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A bombshell hits some Job Networks

Each and every fortnight for the last year I have done the right turning up thing.

Actually, that is not quite accurate. For most of the year I had to turn up weekly – but at some point someone realised that I was 62 years old – and they then promptly scrap-heaped me and stuck me on fortnightly turn ups. There is always a silver lining to every dire circumstance because my petrol bill, such as it is, is now appreciably lower. One has to take one’s yahoo moments when one can.

And today was my fortnightly turn up day. And here’s what happened . . .

Along with ten other desperately hopeful Newstart ‘criminals’ I slunk through the front portals of my local branch of Employment Services Queensland (ESQ). I duly signed the sign-in book on the front desk and slunk into the session room. I’m not normally a slunker but since everybody else was doing it I auto-responded with the When In Rome thing.

After a joyful minute or so of comparing job rejection battle scars from the last fortnight we all got down to the important business of seeing what jobs the Session Facilitator was about to refer us to.

In case you have never attended a Job Network I should explain that Job Networks exist to refer unemployed people to potential jobs. That’s their reason for existence. That’s what the Job Networks get paid to do.

Since I am verifiably an undoubted Unemployed Personage I continually and optimistically assume that I am firmly in their job referral sights. After a year of optimism however I sure hope that their aim gets a little better. They have not referred me to one single job in that year.

The Job Network Case Manager who ran today’s session is a pleasant sort of person. She smiled at us and we all smiled back. She asked us how we were all going. To a person we obviously all agreed that there was no point telling her that being stuck on Welfare Benefits and wallowing in Poverty did not exactly light our collective fire….so we all said in wearied unison “We’re all just absolutely Great.”

And then she dropped her bombshell . . .

“All of our discretionary funding has just been cancelled. In fact, all discretionary funding to all Job Networks has just been cancelled”.

Now, I’ve been around long enough to know that things are never what they appear to be, and I’m well aware that the new tender round for Job Networks is due mid-year, but it is passing strange that the Government would pull/cut this type of funding fully five and a half months before the tender round is due. So what on earth is going on here?

As a Welfare Recipient who is forced to totally waste my time by attending inane sessions at a Job Network where absolutely no effort has been made at all to refer me to any sort of job . . . these funding cuts will make no difference to me.

After all, when the Job Network did have the funding they did nothing for me, and now that they don’t have the funding they can now fully afford to continue to do nothing for me. Talk about the stupidity of nothingness!

Since the Coalition Government sees me (along with my fellow welfare recipients) as some sort of rogue peasant who needs to be punished for my disadvantage I am not in the position to tell you why this discretionary funding to the Job Networks has been pulled. I’m not in the information loop.

I can only pose the following:

Are all the Job Networks in trouble? Or are the Job Networks who have consistently abused the Employment Pathway Fund the only ones who are in trouble? Does that mean that the Job Network that I attend is in big trouble because they have had to return an appreciable amount of money to the Government? Since I am but a humble unemployed person I can only guess . . . but even the unemployed can add two and two together . . .

Of course I hope that the writing is finally on the wall for the unemployment ‘industry’. Are the predatory organisations who line their own pockets at the expense of the struggling unemployed about to get the chop?

Or, even more hopefully, has the Government finally understood that we, the people, have finally had a gutful of how people at the high end look after each other at our expense? Kevin Rudd’s wife did very well out of the Job Network system both here and in the UK . . . and Job Networks run by religious groups have done very very well under the current Coalition Government.

But what would I know . . . after all . . . the treatment that I have received in the Job Network system continually reminds me that the Government sees me and my fellow welfare recipients as nothing better than unemployed peasants.

We are kept in the dark and fed bullshit!


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  1. keerti

    jeez, Keith. You missed your opportunity. With your extensive personal experience in fungal culture you could have offered shouldabeenaborted some help with the culturing of good government. Plenty of bullshit there for a cash crop as well!

  2. captain51

    I understand that a person who is unemployed is only permitted to enrol with one Job network agency. That in itself seems to me to be an impediment. Surely you stand more of a chance if you were permitted to join multiple agencies. The agency will not accept an application from an “outsider” as their funding comes from having their own placed.

  3. Martin

    We have a situation where dozens of companies make millions of dollars providing des and jsa services to the unemployed. These companies, motivated by profit, fail to deliver. Their entire income is from taxpayer funds, yet they afford massive profits every year.Get rid of them. Put those services in government hands. Even if you keep every employee and every office, we save those profits for the taxpayer and remove profit as the motive, returning the system to one centred around individual needs and the actual goal of finding jobs for those without them. But cut the inefficiencies in the system by moving them into one office per town or suburb, and bam. Surplus. You could even keep every person currently employed in the ‘industry’, if you felt that would help, and we’d still be better off. Not that we should, there being enormous amounts of dead wood in the job network. The worst thing Howard’s LNP government ever did was dismantle the old CES and DSS system and lump us with the job network to profit his mates.

  4. halsaul

    Martin – very well said. Privatise everything – waste more money – mates get rich. It’s what Liberal Governments exist for, it truly is. This Abbott government is on the extreme end of “cruel & pointless policies” – what idiot would shut down the car industry, destroy all the dependant suppliers as well. Liberal voters need to understand that destroying the lives of the less well off, will eventually destroy theirs. A proper “living wage” is a right…workers spend it all anyway at the businesses owned by the well off. It’s not rocket science. The alternative is the “well off” will need to hire body-guards and live in houses with bars……even poor folks will do what it takes to feed their kids..eventually.

  5. Phi

    Thanks for sharing this Keith. It’s a truly sad personal story and an indictment of our culture and political parties. But don’t lose hope Keith – there is a clear shift away from the cruel hard right neoliberalism of the LNP – the pendulum is swinging again – at last.

