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The end of the Newstart Criminal?

Happy days. The unemployed will now no longer be demonised as dole bludgers or Newstart Criminals. From now on they will be known as Australians in need.

Mind you, it has taken a crisis of unprecedented proportions to force a sliver of care, empathy, and compassion, into the punitive hearts of our right-wing politicians.

Could it be perhaps that the speed with which our Government has dropped their policy of the deliberate impoverishment of the poor and the unemployed could be due to the fact that now, given the ever-growing lines outside Centrelink, a proportion of their conservative base is about to be exposed to the untender mercies of our welfare system?

Can’t call your own voters dole bludgers or leaners can you? Gosh, how cynical of me.

Many people, and nobody alive would wish it on them, are about to find out what it will take to survive with a fortnightly income of roughly $1,100. But let’s bring that down to what the weekly income will be. $550. If you are single and live in your own home and have a mortgage of $500 per week you’ll be left with $50 per week to take care of everything else. Food, energy bills, petrol, phone, car repairs, and everything else. Reality. Not good.

If you are single and renting you will roughly get $550 per week plus a rental allowance of $69.50 per week. If you are paying $300 a week rent (and average regional rents, let alone city rents, are much higher than that) you will be leading a fairly tough and restricted lifestyle. Reality. Not good.

Of course, individual circumstances for the unemployed vary widely. Some people are in relationships and have children, and will be eligible for further support. But in all cases, things will be very, very, tight. Reality. Not good.

But lest we forget. Up until a week ago the unemployed, including those who lost their jobs during the last catastrophic bushfire season, were expected to survive on the paltry sum of roughly $275 per week. At the same time, they had to endure the demonisation of ‘dole bludging’ foisted upon them by their own Government, the nong commercial television channels, the conservative press, and far too many of their fellow citizens.

Let’s hope that when we come out on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis that the rush of empathy for the unemployed and the poor becomes permanently welded onto the hearts, souls, and guts of the bureaucrats and politicians who design and maintain the safety net of our Welfare System.

(What is the average rent in Australia? $436 per week. The median rent across Australia is currently $436 per week, according to a new report from property research house CoreLogic. In capital cities, it’s $465 per week, while the regional areas have it slightly cheaper at $378. and pls note: these figures are as of a year ago!)

(According to research from Commonwealth Bank in 2017, average monthly mortgage payments in Australia’s capital cities range from $1,500 to over $3,000.)

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  1. Phil Pryor

    How much do they get to scribble shit trails of ink for Murdoch? Is it a liveable wage? Do they have to pass a test on pustular or poxed prose? Is there a lying co-efficient or threshold? Do corporate raiders and hedgefund types live and sleep rough? And, what is this fairness that people talk about? Is it catching or dangerous? Can it be quarantined? Where’s the P M!! Gone to Hawaii?? No!

  2. Jano from the Gong .

    Mate ,,we are one ..100 % agree ..A million % …Its takes a crisis ..for those people who have had Jobs ..

    But, now find them selves on Dead start payments ..the same people, who call people dole bludgers ,,!!!!!!!!!!…………….

    Its your time to see what lifes is like on crumbs for 2 weeks ..No more fancy holidays and eateries and keeping up with the Jones !!!……………………………

    I knew this was coming ..Now you new unemployed people eat humble pie .For the years of abuse you gave to people on welfare and we never got a raise since 1994 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! , ( ,But all of a sudden, alas , your getting twice as much !! )

    Morrison dont give 2 hoots about people on welfare ,,But, he just spoilt the newly welfare people with a doubling of the rate ..!!!!!!!!!!!!!……………………………………………………………………………………

    this is a slap in the face for those who have suffered for years on the low payment .. !!!!!!!!

    Its quiet clear ,,the government – favour the retrenched – over the long term unemployed .(..This is neglect on a grand scale !!!!)

    they can intervene when they see fit ..And neglect and blame ,when they see fit .to suit their agenda …

    Farking hypocritical dogs .. !!! in 6 months ,, the offensive term- dole bludger will return ..And nothing will be done about poverty ,!

    ( I understand the need for important measures in this Virus crisis )

    But the poverty crisis- has been shoved under the carpet for far too long !!! , And it sticks out like dogs balls !!!………………………..

