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Tag Archives: Trish Corry

One Nation Voters – Hope. Fear. Racism.

This is the second blog in a series to discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote themselves compared to who they really are. Through this article I will discuss how One Nation uses Hope, Fear and Racism to gain voters’ trust.

For those outside of Australia or if you are someone who has no interest in Australian Politics; the One Nation Party is a right wing Nationalist Party.  They recently won four seats in the Federal Senate.

If you voted for the One Nation Party, chances are you see yourself as a Patriot. The first instalment in this series discussed how if you are a patriot, your vote is misplaced by voting One Nation. As One Nation are not Patriots, they are Nationalists.

One of the major comments from One Nation voters is that they are not racist. Some of them very proudly are; but I do not believe the majority are racist.

These voters are simply people who have grasped onto hope, through One Nation’s emotive marketing of fear. That does not make them racist.

One Nation Understands Us

If there is one thing I would like to say to One Nation voting readers; is that One Nation IS a political party. I often hear: One Nation are not like Political Parties – they ‘understand’ us. The fact that the party asked for your vote and won senate seats, means they are a political party full of politicians.

To give them automatic trust based on this falsehood does not mean that they understand you.

One Nation, Emotions and Political Marketing

This Political Party has been very clever in marketing their party to connect with your emotions. They marketed to how you feel about the lack of jobs, the inability to purchase a home, the cost of living and the fears of job insecurity. Also struggling on low wages and the worries, we have every single day for our children.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party have taken all of these fears and instead of addressing them with real solutions; they present logic that is flawed.

That is that other people, who have a different skin colour or religion than you, are the real cause of your fears and worries.

This shows that they are even more political and strategic than most other political parties. Think of it like this. All political parties believe that their ideology or values system, will deliver a better Australia for all people.  Whether this is Conservatism (Liberal), Laborism (Labor) or Environmentalism (Greens). These parties all truly believe these value systems will benefit ALL Australians. Regardless of what you believe in or what you agree with, this underpins every major party’s vision.

One Nation believes that there can only be a better Australia if we only cater for one section of Australia and make everyone exactly the same. A white Christian Australia.

This is a very politically motivated decision. It is also progressing a political agenda for their own power. They do not understand you. As a political Party they want to gain as much money and power as possible. Be wary of giving automatic trust.

Hope, Identity and Power

It is true that many Australians have lost hope and no longer trust the political system. Over many years, successive Governments have created a system that results in inequity and poverty for many. When we lose hope, we feel we lose our power and our self-identity.

People do not willingly give up power to others. It is not a natural act. That is why entire countries are forcibly taken through war. That is why labour that should be valued is stolen through unfair wages and slavery.

Many people feel that if we lose our self-identity, we give up our power. The power to have rights, make decisions, to move freely and to just be ourselves.

This is where the One Nation Party comes in.

Racism, Xenophobia and Islamophobia disguised as hope and equality

Throughout their history, they have targeted minority groups and have insisted that this minority will become the majority and take away your identity and power. That is a scary thing to think about. However, it simply is not true. Freedom is not gained through fear.

In the 1990’s they targeted Aboriginal Australians and Asians.  In 2016, they are targeting Muslims.

If this is a vote for equality, could you stand up and honestly say that you would like to be treated like the people within these groups are treated?

Can you honestly say, that you would like to be abused and spat on, shunned and ridiculed, just because of your skin colour, your features or that you look like followers of a certain religion?

Politicians have a platform, we cannot imagine to have for our voices. Privilege and power are a politician’s automatic right. The words of the One Nation Party are used with all the power they have to target certain groups and set them apart from the rest of us.

By targeting one group as different, it automatically gives people who are not in that group the false impression of power. A real system of privilege and power is created when this is backed by a politician. If it is based on race or Islam it is Racism and/or Islamophobia.

This is nothing but political marketing to get your vote. It is to make you feel powerful. The same problems that make you feel you are losing power and identity are all still there. One Nation has not solved these problems by targeting others.

They have asked you to be angry at other people, instead of Government. Why? Because otherwise, they would need to come up with actual solutions that could be compared to the Government’s solutions. One Nation has had to do nothing to get your vote. They have placed blame on a minority group to distract you away from challenging their (non) policy ideas.

Three levels of prejudice and discrimination

The creation of fear is used because it positions One Nation as ‘protectors’ and ‘authority.’ Very simply, when people are fearful, they naturally want someone to protect them and to take away the fear.

To keep a level of fear that wins votes, it is important for people act on that fear.

There are three levels of prejudice and discrimination:

The first is how we ‘see’ people as different to us and how we make a judgement about them.  It is about how we see people compared to what we see as the ideal symbol of what we think people should look like.

