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

return of the 'dole bludger' « Previous | |Next »
April 23, 2010

The Coalition looks to be preparing an election strategy that includes the possibility of refusing the dole to the unemployed after six months and banning those under 30 from benefits if they refuse to move to areas where there are skills shortages.

The implication is the youth unemployed are dole bludgers, and as their dependency on the welfare system places a drain on the public purse, so they need to be stripped of welfare since they are capable of working but don't .


Apparently, there are nearly 40,000 young Australians aged between 15 and 17 are neither at school nor at work, according to Senate estimates hearings. The Coalition's proposition for lessening youth unemployment is that, in the context of labour shortages in parts of the country, unemployed people should be expected to relocate in order to take up a job; and secondly, that removing the support structure may force many to pick up tools and join industries where demand for workers was growing.

One argument is that if young people are to be gainfully employed, then they need skills. The emphasis of both the Howard and Rudd Governments was on apprenticeships and the trades: the former had a Australian Technical College program, the latter a Kickstart Apprentice program. The assumption is the unemployed need to acquire the skills required in the booming sectors of the economy in order to share directly in the benefits. This kind of policy addresses the main business concern which is a shortage of skilled labour.

However, there are labour shortages with respect to unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and this appears to be Abbott's target. Since six months is not long to acquire skills, Abbott is talking about unskilled work and the working class. He makes no mention of investing in a school system that would prepare people to be ready for the workforce and to enable them to get the qualifications (literacy and numeracy; a Year 12 qualification) they need to get basic training.

Unemployment rises very sharply during a recession (as in the early 1980s and 1990s) and takes a long time to fall after the spike.Young Australians bear a disproportionate burden during economic crises because during a downturn. Youth unemployment in Australia sky-rocketed as a result of the economic downturn.

It’s the casual, part-time and lower skilled jobs in the labour market – the type of work young people rely on– that are first to go. Those lacking experience, or in traineeships or apprenticeships, are amongst the first to go when businesses feel the pinch. They also have the least resources to fall back on and are the last to benefit when things pick up.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:56 AM | | Comments (14)


Off to the mines with them, and spare me talk of canaries.

I wonder whether Abbott considered the possible consequences for his Little Aussie Breeders plan? Are young women supposed to preserve their virginity until they're 30 and all the lads come back from the mines?

And what about those people who don't have the physical attributes for that kind of work?

I'm an unemployed university graduate, maybe I can go and be a prostitute in WA.

I lost track of changes to social security under Howard, but I think if you're under 18 you get nothing at all if you leave school? Teachers are now expected to provide day care for teenagers who have no interest in studying but who cannot leave school because they have no way of supporting themselves.

Then my recollection, which again may be faulty, is that up to age 25 you're not eligible for much unless you've already been in full-time work away from home for a while. The assumption is that if you haven't got a job you should be home with mum and dad.

In other words the socially engineered changes to the rules already make being young and unemployed a bugger, but I guess Abbott thinks this stuff will appeal to Hansonites who might have drifted away when Nelson and Turnbull were in charge. That seems to me to be the main Liberal strategy at the moment: get back to good old-fashioned Howard divisiveness after the horrible move to squishy sentimentality under Nelson and Turnbull.

I can't believe it's a serious policy proposal. Even Abbott must understand what a comical catastrophe it would be if thousands of penniless unskilled Eastern state jobless youths arrived in Port Hedland looking for work.

I half expect Abbott to come out and say get on your bike and go look for work. What's wrong with peddling to WA mining towns. Its good exercise. He did say that the solution to obesity was to get a personal training like him.

Beth has discovered the loophole in the virginity project. Don't give it away lightly - charge for it. Nice fit with free market logic.

Ken, the problem with appealing to the ex-Hansonites is that so many of them have kids Abbott would send away to the mines.

Lyn writes:
"the problem with appealing to the ex-Hansonites is that so many of them have kids Abbott would send away to the mines."

easily solved. The problem is not capitalism and the neoliberalization of culture, but the ‘liberals’ who had used excessive state power to provide for special groups (blacks, women, environ- mentalists, etc.).

I think we do have a lot of welfare bludgers in Australia and I do feel we should go back to the times where there was a stigma attached to bludging.

As usual though people wont be kicked off if they sign up to do a course or get 3 signatures a week from places they have asked for work.
Same shit different year.

Not just that.
On cue, at the righty Catalepsy blog, that ancient warhorse for economic rationalism,from the miocene, Judith Sloan- (Ranger), launched into a treacly effort on DB pensioners.
The cheer squad was equally misanthropic and myopic, but blatantly hypocritical compared to the no doubt oft mole-whacked, therefore likely more sanguine Sloan.

I cannot see anything wrong with people acquiring more skills through vocational education courses.Are you saying the working class should remain unskilled?

I haven't read Catallaxy for some time. I had a quick scan. In the comments to the Sloan post some of them acknowledge that there are not many unskilled jobs in the mining industry. They do seem to equate education and qualifications with credentialism, which they see as preventing the unskilled from getting jobs.


No. What I am saying is getting tough is certainly a good idea. Axing the dole is a dumb idea that would never happen because the dole payments are spent keeping business going. My reference to doing courses is only to show that is how people will get around being cut off. Doing courses is the best way to get a job if there is a reason for being long term unemployed.

As gary points out entrance level mining jobs usually require machinery operating tickets and a hc/mc licence or experience doing the job you are applying for in the non mining environment as well as a mining induction cert and first aid cert. Then you most likely need to look right, be suitable for living in single quarters and get along with people in harsh conditions.
There is no point rounding people up at the local dole office and bussing them to the back of burke. It wouldn't work for the mining industry.

Gary your comment re Sloan is likely more objective andinformed than mine than mine- I just remember these are the people who gutted training schemes, TAFE's, apprenticeships and education in general.
Worse, in turning social security into a de facto police force, they created a simulacra environment for the disempowered unemployed ,for their own shabby ideological purposes, as cynical as the "polices" to do with others also coded as undeserving, unlike "us", like aborigines or refugees.
Not much prospect in store for life in a fixed role of on going target of some sort of latter day judenhecht.

in Australia people who have not completed year 12 are three times more likely to be unemployed than someone who has completed year 12. Education is the key.

Isn't the real problem an over supply of labour.

In my own field the Australian Computer society did an employment survey in 2005 counting the number of jobs filled by employment agencies in the survey period, rather than the number of vacancies advertised. Extrapolating the ACS survey indicated that they were more graduates graduating in 2005 than there were positions filled, by graduates or experienced professionals. A position could have been for a day, a contract or permanent employment.

The survey hasn't been repeated. The next president of the ACS ran an employment agency.

So when people say there is a skills shortage, I aways ask, what is your agenda, are you believable.