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Day to Day Politics: 19 Applicants for every job.

Wednesday 12 October

1 Sometime in September, I cannot remember the date, Social Services Minister Christian Porter, was addressing the National Press Club. He was talking about ‘welfare dependency’ and as is the conservative way, the speech was an announcement around the Government’s concern about ending ‘welfare dependency’ and the urgent need to cut ‘social security expenditure’.

My ears pricked. Here we go again, I thought. As I understood it the Government was going to pay private companies $96 million to help reduce the amount spent in the area. Then he used this phrase about “novel and brave” ways to put more pressure on the unemployed.

Conservative Governments have always enjoyed describing those without employment as dole bludgers and job snobs among other negative things.

They never seem to take into account that there is 3Million Australians looking for work or that there are 19 people available for every job.

In effect what Porter was saying was that the Government expects workers to knuckle down and work hard for the basic right to social security. Those who can’t or won’t they will call the ”undeserving poor” and the charities can look after them.

Owen Bennett in an article for New Matilda said of his speech:

Despite Porter’s best effort to present the Coalition’s policy agenda as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘data-driven’, his speech actually signalled a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the 1930s.

In this period, Australians who applied for charity relief were subject to an invasive examination to determine their character and morals. Neighbours, local shopkeepers and police were routinely questioned. No doubt, any applicant that was found to use recreational drugs or allow their kids to skip school would struggle to convince the examiners of their ‘worthiness’.

Over the proceeding 85 years, this approach has been discredited as an effective way to help people out of poverty. Is this really the type of system we want to return to?

Experts who watched Porter’s speech came out in support arguing that the Governments proposal would empower the growing list of those ‘addicted to’ to social security. They went so far as to say that the proposals would, over time, lead to a new era of ‘individual freedom’ and help the poorest to find work.

Nothing gets me more annoyed than the ignorance of common logic. This Government is expert at it. Despite all the grand talk there still remains the simple maths problem of 19 people for every job.

Bennett also said this:

Shamefully, not one of these experts have bothered to ask how the Government will make sure there will be enough jobs to accommodate the “welfare addicts” the system spits out into the labour market.

There is a reason no-one has asked this question – if they did it would expose the inconvenient truth that Australia is currently in the midst of an employment crisis (my bold) … According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 713,300 unemployed workers (5.6% of the workforce) and 1,110,100 underemployed workers (a record-high 8.7%).

Adding the 1.82 million Australians looking for work, the most recent ABS data indicates there are a further 1.34 million ‘hidden unemployed’ who are not considered part of the workforce but are also looking for work.

There are 19 job seekers competing for every job vacancy in Australia. That’s a 50 per cent increase since 2011. With the likelihood of another 200,000 joining the job market when the Motor Industry shuts down completely. We are certainly heading for a major crisis.

The Governments answer is to, instead of finding creative ways to produce jobs is to find creative ways of not paying the poor and vulnerable social security.

“Growth and Jobs” did I hear someone say?

2 It was always going to be this way. Labor will now offer Marriage Equality as policy at the next election thus reserving all great reforms for the left of politics. What will Turnbull be able to offer? Another plebiscite? Both parties have not done this issue justice. It has been defeated by the worst of what partisan politics has to offer and dreadful leadership.

Labor sees Turnbull as particularly vulnerable on this issue right up to the next election.

To quote Katharine Murphy:

We can be certain that marriage equality advocates will not step back from the public campaign, given its success in shifting public attitudes in Australia over the past decade.

3 A floodgate of tapes it seems are just waiting in the wings to further confirm the fact that Donald Trump is everything Robert de Niro said he was.

As an American friend said to me yesterday, “Anyone who thinks they can’t serve God and Mammon should take a look at the Republican Party”.

My thought for the day.

“Creative originality is the pregnancy of genius and gives birth to the exploration of possibility and opportunity”.


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  1. Ricardo29

    Remember the good old days when a Minister actually championed the work of his/her department and argued for what it did? Porter is just the latest in a long line of welfare ministers who feel it is their duty to save the taxpayers money, no matter what the cost to those who receive benefits. There seems to be a wilful unwillingness to understand that people are on benefits not only because they actually need them but they have been assessed ( often rigorously) as deserving them.