  6. pierre wilkinson

    Well articulated halsaul, trickle down has never worked, but paying the poor a living wage stimulates small business.
    A poor man(or woman) spends all their income…. a rich person only a proportion, but this government will never accept that.

  7. Loz

    A very good article that highlights the hoops that the unemployed have to go through without any positive outcome.

  8. Ken

    Been there done that with the same outcome as Keith, it just plays into the leaner mentality that this neo-liberal tea party is peddling, blame the victim not the policies. I am so ashamed of what Australia is becoming and so should we all be.

  9. Dandark

    I am 52 have part time work and have to attend Mission/Christian job services once a fortnight because I havnt got 30 hours a fortnight work outside the home, I have a 9 year old daughter and a 20 year old son still at home, the oldest 4 have grown up and flown the nest
    After the first appointment I realized it was a talk fest and more like a therapy session than a service that helped you find work, we have a permanent job services called workways
    but because they can only take limited numbers because they are only open 4 days a week for half a day, they have drive in drive outs from the largest regional center closest to our small country town one hours drive away, they work out of a converted garage that they hire that has internet connection on some occasions if we are lucky, its hit and miss when it comes to the interent, so nothing can be done cannot access anything, and everything is computerized now, the converted color bond garage is used to teach people art usually,
    it is substandard as an office that’s for sure, no internet is a problem straight up.
    they havetwo ladies that have no idea about the town the shop owners/companies who employ people and the politics of little country towns. its not what you know its who you know that is more important.
    I tried to change to the workways before Xmas, but was refused because they were full
    So I am on a waiting list…I dread every second Thursday and it knocks a dent in ones self esteem and dignity…as a single mother I get a double whammy of the leaner shit the libs are pumping out…but I own my home and have worked hard for my country and paid my taxes all my life and raised good law abiding kids, unlike the lifters who pay accountants to minimize their tax.

  10. Keitha Granville

    The best thing any government could do would be to get rid of all the Job Network agents and restore the old CES (Coomonwealth Employment Service for those too young to remember). It would be based at Centrelink, although they’d have to learn how to offer service with a smile first, so all current Centrelink employees would be required to have spent 6 months working at MacDonlads where customer service is at the top of the list. CES had jobs – on the wall, in little slots, with phone numbers and addresses so you could pick one out and go and apply for it right there and then. People would help you fill out resumes and other stuff like that. It actually did something for unemployed people, and didn’t get paid by the government NOT to find work, nor did it get extra when people DID find work. The whole system now is designed to MAKE unemployed people default so they don’t get benefits and they fall off the job stats so the government can say they’re creating jobs. It’s a huge crock of . . . . .

  11. Gary

    This pretty well mirrors my experience with the totally useless, ineffective Job Network. Bring back the CES.

    they should just leave anyone 60 or older alone. No one is going to employ us anyway when there are so many younger people out of work thanks to this incompetent government.

  12. Matt

    Completely agree with this article. Had to attend PVS for a year, they did literally stuff all except harass me with pointless appointments where absolutely nothing was put in to place or actioned, got my data wrong repeatedly, and had absolutely no clue about employment pathways for a composer/studio engineer. Fortunately I had enough freelance work to survive whilst on centrelink, and fobbed them off with work experience while looking for an industry appropriate job.

    Then they have the gall to tell me to return for meetings for three months once I had secured my self not one but two jobs, to which I politely told them to piss off.

  13. Mally's Girl

    “Discretionary Spending” is the money they use to buy you a pair of workboots, or a decent shirt to wear to interview. It’s the money they use to pay for the books for the courses you’re sent to do, or the fuel vouchers to get you there that first week.
    To be fair, this never-ending pit of despair is not quite the fault of the Job Network Agencies either. They get funded to employ people who meet with you and try to keep you motivated, and additionally they have to ring employers and try to convince them to take on an unemployed person – they spend as much time getting hung up on as we do. Business isn’t interested in talking to them, and the most honest service provider will tell you flat out, the best they can get you is factory work, shop jobs, hospitality, nothing permanent and not likely to be enough to get you off the dole.
    But now they won’t even have the happy bit where they get to say “do you need anything for your new job?”

  14. Paul Brady

    Around 12 years ago I was on the Dole for a short time. I was told by a young “professional dole cheat” which Network Providers would have job prospects & those who didn’t care if you stayed on the Dole forever. I went to one who supposedly cared, but were useless. I found a job myself… I was 48 at the time washed up in the providers eyes.

  15. K. O'Vert

    Interesting that you write about the job networks’ new tender round coming up. I’m unemployed and my case worker at my job network agency was complaining about the agency having to apply for a new tender. I think she thought that I might have cared, but I just wanted to tell her that this sort of process is just business as usual when governments outsource services to private providers. I don’t know, but I could tell that she was worried that there was the distinct possibility that her agency would not get the new tender and she would be out of a job. Oh the irony.
    I once actually asked a Centrelink officer as to what the job network agency’s purpose was since I had not heard from my agency since I registered with them five months ago. I mistakenly thought that they existed for the purpose of referring us to actual jobs, but the Centrelink officer basically told me that it was my sole responsibility to look for jobs (for the first six months of unemployment anyway) and the agency’s responsibility was to provide a place where they provided the resources to help jobseekers find work e.g. phones, computers, internet access (all stuff I have at home anyway). After six months, the agency would then supposedly step up their efforts to help jobseekers find work. I told this Centrelink worker that job agencies were essentially robbing taxpayers and letting down jobseekers by not actively assisting the unemployed from the very first moment they are registered with the agency. It’s money for nothing. Pure corporate welfare. This Centrelink officer didn’t really argue with me.
    PS. My favourite thing to do whenever I visit Centrelink or the job agencies is to point out uncomfortable truths like this. It keeps them on their toes and makes them realise that not all job seekers are uneducated peasants who can be easily humiliated and patronised (which I see too often in my experience).

