Anthem for Tomorrow’s Child

By Roger Chao Anthem for Tomorrow’s Child Dear child of mine, a seed of…

Inter-Generational Trauma

Trauma slithers epigenetically through time with nipping-sharp teeth. It fastens to bloodlines…

Reaching Out to the Metropolitan Growth Corridors in…

By Denis Bright Metropolitan growth plans for inner city and outer suburban residential…

Experts Call For Transfer of Last Refugees in…

Media Release Religious leaders and healthcare professionals present Open Letters calling for the immediate transfer to Australia of the…

Battle Cry of the Unbowed

By Roger Chao Battle Cry of the Unbowed In this hallowed land downunder, where…

Rot in the Civil Service: Farewelling Mike Pezzullo

There was no better example of Australia’s politicised public service than its…

Brownsville, We Have a Problem

By James Moore I have never bought into the hype and general BS…

It's You Lot Again !

Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock has now told us that the latest…


Earn or learn: earn for opportunistic job providers – learn that your qualification means nothing

“If you’re a school leaver or unemployed and between the ages of 18 and 30” writes Edward Eastwood, “then you’re considered fodder for the Job Network System as a unit of profit”. Edward demonstrates how the system is designed to make money from those unfortunate enough to be unemployed.

In 2011, the Gillard government announced a policy of ‘Earn or Learn’.

The initiative was designed to ensure that high school students completed Year 12, either through an academic stream or an optional vocational stream.

In effect, this meant that students who wished to leave school before Year 12 had to have an ensured occupation through apprenticeship or traineeship.

The Abbott government has retained the slogan but its intent is far different.

Under the proposed changes to Newstart, those 30 years or under will have to either work for the dole or partake in a ‘learning/training’ course.

This gives rise to a couple of scenarios.

Let’s examine the first;

You’ve left school at Year 12 but don’t want to go to university.

You want to be a tradesman but thanks to the ever shrinking number of apprenticeships and the continued closure of TAFE’s, this doesn’t seem to be possible.

After applying for unemployment benefits and fulfilling your ‘mutual obligation’ to fruitlessly apply for 40 jobs a month over the past six months, you’re now faced with the choice of either joining the Green Army to pick up up garbage and pull weeds, or enroll in a government approved training course.

When you left school, it was summer. It is now winter, and you don’t want to spend 20 hours a week in the pouring rain and freezing cold, so you opt for the training course.

The range of courses on offer is fairly narrow and none of them will be helpful in aiding you to realize your ambition of becoming a qualified tradesperson.

The chances are you will be offered the choice of the following; Hospitality (waiter, waitress, kitchen hand), Transport and Logistics (truck driver, fork lift operator, storeman), Cleaning (self explanatory), Aged Care (ditto) or Security (watchman, guard, crowd control).

If you’re in a hurry, there are also short courses that cover Red and White Card in construction or ‘traffic management’ (Stop/Go sign holder), food handler, Barista, Barman etc…

Whatever course you choose, it will be delivered through a Registered Training Organisation (RTO). These are organisations which are usually an arm of the Jobs Australia Network.

Many of them are shelf companies which means that your Job Network Provider can bid on further contracts from the government without having to go through the proscribed waiting period required under business legislation.

This means that not only can your Job Network Provider make a claim from the government for having you on their books but also picks up extra dollars for the referral to the RTO (themselves) which in turn collects the fee for your course from the government, and also enables it to minimize its tax payments.

Edward 1

Image courtesy of

In addition, most of the current Job Network Providers and RTOs are owned by overseas corporations such as the UK owned A4e or the US owned Maxx Employment.

These corporations rake in in literally billions of dollars per year. Under the previous Labor government the Job Network system alone received 1.5 billion dollars as part of the ALP’s 4.5 billion dollar ‘Welfare to Work’ scheme.

Under the proposed changes to Newstart eligibility, this can be expected to triple, making being a contracted Job Network Provider with an RTO arm a lucrative business indeed.

Needless to say with billions in subsidies floating around, corruption of the Job Network System has flourished, and readers should refer to the March edition of The Post for more on this.

Now that you’ve completed your course and clutching your newly minted Certificate II or III in a limited field of semi-skilled labour, you can go an join the end of the dole queue and wait another six months before claiming benefits and joining the Green Army.