The second is how we feel about people. When you think about different races and groups, how do you feel? Happy, angry, excited, fearful?  The key for One Nation is to play on the groups that people feel fearful about. This fear is heightened by creating falsehoods about an entire group and using emotive words, such as ‘We are being swamped by Muslims.’

Notice that the action words are negative words, that create fear about becoming the minority and losing our identity and power?

The third is about how we act towards others. This is important for One Nation. It is only logical that people will not be very friendly towards people they are fearful of.

Not being friendly and welcoming creates a divided country. This creates even more fear and uncertainty. One Nation hopes you will look to them, because they are the party who are agreeing with your fears. But they are silent about the problems that are the cause of your fears.

Conclusion

I hope that by explaining it this way, you can see that One Nation are not the ‘Average Australian’ like you. They play to your emotions and fears in a purposeful way.  

This is a highly motivated party, with a very well organised strategy to gain votes, more power and more money, based on creating fear about other human beings.

The problems which cause our fears are not solved by targeting other human beings.

The problems that are the root cause of our fears will only go away when we keep challenging the Government or other parties who can gain power to stop inequality, creates jobs and we have real fairness and supportive public services.

Blaming other human beings, because they are different, will not solve this problem. It just makes the same problems even worse for the people in these groups.

I trust this is not the reason you voted for One Nation. I do not believe that most One Nation voters would purposely make life worse for some Australians.

Your vote should never be for a party who blames other people for the country’s problems.  That is because the people within these targeted groups, don’t have the power to make the decisions. They are victims of the same system that you are.  Only a ruling Government can solve the problems that underpin our fears.

If you did vote for One Nation, because you want to see everyone treated equally with fairness, I hope you challenge and re-think your voting decision. The divisiveness, racism and hatred One Nation champions, is the opposite of who you really are.

Originally published on Polyfeministix

One Nation Voters – Nationalism, Patriotism and the ABCC

This is the first part in a series where I will discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote their party compared to who they really are.  I will pose the question that if you voted for them, is this who you really are?  This article will discuss Patriotism versus Nationalism and the ABCC. The piece of legislation that sent us to a double dissolution election.

For those who voted for the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party; I do not believe that all of you truly share the values of this Party.  I would propose that if many Hanson voters really looked at what has occurred so far in only 100 days, and listened to the content of the various Senator’s maiden speeches; they would realise that ‘that does not sound like me at all’ and reconsider their vote next time.

I ask you, if you voted for One Nation, please consider the discussion below and answer these questions:

  1. Am I a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Do One Nation really represent what I believe in?

Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?

Patriotism

nationalism-versus-patriotism

Did you vote for the One Nation Party because you believe in Patriotism?  Did you vote for One Nation, because you strongly believe we need to be very respectful to our flag and our Nation?  I expect many of you did.  I also would believe that many people when they think about protecting our rights and our freedom get quite emotional about our fallen soldiers, returned heroes and our veterans.

Many of us have an uncle, a father, a brother a son or a grandfather who has fought in a war and some have family and friends who are still there. Many of us today have an aunt, a mother, a sister or a daughter who have served and in the armed forces today.

Without those who fought for our freedom, where would we be today? That is a rather scary thought, isn’t it?

As a Laborist, I also get quite emotional about the men and women who have fought for our work rights.  I topped my Industrial Relations class at University with a very proud 99.5%, if I can take a self-serving moment to brag. This was not just because I was studious. It was because I was absolutely consumed with the fight for work rights and how important it is. How it goes to the very reason we get up in the morning. How important standing together and solidarity are to achieving justice and fairness.

We work to live, not live to work.  Our industrial relations history is the blood, sweat and tears and the backbone of Australia. It is the backbone of the fair go.

These brave unionised workers were jailed, beaten and killed and many families, including children went without food; just so we could have decent work rights today.

This struggle is still not over. Our country’s fine men and women are out there every single day fighting for safety at work and for decent pay and conditions. The fight is endless. Yet Hanson, along with the LNP call these unionised workers thugs.  You decide if the men and women in the videos posted below are thugs.

As at 7 October, 129 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2016.  I refuse to accept that number ever. The only acceptable number is zero.

I know if you do describe yourself as a patriot; there is no way in the world you would stand for companies cutting costs on safety for their own greed if it means people die at work. If that means they never ever come home to their families, including their kids.  I know even though you voted for Hanson, I believe most of you would stand on the side of safety of the worker. Unfortunately, your vote brought four politicians to the Senate who do not stand with the worker.

If Hanson is a Patriot, her party would NOT support the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Why? Because good and decent Australians do not accept a secret star chamber.  This is where there is an accident at work and your apprentice son or your brother or your worker husband, wife, friend or family member is hauled in for questioning and does not have the same legal rights as everyone else.

