To be truthful, "sorry" is a word so…

When you think there isn't much to write about in politics, the…

Mangroves: environmental guardians of our coastline

University of South Australia Media Release They are the salt-tolerant shrubs that thrive…

Tuvalu, Climate Change and the Metaverse

When lost to climatic disaster and environmental turbulence, where does a whole…

Nats Vote No OR When You're Standing At…

It's sort of interesting that just a few days ago we had…

Was Amtrak Joe derailed?

By 2353NM Prior to becoming President, Joe Biden was a US Senator for…

Football Capitulates at Qatar

It did not take much. The initial promises of protest from a…

Thanks To Dan Andrews I Got My First…

Just to be clear here, I didn't get it at the polling…

Democracy Tested

The only defence that we, the people, have against an arrogant leader…

«
»
Facebook

Back to the Seventies . . . Remember Social Security?

Image from loon pond.blogspot.com

Image from loon pond.blogspot.com

Do you remember the days when better systems were in place to help the unemployed? Loz Lawrey reflects on those better days, and where the system started to go wrong.

Ah, the seventies. Heady days of my youth. I remember them well. A healthy job market full of “opportunities” for those who wanted them, and a social security system which really was a safety net providing help to those who needed it and benefiting our broader society as well.

In those days, crime was for the greedy, because the system actually provided a financial support allowance to people who, for one reason or another, couldn’t or didn’t work. No need to mug people to survive back then.

Unemployment Benefit (UB) (as it was called before the name was changed to the weasel-term “Newstart Allowance” in 1991) was paid to individuals who were “out of work, were capable and willing to undertake suitable work and had taken reasonable steps to obtain work.” Period. End of story. No further questions asked.

Still less than a living wage, it was enough to get by on for those prepared to live more communally by sharing housing and resources.

For those motivated in directions other than jobseeking, the Unemployment Benefit (fondly known as the Dole) offered a means of survival which bought them time to think, to seek, to create or simply waste their lives in ways inoffensive to society at large.

For some, the Dole was their arts grant, their opportunity to “have a go” in their chosen medium. Musicians, visual artists, writers and thespians abounded in a social environment which openly supported their antics, assisted by a system which indulged and tolerated them by providing meal money.

How friendly the system seemed back then. So many of my friends would move to Bellingen, Nimbin or other northern Shangri-La, then remember they had to notify Social Security that they had relocated. “Could you send my cheque to Seaview St, Coff’s Harbour, please? Oh, and in a month I’ll be moving to Fun Valley, Northern NSW.” No problem. Just send your form in . . .

There was no nasty requirement to “only move to areas of high employment” or to remain within city limits. In those days, the provision of welfare was a service to the community provided by our federal government for the benefit of all. Funded by citizens fortunate enough to be earning taxable incomes, those in need among us were held aloft by the welfare state, by our ‘Common Wealth’.

As a client of the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) and the Department of Social Security (DSS), every citizen was treated with respect and most definitely given the “benefit of the doubt” with regard to the validity of their claim for assistance.

The CES was a long way from the $1.3 billion privatised Job Network case-management industry it has morphed into over time. It was a free taxpayer-funded service.

In those days life was simple. If you sought work, you checked “positions vacant” in the newspaper or you wandered down to the CES.

You checked the job-board notices and you had a brief interview with a case manager who would assess your suitability as a candidate for whatever vacancy was open.

If nothing was available at the time, the case manager would hand you a stamped, endorsed Unemployment Benefit form to “take down to Social Security”.

From that day on, until you found employment, a benefit cheque from the DSS would arrive every fourteen days.

Perhaps my memories of those times are rose-coloured, a soft-focus hippie-eyed view that leaves out the bad bits. But this is how I remember our social safety net, without the meanness, the uncaring sociopathic detachment of today’s system. Now, people are treated as cattle to be herded and criminals to be punished, easily manipulated by a “tick-the-boxes” profit-driven case management system where real-world outcomes for clients are of least and last concern.