As far as the government’s concerned, you’ve already ‘learned’ and therefore you are no longer eligible for subsidized training courses.

You may of course undertake other courses in Certificate II or III occupations – but at your own expense.

As far as your potential employer is concerned, while you have the ‘qualifications’ for the job, you don’t have any experience and besides, there are already at least another 40 applicants for the same position.

The second scenario is even nastier.

You’ve put in three- or four-years tertiary study. You’re now a qualified Engineer (Electronic, Mechanical or IT), Nurse, Dentist, Environmental Scientist, Teacher, or Lawyer.

You’ve got a HECS debt that an Olympic pole-vaulter couldn’t jump over.

As you’ve quickly discovered during your freshman or sophomore year, a tertiary degree is no guarantee of a job.

You plowed on however, and endured the social and financial deprivation because you loved study and believed in the value of education not only as a tool to dispel ignorance, but as a means of making the world a better place.

Alas, for you as a graduate, there is no ‘earn or learn’. You’ve already used up your government subsidized allowance with your HECS debt.

Any additional ‘learning’ through the Job Network System is at your own expense.

Jobs? According to Christopher Pyne, you have a 75% better chance of earning capacity than your non-tertiary qualified bretheren; in fact Chris says that your degree will enable you to earn over a million dollars in your lifetime.

As for a job in your chosen field of study – well, that’s a little more difficult. If you’re a nurse, you’ll find that most vacancies are already filled by 457 visa holders.

Teacher? As a probationary teacher you’ll struggle to find enough Casual Relief Teaching available to fulfill the requirement to become a fully fledged teacher and will most likely ‘be on call’ for the next few years along with several thousand other teachers that the University’s graduate every year.

No, my tertiary qualified friend, for you as they used to say in the former Soviet Union; ‘Is really tough-ski shit-ski!’.

For you, it’s a six month wait to be followed by the joys of joining the Green Army where your degree will do you as much good as a five cent coin in a pokies venue.

Oh, and the twenty hours a week that you work in order to receive your benefits will seriously erode your chances of applying for jobs that you are qualified for. In addition, it’s a general rule of thumb that if you don’t find work in your chosen field in the first three months of graduation, then the chances are that you never will.

To say these proposed changes to unemployment benefits borders on criminal negligence is like saying that the surface of the Sun is hot – a gross understatement.

On the primary level, the Job Network Provider system is and always has been a sham.

The sole purpose of these organisations is to make a profit out of the unemployed by either forcing them into low paid casual/part time work or to breach them for failure to comply with their ‘mutual obligation’ contracts and therefore suspend or terminate their benefits – they get paid to do either or both.

The so called ‘learning’ qualifications and ‘training sessions’ are also a sham and carry little or no weight in the workplace save to ensure the employer that you can actually read, write and wont question either wages or conditions – especially those related to occupational health and safety.

As The Post conjectured last week, the secondary purpose of these proposed changes carries a far more sinister purpose – that of conscription by stealth.

In summary, if you’re a school leaver or unemployed and between the ages of 18 and 30, then you’re considered fodder for the Job Network System as a unit of profit for their organisation and as you’ll rapidly discover, your ‘learning’ qualifications, be they tertiary or vocational – mean absolutely nothing.

This article was first posted on Edward’s blog The Mugwump Post and has been reproduced with permission.

Related articles:

Hi ho, Hi ho…where am I spose to go?

This government is now officially obscene


Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Your contribution to help with the running costs of this site will be gratefully accepted.

You can donate through PayPal or credit card via the button below, or donate via bank transfer: BSB: 062500; A/c no: 10495969

Donate Button



Login here Register here
  1. Lee

    Are these Job Network Providers related to the Church of Scientology by any chance? Their styles of operation are not dissimilar.

  2. Judith

    The impoverished university graduate is now too old, too expensive or overqualified.

  3. Susan Jamesion

    “On the primary level, the Job Network Provider system is and always has been a sham.” Please correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t this how Kevin Rudd’s wife made her riches – owing & running one of these “Job Provider” businesses?

  4. CMMC

    ‘The Unemployment Industry’, that is what I have been calling it ever since it first emerged in the 1990’s.