  2. jim

    Do the LNP even care about the crime wave that will certainly ensue if they make people so poor they will have to steal Have the LNP even read Newtons laws ..”When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body”. I don’t think so they’ll just jail them (for stealing) at taxpayer cost of course.

  3. stephentardrew

    No jobs shareholder growth and financial growth as the cash continues to flow upwards. It is all lies and deceits. People they simply do not care. They want it all for themselves. You are the help no more. Get used to it or change it. To do that you must fight both the right and left of politics.

  4. jim

    Great article John. It’s another way of keeping themselves (LNP) from being scrutinized .

    The Lying Liberal party will Never give Australians their right to be a republic ,Republicanism was first espoused in Australia before Federation in 1901.

  5. silkworm

    When the private sector fails to supply the necessary jobs to create full employment, as is the case now, it falls upon the public sector to do so. The federal government could quite easily restore full employment to this country if it had the insight and the will to do so. Let’s face it, the current government is deliberately maintaining a high level of unemployment because it is in the interests of the corporations to have a large pool of unemployed who will accept low wages and working conditions.

  6. Harquebus

    John Lord
    You are still addressing symptoms without addressing the causes. This means that in effect, you are doing nothing. I will bet that you did not view the video that I posted for you.
    The root cause of most of our problems is the pursuit of growth. Only the insane would sacrifice their children’s future in the pursuit of this mad concept.

    “We are irreversibly altering the ecology of the planet because there are too many people, putting too much pressure on the earth’s resources.
    Population is the elephant in the room, but what politician or church leader has the courage to say that family planning is necessary for the survival of mankind?”

    “On a worldwide basis, it takes energy to make the economy grow.”
    “It will be difficult to save the financial system, because there will be huge defaults both on bank loans and on outstanding bonds. Banks, insurance companies, and pension plans will all be affected.”
    “Once we understand the reason for our low-price problem–diminishing returns and the economy’s tie to the use of energy–it is clear that there is no way out of the problem over the longer term.
    In the not-too-distant future, our low commodity price problem is likely to become a low asset price problem. Once this happens, we will have a huge debt default problem.”

    Why energy prices are ultimately headed lower; what the IMF missed

    “According to the IMF, the total amount of debt around the globe has now hit a staggering 152 trillion dollars. That is an amount of money that is almost unimaginable, and the IMF says that it is equivalent to 225 percent of global GDP. It is the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet, and it is rising at an extremely alarming pace. Experts all over the world agree that when this debt bubble finally bursts, it is going to create an economic crisis on a scale that humanity has never seen before.”

    “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” — Prof. Albert Bartlett

  7. Suzanne Cass

    Porter is offering nothing new. It’s just a far more patronising and paternalistic approach to the great programs and services run by the CES until Howard abolished the lot. He should be reining in politicians’ welfare, especially his own after hitting the taxpayer for close to $1 million in expenses rorts.

  8. Greg

    O come on the employment problem cant be that bad , after all we found well over 7000 jobs that cant be filled by Australian workers on a web site , the jobs include plumbers , electricians , mechanics , nurses , ambulance personal , teachers , health care workers and many many more … and it seems the visa’s for these jobs can be fast tracked so the applicants from oversea’s can be here in Australia within 30 days , with many of these jobs being supported by either the Federal or state governments , some even have $0 visa application fee’s ?? Now can anyone imagine a federal government department breaking or bypassing immigration laws just so they can bring in cheap over sea’s labor into the country if there was really a employment problem in this country …sarcasm is a good a tool at times , but the fact remains … we have a government problem , 13 million or so working visa’s issued within the last few years alone