Today, in an environment where 780,000 jobseekers are competing for some150,000 vacancies it is clear that people who can’t find employment aren’t lazy “leaners”. They are individuals who can’t find jobs because there simply aren’t enough jobs for everyone.

Sadly, the system as it’s currently structured is at worst badly broken, dysfunctional at best.

Privatising government services benefits no one but the private sector providers who fall over each other in the scramble to collect the golden eggs laid by the government goose.

Privatisation is the inevitable outcome of handing power to politicians who have lost sight of the public interest and view society as an economic business model, rather than an organic collective of Great Apes.

In such a model service provision becomes user-pays and profit-driven. The concept of “service” becomes subsumed by the quest for ever greater profits. Boxes are ticked, not to chart measurable positive outcomes for clients but to ensure the funding cash-cow can be milked into the future.

The privatisation of services and the selling-off of publicly-owned assets purchased over years by Australian taxpayers are not decisions which short-term governments should be empowered to make.

Surely governments of all stripes bear a responsibility to act as stewards of the public estate as well as responsible managers of our public accounts.

Selling state-owned assets to would-be oligarchs is a form of theft, a blatant betrayal of all Australians and their right to a share in the Common Wealth. A double betrayal in fact, because a profit margin is tacked onto the cost of services which were once delivered for free.

Privatisation is generally sold to voters with the hollow promise that competition among providers will lower costs. That promise however, is never fulfilled. Privatisation invariably inflates the cost and customers pay more.

At the end of the day, privatisation of government services is symptomatic of a culture of neoliberalism, a culture in which governments become too lazy to manage the services and infrastructure the electorate expect them to maintain.

Under a neoliberal regime, assets owned by the people are handed over to rich elites at bargain-basement prices. Wealth flows upwards, away from the majority and never trickles back down. The poor are made poorer.

The recent publicity around the dysfunctional privatised JobNetwork has exposed a fraud-riddled system in which profiteer contractors ride roughshod over the very clients they should be serving, with the sole aim of maximising their own business turnover.

Individuals are treated as grist to the job-mill, pawns in a game where the odds are stacked against them.

A common practice, known as “parking” in the job business, is to ignore the needs of clients seen as less employable, or perhaps older or requiring a greater investment of time and resources.

Thus the lives of many are violated, disrupted and put on hold by a corrupt system with skewed priorities which serves its own ends before those of its clients.

We’re a long way from the seventies. In those days we had a social democracy and it worked. Our society felt secure.

Today we have a Prime Minister who blatantly sows the seeds of fear and division. A Fearmonger-General.

With the Abbott government’s budgetary attacks on so many sectors of our society, life in Oz has never felt less secure.

Tony Abbott does not offer us a vision of unity and hope for the future. Instead he tries to drag us into his xenophobic, conservative and fearful mindset from the past. He doesn’t lead us forward, he takes us backward.

Sadly, we seem to have chosen (or allowed to be chosen for us) something lesser than we once had.

We’ve chosen privatisation, corruption, selfishness, fear, meanness and lack of empathy over the fair go.

Why would we do that?

 211 total views,  2 views today

22 comments

Login here Register here
  1. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    The seventies were my dreamtime – and I’m proud of it.

    I totally agree with your assessment of the then and the now of how unemployment/employment eligibility is assessed. The then was kinder and tasteful; the now is meaner and tasteless.

    Government and bureaucracy fails more than ever to take responsibility for its incapability to create meaningful employment opportunities for people of ALL demographics.

  2. kasch2014

    At the end of the seventies governments started to encourage the export of industry, skills etc. and introduced the concept of Oz as the clever country. Well, I say, greedy stupid country, led by idiots. I did a survey of the people I worked for as a contract draughtsman in the seventies, to find out how many still operated in Oz. result: 10% , of which one ceased most local manufacture at this point, and had a miniscule product/service range left, and the other one, GMH, is due for the chop in 2017. That leaves just about none out of 20. I tell our terminally insane classes yet once again: money is NOT a resource. We have now enabled all our Asian neighbors, and left Australia with a minimal skill base, almost no viable manufacturing, and now the last incarnation of the terminal fu.kw.it, the politician, is blaming the victims for the decisions of their predessors. They should all be buried head down in toilet pits.