This could be you or even your children. Workers and apprentices are not allowed to have you as a parent in there as a support person or even have their lawyer by their side.  In fact, if they even talk about what happened in the interview, a worker can be fined and jailed.  They are intimidated and scared into saying what the others want them to say.

How the hell is that Australian and Patriotic? It is far from it.

Here are two clips about the ABCC.  One is the real experience of a former apprentice and the other is a more lengthy video detailing the experiences of many others.

Video 1 – ABCC Interrogation full version

Video 2 – Constructing Fear – ABCC an attack on all workers

In the first video you can see the blatant unfairness of the secret star chamber that workers are exposed to. This is taking away the civil rights of workers. For those who stood against Newman’s Bikie Laws in QLD, this is the same thing. These people too lost their civil rights under this law. I stood with them and I also stand with the worker. Do you? As a Hanson voter you are voting to say you don’t.

In the second video, you can really see the emotional toll the ABCC has on workers, even on really strong men.  Hanson cannot appeal to your emotions on male depression and suicide on one hand and then support a piece of legislation that sees men break down and families break up.

In short – Pauline Hanson has fed you utter bullshit and if you voted for her, you should call her out on it.

Yesterday Pauline Hanson and One Nation announced that they would support the ABCC.

Supporting a legislation that does these things to workers, is not Patriotism.

There is nothing more important to me than protecting the rights or the worker, the safety of the worker and protecting those who cannot work.  It goes to the very heart of who we are as people.

Regardless of who you respect, armed servicemen or unionists and the workers who have built this great country. When we reflect and think of them and everything they have allowed us to have; it is quite an emotional experience.  We feel a sense of pride. It is a collective pride, everyone standing together side by side, regardless of race, colour or creed. I share that with you.  That is Patriotism. One Nation is not patriotism. One Nation are Nationalists.  It is even right there in their name.

Nationalism

patriotism-versus-nationalism

The One Nation Party are not Patriots. They are Nationalists.  I know many of you do not trust politicians.  Pauline Hanson is no different. Why do you automatically give her that trust? She should deliver what you the voter really believe in and what she sold you, not what she actually believes in. This is what you should challenge her and her party on. She only promotes her party as Patriots because she knows it connects with your emotions.

For minor parties who never will Govern and have the Prime Minister as leader of their party and never need to make the tough decisions, this is their main strategy.  These parties will appeal to you on certain issues and they will target your emotions. Even if you think these types of parties are not ‘political’ like the major parties, that is not true. 

They are in politics because they are political. That is why Pauline Hanson pretends they are Patriots, when they are indeed Nationalists.  She does this because she needs your vote for her own power.  As ugly as this fact is for ALL parties, they do need your vote.  Other parties will stand broadly for what they stand for: Labor – The Worker, The Liberals: Conservatism, The Greens: Environmentalism. However, The One Nation party leads people to believe that other parties don’t really show what they stand for and One Nation is different. Well, yes they are; but not in the way they portray themselves as in a ‘different good’.  They actually promote their party as the opposite to who they are.  Although Nationalism and Patriotism share a love for country, they are polar opposites in all other respects.

In the section on Patriotism above; I spoke about being proud of your country for people doing great things, that makes the country what it is today.  I spoke about the collective effort and burden shared amongst us and how important it is that we stand together.  Patriotism is about togetherness and peace. Nationalism is not. Nationalism is about ‘us and them’ and resentment.

This is where I believe the problem lies for many people taking offence when other people call them racist because they supported Pauline Hanson. When these people do treat other people fairly and.are not inherently racist. It is the disconnect between feeling you are a patriot but following and promoting nationalism, is why others may confuse you as racist. It is because you are misrepresenting yourself. It is like being very pro-union but voting for the Liberal Party and speaking highly of them. It misrepresents who you are.

Patriotism is built on peace. Nationalism is built on rejecting those we don’t want to share our peace with. It is about choosing who belongs and who doesn’t. Why should Pauline Hanson decide who belongs and who doesn’t?  She is asking you to stand with her and take away all the wonderful things that make up a person and just judge them by one thing – they race, colour or religion.  That is not patriotism. But she told you it was. She lied.

The problem is because regardless of the emotional attachment people may have to their vote, it can be hard to accept, that a non-racist person did vote for a racist party. The One Nation party is racist. They are a racist party and they are an intolerant party. Every speech so far has separated out different groups of people by race or religion. They speak about different laws for people who are not Christian, when Australia is a secular nation. It is racist and intolerant because it is Nationalist.  What happens when you, your loved ones or friends are the targets of this type of intolerance?  

The difference between Nationalism and Patriotism is race and national identity are very important to Nationalism, but not Patriotism. Patriotism is about loving your country regardless of who makes up that country.  