  3. New England Cocky

    Where are Kevin Rudd and Ken Henry when you need proper leadership and innovative economic policies to minimise unemployment among the Australian voters, as happened after the 2008 GFC?

    Funny, but nowhere in the Morriscum COALition misgovernment press releases about COVID-19 responses to prevent a depression did I see that any politicians would take a cut in Parliamentary Allowances Scheme or forego Parliamentary salary as an example for the corporate giants and bankers. Only that the newly unemployed will have to wait for their depression payments that are delayed until 27 April 2020. And here’s me thinking that eating was a requirement of life …..

    No attendance at a Centrelink Office to demonstrate that you are who you say you are, even when your presence in Parliament has been likened to a ghost. No waiting for hours on the Centrelink phone line to be cut off after three hours to start the procedure again. No timing out on the Centrelink website that has too little bandwidth to handle the economic disaster created by ignoring the early warnings of December 2019.

    Where are the directions for the banks to forgo mortgage payments for home owners and investors?

    Nope!! Australia voters have definitely been sold a decaying dead dog of a misgovernment lacking talent in everything except untruths and rip-off for personal pecuniary gain.

    Well done Australian voters!!

    Next election Australian voters would be well advised to remember that the present Liarbral Nazional$ are the least competent economic (mis)managers since Federation in 1901.

  4. David Stakes

    And us pensioners have got nothing.

  5. Harry Lime


  6. whatever

    I’m going to throw up if one more MSM hack says ‘This is the first time these people have needed to get welfare’

  7. David Richards

    I don’t mean to mean, but ‘average’ and ‘median’ are not the same. Nor are they particularly useful. You should talk about the MODE

  8. JANO from the Gong .

    I love you Keith Davis ,,

    you know the real deal .. Dont ever let up on this ,,mate ,, Jano .. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. David Richards

    David Stakes – for 26 years the OAPs have received meaningful rises and extras denied those on NS. A little rebalancing is well overdue. Whatever – me too. The opprobrium attached to the word “welfare” by US RWers that makes it synonymous with necrophilia, paedophilia, or bestiality and the bogus “I’ve never had a cent in welfare” claim by people who if their financials were examined would be shown to have received some form of government payment in their lives has created a false dichotomy between the self-righteous and those in need. Add to that the false perception of those in receipt of government support as being drug addled, gambling, violent, lazy, uneducated alcoholics who can’t be trusted with their own money and therefore require an outside company, (owned by the Liberal Party), to dictate what they spend it on and where, for a price equivalent to that under management, effectively doubling the amount per recipient spent by the government. Coincidentally, this matches the new “emergency” rate, with the difference that the Liberal Party owned entity does not get a share. If they could double the amount spent per recipient to introduce the Nanny Card, they could have raised NS long ago instead of introducing the Nanny Card.

  10. ChristopherJ

    Thank you, Keith and spot on NEC. I am beyond angry, and now our leaders think that sending broke vibrants back home is not on, so they are going to support them too.

    But, no, I don’t think the NS crim is over, they’ll drop the temp payment as soon as people go back to work and it’ll be poverty blues for our poorest underclass again.

    I wonder if those becoming unemployed through no fault of their own will be offered an indue card. Lot of pensioners I know smoke and play the pokies, they should be on the card too, eh? /s

    Should have been money to every citizen, man, woman and child, including those not in the tax system. The rest? Use the money to charter A380s and fly them back to their own place. There are hundreds of thousands of these non citizens here, that should keep the airline industry going, even bringing our own Aussies stranded overseas home.

  11. Terence Mills

    David Stakes

    Pensioners do get the one off $750 payments : the first in April and the second in July.

  12. Tori Someone

    Your numbers are wrong. It’s an additional $550 per FORTNIGHT (not per week) on top of any eligible payment. The maximum works out to $760/week – but much less for most.

  13. Mel B

    Well written and spot on!

    The sad thing is that some of the people currently trying to access this money from Centrelink as ‘first-time receivers’ are still spewing forth the bile in the comments section that the ‘dole bludgers’ are getting the additional $750 payments.

    Saying things like ‘why do they need extra money – they are already on the dole’ and ‘but I need more money as I have a mortgage and bills and have suddenly lost my job’.

