Australian Politics, Mark II


#281

No.


#282

An extra vote for every bad idea they have?


#283

Makes Mark Latham feel less lonely?


#284

Long live the Second Amendment and may some good person take advantage of it.


#285

Virginia Trioli wasn’t too sympathetc to the piece of excrement on 7.30

Didn’t give the Shadow Treasurer (or Finance Minister) much joy either. Jim Chalmers.


#286

The demerit system is ruthless social policy, designed to keep the poor powerless

Privately owned job agencies can now cut someone off Newstart with no review from Centrelink

Jeremy Poxon

All across the country unemployed Australians are today bracing themselves for more stress and suffering, as the Coalition unleashes its new needlessly cruel benefit sanctions regime.

Starting 1 July, the Turnbull government is granting job agencies new, unprecedented powers to punish Newstart recipients for failing to comply with gruelling compliance demands.

Under this new “demerit point” system, agencies will now impose payment suspensions if (they believe) jobseekers are behaving inappropriately, or failing to attend appointments and activities like Work for the Dole without a “reasonable excuse”.

Alarmingly, jobseekers currently battling drug or alcohol related illnesses are now no longer (“reasonably”) exempt from activities, nor safe from financial punishment.

Until 1 July 2018, Centrelink has been able to overturn any job agency penalties if it deems that they’re unfair or will lead to “extreme poverty”. It will lose much of this power. Now, job agencies will be able to punish their unemployed clients without government regulation or oversight.

Unemployed workers will also lose significant powers of appeal. They will have to passively accept many of the decisions ordered against them. In short, privately owned job agencies – many of which are for-profit private companies – will wield unlimited, unchecked power over the unemployed.

Under this system, unemployed workers can be completely cut off Newstart if they refuse to attend unsafe work for the dole activities. Even though 64% of sites are failing to meet basic safety standards, jobseekers will be forced to accept any dangerous, hostile conditions they’re met with.

Given that government funding to job agencies is tied to outcomes, such as placing participants into work for the dole, there is little incentive for job agencies to treat unemployed workers fairly. On the contrary – there are significant financial incentives to abuse unemployed workers.

Already this abuse has reached crisis proportions.

In 2015-16, job agencies imposed a record 2m financial penalties on the unemployed. As noted by the National Welfare Rights Network, roughly half of these penalties were found to be unfair and were rejected by Centrelink. This means that in 2015-16, more than 1 million unemployed people had their payments cut off when they did nothing wrong.

This kind of error rate is staggering – in any other sector, it would surely result in a royal commission. Earlier this year, a suspected 5% error rate at the Australian Tax Office resulted in an immediate government investigation.

Clearly, a culture of lawlessness and unaccountability already pervades the employment services sector. Under the new “demerit point’”scheme, this $10bn industry will enjoy even more freedom to run riot. The 800,000 unemployed workers attending job agencies will be left to fend from themselves.

By giving private companies the full authority to make compliance decisions – a power previously the domain of the Department of Human Services – the government continues its simple mission: to strip unemployed Australians of the basic right to a social safety net.

In this, it’s been devastatingly successful. Single unemployed Australians already receive the second lowest level of income support in the OECD. And in order to keep these meagre benefits, they also have to fulfil the most onerous set of requirements in the developed world.

The government estimates that 80,000 unemployed workers will lose payments within 12 months of the demerit point system – all for the greater good of reducing “welfare dependency” and unburdening the budget.

Given everything we now know about the sharp rise of homelessness in this country, it’s staggering that the Coalition continues to implement social policy that’s specifically designed to chuck vulnerable people off benefits. It’s also staggering how well it’s working – according to the ABS, due to the tightening of eligibility requirements, only 36% of unemployed people receive the dole.

Rather than building a robust safety net, it seems that punishment and coercion have become the key guiding principles of welfare reform.

Government rhetoric would have us believe that cutting people off benefits gives them the “motivation” they need to find work (even as all evidence points to the contrary).

Here, government continues to recast unemployment as a failure of individual will: that the only barrier to employment, and a decent life, is idleness and “over-dependence” on meagre hand-outs.

Naturally, we hear nothing of the failure of our economy to provide enough work – and a decent standard of living – for an alarming number of Australians. (According to the latest batch of ABS data, there are currently 16 jobseekers for every position available.)

Instead, by strategically demonising the unemployed, government is easily able to justify ruthless social policy, like the demerit point system, which is explicitly designed to keep the poor completely powerless.


#287

Privatisation of social security. What could possibly go wrong.


#288

I just watched Q&A.

The most infuriating thing I’ve watched for a long time. I know Catherine King as she’s a member of my area.

It is so clear to see that labor has no fcking idea what their policies are. Honestly, Corey Bernardi is talking fcking trickle down effect out of his ■■■■… and sold it like a lollipop to a child.

Labor needs some strong policies fast, not watered down liberal policies. They are absolutely oblivious.


#289

I knew that it was thirty something percent but did not recall the exact figure, so just said less than 40%. Here is the figures I can find for 2017; they would not have changed much in the last year:

"WA’s share of the GST pie will be just 34 cents for every dollar raised - even lower than the 38 cents [previously] forecast.

The Commonwealth Grants Commission released its annual distribution figures on Friday morning.

In comparison, Queensland will get $1.18, South Australia $1.44 and Tasmania $1.80."

I don’t mind subsidising SA and Tassie but it is scandalous how we have to subsidise Qld as well.


#290

Senator David Leyonhjelm - another classic example of our (the taxpayer’s) money being wasted.


#291

Interestingly my wife is in this industry and is responsible for cutting payments for things such as non compliance, non attendance etc and currently Centrelink overturn plenty of her cases. She is very happy with this news as even though she does give some leeway there are plenty of clients who are serial offenders and quite simply refuse to do as required


#292

Loathsome grub.

Vote 1. Lyinphlegm Out!


#293

Liberal Govt tells Nauruan Govt to block the ABC from attending to cover the forum in September,

Spineless says the decision “taken” by said Govt is “regrettable” :roll_eyes:

FMD, …


#294

Your wife is happy to cut people off benefits huh.


#295

Wow.

Sounds like she shouldn’t have that power to me.


#296

If people are lying and cheating to get benefits…then ■■■■ them and ■■■■ the horse they rode into town on.


#297

If people are lying and cheating to get benefits, they should do it properly and become Lib/Nat parliamentarians.


#298

Boom Tish!!


#299

If they are doing the wrong thing absolutely she is. They just don’t get cut for any reason, it’s usually repeat offences. She actually cuts them a little slack as there are others in the industry that don’t


#300

Why?
The industry she is in there are plenty of people who have the power to do this. Things like non attendance to scheduled meetings or people refusing to honour their obligations often have their payments cut. Often they will then go to Centrelink and put their case forward and the decision can be overturned.
She has customers who blatantly refuse to co-operate and refuse to attend any courses or meetings and are quite open in stating they have no intention of ever working. The amount of people that headed OS whilst on benefits was staggering although that has now been stemmed with benefits now being cut the minute your passport is scanned