  16. miriamenglish

    The Orwellian named “Jobs Network” is, in my experience nothing of the kind. I get work occasionally, but never through the “Jobs Network”. The dick I have to see on each visit rattles on and on about my obligations. I got fed up with it last time and told him sternly that he is pointlessly parroting what this current cruel government says, but the original reason for the dole was to ensure workers didn’t fall through the cracks and would be available for jobs when they became available, but that there simply aren’t jobs and it is stupid for him to go on about it unless he can come up with some work for me. He uncomfortably quietened, but I could tell he still didn’t really know what I was talking about. As I headed home I was turning over in my head what I might say next time when he tries to make me feel small. I think I’ll ask him why he thinks he can talk to me that way when he makes a living off the most disadvantaged in society.

    It is weird. This horrid little man speaks down his nose at me. As far as I can tell he has no accomplishments. I’ve had some very highly paid and very important computer programming jobs, I’ve taught myself more than 20 computer programming languages, I draw and paint photorealistic science fiction artwork, I’ve written 5 novels, 25 short stories, and 4 plays, I build computers from junked computers to give away to others who can’t afford to buy them, and among my several current projects are a design for an artificial intelligence and an associative filing system to solve our information problems. But I can’t get paid work. Big deal. If one of my projects comes to fruition it could be a great net gain of wealth for humankind. Already I’m attempting to add to the wealth of society with my books and other work (available for free from my site I should add).

    Tony Abbott and the rest of the halfwits in government think that people on the dole are worthless dead weight and would happily feed us all into a meat mincer except they like that our existence undermines attempts to raise wages and working conditions.

    The “Jobs Network” is a waste of money and a waste of time and a waste of resources. The $3,000 reward on entry to permanent work should be given to the unemployed person instead of the ridiculous and unhelpful “Jobs Network”. It especially chafes that these organisations are religious groups. The Salvation Army is one of the most reprehensible — they work actively against gay marriage and their manual actually says that gays deserve death.

  17. Johnnydadda

    The Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) has been lobbying for an income guarantee (also known as reverse taxation) since 1986.
    It defines basic income as that
    – which is granted to all on an individual basis by law,
    – without means test and
    – without obligation to work or for services in return.
    – which secures a livelihood (material existence) and enables participation in the political community (country) for everyone
    in support of an unconditional basic income at an amount that could help
    – to eliminate poverty and social distress in the respective political community,
    – to increase individual freedom and
    – to permanently improve the development opportunities of each individual and the social and cultural situation in the community.

    A basic income guarantee is part of the Pirate Party’s platform.

  18. mikestasse

    While the battle continues in the US for a slightly higher minimum wage, the Swiss are exploring drastic methods to create a fair economy. One proposed method would provide a guaranteed 2,500 franc income to all citizens, regardless of whether or not they are employed. And if that doesn’t get the job done, a vote on May 18th could decide whether the Swiss will implement the world’s highest minimum wage of nearly $25 an hour. Both referendums come on the heels of unrest in Switzerland over income inequality.

  19. Wally

    Keitha Granville I agree when I employed staff at least the CES would advise if there were qualified people available in the area and if there was it cost me nothing to employ them. Nowadays as well as receiving government funding the job network charge employees for finding staff for them. Another issue with unemployment numbers that is not considered is the number of injured workers who have no choice but to live on the dole when their workcover payments cease 2 years after the injury was incurred. I ended up in this situation after 25 years of running my own business due to very poor advice from workcover and the Govt Rehabilitation Service. I could write a book on the inadequacies of the system and it is getting worse not better because we let idiots like Tony Abbott become professional politicians. I think there are more bottom feeders with earnings in the top 10% than there are in the bottom 10%.

  20. Melissa Frost

    Great to see your story here Keith …. well done

  21. jagman48

    Miriam can you please show me where the Salvation Army manual says that gays deserve death. I agree with everything said about the demise of the CES and the job employment agencies, but to use this forum to make unsubstantiated statements is wrong. Give me proof please.

  22. miriamenglish

    Thanks Kaye, I was about to post the same link. It caused quite a furore back in 2012, but was never really retracted. The Salvos tiptoe around it, but still maintain homophobia as policy. They have quite a nasty reputation in this respect. They objected to laws in New York that prevented them discriminating against gays and threatened to close shelters and throw homeless people out into winter streets if they weren’t allowed to refuse gays help. In New Zealand they campaigned long and hard against gays getting equal marriage rights. I presume they are doing the same here in Australia.

    I have friends who are in the Salvos. They are nice people, but the organisation isn’t; it is awful. It definitely doesn’t deserve your money.

  23. jagman48

    Kay Lee I will follow this up. I was brought up Salvation Army (not now) and heve never heard of this. It is totally against their doctrine. It may well be one mans wrong interpetation. As i said I will follow it up for my own information as well.

  24. Belinda

    I find many miss the point. Specially if they have never been enrolled in a job network. They even have said to others. We get more money if we find jobs for those who have been unemployed longer. We Cant get you into training or a job unless your meet a certain level criteria and the best comments i have heard so far from friends. So this is not a new thing. We can get you a job. As there is no jobs and we have been told to send you straight to work for the dole. Excuse me but isn’t that a program which has been trailed and does not work? So in other words we are going to send you straight to jail because we cant create jobs or get you work. so you must suffer for it. Some of these people are highly qualified and ended up without a job, thanks to this government closing businesses, which inn turn effect other businesses. Which intern keeps adding to the unemployed. They said recently there was a drop in unemployment. Only because many full times jobs have been cut to part time an casual.