  3. Kaye Lee

    We had better music in the seventies too 🙂

  4. tet02

    Yesterday I had to apologise to my 23 year old son for the last two years of me being a prick to him about his ‘laziness’, lack of ‘get up and go’ and ‘lying’ concerning ‘NEATO’, the local Job Network Agency. That was until I saw ‘ Four Corners’ the other night. I watched the show feeling sick to my stomach when I thought back to the arguments we had over the very issues they were describing. Thinking back on the yelling,door slamming and storming out that went on because I didn’t believe him, assuming he was at fault made me hang my head in shame. So first thing yesterday I went with my hat in hand and head down asking for his forgiveness.
    He’s a young man with a better attitude than his old man and he’s glad to have been vindicated by Four Corners. So we’re all good for which I’m thankful for. But I wonder how many others aren’t ‘all good’, as I’m sure I’m not the only parent that was foolish enough to think that the system was right, and not the fraudulent, corrupt network that it is.
    So if there’s anyone out there that knows where I can take my rage and frustration to ensure something is done about this I would appreciate it. After all this is fraud on such a massive scale that it beggars belief.

  5. Keitha Granville

    ahhh – the halcyon days of the CES, a place where they actually had jobs you could choose from, and people who helped you apply. CLANG !!! what the hell is this new system where thousands of people in Job Network Provider land keep you on their books to NOT help you find work, to require you to report in every 4 weeks so they ask if you have found anything yourself and then if you have , THEY GET PAID for it !!! Can the lot of them, gpo back to the days of supporting people who need social security – the name is a bit of a gievaway as to what it is supposed to do. Not that that this lot in power at the moment would have a clue, they’ve never had to, nor will they never have to apply for any benefit in their lives so they have NO CLUE about how it doesn’t work right now.
    I have a dream that all newly elected politicians should start off on 6 months of Newstart when they first get in – then we might see some kind of quantum shift in policy.

  6. stephentardrew

    For someone who was a youth worker years ago the current state of affairs is appalling.

    Things were incredibly hard and difficult back then.

    Why oh why beat up the most marginalised, and often abused, amongst us?

    When is enough enough.?

    Talk about “a pound of flesh.”

    What is this some kind of self hate turned against your children, brothers and sisters.

    The mantra that they are really nice people?

    Absolute rubbish nice people don’t promote injustice and inequality.

    The are cruel nasty and vindictive.

  7. paul walter

    4 Corners last Monday shows how low it has sunk, it is like the privatised detention camps, a rort. The unemployed, like refugees are just road- kill or collateral damage.

    I cant really feel that sentimental about the dole in the late seventies..after the early seventies and jobs plentiful, it was oppressive.

  8. Bultaco Metralla

    I worked in the CES in the Seventies while I completed my degree. I was working at the office in Wentworth Avenue. Wentworth Avenue was a dumping ground for the CES. All the misfits and weirdos ended up there. Suited me I was close to the Uni and I felt at home.

    I have many fond memories but the best was Molly. I was on the desk taking job vacancies from employers, when i got a call from a particularly obnoxious type who wanted a girl for the office and a ‘pretty one know what I mean’ etc etc. I felt bilious.

    I put the phone down and looked up and there, at the counter, was Molly. A 186cm Pacific island transvestite with shoulders like a working bullock. So I walked up to Molly and struck up a conversation. Was she interested in a bit of improv street theatre. She was all for it. i made an appointment and Molly went home to get dressed up.

    After the interview time had passed, I took a phone call from said employer. He was incandescent, He was spitting rage, fire, brimstone, hell, fury and audibly frothing at the mouth. i let him ramble on for a few minutes and then pulled the phone to my mouth and said, in my best astonished tone ‘But you wanted a pretty one’. I had to hang up on his stunned silence quickly as the woman on the other vacancy desk was hooting with laughter.

