One of my more mundane, but at times more amusing jobs as a federal public servant was for a short time reviewing letters to and from the Prime Minister and happy or unhappy campers. The Prime Minister, of course, laid his or her eyes on none of these letters.
I recall one letter to Kevin Rudd from a fanatically furious and foul-mouthed lady demanding that the government do more for her. She had been unemployed for eight years and it was, by the tone and content of the letter, Kevin Rudd’s fault plain and simple. In that eight years she had applied for a whopping 30 jobs and was exasperated that she was still unemployed. The announcement of her desperate plight concluded with these exact words: “What more do I have to do?”
Thirty job applications in eight years; well, I guess she could have done a bit more.
I hope she finally has a job. I also hope she’s over 30. If the answer is ‘no’ to either then she’s about to get real busy.
Young job seekers forced to wait six months for unemployment benefits will be required to apply for 40 jobs a month . . . despite not receiving any money, job seekers will be required to meet the activity requirements for unemployment benefits throughout this period.
If they fail to do so, their waiting period will be extended by four weeks.
A spokeswoman for Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews defended the requirements.
“These expectations are reasonable… “
Surely they can’t be serious?
Expecting a person to apply for ten jobs a week is as ridiculous as applying for 30 in eight years.
Many would argue that there are probably thousands of unemployed people who do actually apply for 10 jobs a week, and there no doubt are. I admire their tenacity and resolve. But to expect everyone under the net to apply for 10 jobs a week is raising the bar of expectation far too high.
Apart from the incredible expense this saddles upon the job seeker (as noted by Rossleigh), there are plenty of others who will feel the strain. Can you imagine how unproductive for an employer it would be if he or she were to receive truck loads of applications for a job he or she placed in the local paper? Every employer who advertised a position will in all likelihood need a good two weeks just wading through the applications.
Can you imagine the pitfalls of offering yourself as a referee for a job seeker who applies for ten jobs a week? Unless you enjoy writing referee reports or constantly taking calls from hopeful employers then it’s highly likely you’d happily rescind your offer.
And what if you scored an interview but could not attend because it was in a town or city hundreds of kilometres from where you live? You only applied for the job because there were none in your home town. You knew that you couldn’t attend the interview and by applying for the job you’ve basically wasted the employer’s time, but you applied because of your obligations.
Dozens of examples could be put forward that highlight where this policy is an absolute farce. It’s just another farcical policy from what is nothing more than a farcical government. For the Minister’s office to suggest that these expectations on the job seekers are reasonable show that he has no idea what young people outside of his circle of acquaintances have to endure. Where they live. How they live. Their family circumstances.
Doesn’t he realise that most unemployed people are trying to find work? Does he too not realise that there aren’t enough jobs to go around? Does he not understand the depression many of these young people have to deal with even without this added responsibility.
I’m appalled that this government has decided for themselves that all young unemployed people aren’t doing enough to find work. The mere fact that they are hopeful of introducing a policy that will deny people under the age of 30 any income support is surely enough motivation for those young people to find work. They don’t need to be made to apply for 40 jobs a month. They don’t need to be set up for failure.
This is obscene.
Has the Minister even bothered to look at the vacancies in any rural area to see if there are even 40 jobs a month on offer? Has anyone? And now we read that there are forecasts that the job market is going to dry up even further for young people.
It’s a pity that Ministers never get (or bother) to read the correspondence from disgruntled voters such as the lady who wrote to Kevin Rudd. If they did, maybe they’d come to the realisation of what life is like in the real world.
More articles by Michael Taylor:
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