  25. Matthew

    I would like to read more stories about the system from people living it, whether it be pensions, sickness benefits. Australians seems to be socialised into saying good or great when asked how they are, and into not wanting others to think they have a financial advantage over others. You see people working 19 hours a week at woolworths saying they are great, could not possibly be true, It is time for more stories that unmask everythings fine.

  26. juliefarthing

    On so many levels, I feel I have lived the history of this article and its comments. I grew up in a Salvation Army family, worked in the CES for more than 20 years, then worked in the Salvation Army Employment Plus for a short time (the ‘Job Network’ agency) and subsequently contracted my services to various Job Network agencies for whom I ran groups, much like the one Keith described (although, hopefully, I did with more compassion and definitely more employment-related outcomes), and provided one-on-one career counselling, whilever there was a budget for this.

    I was proud to work in the CES, we did a lot of good for people, and we were able to work with a great amount of freedom which meant we actually felt like empowered adults with something to contribute. This was totally different to The Salvation Army Employment Plus experience, which just about destroyed me – their lack of ethics came back to bite them a few years later when they were severely penalised for ‘automatically upgrading’ jobseekers in order to receive a higher payment. I got out of their with my sense of self still intact, barely.
    After a couple more years of being slightly removed but still working with unemployed people who were hoping the Job Network would actually find them a job, I had to say goodbye altogether. The whole industry is belittling, for the clients and for the people working in it.

    I now work for myself, in a job that pays little (at the moment anyway), assisting graduates with disabilities into work (the relative unemployment and underemployment levels of people who experience disability but who, nonetheless, are highly qualified and experienced, is significant).

    Needless to say, I am no longer a member of the Salvation Army.I don’t believe they want gays to be killed, but they are nonetheless a very shortsighted and narrowminded group of people who hide their sins behind their uniforms.

    Keith, mate, I feel your pain. I hate what the system has done to you, and others. All I can say is, do whatever you can to preserve your dignity.

  27. paul walter

    “Arbeit Macht Frei”.

    So much for them turning over a new leaf.

  28. paul walter

    Wouldn’t it have been nice to wake up today and read, say, that the government had launched into a clean up of Tax Dodging, instead?

  29. Florence nee Fedup

    First time I have seen anyone challenge what good employment agencies in helping unemployed. Looks like my perception of them is spot on.

    Time to axe them. Time to restore CES. A simple universal, one stop job agency.

  30. Mike Brown

    Feel your pain keith I am with QES and have been for a little over 8 mnths and was with tursa for 12mnths prior to that…For almost 2 years I have been out of work after being gainfully employed for 37 years. Wile the weekly sessions are not excruciating the session sizes RE people are getting bigger as the available jobs inwhat is a rural area are getting fewer and further between. Being told, by a 25 something fresh out of physc 101 uni course person, I need to make myself more physcologically employable is a slap in the face for someone who has been employed longer than she has been alive. I do not need to waist a day reading about the traits of various birds and how those traits may apply to me personally and how I can use that knowledge to get a job…I am sorry but finding out I am an eagle cross peacock with a touch of owl in me is NOT helping me get a job. But like a true blue older Gent I turn up each week shut my mouth and wonder what physcology mumbo jumbo I am in for this session and then go off on my merry way to pester the scant business’s and shops in my region for a job..To which the answer each week is No sorry mate did not have any jons last week and we dont have any next week, See you next week Mike….

  31. Wally

    paul walter I agree if they closed the taxation loophole that lets multi nationals send company profits overseas as “consultancy fees” they could balance the books but of course that would hurt/affect the wrong people. All they have to do is to deem that the money was earnt in/from Australia by people who are not entitled to the tax free threshold and tax them at the top rate OR at the company rate but allowing so much money to go off shore tax free is absurd. On the other hand so is letting OUR natural resources to go offshore without any return to the public purse.

  32. Wally

    From the statistics their seems to be 3 distinct groups of long term unemployed, professional dole bludges who have never/rarely held down a job, unemployed youth and people over 50. The people over 50 who are not represented in the first category really do want to work but our entire workplace system and education system/policies are stacked against them making the odds of gaining employment minimal. This is such a big waste and so is the money we spend educating youth at universities considering that less than 50% ever gain employment in the field they are educated in. We need a system where people must earn the right to undertake tertiary education by first proving they have an aptitude for the work and the potential to succeed. A major change like this would introduce whole of life education, younger able bodied people would do more of the heavier physical work while older people who had done the hard yakka could advance through the system and utilise the knowledge gained from years on the job. We would end up with a better skilled workforce, save a lot of money and we wouldn’t have so many trades/manual workers with bodies that are skeletal wrecks by the time they reach 50 so we would also save on workcover costs, medical costs and the social injustice of being put on the scrap heap. We used to have a system of advancement within the job but nowadays there are so many uni graduates who leave school and expect to start in middle to upper level management there is no room for seasoned hard nose practical people who have worked their way up the ladder, they are replaced with idiots who don’t bother finding out why things are done a certain way before making changes. Then we have to wear the cost of their stuff ups over and again until they have learnt what we already knew!!!! and so it goes on. Look at Germany, England and Japan their engineers don’t appear from uni at 21 or 22 years of age, they do apprenticeships and internships then advance through the ranks as there workplace and formal education requirements are fulfilled.

  33. Wally

    And sorry for hijacking this comments area BUT the people who have been unemployed for a period of time should be the ones who work at the job networks because they can relate to the situation/s unemployed people find themselves. The people workcover try to retrain because they cannot return to their previous job should be educated so they can be employed as workcover administrators and rehabilitation officers. Imagine if all the bulk payouts to injured workers were stopped and the money was used to employ people so they could make a bloody difference???? The mind boggle but they say there is no such thing as common sense.