    Oh for the simple pleasures of working at a job without having to kowtow to the man every morning.

  9. Phi

    I can’t recall if there was such a beast as a CES in the early 1960’s when I finished my apprenticeship as a blacksmith/boilermaker. I never set foot inside a CES if it did exist – there was no need – work was everywhere. It was the same for other skills and even for labouring. I recall every steel fabrication workshop around the NSW Brookvale area where I lived (and there were many) had a large notice board at the gate stating ‘VACANCIES’ – and beneath that heading there were usually at least three jobs listed, often more. You just walked in, asked to see the foreman, showed your papers and started work the next day.

    In the late 60’s I took a break and trained on the job at the Brookvale Bus Depot and within a few weeks was a fully licensed public bus driver. I worked at some 20 jobs all around Australia over the ensuing years – all were unionised and I never met a really bad employer although I know they existed since its human nature. I went on strike at least a dozen times – lost a lot of wages – but solidarity prevailed and conditions and wages kept pace with the changing world.

    I feel great sympathy for todays youth moving from school into the virtually jobless Australia that Loz Lawrey describes in this article. I think Australia is dangerously regressing in so many ways and I fear for my grandchildren’s future.

    If Australia continues down this neoliberal path (i.e LNP survives the next election) Australian youth will have two stark choices – on the one hand, passivity, self-medication and depression, or active rejection of the status quo, solidarity and ultimately revolt. I hope they chose the latter.

  10. trishcorry

    I started in the community sector in the early 90’s. In about 1995/1996 I went for a position at a new job service, as an employment officer (I had previously worked for the JPET Program (Homeless & disadvantaged youth program). Paul Keating cancelled this program as he said “the CES can deal with all disadvantaged people” This is certainly not the case. The streamed system does have a purpose, as in a mainstream system such as the CES, there are many who fall through the cracks and they do need specialised support. Keating lost the election not long after. Senator Woodley from the Democrats did a lot of work on behalf of the JPETs Australia wide and Dr. David Kemp (Liberal) stated he would reinstate JPET if the Liberals won the election and he kept that promise. This was the beginning of the demise of the CES.

    Back to the position I applied for. During this interview, I was told I had to ‘breach’ unemployed people. There were questions about this in the interview. I was back then and I still am opposed 100% to breaching. I thanked the interview panel and told them, that this was not the job for me, and I withdrew as a candidate. I told them I would be searching the Social Security act for loopholes to advocate for them to keep their benefits. They told me I was the best candidate so far and would I reconsider, if they could ‘train me’ into WHY this was necessary. I told the panel that my own morals simply could not deal with seeing someone go without food.

    The topic of this article goes to my very heart. My “probably never will ever finish PhD” is about how disadvantaged workers and jobseekers navigate between home, work and learning. It is an emotions based qualitative study (sociology based, not org psych). I think I will spend the rest of my life monitoring and speaking out for the unemployed. One day, I hope I will make a significant contribution.

    In my opinion, the significant changes that need to be made are 1. Funding to go back to small community organisations / church based models (Anglicare for example), rather than the focus on ‘viability of funding’ and giving tenders to large organisations. Completely remove case based funding and return to block funding. This will remove the incentive for quick throughput, which was an identified problem in the pilot testing of these programs and 3. integrate fully business into the model. Remove all breaching and other ‘punitive based measures’ such as the basics card. Take a humane progressive approach, rather than a regressive fiscal approach.

    Thank you Loz, there is a lot we can revisit in history and take a few more steps back to the left, where unemployment is concerned.

  11. Michael

    Don’t know about the seventies as I was employed, the sixties I remember (well most of it) after leaving school went to the local employment agency no trouble getting a job, traveled interstate no problem. The mid to late 80’s were a different story after being retrenched with a wife and two kids to support, would have to be the most depressing eighteen months of my life, the local CES would have the same jobs on their notice board week after week, they didn’t exist of course, there were no jobs.
    As for social security getting a cheque every fortnight was an ordeal to say the least, I don’t know who trained these people but they would have to have been the most obnoxious and rude people I have ever met in my life, if you didn’t feel like shit before an interview you certainly did after one.