  5. Kaye Lee

    And lets not forget the Green Army Service Providers who will be given $192,500 per team of slaves. There are different rates of pay for the participants depending on age (and maybe qualifications?) but the rate for the provider doesn’t change so they will of course be looking for the cheapest labour to maximise their profit. The less they spend the more they keep.

    This will be open to such rorting – a free workforce that you don’t have to give any workplace entitlements to.

  6. corvus boreus

    And operating, presumably with legislative preference, in a supposed free market system,as subsidized competition to established, legitimate small businesses providing real employment for committed professionals and proven results.
    Speaking of which…

  7. Kaye Lee

    Some advice from our Minister for Education

  8. John921Fraser


    We need a war !

    Tony "I am a conservationist" Abbott is currently looking into it.

    The Green Army will have to recruit Pensioners … Hockey is currently looking into it.

    The sick will have to die …. Dutton is currently looking into it.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Is there any reason that we couldn’t keep our public servants and let THEM administer the Green Army in conjunction with a refunded Landcare? Any why can’t we reopen the Commonwealth Employment Service instead of farming out all that money to Job Service providers?

    I am also wondering, with this dole thing….my son was doing temp work for an agency. He would get two weeks work, then maybe nothing for 2 months, then another couple of weeks. His current placing is permanent on contract to a government agency. That means the government pays the job agency who takes a cut and then pays my son who then goes and works for the government, but without benefits (holiday pay, sick pay, RDOs, security of tenure). What happens if they decide to terminate the contract? Do we really need these middlemen who make money for nothing?

  10. Edward Eastwood

    Yes Susan Jamesion, Therese Rein founded Ingeus which she sold to US company American Providence Service Company in April 2014 for between $151 – 220 million depending on which news report you believe.

    The system is a sham no matter who the owner or owners of these establishments might be.

    Unsurprisingly, the notion of making profit from the unemployed through private contractors was the brain child of then junior Minister for Employment, Tony Abbott as part of the dismantling of the Commonwealth Employment Service under the Howard government.

  11. Carol Taylor

    Edward and, This means that not only can your Job Network Provider make a claim from the government for having you on their books but also picks up extra dollars for the referral to the RTO (themselves) which in turn collects the fee for your course from the government, and also enables it to minimize its tax payments.

    And not only but also…the Job Network Provider is given a bonus for the number of long term unemployed it deals with, therefore with some providers there is no rush whatsoever so find him/her employment.

    Image Case X (and this is a real case): the gentleman had been an engineer but sustained substantial brain damage due to a car accident. Following the accident his marriage fell apart and this is understandable as X’s IQ instead of being well over 100 was now gauged at the lower end of ‘average’. X clearly could no longer function as an engineer. He could also no longer drive. X lived 20kms from the nearest JNP which meant him having to hitchhike in order to fulfill his obligations to still collect the dole. Why was this person not on the DSP you might ask.

  12. Carol Taylor

    Kaye Lee and, Any why can’t we reopen the Commonwealth Employment Service instead of farming out all that money to Job Service providers?

    No reason whatsoever, except that Abbott’s Liberals philosophically believe that governments should not be in the business of doing anything practical or constructive. Apparently the government’s job is to sit up there in its ivory tower, pour over policy and leave all the rest for private enterprise to deal with as it sees fit.

  13. James

    It is a shame that the important messages in this are scuttled by the glaring inaccuracies and insubstantiated claims.
    And what about those small not-for-profit ‘Job Services Australia’ who are actually trying to make a difference, not a profit?!

  14. Lee

    When Pyne dropped the c bomb in parliament I emailed him and told him at least a c* is useful, which is more than I can say for that snivelling, dumber than dogsh!t God-botherer.

  15. John Armour

    In a hunter/gatherer economy there is no such thing as unemployment.

    When we, the people, hypothetically voted for a monetary economy and created government to manage our affairs to optimise the public good, the contract between the people and the government was that it would create employment for anybody who wanted to work.

    The creation and maintenance of full employment is the most sacred duty of government.

    The private sector simply cannot provide full employment.

    But the private sector is advantaged by having a buffer-stock of unemployed at the shop gates and this is where the any discussion of policy should begin.

    There are currently about 7 unemployed for every vacancy (official figures) and a similar number of under-employed to help keep the existing employed workforce disciplined.