Nationalism is explained as this:

Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.

In short, Nationalism does not believe that everyone is equal or deserves equality. Where as a Patriot does.

Patriots respect their country in a peaceful way, where as Nationalists are militant and aggressive and angry about protecting their country and have it remain as the ideal they believe that country should be.  What happens when you, or a loved one does not fit that ideal? You become the ‘them’ in ‘us and them.’ That is not patriotism, but nationalism.

Nationalist believe that their ‘race’ is more superior than any other attribute and this is what defines the greatness of a country.  Whereas Patriotism is about peace and togetherness; regardless of race. Pauline Hanson will state openly that she is not racist. However, her speech and the speeches of her Senators completely contradict this fact. This is now proven, every day of the 100 days since the election.

Patriotism is about believing your country is great and believing we can work together to improve it. Nationalists already believe their country is the best and nothing should change at all costs. Nationalists believe that foreigners are a danger to the ideal country, where as a patriot embraces the values of a peaceful co-existence and aims to prosper together.  The One Nation Senator calling for a “Patriots” TV Channel – is another blatant misrepresentation of who they are.  

One Nation will say anything to have you believe they are patriots, the same as the Liberals will try to make out they care about people.

With regards to the ABCC legislation discussed above; a Patriot would stand up for their workmate regardless of who they are or where they have come from or where their parents or grandparents have come from and regardless of what religion or sexual orientation or gender they are. To a patriot safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your safety is their safety.

A Nationalist, would seek to place blame on anyone who was not in the defined bubble of ‘what they see as Australian.’ They would believe only the worker who they considered an ‘Australian’ has a right to safety at work. A nationalist would see the harm of a worker who is defined as ‘non-Australian’ as justified.

A nationalist would push you to believe there was something about the foreigner that was a danger to your safety at work.  We see this in many examples of the One National party member’s rhetoric. For example, calling for a ban on Muslims when we do have Muslims living peacefully in our communities and they cause no harm.  In fact, they are business owners and workers, doctors and nurses, construction workers and cleaners. They are students and graduates. They share our dreams because they are not ‘they,’ they are us. They are our friends and our neighbours. There is absolutely no reason to separate out one group, and request a separate law for that group, other than racism, or bigotry

There is absolutely no evidence that Muslims break the law any more than any other sector of society. Yet, a law is not requested for any other group, because no other group incites fear simply due to the fact that radical Muslims are also terrorists. Hanson promotes the terrorism, but she never promotes the fact that the majority of victims of ISIS are Muslims.

The important thing for Nationalists is to prevent anyone who does not fit the ‘ideal’ to be excluded and treated differently.  This is the evidence from One Nation so far.

This is not patriotism.  

Nationalism places the superiority of national identity and race above all else, even if the consequences are harmful.

By One Nation Party promoting their party as Patriots and not Nationalists, if you are a patriot, what you believed you voted for; is not what you got in return.

George Orwell explained Nationalism very well:

By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

I do not believe that the majority of One Nation voters automatically segregate people into good or bad, through class, race or creed.  However, this is the essential value, which drives the One Nation Party platform and it is evident every time Hanson or her Senators speak.  All I ask is that you really listen and make your own judgements and challenge what they are really saying. Ask yourself, “would I be comfortable if this was said about me?”.

Conclusion

I will finish with a quote from Sudhanva D Shetty of the Huffington Post:

Love for one’s country is imperative and necessary, but if this love becomes more important than Constitutional values or democratic ideals, it is misplaced.

If you voted for Hanson, because you are a Patriot. Your vote has been misplaced.

Stand up, listen and speak up to the One Nation party and hold them to account for everything you believe you voted for, but didn’t get. Do not treat them with kid gloves. Place the same expectations on them as you do other parties. They are not victims. They are politicians.

If you truly believe in patriotism, challenge and re-think your own support for One Nation’s Nationalism, as this is the opposite of who you really are.

For One Nation Voters…..

  1. Are you a Patriot or a Nationalist?
  2. Does the One Nation Party really represent what you believe in?

patrotism-versus-nationalism

Originally Published on Polyfeministix

WE DON’T SERVE THE GAYS HERE! Innovative Marketing solutions

Are you a business worried about your right to refuse service to the gays? Well listen up and save Shelton’s bank roll for your legal costs and stop Brandis worrying about writing legislation to allow you to legally refuse service to the gays. I know he isn’t the Prime Minister Tony is, but Malcolm is always challenging us to be innovative, so here are my top three, yes top three – exclusive and free innovative ideas for you, to help you refuse service to the gays. There is no need to be worried! There will be no need to refuse service! It is in your control! Marketing is so innovative! 