    Thankfully being old has some advantages, as I no longer need to look for work.

    As for the young people looking for work these days you have my deepest sympathies, also my best wishes.

  12. trishcorry

    Bultaco – that is an awesome story!

  13. Matters Not

    Bultaco Metralla, that’s a hell of a story.

    As for Phi and the ‘neoliberal path’, it can reasonably be argued that the ALP were promoting that agenda hand in hand with the ‘others’.

    Sad but true.

    While there are numerous links one could provide, try this one as an example.

    Keen: Neoliberalism and economic breakdown

  14. stephentardrew

    Matters Not:

    Great reference. Steve Keen was one of the few that predicted the GFC. Excellent article and says it how it is. We need major reform. I see he is now at Cambridge I think.

    Certainly food for thought.

  15. DanDark

  16. John Fraser

    <

    Appears the Abbott frontbench is now feeling that fear, meanness and lack of empathy.

    Their new 3 word slogan is …. "New man …. new man ………. Newman".

    And their horror is becoming more and more self evident.

  17. Bronte ALLAN

    This article seems to me to paint a very accurate “picture” of what it was like to go to the “old” CES! In amazement, there were actual humans who you spoke to, reported to, got advice from, looked at jobs offered on the notice board, discussed the prospects of going for job interviews etc. Whilst the CES was still a Government Department, with all the usual beaurocrats that involves, at least we were able to converse one on one with “real” people, not some computer voice on the ‘phone, or some “nobody” via the web! Sadly, with all the cutbacks in persons working in the CES, at least at the “coal face”, & the strong emphasis to try & make every one access anything they want via the web, there is no longer any “soul”, human interaction etc with people who worked there & seemed to have your best interests at heart. Bugger! As for this inept, lying, conservative, flat earth, right wing, tea party mob of liberals now, we are ALL not “real people” any more, just numbers in a queue waiting (interminably!) for–sometimes–some one at “head office” or wherever, to be able to talk to, ask questions, seek advice etc. Now with the ratio of jobs vacant being so small compared with the number of unemployed people in Australia, the odds of EVER attaining a job are almost zero! I feel great dread & sadness for ALL the people who are unemployed, I am now on an Age Pension, things are tough enough for us, without the worry, financial constraits etc, for anyone who does not have, nor may ever have a job.

  18. DanDark

    Bultaco Metralla said “I have many fond memories but the best was Molly. I was on the desk taking job vacancies from employers, when i got a call from a particularly obnoxious type who wanted a girl for the office and a ‘pretty one know what I mean’ etc etc. I felt bilious.”

    This sentence shot me back to 1990 when I was 27 yrs old. I was in a court battle with my then husband to keep a roof over my 3 kids heads and maintenance for them after a year of being separated, as he wanted the house sold to pay his debts,
    he had moved in with an older woman who was keeping him, and he wanted us on the street so I had to fight him in court,

    I employed a solicitor from my country town, so the day came to see him for last minute signings etc for court and I will never forget what my solicitor said to me” you need to dress up for the judge” I said “what me saving my home for my kids is hinging on how I dress and look?”
    He said “yes”, so I did the opposite I went and purchased a number, it was black, I was covered from neck to shin in black 🙂
    I felt like I was going to my own funeral so it was applicable I thought, well of course I lost and had to remorgage the house and double my loan to keep kids in their home,
    All the judge talked about in the court room was my then husbands surname Murtagh and what a good old fashioned Irish name she has was and blah blah fecking blah, and she wasnt even in the court, from that day on I have avoided courts like the plague because they are a waste of time, if what hinges on winning a court case or getting employment for women in this country is how you “dress up”
    or how good one side is lying through their teeth, well what have you got left one screwed society that’s for sure.