    When the workforce is also saddled with household debt of 140% of disposable income, it becomes noticeably tractable.

    With the business sector and government now a single consolidated entity, this can only get worse.

  16. Edward Eastwood

    More than happy to correct any inaccuracies or unsubstantiated claims if you’d like to point them out James.

    I drew my information from personal experience, Victor Quirks report on the efficacy of the JNS to the Productivity Commission.

    PDF 48.5 KB – Productivity Commission (Google Victor Quirk if link doesn’t work).

    and the following articles from the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Are also several other articles in the SMH archive which you may also care to read.

    You may also like to travel as far back as 2001 to read Annabel Crabb’ s ‘Subsidies to be repaid on ‘non-jobs’ in the archives of the Melbourne Age, 21 July, 2001. (no link available).

  17. John921Fraser


    Slightly left of centre :

    "The carbon tax is an annual impost of $6 billion.
    Six billion divided by 23.4 million Australian population divided by 365 days a year equates with the grand total of SEVENTY CENTS PER PERSON PER DAY. HOW MUCH MORE LIMITED CAN IT BE? This economy wrecker will ravage the entire economy by 70 cents a day, this is what Abbott would have you believe."
    Pen of hrba

    Worthwhile reprinting.

    And much better reading than … "I am a conservationist" Abbott.

  18. Edward Eastwood

    You’re quite right John Armour, it’s known as the social contract.
    As you also correctly point out, the current economic theory of ‘supply side’ requires a permanent floating pool of between 5.2 – 5.6% unemployed in order to keep both inflation and demand for wage increases in check.

    As unemployment soars due to government policy of refusing to subsidize manufacturing in tandem with tearing down trade barriers, the employees of these industries will be directed to the Job Network System (Jobs Australia) where they will serve to swell the coffers of the providers who in turn will collect a stipend for putting them on the books, another if they should by the remotest chance find them work -usually part time or casual and when these part-time casual vacancies come to an end, collect a further payment for putting them back in the books.

    Should these ‘clients’ default on their ‘mutual obligation’ (funny that nothing is ever mentioned about the government’s ‘mutual obligation’ to create employment) such as being late for an appointment with their JNS, or fail to attend a job interview, they will be ‘breached’ and their Newstart benefits reduced for 8 weeks the first time, 16 weeks the second, and suspended from all payments should a third ‘offence’ occur.

    The JNS provider also claims a payment for suspension of welfare benefits.

  19. Carol Taylor

    Edward, potentially adding to the unemployment pool will be the most unemployable of all, that is those who the government intends to reassess as insufficiently disabled to be classified as such.

    The hardship that these people will encounter is insurmountable with conditions impossible to fulfill and potential for finding jobs almost zero. Previous employment? A decade ago. Referees? None.

  20. Sandra Searle

    The real problem here is the elephant in the room. The fact that there is hardly any manufacturing done in this country anymore is something that is the real problem.
    You can educate people as much as you like but if there is no jobs to go to then that is a REAL PROBLEM.
    This current government in particular has done this country a real disservice when they decided to not support the car industry for instance. Their vision is so short sighted. Did they not see the problem they would have with so many people out of work with no other employment to get (even after they have done retraining in some other field).
    How the heck is the economy ever going to become viable if people do not have work. This government has got it all so very wrong doesn’t it.

  21. Edward Eastwood

    How true Carol. In the first case that you mentioned, the reason that X is not place on DSP is simply that the JNS provider can no longer claim a payment and therefore loses money.

    As an aside, the whole scheme including the Green Army may never get off the ground due to the fact that the government plans to pay ‘participants’ $10.21 per hour for a 50 hour fortnight.

    This is in direct contravention of its own law set down by Fair Work Australia which states that a full time employee 21 or over is entitled to $16.87 per hour.

    Changes to unemployment benefit entitlements – the work of sociopaths

    As Corvus Boreus points out, it also competes against legitimate small business who are legally obliged to pay the minimum wage and who provide this type of service – (environmental maintenance, horticulture etc..)

    The unanswered question is of course the one that Kaye Lees poses; If they can fund schemes such as this then why can’t they create full time employment which in the long run stimulates and strengthens the economy far more efficiently than this Neo-liberal nocturnal emission.