Uniform Revamp

The right uniform can have a very positive impact on your business. Professionalism and authority (authority is like nationalism but sexier!) are the two most highly rated indicators directly influencing consumer purchases. In a study by Suffolk University in 2011, it was found that Uniforms influence consumers on product knowledge and expertise more than the other six strategies; such as radio, television, internet etc.,

So the answer for your business is to revamp your uniform and just openly advertise your bigotry. That way the LGBTIQ community, their families and allies can walk into your shop and see clearly your deep seated hatred by your uniform.  Be warned, they may give you the middle finger! But all is good. They will take their service elsewhere.  It saves the embarrassment of defending your right to bigotry in court and the freedom to express your homophobia and bigotry openly.  Here are some great choices below:

uniform-change

Call to Action Marketing

Call to Action marketing is an online concept to directly attract the ‘right’ people to your business by them clicking on your online advertising. This takes the right customers direct to your website for sales and sign ups! Great targeted marketing tool yes? And you could go viral!

Here are some solutions to keep all LGBTIQ people, their family and allies away. This way, not only will you attract other bigots just like you, but you will most certainly win the internet by keeping basically 70% of Australia away from your business!

call-to-action

Re-branding! (Not Re-Brandis – Re-Branding)

Re-branding is a great way to really revitalise what your company is all about!  It allows you to express a newly invigorated heart and soul as the demographic for your product changes, or you want to really hit some of that solid target market. Re-branding can stir deep feelings within other human beings and connect them to your business.

If you want your customers to share your deep homophobic and and anti-gay feelings – what better way to sell this than to stimulate these feelings through a new brand!  Hopefully these fantastic re-branding ideas will help you!

logos

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed these free tips I have shared. There is no need to be worried about refusing same sex couples service ever again, with these new marketing tricks. I hope I have helped you and your business today to find new and inventive ways to express your hatefulness, homophobia and bigotry with the FREEDOM you desire!

Originally Published on Polyfeministix

Abbott & Turnbull – It’s on like Donkey Kong!

I can imagine Abbott reading the latest dismal polling figures for Turnbull and dancing around reminiscent of his 2013 election victory screaming “The Leadership will change! The Leadership will change!” After today’s revelation; is it now on like Donkey Kong?

Reports emerged this morning that Tony Abbott tells UK Tories he believes he can be PM again.  The article describes Abbott is aiming to channel a Rudd like comeback, with Senior Liberals stating he ‘has a good chance, as he is popular amongst the Liberal Membership.’

An interesting revelation though is if Abbott is successful, it appears Julie Bishop will be gone, with Abbott describing Bishop in ‘unflattering terms‘ to his colleagues abroad. The sniping already seems to have begun.  In traditional form, Abbott may as well start with sniping about a woman, before he warms up to sniping openly about Turnbull.  He does need to get back into practice.

If Abbott pulls this off, who will be his Deputy? Andrews? Perhaps. His loyalty to Abbott would make him a favourable candidate.

Will Barnaby be pushed to move over to make room for Christensen as leader of the Nats? In all fairness, it has been Christensen twisting Turnbull’s arm to get him to bow down to the conservatives and nationalists on key policy.

Will Peta Credlin return as Abbott’s adviser?

People may laugh at the thought of an Abbott return and laugh harder at an Abbott/Credlin return. However, Credlin is a highly intelligent woman and an exceptional strategist.  As Howard channelled Hanson’s policies to appease the Nationalists in the 90’s; don’t take it for granted Abbott would fail.

If Abbott follows Howard’s lead and channels the same type of Hanson rhetoric and policies, in the unique Abbottesque-style conservatives and nationalists love; it will be an entire new ball game for Labor, as Abbott will be in his element.

Abbott has the capacity to take over this space and make Hanson sound like an unnecessary annoying blip.  Sunrise will be paying to keep her OFF the show.

The other day I was watching Andrew Bolt’s thoughts on the Presidential debate and another video popped up after that. I watched it with interest. The topic: “Could Malcolm Turnbull be turning into a conservative?” In the video, Bolt noted that Turnbull may be reinventing himself as a ‘more media friendly Tony Abbott.’

The video goes on to discuss changes in Turnbull such as his stance on Daesh and his decision to take less Muslim refugees. Attacking Labor with some ‘rare passion’ on border security and an attack on Kevin Rudd, were duly noted by Bolt.

Bolt then goes on to point out how Turnbull has bowed to the pressure from conservatives on superannuation and same sex marriage.

Bolt even asks the viewer to ‘watch this transformation.’  I’ve pointed a similar thing out before. So it isn’t just because I’m a laborist cynical about the right; the same observations are coming from the most prominent conservative in the Australian media.

