drag production down.

  13. Mick Byron

    Trish Corry
    This intern thing really bothers me and I worry it will take hold as in the USA and wherever they are exporting it to.
    As a builder I developed a strong interest in ancient civilisations and buildings, that is, buildings by supposedly primitive people using primitive tools to build structures that today our experts find difficult to engineer. but that’s for another day.
    On one such visit my wife an I went to Panama and heard of a supposed “worlds most sustainable town” Kalu Yala. since revised down to “A sustainable town” then “New Town”
    I read up and found it owned by a company set up by a failed American property developer
    and built over the years by priveledged white kids who pay $5000 each for a 10 week stay as interns.
    I managed to get the TV series about it, Jungle Town, and was struck by one discussion.
    A montana developer visited Kalu Yala to see if it was viable for her to turn her 400 acre Montana land into a sustainable camp.
    The discussion
    She ” I think I will go ahead”
    He “we can help”
    She “To start I think I need 20 young people to pay me $1000 each to come and build Eco toilets to start with”
    He “we can get you interns for that”

    I gave up watching Jungle Town at that point

  14. Trish Corry

    Mick, those last few lines show how this could really permeate our culture. There is a paper I read years ago. I think it was Marx but don’t quote me. Anyway it was old. It was about how automation devalues life and if people don’t have meaningful work in their life to sustain quality of life, society as we know it will collapse. We are now in the face of a second industrial revolution. Coupled with what you wrote above, it’s a scary thought.

  15. Matt

    I believe it is inevitable that we will adopt the maxims, not of Marx, but of Rousseau: That everyone is entitled to live on the land and to harvest the fruits of the earth. The denial of this principle is what led to the plight of th Aborigines, who found that their kangeroos were displaced by catlle and sheep – which they were not allowed to harvest and on land that was apparently no longer theirs, although they had lived their for time immemorial.

    To deny people the ability to house and feed themselves is to dispossess them of everything, and under capitalism their plight is worse than slavery, as at a least a slave owner has responsibility to feed and clothe his slaves, whereun under capitalism they have no responsibility beyond an hourly rate which may be terminated at any time, thus also placing housing and food at risk.

    Therefore it is clearly approaching the time where the slate must be cleared, and as debt must be forgiven, so must land be redistributed more fairly, with anyone who seeks land given the opportunity to be given it – a small amount anyway – this could be done by a new ‘tax’ i.e some of the land people own in proportion to the amount..

    It might seem unthinkable that such a large change could happen, but it more unthinkable that the status quo should continue. Anyway, this sort of thing is already happening eg:


    “Noningo was among the representatives of more than 100 indigenous communities who in 2015 gathered in the small village of Soledad to announce the formation of the autonomous territorial government of the Wampis nation, the first of its kind in the Amazon, with its own constitution and parliament. The delegates came on foot and by boat, some taking four days to reach Soledad.

    “We will still be Peruvian citizens,” he says, “but now we have our own government responsible for our own territory. This will enable us to protect ourselves from companies and politicians, who only are able to see gold and oil in our rivers and forests.”

    ‘Politicians only see gold and oil in our lands’: the Wampis nation of Peru – photo essay



    Russia giving away free land:


    “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said ‘This is mine’, and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.
    — Rousseau 1754

  16. Trish Corry

    Excellent contribution Matt.

  17. Freetasman

    Trish, I hope that Sally will be in charge of the Union movement for long time to come or at the very least until some of her caliber pop up.
    With any party there is an opposition, because ideology, ego, greed, etc and one of the tricks that the opposition to Sally can do is encourage her to move to politics and once in there make sure that she does not have the opportunities.
    Be a woman with strong character (no push over) and capable is detested by many idiots in the opposite sex.

  18. Kronomex

    “No Employment Guarantee” But, but, what about the 80 people (which equates to just over 6%) out of the 1,200 on the trial who got work. Mind you there was no mention of what sort of work they got. The LNP would call that a good result.

    When this politely named indentured servitude becomes a racket will the LNP accept any responsibility when it blows up in their faces? At a rough guess the answer will be no. It will be everybody else’s fault and no doubt they’ll find some way to blame Labor as well. Give it a few months down the track and the government (snort) will try very hard to make PaTH quietly disappear and move on to the next soul destroying scheme for the poor and disaffected.

  19. Ill fares the land

    I remember (when I was young!). No, seriously, when I was new to the workforce back in the early-1970’s and still really knew nothing about the world and how vile the rich and powerful and political classes truly are in terms of their vision for greater personal power and wealth (just try reading about some of the assassination plots hatched by western leaders in the 20th century and your hair will curl); I recall well working for a short time with a much older and wiser accountant.

    He said then that these “cheap work” schemes only ever create a pool of people who shuffle in and out of underpaid and subsidised jobs. These schemes then produced no additional employment and they still don’t. It is rare that a worker hired under a government subsidised plan gains full-time stable work – it happens and I am aware of a couple of instances, but it is far from the usual outcome. These schemes sound great – it gets the unemployed into the workforce; they gain experience; they are doing something to “earn” the vast sums they get paid every fortnight – it is monumentally offensive to so many that these “people” get so much for nothing. The reality 40 or so years ago and now is that these schemes work well for employers and don’t work for employees.