  22. Dan Rowden

    I highly recommend Edward’s other article that he links to in this one.


    It provides an accurate and disturbing insight into what the unemployed have to endure to gain their riches. Jesus, my skin is crawling just thinking about it…

  23. Matters Not

    Capitalism is rather good at creating wealth but fails miserably when distributing same. Much of the wealth created today, and more so in the future, results from ‘technology’ which has both good and bad effects and affects. To date, technology allows us to displace mind numbing, repetitive tasks which is an ‘upside’. On the ‘downside’, individuals might be liberated from the drudgery but they face an even bleaker future because there is no income.

    While everyone can have a nice clean job if we all sell ‘insurance’, ‘ice creams’ and like to each other, that’s not sustainable in the medium and longer terms. We must make ‘things’ and in the future ‘technology’ will play an increasingly important role in virtually all walks of life. Even in high skill areas such as medicine, the human dimension is being downgraded while technological input is rising rapidly.

    When one speaks of technology one must also talk of intellectual property, broadly defined to include patents, copyrights and trademarks. Not too long ago it was the United States that led the world in patent applications but now that mantle belongs to China. China offers all types of incentives, including direct payments and tax breaks to those who patent their ‘inventions’

    But China isn’t the only country to encourage the creation and protection of ‘intellectual property’, even ‘capitalist’ Britain has entered the lists along with Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In those countries they have what might be termed Patent Box legislation. They have incentives for people to not only apply for patents but also to apply those patents to ‘high value’ growth industries within their respective States.

    In Australia, we patent our inventions to a limited extent but there is no incentive to translate that intellectual property into a manufacturing process. Instead we outsource.

    Time to be the clever country through deeds and just not words.

  24. Anomander

    Let’s not also forget that so many employers nowadays have adopted the US model of unpaid internships.

    So you get to compete against all the other hopeful university graduates for the joy of working for a prestigious organisation for gratis, so you can gain experience and get ahead of the pack.

    And since the company doesn’t pay for you, you get no superannuation, no sick leave, no annual leave, no benefits whatsoever. You live with your parents because you don’t get the dole and can’t afford to head-out on your own, and you do this in the vain hope the company may one day create a permanent position for you to fill.

    But of course they never will create the position because they have eager mugs like you lined-up 10 deep waiting for an opportunity to for work like a slave for nothing.

    Meanwhile the company continues to make massive profits and the CEO gets his multi-million dollar salary, a big house on the water, tax benefits for his leased company car, a boat and mooring, he can afford to send his kids to the best private schools and takes numerous luxury overseas skiing trips, and all the while you’re getting reamed.

  25. John921Fraser


    @Matters Not

    CSIRO holds many patents.
    Abbott/Hockey is reducing funding to CSIRO.

  26. Matters Not

    Or perhaps what Hockey and Andrews are advocating is a ‘administrative’ led job creation scheme.

    100,000 youth producing 40 applications per month means 4 million applications per month. The remaining 620,000 unemployed (20 applications per month) would deliver a further 12.4 million applications each month, giving a grand total of around 16 million applications per month.

    With those kinds of numbers each month, the private sector and government will urgently need more staff to process, sort and respond to those applications, as well as keep records in case of Centrelink checking on the individual unemployed. It’s a veritable miracle of job creation.


  27. Carol Taylor

    Edward, I always considered Abbott’s Green Army to be nothing more than a Work For The Dole scheme. For Abbott and Hockey, window dressing for ‘addressing climate change’, further window dressing for ‘tackling the unemployment *problem*’ and all paid for by de-funding all known existing programs such as LandCare and DuneCare, not to mention far less assistance for the unemployed and pensioners. For the Libs it’s win, win all ’round..seemingly taking action while taking none whatsoever…or at least that was the plan until the Libs started whacking Mr & Ms Average over the head with a very substantial sledgehammer.

  28. Lee

    “Let’s not also forget that so many employers nowadays have adopted the US model of unpaid internships.”

    Let’s not also forget that the majority of the population are voting for this breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Notice also the irony from the nation that is always banging on about their rights and their freedom. Americans really don’t understand irony.

  29. Matters Not

    CSIRO holds many patents.

    Indeed they do. Along with the university sector.