The reason for Turnbull’s transformation to conservatism? As Bolt rightly points out: “It is the conservatives who can kill his Prime Ministership.” 

Are there already whispers around the halls of Canberra? Is this transformation Turnbull readying himself for a full on challenge?  Have the monkey’s been released from their pod and are they ready to cause real havoc?

After a very strong theme from Bolt that Turnbull is a dud; could it be that Bolt is actually stirring Turnbull here?  Pointing out to him via this medium that there is a challenge coming and to save his leadership he needs to walk the righteous path to conservatism and beg for mercy at the feet of the likes of Christensen? It is like Bolt is pointing and laughing at Turnbull and letting him know, that he knows his game is up  (hahah I see you, you can’t fool me!)

Only those on the inside will know for sure and no doubt they will feed us snippets; but if this is finally starting, it is going to be glorious to watch.

For those who enjoy studies of organisational behaviour and leadership like myself, watching Turnbull’s increasingly obvious grapple with getting his surface acting under control as he continues to pretend to be an authentic leader, will be absolutely delicious once the pressure is really on!

In my last article, I suggested that Turnbull may be Australia’s first ever shape-shifting politician. With a challenge looming and now picked up by the media, it will be interesting to watch how rapid Turnbull’s shape shifting to fully fledged nationalist conservative will be. Is it time to start counting the number of flags at media stops yet? Perhaps.

Yep, it seems it is going to be on like Donkey Kong. Will Turnbull get barrelled? Or will he save the Princess and take the crown?

Originally published on Polyfeministix

The Taxed Nots. Who are they and what should we do with them?

When the Government chooses not to participate in active job creation, the expectation on people seeking employment to engage in active participation welfare programs, is unfair, burdensome, stigmatising, demoralising and counterproductive. Mutual Obligation under the Keating Government was developed based on the notion that the Government would also commit to job creation and increase vocational training. This is not the case today, nor has it been for some time.  The Government is not investing in job creation and vocational education has been largely privatised and is predominantly inaccessible and unaffordable to those who most need it.  Active Participation welfare programs are punitive and are underpinned by the assumption that the jobseeker is lazy and needs motivation by a paternalistic guiding hand to participate in society as a full human being. It is time for a new narrative and a new solution.

The latest narrative – The Taxed Nots. Who are they?

They are bludgers, rorters, welfare cheats, the undeserving poor, the drug addled, leaners not lifters, people with their hand out, a hindrance to the ‘national interest’, people who don’t try hard enough, job refusers, taking loans from the tax-payer, won’t get off the couch, lack participation, who go from the school gate to Centrelink’s front door, self-entitled, sitting at home playing X-box and eating cheezels and now the latest …The Taxed Nots.

The Taxed Nots – what should we do with them?

We need to drug test them, force them into unpaid labour, manage their income, give them a card to label them and not trust them with cash, push the welfare cops after them, get them moving, force them to live 45% below the poverty line and if they are poverty line newbie, we should starve them for six months whist the Government simultaneously breaches human rights obligations. .

With the exception of John Howard’s gem, “the undeserving poor” and Amanda Vanstone’s “Don’t try hard enough and refuse jobs”, these are just some of the labels the Australian Liberal Party has given to those seeking employment and just some of the ‘solutions’ to assist the jobless to find employment, since 2013. Pretty confronting when it is wrapped up in neat little paragraphs, isn’t it?

The dehumanisation and the stigmatisation of those seeking employment must cease immediately and a new narrative and new solutions need to start today.

A little history

Mutual obligation has always existed within the jobseeker framework.  However, mutual obligation penalties were discretionary and mostly non financial (ie write on your dole form where you looked for work this week).  However, postponement of payment could occur for up to two weeks.  This was dropped in 1984 as it was causing hardship, but reinstated in 1987.  The widening of activity based breaches will be discussed in the next section. Active Labour Market Participation (ALMP) programs were the shift towards paternalistic and punitive measures and financial penalties for the unemployed.

Active Labour Market Participation (ALMP) programs commenced under the Hawke/Keating Government. The  original intention of the ALMP programs was to manage retraining and to assist new workers to move across industries in the new globalisation and at a time where long time unemployment was the new reality and had shifted from a long period of relatively low unemployment.

Zigarus ¹ (2004) sums up another driver as, “In essence, this approach holds that the unemployment rate is influenced by how actively the unemployed search for work. The more effort people make to find jobs, and the less choosy they are about what jobs they will take, the lower the overall unemployment.”

