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Slavery in Modern Australia

By Jennifer Ellem

The LNP and its leader are now officially worse than the despotic Roman Emperor Caligula when it comes to social welfare for the populace and equal to his view of them as little more than a docile workforce. In its Election Budget 2016 it is using a modern day version of slavery as an incentive to business owners to take on interns.

Sounds good so far, after all interning in a wonderful way to work your way into a career of choice, so why do you ask am I tossing around words like slavery and making comparisons to dead Romans. Well here’s the nasty; for every intern hired they will be payed $1000 while the intern themselves will be payed half the Australian minimum wage [$4/hour], not by the business owner but by the Australian government or should I say the Australian taxpayers.

An $840 million Intern plan seems to be its best effort to prove that the LNP cares for the Australian middle class and working man. It has been called everything from simply illegal to outright slavery and STILL Malcolm Turnbull is touting THIS as his best effort to be seen as innovative with jobs and growth. [We’re all going to get sick of those three words over the next few weeks … ewwww slogans for election time].

I’m not sure if what I am feeling is laughter, hysteria or the building of an incredible rage; but for now all I know is that slavery has just become the LNP’s election platform and best hope … for all of us they cannot be allowed another term.

This wonderful take on this part of the 2016 Election Budget expresses my hysteria, distress and anger so well. It is a brilliant piece of satire so brutally honest that you have to watch it over and over just to get all the nuances.


This article was originally published on Unload and Unwind.


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  1. kerri

    Friendly Jordies cuts through on most occasions! Yes the “intern’ sceme is clearly slave labour.
    And besides who needs an “internship” in shelf stacking and product scanning which most supermarkets are now fobbing off to the customer anyway?

  2. Matters Not

    Well at least they are getting $4 an hour.

    Are the Advertising Internships paid?

    All our Advertising Internships are voluntary/unpaid as they focus on supervision & training to benefit you, NOT on photocopying and making coffee. The internship will assist you in taking a big step towards your dream career.

    And they boast about it.

    Advertising Internship

    Apparently it’s quite common in some ‘industries’.

    Expect that many ‘landscape gardeners’ will queue up to ‘train’ people on how to operate a lawn mower, use a rake and pull weeds.

  3. Jenni

    Matters Not – the concept of the internship is excellent this however is not the traditional model.

    1. The person must be unemployed for more than 12 months to be eligible, they have no say in where they are interned and are paid below the minimum wage despite the fact that they now have the expense of work travel and appropriate attire.

    2. If after 6 months the employer decides they are inappropriate they can then let them go with no explanation and take on a new intern and receive another bonus [they can in fact take on a number of interns at one time as the wage is actually paid via Centerlink as opposed to the employer themselves].

    3.So this is a system set up to be abused by unscrupulous business owners who would have the option of firing all but essential staff and employing interns in job lots to make up the difference, over and over again as their is no check on this part of things.

    I myself was an intern and it was a wonderful entry into the Tourism industry many years ago prior to changing career paths but I was trained with the idea of a permanent position should I meet the levels required – and they put a lot of time and money into this training as it provided the next generation of employee. This system is NOT that, this is a system ripe for corruption and for every 1 decent employer there will be 10 who are just out to get what they can as cheap as they can. Human greed is a proven fact – look at the problems created by the financial industries devotion to the dollar as opposed to the person and the havoc that created for the world economy.

    Please do not try to compare the very valuable internship programs that have been in place in many industries to this disgrace of an economic scam prettied up to look like a viable job creation program. Job creation is only worthwhile if the the job is long term.

  4. Matters Not

    Jenni, of course ‘internships’ can be valuable for both the individual and the society at large. Medicine is a good example. Engineering is another.

    But make no mistake there will be rorts aplenty in this scheme – as you recognise.

    I identified the ‘advertising’ industry (broadly defined) as an example because of criticism advanced by Dee Madigan who refuses to go down that track at her agency. Apparently the levels of exploitation in that ‘dream’ industry are high.

    If it’s a job with responsibilities, it’s deserving of a proper wage

  5. Jenni

    Matters Not – apologies I misunderstood where you were coming from – and you are quite correct in you assumptions

  6. very concerned

    Please, sign the petition to stop payments for currently non-working politicians.

    20 years ‘lifetime’ payment (EXCLUDING wages paid while a Parliamentarian):

    Prime Minister ………………………$ 507,338 X 20 = $ 10,146,760
    Deputy Prime Minister ……………$ 400,016 X 20 = $ 8,000,320
    Treasurer ………………………………5,868 X 20 = $ 7,317,360
    House of Reps Speaker ……………$ 341,477 X 20 = $ 6,829,540
    Leader of the House …………$ 341,477 X 20 = $ 6,829,540
    Minister in Cabinet ……………………$ 336,599 X 20 = $ 6,731,980
    Parliamentary Secretary ………………$ 243,912 X 20 = $ 4,782,240
    Other ministers** $ 307,329 X 20 = $ 6,146,580 x 71 = $ 436,407,180
    Shadow ministers** $ 243,912 X 20= $ 4,878,240 x 71= $ 346,355,040


    TOTAL ‘life time’ (20 year) payments, (excluding wages paid while in parliament) is OVER EIGHT HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS.

    Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating, Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke, et al, ad nauseuare receiving $10 MILLION + EXTRAS, at OUR EXPENSE, after leaving Parliament.

    Should an elected PM serve 4 years and then decide to retire, each of the 4 years will have cost taxpayers an EXTRA 2½ million bucks per year, i.e. $2,536,690 per annum X 4 years = $ 10,146,760.

    A 2-year retirement payment cut-off will SAVE our Aussie bottom line $ 792,201,909 – NEARLY $ 800 MILLION.
    There are 150 seats in House, minus the 8 above = 142 seats, divided equally for example = 71 each for both shadow and elected ministers.

    150 seats – 20-year payment of $ 833,886,220 less annual salary x 2 years of $ 83,388,622. [$ 41,694,311 x 2]

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