  34. miriamenglish

    Wally, I’ve heard of these mythical “professional dole bludgers” from various quarters, but never actually met one. I have met a lot of unemployed people, but never one that didn’t want work. People actually find it virtually impossible to do nothing. Many people on the dole don’t want to be cleaners and such like. (I don’t blame them.) I’ve worked as cleaner, shop assistant, delivery driver, you name it, when unable to get the work I want, but I don’t think people should be forced to work in jobs they don’t want. It makes them unhappy and that infects the workplace with dissatisfaction. We are a wealthy enough society to allow some people to live a lifetime on the minimal income of the dole. In fact there is a very good argument for making a minimal wage available to everyone, regardless of income, without means testing, as a share in Australia.

    Education should be free and open to all, regardless of background. The idea that we shouldn’t “waste” money on education just fries my brain. Even if only a tiny number were able to use that education in future work that education isn’t wasted. It creates a more knowledgeable population of parents and helpers and friends — a smarter civilisation. This is something we desperately need. Breeding ignorance into our society because we “can’t afford” knowledge is short-sighted. We live and we work; we don’t live to work. (Neither do I think we should need to work to in order to live either.)

    I do think the idea of gradual introduction of people into a workplace instead of coming straight from university to a management job is a very good idea. It would help to stop some of the crazier ideas and “efficiency” practices getting applied to businesses and alienating workers. I do think however, that only promoting from inside is a recipe for rigid practices, where nothing ever changes because “it was always done like this”.

    Populating the job networks with people from the ranks of the unemployed seems like a good idea, but I think that’s basically what they currently do. I’d prefer to do away with the job networks altogether as they currently exist. The old CES didn’t do a brilliant job, but it was infinitely better than the new religious organisations sucking enormous funds out of the public purse under the guise of getting people into employment. (As an aside, one of Howard’s most insane ideas was that the delusion of believing in an invisible friend could qualify people for anything, let alone helping others find work.) If we eliminated the dole, instituted a universal living wage, and brought back the CES as a helper to those trying to find employment, then I think we would have something close to ideal.

    Employing injured workers for WorkCover could be a good thing and could be a good opportunity for a lot of people when they feel their world has collapsed around their ears, but I’d be wary of forcing people into it. I imagine it not suiting everybody. If we had a universal living wage, free education (like we used to) and free health care then it would solve the problem of “throwing a lot of money at it”. I actually doubt we spend all that much in WorkCover payouts as it is, and that it is primarily a way for politicians to attack the victims, but I could be wrong.

  35. stephentardrew

    Nothing much is going to happen for the unemployed until we get rid of this ridiculous Judeo/Christian guilt infested culture of judgment, blame and retribution. In a scientific and evolutionary sense people do not create their realities, yet, if we cannot rationally follow the causal contingencies and psychologically damaging side effects of poverty and marginalisation nothing much will change. We promote the efficacy of science while handing over the unemployed to a bunch of magical thinkers and organisations who are driven by their own twisted imperatives and agendas. How do I know? I worked for many years in the welfare sector with drug and alcohol, youth homelessness, domestic violence, homeless families, and servicewomen and men who were homelessness and required rehabilitation and housing. If you trace the causal contributors of genetics culture, family, mental health issues, violence, neglect, poverty, marginalisation, punishment, retribution and inequality the whole notion of dole bludgers becomes just emotional value laden garbage meant to justify, cruel, ignorant and intolerant treatment of those who are marginalised, more often than not, through no fault of their own. Putting volitional values before the causal contributing facts simply shifts explanation to value laden judgment and retribution. Try getting a job in the sector as a no sectarian agnostic or atheist and see how much your job opportunities diminish.

    The universe develops of it’s own necessity so that every aspect is a necessary fact of the evolving probability matrix that negates any absolute value judgments for a largely deterministic universe in which people, who have the opportunity to think freely, only have nominal choice. To think freely is not to be bound by value implicit ideologies born of a magical and mythical past. The empirical facts say otherwise. But no let’s just be driven by emotional values triggered by and overactive limbic system of fear promoted by those least able to make sound and rational judgments about poverty and inequality. For all of our so called cultural history and civilisation we are not far removed from tooth and claw and visceral drives of our primitive carnivorous ancestors.

    Compassion and love demand rational and sound science based evaluation of the causal contributors to inequality and then, and only then, can we rely upon our subjective and emotional responses to help guide those empirical facts to a more just and tolerant society.

    Our current habitual drives are sending us towards destruction and untold suffering in the name of freedom and choice. How can it be a rational choice to destroy your ecology and blame the victims of habituated irrational greed, intolerance and inequality?

    A bunch of ignorant primitives acting like superior know it alls free from any notion of humility and intelligent evaluation of the causal empirical facts.

  36. Deb Foskey

    Reading these comments and judging from my own earlier experience it is pretty clear that if the government ever asked clients of Job Service Networks to evaluate them they would have been sacked long ago. Trouble is its now an ‘industry’ looking after its own jobs, not the clients’. Though there may be exceptions, I hope so.

  37. Wally

    miriamenglish I could take you to several locations where there are lots of professional dole bludgers and many younger people who will never get a job because there parents have not set an example. My next door neighbour is a member of the later group, his father was an school arts teacher, off with the pixies. “The idea that we shouldn’t “waste” money on education just fries my brain. Even if only a tiny number were able to use that education in future work that education isn’t wasted. It creates a more knowledgeable population of parents and helpers and friends — a smarter civilisation.” Education that is not utilised does not make our population smarter it can make people less useful. As an employer I would prefer to employ a kid who wants to do an apprenticeship and learn a trade than a kid who wants to go to uni or one who has graduated from uni. I have several trades, diplomas and a uni degree and I can assure you that there are many intelligent people in our universities but it is very hard to find anyone with a brain – someone who has the smarts or common sense to put their intelligence to good use. Many would argue that uni is the starting point and when they start work the education becomes valuable BUT how much more would they learn if they went to work before starting uni and already knew how to apply what they were learning?