Regardless of how well intentioned ALMP programs were when they were introduced, the very essence of these programs are driven by the notion that the unemployed do not have the same desires to achieve a full life as the employed do and they are inherently lazy.   Paternalistic and punitive welfare measures are also the antecedents to enabling the stigmatisation of the unemployed. The era of the ALMP programs were the beginning of segregating the unemployed as separate citizens from those who are employed – the bludgers and the workers. Even within the cohort of the unemployed, the narrative was able to change from discussing welfare as a necessity for those out of work to those who deserved assistance and those who did not.  Those who needed a hand up and those who just wanted a hand out.  This narrative continues today and it has become increasingly more comfortable for politicians to use this stigmatising rhetoric with conviction.

Punitive measures intensified under Howard

The shift in ALMP programs under John Howard introduced the concept that unpaid labour should be imposed on those seeking employment. Howard’s notion was to deserve a hand out, the recipient must give back to the community.  This adds the public’s scrutinisation of the intentions of the jobseeker to the mix.  Work for the Dole and similar unpaid labour programs normalised the perception that jobseekers had to be forced to work, as they were not motivated to do so; and if they were working as unpaid labour, this would be the impetus to force them to look for paid labour.

Financial Penalties under Howard

The Howard Government dismantled Keating’s Working Nation (job creation, increased Labor market programs and training and mutual obligation, including breaching penalties). Financial penalties increased and the activity for which you could be breached significantly widened under the Liberals “Australian’s Working Together” policy.  The other notable shift from Keating’s policy to Howard’s policy was that financial penalties moved from discretionary to enforced by legislation and contractual obligation on the jobsearch provider.

The initial extremely punitive measures are outlined by Eardley et. al ² as:

The initial legislation proposed to strengthen breaching arrangements by extending the activity test non-payment period to six weeks for the first breach and 13 weeks for all subsequent breaches, while all administrative breaches would incur rate reductions of 25 per cent for eight weeks.

Welfare groups successfully lobbied and this initial bill was defeated in Parliament. However, less severe penalties were adopted.  This included an 8 week breach of 100% loss of benefit after the third breach. The Abbott Government put up a bill in 2014 which sought to exempt new Newstart recipients from payment for six months. This has been defeated/taken off the table and a bill for Newstart recipients to be exempt for six weeks, is still progressing though today’s parliament.  This shows the long standing determination of the Liberal Party to impose harsh and extreme measures on the unemployed.  This also shows the shift from welfare as a human right to dignity, to one of targeting the disadvantaged as a means for budget savings.

Other notable changes

Structural changes to jobseeker programs to note (but not limited to) are:

  • The inclusion and shift from other benefits to jobseeker associated benefits (Single Parents and Disability recipients shifted to jobsearch programs.)
  • The increase in mutual obligation age brackets from 17-18 years, to 18-30 years to 18-49 years and now 18-60 years and over
  • Intensive case management
  • Enforceable preparing for work agreements
  • Increased obligation to search for more jobs, or a breach is imposed
  • The length of time travelled to search for job, or a breach is imposed
  • Relocation expectation
  • Implementation of Government approved doctors only (not jobseeker’s own doctor)
  • Shift to a jobsearch payment from Disability pension if you can work 30 hours per week down to 15 hours per week
  • Shift from Government provider to private contracted providers
  • Obligation to jobsearch if not employed for more than 70 hours per fortnight (jobsearch is a requirement although you have gained employment)
  • Income Management (Basic’s Card – non-cash component imposed)

The jobseeker’s positioning in Australia.

The reality of a jobseeker securing work in Australia, is that there are 19 jobseekers for every job available in Australia (as of May, 2016). That is however, not a true figure, as it needs to be considered that not all jobseekers are equally qualified for all jobs.  Therefore, for some, the jobseeker to job vacancy ratio is much higher.  In addition, vocational education and training has become less available and less accessible for those seeking employment; particularly in lower income brackets. Changes to eligibility for vocational training (ie The Certificate 3 Guarantee is for any eligible Queensland resident who does not already hold and is not currently enrolled into, a post-school Certificate III or higher qualification.)  Therefore if you hold a cert III in one vocational area, for example beauty, you are not eligible to undertake vocational training at cert 3 level in business administration.

In addition, specialised services such as JPET (Job placement, employment and training for homeless and disadvantaged young people) have ceased and are now replaced with a one-stop-shop model of ‘streams’ of unemployment.

The Liberal Party’s small government, free market mindset, is an inherent propensity to shy away from job creation and allow the free market to ‘sort out the jobs’, rather than the socialisation of job creation projects.  Government’s who do not commit to job creation are not complying with their mutual obligation to the nation’s unemployed citizens.  The onus is completely on the jobseeker and the framework within the jobseeker must search for jobs, is unrealistic; secure full time jobs and skills development get increasingly more difficult to obtain.

