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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

the new world of work « Previous | |Next »
June 17, 2006

Most of the public debate around work and individual contracts these days is centred on 'labour market flexibility' and the labour laws required for the globalized world of the 21st century. A few,however are talking in terms of AWA's having different kinds of flexibility: eg., upward mobility for those with good skills in a booming mining industry, and downward mobility for those with few skills in the cleaning industry.

Bill Leak

But what of the single parents, people with a disability and the older unemployed under the new welfare-to-work reform? These people face significant barriers to enter employment, and they are in need of intensive and sustained forms of assistance to overcome them. They may acquire a casual job under an AWA but they could well lose teh job without ongoing adequate support.

It is anticipated that around 18,000 people will lose their Newstart allowance (for eight weeks) as a penalty for breaching their participation requirements. Only 5000 will be case managed though a period of no income by those welfare organizations who have been contracted by the government to ensure the bills are paid and there is food on the table for the kids. The other 13,000 will have to rely on charities or the kindness of family, friends or strangers to get them through the eight weeks of no income.

This is the world of compassionate conservatism. It is more about punishing people who don't deserve welfare, rather than helping people who need extra help to get casualk work with low wages and poor conditions.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:09 PM | | Comments (1)


Gary, I wish there was something I could add to the argument. 'Labour market flexibility' is of course code masquerading as a buzzphrase, and from a left perspective it can reasonably be expected to be flexible only one way. For those with skills in occupations in demand, bosses have always found a way to entice and reward. The gist of your piece seems to be about widening the cracks that people can fall through and on this I agree - it's social not economic policy (for want of categorising) and it's unnecessary to demonise people in this way.