    I think my comment is relevant it all comes down to discrimination against women and how we are supposed to look to “get ahead in life”
    This lesson cost me 9 grand, then I had to pay for the court transcript so I could have a record of the proceedings, sometimes I find it accidently, and have a read all about Ms Murtagh LOL, who ended up marrying my then husbands Uncle who was her age,
    now that’s Karma LOL

  19. astrallds

    I don’t know what the CES was like in the 70’s and 80’s but when I first left school in the early 90’s.it was great you could have a friendly chat and the guy/lady behind the desk would actually know you.As someone with a disability I found it way easier to become employed when the system worked that way.

  20. jimhaz

    I’ve never needed to use the CES employment system, so I cannot speak from experience. I do recall looking at the jobs board a few times. When young I did view it as a resource I could use, simple and sometimes effective, not as the difficult disjointed private system we have now.

    Even form the bean counter type viewpoint though, I just fail to see how a privatised system could possibly be more efficient at delivering the basics.

    It’s the old 80/20 rule. 80% of unemployment benefits and job placement could be done by a standardised government run system, by the old CES. The other 20% requiring more specialised or deeper effort could be done by contracting skilled services under government employment and training programs.

    Govs recognise the value and efficiency of the One-Stop Shop concept when it comes to providing services (that they can’t easily privatise), albeit more a stated aim than reality. With their collapsing of departments into super departments they seem to get the concept of efficiency of economies of scale and central control and system design, albeit that they don’t understand the truth of “everything in moderation” so go way too far and create bureaucratic monoliths of patheticness.

    With JSA though, they have purposefully divided something that was simple into many different out-of-control competing parts. There was no way it was done to provide a better service – it was to shift taxpayer money into private hands due to neocon ideology and its partner, shady dealings.

    I hypothetically ponder such questions as:

    How much does it cost to manage for the government to manage the JSA claims (the dole still has to be paid) and claims would still have to be assessed for adherence to policy?

    How much extra does the auditing cost compared to such audits in the CES would have, and just how much would it cost if the auditing was actually done to the level it is so very blatantly required, considering the avalanche of scamming already noted?

    How does ease of use compare to the CES system for both the unemployed, job seekers and business itself?

    Who has gained the most from the JSA system and what links do they have to politicians of the time.

    [Privatisation is generally sold to voters with the hollow promise that competition among providers will lower costs. That promise however, is never fulfilled.]

    I also find the concept held by so many that competition is all good to be utter lunacy.

    Yes competition can produce personal drive and structural efficiency and pushes technological development forward more rapidly, but it is incredibly wasteful. It is duplication of effort until one group gets the upper hand. Just like a war it uses resources wastefully.

    Sure that’s great in consumer goods – for the extra tools and little materialistic ego satisfactions they give – how can it be good for well established government services or utilities?

    With government services like the ex-CES we are not talking rocket science here. There is no great prize of becoming a multinational conglomerate to drive competition (well unless you are Haliburton). There is no true invention of product required. There will be no one administrative system design that will be so efficient to outshine them all – there will be just managers asking more from workers to drive “overheads” down, and more smiley faces to pretend better services are actually being provided. The big drivers for competition are not really there – its is a competition for how little they have to do for the amounts the contract gives, and how much they can siphon off via the related training provision .

    [Privatisation invariably inflates the cost and customers pay more]

    And it must do so otherwise they couldn’t sell it in the first place. It MUST on paper give the buyers more monetary benefit than it would taxpayers were it not sold. Either they make it up by combinations of reductions in staff costs, higher charges or a reduction in real services. I used to hear quotes giving savings of 20% from privatisation. Lol. Mere vested interest propaganda.

    The State Electricity selloff is a big one for me. It is selling of a major *permanent* income producing and price controlling asset for short term gain, and it has been set up very deviously by both the ALP and the LNP in the 10 years leading up to this (price rises and gold plating occurred with strategic intent for the sale). If they want infrastructure they can do it via Gov Bonds.