    There was a Landline program a few weeks ago that documented the growing of food for ‘prawn’ feeding. Very big breakthrough that will earn the CSIRO big dollars in the years to come, but there won’t be much production within this country. Box Patent legislated incentives might change that.

  30. Edward Eastwood

    I couldn’t agree more Carol.

    James; How’s that inaccuracy and unsubstantiated claims check coming along?

  31. John Armour

    This seems an opportune moment to post a link to one of Bill Mitchell’s “Job Guarantee” articles.

    What is a Job Guarantee?

  32. Diannaart

    Excellent, excellent 10 star article. Apologies for not reading it any earlier than this.

    The reality of the LNP’s vision to ensure low paid labour of the future.

  33. Dan Rowden

    I understand your angst, Mary, but I believe your post should be deleted forthwith.

  34. Mary

    yep cool do what you want,there will be someone who will get him, you do not need to be Einstein to figure it that out

  35. James

    It seems that my original response didnt go through.
    Edward, email me to discuss. I am currently working and cannot respond immediately.

  36. Edward Eastwood

    James; more than happy to discuss via e-mail. If you comment on any of my own blog site posts (The Mugwump Post) then your e-mail address will come up and I can contact you.


  37. Kaye Lee

    I have found one program that the Coalition are offering for young people aside from slave labour in the Green Army. I guess it will suit some people.

    Reinstatement of the popular ADF Gap Year Programme scrapped by Labor – $18.3 million in 2014-15 and $191.8 million across the Forward Estimates.

    The Army has Gap Year job opportunities for Rifleman, Driver Transport, Administration Clerk, Supply Coordinator and Unit Quartermaster. The Air Force has Gap Year job opportunities in Airbase Security Roles.

    You will earn more than $45,000, have subsidised accommodation and full medical and dental coverage.

  38. Diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I guess Far-Right and all things military is why. Not that I’m complaining, would simply like to know cost of programs started and stopped by successive governments over, say, the past 20 years.

    How much could’ve been saved to keep programs that worked? Or had already had detailed and structured foundations all ready to go or even already started… NBN, Gonski, NDIS… these programs employed people as well.

    But no, LNP has to continue the big lie of “Labor’s mess” by wrecking everything. Getting difficult to determine the “mess” from the “wreckage”. Of course, such situations works well if a political party is into obfuscation as much as the LNP is.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Speaking of cutting important programs.,..

    “A frontline Indigenous services program, launched on a recommendation by the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, has been told it will no longer receive federal funding from the end of the month.

    The NSW and ACT Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) was informed last week its funding of $500,000 a year for a program helping Indigenous people reintegrate into daily life after jail would end on 30 June.

    Phil Naden, the head of the ALS, said it did not expect the government to reverse its decision, and the ALS “carry a great sadness” at the loss.

    “We have heard so many public statements by government, in the lead-up to and after the 2014 budget, that no frontline services in Indigenous Affairs would be cut,” he said.”

  40. Lee

    “How much could’ve been saved to keep programs that worked? Or had already had detailed and structured foundations all ready to go or even already started… NBN, Gonski, NDIS… these programs employed people as well.”


    It’s absolutely criminal how much money is wasted by governments these days. It has become common to dismantle anything implemented by a previous government just because they can. I work in the public service and every few years our strategic plan undergoes radical changes. We just go through cycles of setting structures up and then dismantling them a few years later, only to repeat the exercise a few years after that. And look at all the frequent name changes of government departments. That isn’t cheap to do. Governments these days rarely plan beyond the end of their term.

  41. Diannaart


    I am a former public servant – the waste with regime change is indeed inexcusable… and don’t get me started on the process of tenders for contract – only the cheapest, irrespective of details, are considered. Many excellent small businesses who have been conducting affordable and quality work get dumped due to being undercut by other tenders.

    Reward for effort has become an anachronism.

    Neither Labor nor the LNP seem to understand how their petty oneupmanship costs all of us.

  42. John Armour

    As the first step to restoring full employment, the national government should introduce an open-ended public employment program – a Job Guarantee – that offers a job at a living (minimum) wage to anyone who wants to work but cannot find employment.

    What is a job guarantee?

