Dole Bludger or Desperate For Work?

4 min read
Dole Bludger or Desperate For Work?

Let’s talk about the Dole Bludger Debate.

Here you can put yourself into two categories.

The first goes like this:

There is nothing that gets a taxpayers’ blood boiling more than a “dole bludger” “” a person who sits at home all day playing video games collecting taxpayer money because “they don’t want to go to work”. Don’t get me wrong, there are many people out there who cannot work because of a disability or injury, and I am proud we live in a country that willingly helps these people out. But it’s the ones who don’t need the help “” the able-bodied person who can swing a broom or unpack a dishwasher. Hey, it’s not amazing work, but nevertheless it is paid “tax-payer” work just like the rest of us.

The second, like this:

It’s frankly not fair to paint the jobless as lazy and unmotivated; for high-paid Government ministers to sit in their ivory tower and provide a “solution” or “crackdown” that denies these people basic financial support while requiring them to apply for jobs that don’t exist. Jobs that will get them nowhere in life. These people want jobs, there is just not enough jobs out there for them. We need to continue supporting our unemployed until they find work.

Ok, so before you settle on one or the other, here are some facts:

The working age population receiving income support peaked in 1997 at 24.9 per cent and fell significantly to 16.7 per cent in 2013 “” the last time data was released.

The number of income support recipients (excluding age pensioners) fell from 3 million people in 2003 to 2.78 million in 2013. That’s a 7.3 per cent decrease in the number of people on income support over the last decade.

Figures on welfare recipients from 2012 reveal that about 7.1 million people in Australia are receiving Government handouts, which equates to a whopping $90.5 billion each year.

However, ABS data revealed there were 146,100 total job vacancies in May 2014. That same month the total number of unemployed people was 721,300.

If you work out the math, that’s five employed people for every available job.

Centrelink Dole Bludger

Mission Australia CEO Catherine Yeomans said in a column in Sydney Morning Herald the vast majority of job seekers wanted to work.

“We see young people applying for dozens of jobs, taking the opportunity to do extra training or work experience but being constantly turned down due to lack of experience in a tight jobs market,” she said,

“We see mature aged workers made redundant after years in the workforce, training for roles they hadn’t imagined, like traffic controllers, because that’s where the jobs are in their local community.

“We see mums and dads who can’t find work, hunting for jobs that would fit around their families’ needs and commitments and allow them to provide for their children.

“These people are not “dole bludgers”. But they do rely on the welfare system, often only temporarily, so they can survive and live with dignity.”

On the contrary, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash believes welfare recipients are exploiting the jobs system to continue with their payments.

Cash is calling for cross-bench support on a bill to ban dole recipients from exploiting a loophole, which allows them to turn down jobs without losing their welfare payments.

She said some of the excuses given for turning down employment included:

“The shifts fall on my golf day”

“I don’t want to work too hard”

“The office and factory smelt funny”

“I am going on a holiday” and

“I don’t want to work more than three hours a week”.

“There was one example of a person who was offered work as a kitchen hand and said no, because they didn’t want to work with food,” Senator Cash told A Current Affair.

She believes taxpayers have also had enough of the waiver system.

“If you say no to reasonable work and you can work, we believe the Australian taxpayer would expect the government to impose a penalty,” she said.

But the Federal Government claim clamping down on the waiver system is no easy task.

A bill to ban the waiver loophole was being reviewed by the Senate, but has stalled.

“We very much believe that a person who can work should work if there is a job available,” Senator Cash said.

So there you have it, two sides to a very controversial story. What side are you on?

About Author

Kate Davies

Senior Journalist & Features Editor. As the modern-day media hunter-gatherer, Journalist Kate Davies is harnessing 10 years in the media to write...Read More engaging and empowering articles for Stay At Home Mum. Her years of experience working in the media both locally and nationally have given her a unique viewpoint and understanding of this dynamic industry. Hailing from a small town in Tasmania and spending many years travelling the world, Kate now calls the Sunshine Coast home alongside her husband and one-year-old son. Read Less

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