  38. Belle

    The face os walls you natural assume they are dole bludgers. The facts if anyone bothers reading stats. Is not as many as you are lead to believe. In victoria there are only 300 long term employed that have been unemployed long term over 20 years. Only 3000 they consider long term unemployed. In queensland it is half that much. The FACTS are that those number are the reality and FACTS are that some people are just not employable! The goveremt know that. For many reason. Also the joke is there areany youth, who don’t have to work. Those are the ones you see hanging down the beaches and coffee shops. Main stream media would have you target bogans and blame parents and have you believe they teach their kids to live off the dole rather then work. NO. One wants to be on the dole. Having worked with a lot of your h that come from troubled and homes with mental issues. They want a better life. Those that can afford coffee shops and trips to the beach. Have family who can support them. 5$4 reality of newstart is so much harsher. Also in real life, for those who wear blinders. So people can’t or don’t have the ability to improve their lives. Don’t judge by looking at youth! Don’t judge by main stream media either. Real life is so much different. Also with the rate of unemployment being at its highest and people in job centers telling them. There are no jobs and are being straight to work for the dole. Humuliation of our your youth furthers the rate of suicide or youth have very little hope of having the way of life my generation did have.

  39. Wally

    Belle I assume nothing and what I write is from the real world that I live in and it is not influenced by main stream media. I do agree that some people are not employable and I agree most people want to work but a lot of our youth don’t want to do hard or dirty work because they have been raised by soft parents.

  40. paul walter

    No wonder they have “hidden” Peta Credlin. According to Insiders, she was one of those at the very heart (heart?) of the process, cooking up these poiicies.

    Belle, wouldn’t you love to put them on the dole for a while? Say in a doss house away from public transport?

    Send them back to the axed job-search offices, where they belong.
    But they axed the job offices because unemployment doesn’t exist in Oz, that’s why they do 457’s…

  41. DanDark

    I just want “them” all to slowly shrivel up and die a slow death,
    People who like me and thousands of others who are living under the poverty line are slowly shriveling up and dying on an emotional and physical level “even the cleverest cook cannot cook without rice”
    Australia has been going down the tube for years, but Govs of all stripes have looked the other way and still are….

  42. miriamenglish

    Wally, “Education that is not utilised does not make our population smarter it can make people less useful” has to be one of the most stupid and short-sighted things I have read, especially when you also say “I assume nothing and what I write is from the real world that I live in”.

    The assumptions you make are numerous. What makes you assume people don’t utilise their education? Why do you assume that it can make people less useful? Without any real, in-depth knowledge on the subject you assume that “a lot of our youth don’t want to do hard or dirty work because they have been raised by soft parents”. You assume that even if that was the case, that it was a bad thing. Here I was, thinking one of the purposes of civilisation was to bring an easier life to us all. Silly me.

    They’ve gone all soft! Not like in my day. We should all be doing it hard. Don’t educate anyone who isn’t worth it. Want an easy life? Well, we’ll show them! Cut them off! Starvation will give them incentive to work. Life without hard work isn’t worth living!

    Come off it Wally. Surely you realise you’re sounding like a reverse classist cartoon character — an Australian version of Alf Garnett from the British TV series “Till Death Do Us Part” (yes, I’m that old). You seem to want want the same thing as the crazy Tea Partiers, but for different reasons.

  43. Wally

    miriamenglish I don’t make assumptions I have 5 kids with lots of friends, I work with many youths a lot of them are apprentices and as a middle aged male I studied with youths half my age for 7 years. Sorry forgot to include the 10-15 youths who I provided apprenticeships for, 8 who now run their own business. You have made numerous assumptions about me that I will ignore and I will not try to ridicule you (as you have tried to do to me) to win a few cheap points.

    Instead I will provide some links to informative articles that I hope will enlighten you. “As the number of graduates increases, the value of each individual graduate’s degree goes down,” “Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 6.7 per cent of students dropped out of university after a year in 2011/12, rising to almost one-in-five at one institution” University census date arrives: One in five students quit by first year

    Read more:

    And then look further into the statistics and see how many actually graduate and become employed.

    I am also a member of the Deakin University Alumni that often provide information related to graduation rates and graduates successes.

    “They’ve gone all soft! Not like in my day. We should all be doing it hard. Don’t educate anyone who isn’t worth it. Want an easy life? Well, we’ll show them! Cut them off! Starvation will give them incentive to work. Life without hard work isn’t worth living!”

    We sit back and criticise 457 Visa’s (me as well) but a lot of aussies won’t/can’t do the jobs filled by overseas workers. They either don’t have the right skills (e.g.graduates don’t make very good welders), they don’t want to do manual work or they don’t want to live where the work is because it would interfere with their social agenda. What is actually wrong with doing hard physical work to earn an honest living? Someone has to fix your car and unblock the sewer!

    I think tradesman should be the highest paid workers on the planet. Lets face it if the lights went out and the sewer blocked and there was no one to fix the problems we would all be stumbling around in the dark, knee deep in shit.

    And if you believe this “Come off it Wally. Surely you realise you’re sounding like a reverse classist cartoon character — an Australian version of Alf Garnett” of me you obviously have no vision or concept of what could be. Unfortunately I get knocked a lot but the opinion of the knockers changes when they actually spend the time to understand what I am saying instead of making assumptions and/or trying to poke holes in it. Must say I didn’t mind watching Alf Garnett.

  44. Florence nee Fedup

    When did seeking a university education become all about how much money one can earn, what happened to the concept of seeking knowledge, for knowledge sake. What happened to the concept, that education widened one horizons, made one a better person.