    There’s a curious similarity between the government’s Work for the Dole scheme and a Job Guarantee that would engage the curiosity of the narrow conservative mind if a few myths could be dispelled.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the underlying philosophy of the WFTD is punitive, a requirement that ticks the box for most right-wingers. If conservatives could be led to believe that a JG was just a bigger and crueler WFTD they’d embrace it enthusiastically. It’s an article of faith that most of the one million or so unemployed are bludgers.

    The most common objection to a JG is that it will finish up with an army of unemployed painting rocks. Never mind that’s probably how WFTD will finish up because the work has to be essentially demeaning and punitive.

    With a little bit of imagination however, the unemployed-to-vacancy ratio could be turned on its head with a JG. For starters, environmental repair could employ thousands in a never ending continuum cleaning up and replanting after the corporate environmental vandals have been through.

    The critical difference here though, between a WFTD scheme and a Job Guarantee is that the JG would attract a fair wage with all the usual benefits and conditions the rest of the workforce demands. So it could never be described as demeaning or punitive. But let’s keep that to ourselves.

    This of course brings up the killer argument of “how to finance it”, the tired old neo-liberal trump card.

    Readers of Bill Mitchell and those who understand how our monetary system actually works know that this argument is total bullshit. As monopoly issuer of the currency the only constraints for the government are real, that is, the physical resources of the economy (as we learn in times of war).

    Two other ‘realities’ militate against the adoption of this obvious ‘no-brainer’, the ironically named Job Services Network itself and the ‘NAIRU’, the ‘Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment’, a number Treasury pulls out of its arse to flag the outbreak of inflation.

    A JG would quickly cut the rug from under the feet of the JSN as the wages of the JG workers reflated the economy in classical Keynesian ways, and in doing so, destroy the JSN business model, while the NAIRU provides business with a “number” that officially sanctions the buffer-stock of misery (5% or thereabouts) that business requires to keep the workforce disciplined.

    This means of course that nobody on the “other side” (government or business) has a genuine interest in reducing unemployment.

    An elegant feature of a Job Guarantee is the way the buffer-stock of employment moderates inflation compared with the NAIRU that seeks to do the same with a buffer-stock of un-employment. Read the link above to learn more.

  43. John Armour

    It’s absolutely criminal how much money is wasted by governments these days.

    It’s not the money that’s a worry Lee because the government has no financial constraints.

    It’s the physical resources, which in most administrative processes is insignificant.

    In times of under-utilised capacity Keynes suggested the government put 5 pound notes in bottles and bury them, tendering out the rights to dig them up.

    He added that it would be better to build public housing but you get the point.

  44. Stephen Tardrew


    ADF guaranteed to trigger autonomic nervous system reactivity in basic training. Great for all those working class riffraff. Get em in the forces and teach them how to be killers – justifiably of course. Surely this is going to help. Need a lot more of that, after all, look at Iraq and Afghanistan worked a treat. Africa? Well no more said. South America what a force for democratic dictatorships that has been for the grand alliance. How to build a peaceful world and redistribute wealth and increase standards of living of the impoverished. Oops, what the, you mean to say that didn’t happen in fact these bastards are now screwing over their own citizens. Austerity is the go and if you don’t join up you starve. Shhhhhhhh…don’t tell em yet though. Great success that military stuff hey! Brass bands; fan fair; chorus of angles; as generalissimos and politicians sit with their weapons and nukes on the right hand of God er Dog – whatever you call the great fallacy in the sky. Back to the good old medieval serfdom brothers and sisters. Get pissed; bang swords and shields while the lords look on at the amputations, disemboweling decapitation and a host of other salubrious ways to die. Yep civilization has worked a treat. Now we got bigger and better machines and technology. What a treat. Its all good just ask Tony and friends. Democracy works a treat for a dictatorial oligarchy doesn’t it?
    Those pesky changes are there to fulfill our egocentric, God given sense of elitism and superiority while designating the other side to letter head and acronym inferiority and oblivion. I gotta better name than you and what's more a prettier font ha, ha, ha. Principles is more important than taxpayer money after all. You lefties do like the minutia don't ya. Look at the big picture were saving you from your greed infested selves by creating the great class war of the twenty first century. Wouldn't be too verbose about that though till we have finished running you through. The secret plan, you know, Tea Party nirvana.
    Good lord another former public servant. Well that says it all doesn't it. Look you need to understand that we are saving waste buy giving tenders to the cheapest and nastiest providers regardless of efficiencies. This is capitalism sweet heart. Money and profits for corporate efficiencies wheres degradation and emasculation for welfare efficiencies. If we cannot prove their inefficiencies how can we eviscerate them. You have to think like someone who believes in personal freedom and personal responsibility no handouts for the bludgers. Things will be heaps better when we are a whole lot greedier. And now, thanks to the Lord, our wishes and dreams are coming true. On ya Tony.