  21. juliefarthing

    Your potted history of the employment industry in Australia is generally accurate. I worked in the CES and other arms of the Department of Employment (under various names) from 1974 until 1998 and participated in many changes during that time. It was by no means a static department from the 70s to the early 90s, as well as participating in the Social Security system it ran the gauntlet of industrial changes including educating the employer community regarding equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination measures in recruitment and hiring practices. It also provided the staffing and infrastructure for the delivery of some innovative labour market programs, including the longest running of them all, the NEIS program which still assists unemployed people to start businesses (with a high success rate). As a Migrant Resources Officer at Oakleigh CES I negotiated with Holmesglen TAFE a course to provide initial training for migrants in the hospitality industry, and the course at Dandenong TAFE (now Casey) to train people to use the new plastics industry equipment in the 80s.

    I also worked in and led teams that assisted people to find jobs, and was a trainer in the computerised Job Bank system in 1980-81 which preceded anything the private recruitment industry was using.

    You make it sound like it was incredibly easy to get the dole in the seventies and eighties. It was a little easier than it is today, and the waiting period was only two weeks unless you voluntarily left a position in which case you waited 6 weeks. You could not simply relocate to an area of low employment without penalty, but if you were prepared to wait out the 6 or so weeks you could certainly do so. There was a requirement to attend the CES office in your area each fortnight to be ‘labour tested’ and get your form stamped. This bore some similarities to the current Job Services system but it was conducted in a much more friendly way.

    The term ‘case manager’ was not used until after the radical changes in the 1990s, coinciding with the introduction of ‘Newstart’ benefits. This was the start of the push for stricter supervision of job seekers and led to a huge problem of people hanging around the front of the office for hours as an interview with an employment officer became mandatory each fortnight. This was unsustainable and led to a two tier system. The job seekers wh were assigned a ‘case manager’ were those considered most ‘at risk’ of becoming long term unemployed: the disabled, young people who did not complete Year 12, ex-offenders, migrants etc. The Case Manager and client worked together to transition the client into work, often via a short course. I was a case manager for a time and was pleased to see many of my clients placed in long term employment, I had a lot of freedom in how I worked and often collaborated with other government services like housing and rehabilitation organisations. I also assisted a dozen or more a year to start businesses, with the help of the NEIS scheme. It was the best thing the government ever did regarding getting people working, but when the Howard Liberal government came in the program, and the CES as a whole, was doomed. We were a victim of our own success, so good at what we did that business people wanted a share of it; the churches also saw a great way to build their coffers through government funding. In the new model, Case Managers were untrained and poorly paid, and the expectations of outcomes grew exponentially. Greed overtook commonsense and although I tried in various ways to participate in the Job Network, firstly as a staff member and then as a consultant, I could simply not lower my ethical standards to the level they required.

    I want the CES to come back; I want Australians who are not working to be treated with dignity, t have faith in the system. But no government is going to bring it back, we have travelled too far along the road of corruption and dirty politics for either side to really take an interest in the people who are the backbone of our country. Yes there will always be people who will use the allowance to write their books, make their films, paint their pictures, or just sit around growing weed in the hills – who are we to say these people are not contributing to society? But let’s do what we can to help the people who really want to get a job, not diminish them as human beings by making them pawns in a hopeless system that only benefits those who run the agencies.

  22. abbienoiraude

    The comments here are amazingly honest and informative. Thank you for the post and for the commentators.
    My daughter is looking for work after leaving an abusive husband. She has been independent since she was 17 and now finds her self living back with her aged parents, with her little child and unemployed/able. She does not HAVE to look for work but wants it desperately.
    This is National Party heartland and the unemployment is off the scale.
    In the city she would be snapped up for her recent Public Service experience but here she is on the ‘outer’ for they do not like those who can ‘improve’ anything…not their IT not their websites, not their public persona, not their ability to request grants ( her specialty).
    She has us so she can be free with her toddler to seek and achieve paid employment. NO ONE is out there to help her.

    And so we have come to this.

    What a mess.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: