I am genuinely horrified by this disaster: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/02/the-demerit-system-is-ruthless-social-policy-designed-to-keep-the-poor-powerless
I believe that we presently represent the job hopes of around 1500 people, in various stages of their progression to independent employment.
These are, pretty much to a person, vulnerable and in need of care and support.
When things like this are contemplated something is wrong. When such behaviour is acted out it is time to speak out: the commercialisation of poverty is bad enough, and the persecution of the most disadvantaged Australians is simply a bridge too far.
Here are the things that need attention:
Jobs with greater than expected hours of employment need to be recognised as of greater value. Presently 1 x 40hrs per week is given 1/5th the merit as 5 x 8hrs per week.
This is justified as assisting the maximum number of people with disability. That may be so, depending upon your definition of assisting, but small part time jobs are easy come, easy go. Such positions exploit subsidies, devalue people with disability and do not lead to offers of more work, instead they lead nowhere.
Full time or maximum hours leads to independence and inclusion.
I am constantly impressed by the ingenuity, resilience and coping skills exhibited by our jobseekers (qualities they carry through as employees) and am amazed by their planning and budgeting skills.
I live alone and own my home. My weekly costs would never be less than $500 and to survive on the pension I would need to reduce these expenses by around $150 a week.
That is obviously possible as our jobseekers are doing just that, so perhaps I might learn the skills.
What I would handle less well would be the stress of surviving on this pittance.
I can only imagine the crushing worry of meeting employment compliance and mutual obligation when I was struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over my head.
This latest initiative is anything else but smart. It places power in the hands of those for whom the exercise of that authority serves their financial interests while granted powers that exploit the fears and vulnerability of the most disadvantaged Australians.
This system, and these actions can only lead to harm.
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