    All we hear now, they are there to make people job ready.

  45. Belle

    I have to assume your assuming. Unless you honey and question every single individual. It’s that ignorance that has people attacking others. Many age just plain angry and have their own issues. Like for example. They have to work. While other sit in their butt. Taking for granted that they want to and not the fact that, there is not the emoline r. It’s depressing being unemployed. Having some relief for the pressure and depression from not getting a job. Is healthy for the unemployed. Many have applied for 100’s of jobs. Only to get turned down. So you think that does not effect them and they have no right to have fun because you can’t get a job. We work to live. Not live to work and must remember to live life and stop putting all the pressure we do on the young. Due to many generations screw ups and governmental mistakes. Not call them Names and attack them. We only ass to the problems, that the older generations caused. It’s not just for them. It is for the over qualified man sleeping in the car with his wife and kids. The disabled person forced in to newstart. Can’t get a job and is sleeping the street. Job creation is needed. Not mass attack on unemployed. As that is not just the young! Single
    Mums , dads, disabled and elderly. Over qualified and under qualified. I have done back to school twice. It sure as hecked helped me! Education is NEVER. A waste.

  46. miriamenglish

    Wally, I regretted the tone of my post soon after I sent it. I apologise for the ridicule, though I stand by the main content.

    The first Sydney Morning Herald article makes the mistake of evaluating education as a marketable commodity. While some education can be that, education generally should not primarily be seen that way. From a market standpoint the ability to read and write is virtually worthless because almost everybody can do it. Of course that’s wrong. Education has intrinsic value above and beyond the market. It can improve us as people, can show us better ways to live, give us the mental tools to come up with new solutions to old problems. A few points the article makes are valid though, for example the creeping credentialism is poisoning society, the market pressures on universities to churn students out damages the students and the education, the dropping of humanities and similar “unmarketable” courses. These are all the result of mistakenly applying the market to education — two things that should, in my view, be kept quite separate.

    The UK Telegraph article and the second SMH article talk about people dropping out in increasing numbers, but they never seem to cotton on to what has changed in universities in recent years. The stress levels now in higher education are horrifying. It’s a wonder anybody survives. University used to be a place where you went to learn and think and socialise. Now they are places where you frantically cram your brain with data while a sword hangs over your head, and the staff joke about how dramatically the kids age under the stress.

    The Financial Review article about graduates failing to find employment is partly a reflection of our society not operating smart enough, and partly a case once again of misapplying market values to education. Education should be its own value. To question its worth in the light of what employment it enables is to debase it. It’s like trying to make money out of love. It should never have a monetary value nor be mistaken for prostitution. Prostitution has its place, but it has nothing to do with love. Likewise, education has intrinsic value. You can apply learning purely to get work, and that has its place, but shouldn’t be confused with the value of a broad education.

    I agree with you that tradesmen should be among the highest paid workers in Australia. It is a travesty that money manipulators are the wealthiest people in our society — they contribute little to to our society.

    I admire that you provide apprenticeships and wish more Australian companies would put in the effort to do that. Good on you.

    While there is nothing wrong with people doing hard work (I’ve done plenty of it myself) it certainly is not for everyone, and I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone avoiding work that they don’t want to do. Personally, I think it’s good that people don’t want to do such work, as this in large part, is what drives automation, and we desperately need more automation. As our population ages and there is a shortfall of younger workers, more automation is imperative.

    Some time back I read of a clay tablet from a couple of thousand years BC in which the writer complained about the youth of his day and how the world was obviously going to hell soon. Everything changes, but nothing changes.

  47. Belle

    A lot o those stats came out of the governent s need to prove they don’t work. In a time of high unemployment.
    I don’t know why you don’t get that part. You say back in your days. Well guess what. That was back in your days.
    When people had to work hard jobs to survive. I know as I’m one of those young and proof going back to rage course. Do work and work well. As they have for me.
    At least three times and I was very greatful for it!
    Also if you want to say people you know personally we have th opposite on my side of experience with youth.
    Through challenge Australia in SA and Anglicare here. As the school coucilor at the special needs school.
    We are not in out day and things are very different.
    We raised the next generation to achieve educationally not in manufacture and Manila jobs.
    Then the government bring in workers from overseas to work those jobs. At a much lower wage. In order to lower out wages and because out fore fathers fought so hard to not work for slave wages. We don’t. Need to.
    Yet soon that will be taken out of our hands. With the TPP AND CHINA free trade agreement. They can bring their own worker in work under a cash free card.
    Where my sister lives. As she says. It’s not because they don’t want to pick fruit.
    Yet why should they for $4 an hour. Which is what they pay their workers from overseas. We dis that during the day and worked as waiters at night. For double that amount.
    Reality is people saying don’t be lazy. Do any job. Reality is going into KFC and them saying sorry we are not even taking applications anymore and we are no longer doing our cert 3 in hospitality. As out waiting list is so long!

  48. Belle

    I have gone back to study three times Florance and each time to improve my chance at getting a job and have done so. Now I’m going back to unversity
    If I’m going to work till I’m 70. I want a job that will help improve others lives.
    Won’t go into it here. Though I want to give back the help and chances that were given to me.

  49. Florence nee Fedup

    Belle, I began to study when I turned 40. Did manage to get better paid job, but I got more than that. Became a different person.

    What drove me, was the need for knowledge, I was a victim of extreme DV, seeing my daughter sexually abused by my husband, Was desperate to find out why I allowed that to happen, Was not my upbringing,

    Well 30 years later, still do not know the answer, but have a better understanding.