It should also be noted that barriers to employment and the adverse outcomes of financial and other punitive measures are more severe for (but not limited to); Indigenous Australians, single parents, jobseekers with a disability, youth and homeless and disadvantaged jobseekers.

The new narrative and the new solutions

To achieve the re-humanisation and the de-stigmatisation of those seeking employment; the jobsearch model must shift to a jobseeker-centric framework and away from a budget savings measures framework where jobseekers are currently seen as a strain on the public purse and a dehumanised as a target for savings measures.

Therefore, the jobsearch framework needs to shift from one of mandatory participation to one of voluntary participation.

Jobseekers need to be allowed free agency to participate freely in jobsearch activities.  To do this, the narrative needs to shift from the stigmatising rhetoric outlined in the beginning of this article to a more supportive narrative. Jobseekers should be given the support and recognition by Government that they have the same hopes, dreams and aims as the employed and are actively participating in job search to improve their life circumstance.

This then shifts the narrative away from the current underpinning assumption that jobseekers need a paternalistic guiding hand to motivate them; to a narrative that has the underpinning assumption that jobseekers are intrinsically motivated to seek employment.

This then shifts the onus for outcomes from the jobseeker and the public expectation to punish them for non-achievement to the public expectation that the Government of the day has an obligation to perform and enable an environment conducive to an expectation that secure employment can be achieved.

This should put pressure on the Government of the day to engage fully in job creation projects and the public less likely to accept the promises of a free market, small Government intervention model.  This means that there would be an increase in the expectation that the Government would create jobs where it had the power to do so.  This may include Government intervention to increase positions in all Government owned, operated and funded entities at local, state and federal level.  This may also include Government intervention to make mandatory the requirement for quotas within Government funded infrastructure projects to achieve targets of employing those who are employed and underemployed.

This should also put pressure on the Government to ensure they meet the obligation of providing skills development opportunities for those seeking employment. This may mean the implementation of yearly quotas of trainees and apprentices for all Government owned and funded organisations.  This would also place pressure on the Government to provide affordable access to TAFE and other training for all jobseekers, both under employed and unemployed.

In regional and rural areas where there is a higher concentration of unemployment; this should also put pressure on the Government to decentralise the public sector at state and federal level. In addition, pressure should be placed on the Government to provide attractive incentives for SME’s and large corporations to invest in relocations or start ups in regional and rural areas.

Government change to enhance the current model would also require the adoption of a basic wage, which will shift the public perception of one that jobseekers are welfare dependent, to a perception of a human right to a basic wage for all citizens.  This will also enable the underemployed to be as competitive for jobs as the unemployed.  Currently some incentives favour only the long term unemployed and lock the under employed out of the labour market.   Punitive measures such as income management (basic card) and financial penalties would no longer need to exist.

The most critical shift that needs to occur is for citizens to reject the stigmatising narrative that currently exists around those seeking employment today; as this narrative is the antecedent for the entire burden of secure employment to fall on the jobseeker, rather than the onus of providing citizens with full, secure employment on the Government.

All of the above can be achieved and it can start with a rejection of the current dehumanising and stigmatising narrative surrounding jobseekers; and it should start with all of us today.

“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
―Erving Goffman

 

1 Ziguras, Stephen (2004) “Australian Social Security Policy and Job-Seekers’ Motivation,” Journal of Economic and Social Policy: Vol. 9: No. 1, pp 1-24

Tony Eardley, Jude Brown, Margot Rawsthorne, Kate Norris, Liz Emrys, 2005, The impact of breaching on income support customers, Social Policy Research Centre (UNSW)

Originally published on Polyfeministix

Ten things more reckless than funding Gonski

Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”

After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!

In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”

Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!

Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.

To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used … If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.

The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:

Ten Things More Reckless than Funding Gonski:

1. Not Giving a Gonski

Education changes people’s lives.  The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education.  It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.

The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.

2. The Job Seekers can Starve for Six Months Policy

This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.) 

3. Trashing Labor’s FTTP NBN 

I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwatQqj3Hvs&w=560&h=315]

4. The Trade Union Royal Commission

Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of  very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=og-GzJwprbw&w=560&h=315]

5. Attacking the Most Sick and Vulnerable in Our Society

The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die.  This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country.  No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.    

6. Being a Fake Friend

Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work.  How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it.  Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN65QxIzbtY&w=560&h=315]

7. Attacks on low paid workers and their families

The push from the Abbott-Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.

8. The Government’s policy of Secrets and Lies

The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging.  The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.

9. Income Management – Basic and Healthy Welfare Cards

The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.

10. Not allowing a free vote in Parliament on Marriage Equality

One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion.  I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday.  The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.

Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?

Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.

Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.

By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress.  As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.

It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.

Conclusion

If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months.  Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks.  To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.

 

Previously published on Polyfeministix

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