By Tina Clausen
I am getting so sick and tired of seeing the constant stream of Murdoch News Corp and LNP Government bash-a-welfare-bludger propaganda stories in the media, all done in the name of turning the general population against people who are seeking employment, or are in receipt of any Social Security payment for that matter.
It obviously serves an agenda of trying to keep our attention away from the abysmal job market; the expansion of part-time work vs full-time permanent positions and the ever increasing casualisation of our workforce. Not to mention the fact that available jobs are now outnumbered by unemployed people many, many times over. Add in the vast under-employed number of people and we have a crisis on our hands.
Served also is the dual and equally important purpose of keeping our attention away from whatever nasty legislation and policies our LNP Government politicians are coming up with next to the detriment of ordinary Australian people and generally for the benefit of industries such as mining, banking, energy, multinational corporations, big business and all other vested interest groups who have the ears of our politicians.
We are also distracted from focusing on their own constant rorting, dubious personal expenses and scandalous behaviour in Parliament.
What I really want to know is; where are all the stories of the many hundreds of thousands of job seekers on Newstart who are doing absolutely everything that they’re required to do, while engaged in a constant and daily struggle to keep up with ever increasing and punitive ‘mutual obligation’ requirements?
Where are all the stories of the countless Centrelink stuff-ups that place innocent people into situations of severe financial hardship?
Where are all the stories of Jobactive providers rorting the public purse by seemingly doing everything except finding employment for desperate people? All they appear to do is make people attend useless information sessions so that they can tick their little boxes and, most of all, do everything in their power to ‘breach’ people for the most spurious of reasons as that keeps them in the good books with Centrelink and the Government’s money-saving objectives as well as becoming a financial incentive for themselves.
Where are the thousands of stories of Centrelink’s so-called assessors making decisions that are ludicrous and extremely detrimental to people’s health and wellbeing?
Where are the thousands of stories of Centrelink assessors’ initial harmful decisions eventually being overturned after extensive and stressful appeal processes lasting months or years and causing immeasurable damage to people’s mental, physical, emotional and financial health in the meantime?
Sunrise and A Current Affair should be particularly ashamed of themselves for their relentless pursuit of entrenching the myth of the ‘welfare-bludger’, as should all Murdoch News Corp publications including; The Courier Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Advertiser among countless others. (See this link if interested in further listings of Murdoch’s stranglehold on the Australian ‘news’ landscape).
Newstart in itself has now become a barrier to seeking employment. The base rate of Newstart has not increased in real terms since 1994 and the payment is falling further and further behind community living standards. Increasing Newstart by $50 / week would put people in a position to become more effective job seekers as it would assist them to retain a roof over their heads, buy sufficient food and pay for all the expenses of job seeking; including expensive transport costs, appropriate interview attire, as well as paying for phone and internet access without which you have no hope of applying for jobs in today’s world.
Suddenly becoming unemployed does not mean that peoples’ many other current financial commitments and obligations suddenly cease. People need to be able to survive until such a time as they once again find employment.
I strongly suggest that if they truly want people to be in the strongest position possible to be able to fulfill job seeking requirements and find employment as soon as possible our Government familiarise themselves with the concepts of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – “A Theory of Human Motivation”. Unless people’s basic physical needs (the need for air, water, food, rest, health) and security needs (the need for safety, shelter and stability) are met, people are singularly unable to progress further up the scale of motivation as basic survival needs of necessity become all-consuming. If the struggle is too hard, for too long, people burn-out and give up.
Stop the welfare-bashing mentality and start looking after the real battlers out there.