    What amaze me, was finding out how much I knew, At the same time realising that there was always much to learn,

    Learning and seeking knowledge is a lifetime quest,

  50. Chris

    Well now maybe you can just do what we did when I was looking for jobs long before this job network rubbish. Do some leg work and go in search of work yourself. You are the only one that knows what would suit you and what you would like to try out. Or just totally change direction and start up something you have always wanted to have a go at. You are old enough to have figured that out by now. Age is irrelevant if you have a passion.

  51. jagman48

    Yeah fantastic. Do the leg work, find a job. Easy peasy. You live in a town like Texas (NSW) population say 1000 about 600 out of work. Easy walk around and find a job.

  52. myeverart

    I was over being treated like an irrelevant waste of time at job network so I went and did voluntary work – job network got paid for that even though they did nothing to help me find this role, then i went to uni guess they got paid for that as well even though i never heard from them since way before i started voluntary work.

  53. JK

    Geeeze Chris I have been out of work for the past 18mths I have worked my entire adult life. I know how to apply for jobs in fact at my last place of employment I was the one who did the hiring…….due to my partners work we moved from WA to NSW and now apparently I am un-employable. Apparently just going across the Nullarbor did this, I have never had trouble getting work before I got here. I have done it all (Seek, and the rest, walking, talking to people, local papers etc) and applied for every sort of job… 9 times out of ten, people don’t even get back and say Thanks but no thanks especially people from the local papers. So now I am enrolled in Tafe to do a course in what I have been doing in the work force for the past 20 yrs, apparently I have to let employers know I am really serious about this job hunting deal. So saying that all you have to do is get out there, I can say that at the moment that doesn’t work. Anyway I can understand employers employing a lovely young thing and putting up with mistakes rather than putting up with an old chook who know what she is doing 🙂

  54. Teresa

    I have been underemployed for the past 11 years since our youngest turned six. I’ve had four job networks and not one of them has found me a job interview to go to. My current job network hasn’t harassed me to the extreme as they seem to have a little bit more understanding. My previous one rang the potential employers where l applied for jobs. It was really amusing sitting there listening while one disgruntled employer told them that they had already chosen their potential candidates and the other employer had the answering machine. They never got back to my job network, but us unemployed and underemployed are used to that.
    I am in my late forties, disability job network client and have found every underemployed job l’ve had myself. I’ve been to school and got certificates at TAFE, done volunatary work following that to keep my new skills intact, had employment gaps due to serious illness and more minor surgeries. I am realistic, l don’t think l am ever going to get a permanent job. There’s a difference between being negative and realistic. Job hunting has changed a lot, you get told to go to the employers website and there your name sits for years. At least with the CES we could get a foot in the door to make a good impression on an employer. I can’t go back to my old job from the 90’s because it’s now in the Phillipines.

  55. Wally

    miriamenglish thanks for the apology, I think we agree on more things that we disagree about but when you write something it is sometimes difficult to define the context/perspective to the reader and they read on misinterpreting what you write. In a conversation you would simply correct the misunderstanding and continue talking. English is a shit language in many respects but despite its short comings I think everyone who leaves school should be able to read and write. Unfortunately this is not the case, in particular indigenous people and in this age it should be fixed. That said keeping people in Australia employed should be a priority of Australian business. If jobs continue to be sent off shore as per Teresa’s situation there wont be as many customers so profits will drop off faster than savings can be made.

  56. None of the Caseworkers Business

    Keith. You are 100% right. And you just earned your dole. You made me laugh. Unfortunately, we now know that the JSA was dismantled only to be replaced by ……..(drum roll) ……. the same thing except worse.

  57. SammySnail

    here is an actual email from my job provider. ” Your still do not understand we are still required to get 30 hours per week and you are not being understanding at all so I will be continuing to do my job are the DEEWR contract and obtaining 30 hours per week for you and will be calling ***** to see what the exact circumstances are as if suitable 30 employment in administration or the position that you spoke to him on the phone about is available and you have not accepted this position it could affect your payments.” This person has English as a first language and this is the standard they have reached. I was threatened with having my payment stopped because in an interview I said I had a medical certificate to say I could only work part time. I then spent three hours (2 hours waiting) on the phone to explain my case. Result, I was right, payments reinstated. Why is there no communication between Centrelink and the job providers on some issues? Everyone hates this system especially Centrelink staff.

  58. michael

    why do we need job employment agencys when all that happens when you go in is they ask you to write up a CV which no employer gives a crap about in the real world, and then the job network places ask you to apply for ten jobs a month, so why do we need them if all the job networks get you to do all the work,

    i was at one today they offer any real assistance and are fake people in glossy clothes doing fake paperwork to keep them in a job not in finding you work,

    I am voluntary in this whole situation as i am on disability pension, however i am making that much cash and finding that much work by myself, all untaxable because the sytems a joke, the job network places belittle people instead of introducing you to employers they really have no contacts no clue, you go and see them and they have no boots on the ground with contacts,

    they want you to get involved in a mountain of crap paperwork to make you more depressed than you are,

    and the thing is why should the uneployed be made to do all the work in finding work, isnt it supposed to be people looking for things to get done mwill aprroach you,

    and they do approach you i am a mechanic with a trailer of tools and i drive to peoples houses giving them cheaper solutions,

    i am therefore outworked not a taxed income

    the employment agency i went into today tried scaring me with the tax department when i told them i already earn plenty of cash,

    i replied “what they send you a letter telling you you have been bad” which is all they actually do,

    seriously i am going to ring up the job network place tomorrow because i couldnt give a crap about resumes and demeaning paperwork and stupid questions, i am 43 years old im not a child,

    I am good at what i do find me contacts not garbage paperwork and job hunting i still have to do by myself,

    its a joke

  59. michael

    employment agency want you to people please with writing up resumes and crap,

    stuff that im not short of cash for a reason, why should i people please thats what desperate people do,

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