  20. Kyran

    We’re on a Path to nowhere, indeed.
    John Howard introduced a traineeship some decades ago. How did that work out?
    Bearing in mind this scheme applies predominantly to the ‘retail’ sector, some points should be borne in mind.
    May’s figures showed an increase of .6% in turnover, bringing the annualised rate to 3.2%. Before you scream hallelujah, there are some caveats.
    “However, Ms Hickie doubted it marks a sustained pick-up in consumption growth.
    “With consumer confidence continuing to trend downwards, households’ incomes facing an additional squeeze from rising energy bills and household indebtedness at a record high we expect that real consumption growth will slow from around 2.6 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter to 2.0 per cent by the end of the year,” Ms Hickie said.”


    Add to that the fact that the retail sector is one of the most casualised of all workplaces, what security of tenure is there for existing workers on a casual agreement, who can now be ‘churned’?
    With regard to the progress of the scheme since its introduction on 1st April, it comes as no surprise that Cash is either lying or has no idea what she is talking about. In the twelve weeks since 1st April, 82 people ‘found jobs’, out of 1,200 participants in a scheme comprising 5,000.


    In the off chance the foregoing does not cause concern, there are no references in anything I have read to date with regard to ‘conditions’. Not just annual or sick leave, but more fundamental issues such as workcover, occ health and safety, super, PAYG, etc.
    How this impacts on the ‘emotional’ welfare of vulnerable people remains to be seen.
    Whether it ends up being a catalyst for workers to unionise is another question altogether. Naturally, there is a precedent for this slavery. We have already tried it on our First People.
    “Jobless people in remote Australia must work 25 hours a week to receive welfare payments under the Community Development Programme (CDP), which is up to three times longer than city-based unemployed people need to work.
    More than 30,000 people are covered by the CDP, most of whom are Aboriginal.
    Australia’s peak union body has established the First Nations Workers’ Alliance to represent CDP participants.”
    And that scheme is subject to disproportionate fines if people don’t participate.


    This path to hell can’t even pretend to be paved with anything other than malevolent intent.
    Thank you Ms Corry and commenters. Take care

  21. stephengb2014

    Good article Trish – thank you

  22. Max Gross

    We expect nothing less of the brutal LNP. Their disdain for common muck like us is historic, ingrained, in-bred. But when was the last time your heard the ALP formulate or even propose policies for FULL employment?

  23. Trish Corry

    Ah…it was a major campaign issue Bill spoke about last election, including an NPC address It raised a series of conversations around forums on social media about what full employment means. It depends what economic school of thought you belong to, as what that answer is.

  24. jimhaz

    It sounds like the PATH way, or should we say GUTTER Way, is also a method to get around the minimum wage – it will breed low age expectations in the minds of business people even outside of those thieving from the poor or deluded by internships.

  25. Kaye Lee

    How does lowering penalty rates and encouraging unpaid work fit in with the Coalition’s promised surplus which is predicated on wage rises of 3% pa and the consequent bracket creep which is supposed to increase the income tax take from 11.1% to 12.6% of GDP? The only people earning more money are those who know how to avoid paying tax….like James Packer.

  26. wam

    the majority of lnp voters believe the dole should be subsistence vouchers. Anyone who thinks differently meets the automated reply or if you want …. push 1 …push 2
    sad trish the beast has type 2 and a leg has been amputated and the heart found the A god before and the Y after.
    So the PATH will survive with the A in front and the Y dragging

  27. Kronomex

    Actually Kaye, I would have used Turnbull instead of Packer because I reckon he’s using every tax dodge he can get his grubby little hands on to avoid paying it. You can also bet he used the $1.7million he gave..er, gifted…um, donated to his own party to offset his tax.

  28. Kaye Lee

    Have a look at how quickly politicians are building their property portfolios before the necessary and inevitable changes that Labor (and everyone else) are proposing to tax concessions have to be adopted.

    It infuriates me that the solutions (or at least a step in the right direction) to so many things are bleeding obvious but our elected representatives stand in the way.

    How can Tony Abbott plan to run a campaign on electricity prices again? As has been pointed out, wasn’t abolishing the carbon price supposed to reduce electricity bills and save industries and jobs? They still closed the old coal fired power stations.

    Nothing they do works so they come up with scams to get people off the unemployed list, taking jobs that should be offered at regular pay.

  29. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    Great article Trish: When will the electorate wake up to your convincing case?

  30. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    Trish: I have shared your article on my F/B Network. Labor must mobilise in localities with long-term underemployment and where the LNP offers PATH as a brilliant solution when it is actually exploitation.

  31. Phil

    A very potent summation of the PATH workplace disaster. This article, necessary as it is and as important as it is, left me so frigging angry that I want to tear every slimy member of the LNP out of parliament and thrash the living hell out of every single one of them.

    I hate hearing/reading the term ‘workers’ and I hate hearing/reading reading the term ‘rulers’ – these terms is not who we are and they not serve only to divide our society. There are no ‘rulers’ in a true democracy – and when we speak of ‘workers’ we deny an existence for all who don’t fit that narrow, outdated label and there are millions of Australians who don’t fit the label ‘worker’

    By using these terms we also show just how readily we accept the tyranny of the status quo – our servitude – and we are fools to think like this.

    Australians are equal – all of us – there are no ‘bosses’ – there are no ‘workers’ – let’s kill these anachronistic labels. There are citizens with different skills, different abilities and different stations in life – but let no one claim superiority over others except under the mandate of just laws. We live by the rule of law not by the rule of kings, nor oligarchs, nor millionaires, nor elites – LAW writ large.

    Servitude is voluntary.

  32. Trish Corry

    Well hold on to you hat Phil. I am a few moments away from Publishing my review of the current welfare reform bill. If you think PATH has made you angry…..I’m so wound up, I have no idea what to call this emotion. I’m very much into narrative and I believe language shapes society. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how we would describe workers when talking about workers and employers.

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