  9. etnorb

    Jobson growth, is this another way of saying we don’t have enough jobs to be able to grow? WTF?? There must be far more than one job for every 19 applicants, take away the thousands of persons who work between 0, & what, 20 hours or so a week, employed as Casuals, so the “employment books” seem to have a lot more people working than there really is! This inept, lying so-called Liberal mob needs to take an about turn on several matters jobs related. Firstly, get rid of ALL these so-called “Job finding firms” (or whatever you wish to call them–it appears to everyone (except the effing government!) that all these places are just out there to get as many jobless signed up & on their books, not try to get them employment; bring back the CES, as it is painfully obvious to everyone (again!) that these Centerlink offices are NOT in the job of finding employment for anyone, just to (supposedly) enforce draconian laws to try & get as many unemployed, pensioners etc as they can, fined for not “obeying” all the stupid & often unnecessarily stupid rules & regulations that they have to enforce; This mob needs to totally revoke & stop ALL overseas persons working here on this stupid .457 visa crap–keep Australian jobs for Australians; & the “best” one of all!, reduce, retract or whatever it takes to ensure ALL our obscenely over-paid so-called politicians get, say, $100,000 a year as their salary, with NO extra perks like grossly generous pension schemes–why not get as a pension what we pensioners get–NO Travel allowances”, “postage (?) allowances” (almost not needed now with electronic media), no hundreds of people hired as “consultants” & “advisors” & lobbyists etc, NO more “Gold passes” for travel when they retire (after all no pensioners get them now), no overseas “fact finding” (WTF??) trips with all the hangers on & wives etc that seem to go with them–after all there is a thing called the internet to look up anything they would need to know or see–NO extra payments for accommodation in Canberra if someone in their family or friends owns property there–& I suppose there must be more, but if ALL these changes were put into effect, then this Country would not be as badly off as the so-called Federal treasurer (?) says we are!


    I am glad you mentioned that we are heading for a crises. This won’t hit for about 12 months. I fear a real recession and this government is wondering around with their eyes closed and fingers in ears.
    There is no vision, no enlightenment only people fixated on keeping their own jobs, trying to appease the cross bench and for which now we are all subjected to the ravings from Pauline Hanson & coy.
    With regard to cross examination of individuals who find themselves unable to find work, I remember once when I found myself in this position, Centrelink staff were able to enter your house, take note of all your belongings, check the type of food in fridge and pantry. Even at that time with my past work history I was made to feel less than human. If someone starts a protest march to have this government removed, I’ll be there!

  11. Gangey1959

    ”Dear mr posthole.
    I have no job, but I am looking. I am willing to do almost anything, but at nearly 60 most employers won’t even give me an interview. Bummer, huh. The centerlink benefit that I receive does not go very far, but by the time I have paid rent, petrol, myki, a bit more petrol, and a bit of food if I can what do I expect. I don’t deserve much after 40ish years of working and paying tax.
    I have a solution, which will both make my life a bit easier, and enable you to remove me permanently from any further social security entitlements.
    Find me a house that I can live in for free, put petrol in my car, put 3 decent meals on my table per day, provide me with employment that is NOT semi temporary, and I WILL WORK FOR FREE FOREVER.
    IE, give me a no cost life and I will give you a no cost worker. I am skilled, educated and still have most of my marbles.
    What do you think ? Can we work something out ?”
    Yours sincerely.
    Telim Hesdreemin.

    @Jeanette You forgot ”and their heads up their arses.”

  12. mark

    Dear telim hesdreemin,your request has been indexed and we look forward to further correspondence.Unfortunately the current financial constraints,and our policy of ‘kick a man when he’s down’,do not allow us the assistance you require.Yous gotabejokin,charlie porter.[mark]

  13. townsvilleblog

    John, according to Roy Morgan Research Australia currently has 1,101,000 unemployed people with a further 1,002,000 underemployed people. This LNP govt is driving this once great nation to the poor house we now have 16.2% of the available workforce in either of these positions a staggering 2,103 million people from a population of 24 million.

    At the earliest opportunity these tory bastards have to be ousted!

  14. townsvilleblog

    HarquebusOctober 12, 2016 at 11:40 am, finally we agree on something. Australia has a sustainable population of 22 million, we are the driest inhabited continent on Earth, and we are already 2 million people overstocked. We badly need a population policy of no more than 2 children per family. Any more than two children and the family loses ‘all’ government benefits (mind you thanks to the LNP they are few and far between). We must get serious with this planet and its resources if we are going to preserve enough for our grandchildren.

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