  45. Lee

    “With a little bit of imagination however, the unemployed-to-vacancy ratio could be turned on its head with a JG. For starters, environmental repair could employ thousands in a never ending continuum cleaning up and replanting after the corporate environmental vandals have been through.”

    My workplace employs a number of people with intellectual disabilities that would probably not find employment anywhere in the private sector. They perform simple tasks like delivering mail and unpacking supplies and they get award rates. Effectively this is a form of job guarantee.

    Every time we receive a cut in our operating budget, the quick and dirty management solution is to slash the number of workers at the ‘coalface’. So some of our staff members take a separation package and walk across the corridor to a different employer. Or else they possess valuable skills that we need so they are re-employed as a contractor on three times the salary they were receiving when they were employed as a public servant. Another option is to perform the same job in the private sector for 3 years and then return to the public service. Some departments outsource some work and then send unwanted staff to what I’ve seen referred to here as the ‘gulag’, aka in my workplace as ‘knitting central’, to sit around and do nothing all day because they are on permanent tenure. My brother did time in there for a while. He was not allowed to exit the building during work hours to look for work and they had extremely limited resources inside the building that allowed them to look for work online. But reading a book or magazine all day long was perfectly acceptable. Go figure!

    We could save money by overhauling antiquated and cumbersome administrative procedures but that would take some thought. We could also save money by learning from previous mistakes rather than make those same mistakes again and then employ a consultant for a hefty fee to tell us where we went wrong.

    Since resources at the coalface have been slashed, we have many tasks requiring both skilled and unskilled staff that need to be performed, but no one to do it. We cannot even obtain staff from knitting central for the unskilled tasks. It’s absolutely ridiculous. For those on unemployment benefits who cannot obtain work, the government is already paying them, albeit at a lower rate, to do nothing anyway. The government is also outsourcing work that it needs performed on an ongoing basis.

    We could find the money for job guarantees if governments wanted to do it. But the capitalists have other ideas.

  46. Lee

    “ADF guaranteed to trigger autonomic nervous system reactivity in basic training. Great for all those working class riffraff. Get em in the forces and teach them how to be killers – justifiably of course. ”

    I fully support that notion, so long as Parliament House can be used for target practice.

  47. Stephen Tardrew

    A lot to be worked out however Bill Mitchell’s Job Guarantee is a great place to start developing alternatives to neocon entrenched unemployment. It is disappointing to see the many reactive responses to Bill’s ideas which is just a pure reflection of conventional wisdom and an inability to think outside the box. Any new system designed to resolve unemployment will have positives and negatives however unless someone has the fortitude to challenge convention we will end up with the same old shite which is just what conservatives want. All contributors who willingly take on Bill’s challenge and try to find creative solutions have my highest regards. We need to think outside of conventional neocon economics while maintaining a solid foundation in evidence based research which is what Bill does. Just keep the alternative ideas coming and lets challenge conventional thinking. One must simply start from the premiss that everyone deserves a livable wage and employment and then find solutions rather than the old reactive – that won’t work simply because people are hide bound to traditional econometric modelling. Solutions based thinking should be the norm not the exception. Conservatism is the antithesis of modernity, creativity and revisionary thinking.

  48. Lee

    Totally agree, Stephen.

  49. Lee

    My partner mentioned something last night that i have not seen discussed online whenever the topic of job networks arises.

    If a job network receives notification of a vacancy, they search their database and find x people are appropriately qualified for that position, do they notify all of those people or do they only notify people that are paying out money to undertake courses with their RTO?

    Do anyone know whether or not job networks are audited to ensure that they are claiming their payments from the government legitimately and that they are treating all unemployed people equally?

  50. DanDark

    Lee very valid question, I have been wondering about that for a while now myself
    And how accountable they really are for what they receive.

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: