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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 08:33 am
The Abbott government has decided they're going to back down on their proposals to get jobseekers to look for up to forty jobs per month (10 jobs per week, double the current maximum). This is being greeted with sighs of relief in some quarters, and in others by comments along the line of "drop the other shoe, why don't you?". I'm one of the latter.

I'm one of the latter because, as I mentioned on the ABC's comments on the article yesterday, I remember the sighs of relief which accompanied their late-April announcement they weren't going to be seeking a $5 co-payment for GP visits... which turned to shrieks of outrage when they brought in plans for a $7 co-payment for GP visits instead. Now, the word is they've taken this step on receipt of community feedback, but the strong impression is the majority of the feedback they're listening to is from the business community - and the business community basically screamed blue murder about it because it would have meant they'd be inundated with job applications from people who were essentially seeking to meet their weekly targets, whether or not they were eligible for the jobs in question.

So let's be clear on this: the Abbott Liberal Government has not given up on plans to punish the unemployed for being unemployed, and they have not given up on the notion of making all forms of welfare more onerous and unpleasant than they already are - they are neo-liberal ideologues to a man (and woman), and they strongly believe being poor is something which intrinsically deserves punishment. There's already talk of extending income management, and making it a compulsory requirement for receiving welfare - or in other words, your welfare payment will come on a specified card, rather than being deposited into your bank account; it will only be able to be spent on certain things, and you will only be able to buy these things in certain locations; and if you aren't on state housing, it's unlikely your landlord is going to accept it as payment for your rent. They haven't backed down on the six month waiting period for people under the age of thirty, and they certainly haven't backed down on the notion of extending work for the dole.

Quite frankly, I'm still waiting on them bringing back the notion of workhouses.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 09:39 am (UTC)
Oh hey, some of the government ministers over here think payment cards are a good thing too, after trying it out on asylum-seekers:

(spoiler: it made people poorer and more stigmatised, so clearly rolling it out to all benefits recipients is a great plan)
Thursday, October 9th, 2014 10:22 am (UTC)
Thursday, October 9th, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)
Weren't they trying something similar in the Northern Territory with indigenous peoples?
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 03:49 pm (UTC)
It would not totally shock me if they did that. And there are still people out there that don't know what the problem is. It's the very essence of privilege. If it's not a problem to me, then it's not a problem. Except chances are it will eventually be a problem to them, whether because their children's university fees will go up (and I bet the Government will suddenly find reasons NOT to lend domestic students the money to do so, or, as I believe is already planned, to increase their interest rate, or privatise the loans. The sort of thing that is causing so many problems in the USA.) or their doctor's visits (which will become more frequent as they age) will become more expensive, and there will be fewer people qualified to do the things that make society better, or who have the time and energy to do that.