    It is extraordinary that they seem to think there are two levels of ‘welfare’ (not that they would call it that) and they just because they had a job a day ago they are better off than people who also probably unexpectedly lost jobs and have been trying to find a new one (under far more onerous reporting conditions that these new recipients will have to face – only 4 job applications a month).

    I really despair of our country sometimes and can only hope that if these new welfare recipients are receiving the money for a while they mellow in their attitude towards those that came before them!

  14. Keith Davis

    Hi Tori Someone: From 27 April 2020, jobseekers will be eligible for a maximum base rate of $1115.70 a fortnight, excluding rent assistance and family payments, compared with a current base rate of $565.70 (Centrelink figures).

  15. Jon Chesterson

    How convenient, Covid-19 comes along and suddenly the government realise that Newstart and demonising the unemployed were irresponsible and criminal. Could it be that with half the population locked out of work and without an income, and up to one million permanently losing their jobs, they will now lose their electoral support suddenly or is it just they are worried about the economy? Surely die hard Liberals and Nationals haven’t suddenly grown angel’s wings of empathy, compassion or reason? Perhaps some realise they could be on the streets themselves tomorrow or the next day.

    Should we be grateful and miraculously all agree what a wonderful government they make? Anyone who thinks we should trust them now in a crisis – think again!

  16. Patagonian

    We now how two classes of unemployed: the existing ‘leaners’ and the deserving ‘lifters’ who have just lost their jobs.

  17. RosemaryJ36

    This is the perfect time to introduce the Universal Basic Income, plus tax changes to prevent those not in need from profiteering.

  18. johno

    Well said everyone. Demonising the less fortunate is fcked up. I agree Rosemary, equity for all.

  19. New England Cocky

    @RosemaryJ36: The UBI worked well in a Canadian trial with recently published research results showing that the savings to the Canadian Health budget were GREATER than the cost of the UBI in the selected town where the programme was trialled.

    But this is Australia under a Liarbral Nazional$ COALition misgovernment, so only the undeserving wealthy and corporates will receive free, gratis and for nothing government largesse handouts while the plebs, disabled, aged and discarded workers will get as little as possible to encourage them to seek unavailable work ….. just like the 1930s Depression. Anybody humping their swag this year?

  20. TuffGuy

    punitive hearts??? that should read punitive empty chest cavities.

  21. HaQK

    @Rosemary Spot on. This is the perfect time to introduce a UBI. This crisis is just the first shot across the bow. We cannot rely on a 20th century system to address problems we are likely to face in the 21st century.

  22. Vanda Jensen

    I too have noticed this tendency among some people to think that the recently unemployed are somehow more deserving than the long term NewStart recipients. I have no doubt that if the government could have figured out a way to only give the increase to the newly unemployed and not the rest of us they would have done so. I’m equally sure that come October they won’t consider keeping the rate at the new level or even anything close to it unless it is apparent that a large percentage of employers will still not be hiring.

  23. DrakeN

    Vanda: “I too have noticed this tendency among some people to think…”
    Unlike you, I have noticed a tendency among a lot of people not to actually think at all!

  24. Mrs Wobbly

    Extreme Right Wing Politicians With Ethics and Compassion to welfare recipients Fate! sorry not buying that!. This government HAD no choice OTHER than the simulation of our economy, as our economy was going UNDER before this pandemic happened. POOR people spend money and WEALTHY horde money ! and That’s why the poor got the money, nothings more, not being compassionate Or Ethical. I suggest that the back lash on the Poor Unemployment and Pensioners receiving Extra welfare payments Now , will find them selves repaying money, after this pandemic is controlled and Australia economy has recovered, money will be recouped , in some form or another and a he poor will pick up the bill. What back door bills have already been pushed through ours parliament regarding the poor to be voted on ? This extreme Right Wing Government in the past years and recently has PROVEN that they don’t care about The POOR people, let long COMPASSION or ETHICAL behaviour towards the Australian people Specially those on CENTRE -STARVE . Don’t be fooled by this slash and dash policy to strengthen our economy, nothing to do with COVID-19 pandemic or Australians Health and well being. PROFITS for the MASTER and ULTIMATELY POWER first, then Australian people , DEPENDING on your INCOME level and your WORTH to the Idea’s of EXTREME Right Wings ideologically believes of How Australians Society Should be RUN.

  25. Dwayne Dibley

    Poor people spend money for the rich to stash away in off-shore treasure chests.

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