Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How much lower can Labor go in its treatment of unemployed Australians?

So now unemployed people are to be further humiliated with the "Basics card"? And by Labor!

Bloody hell!

DH's blood is boiling right now, and here is why.

She has been unemployed now since May 2008. And it's not for want of trying. She has applied for hundreds of jobs and been knocked back. And remember that every job app these days requires a complete reconfiguring of the hapless jobseeker's resume, not to mention that it takes a day to answer the host of "selection criteria" which DH reckons are designed to weed out sweet, hardworking modest Cordelias like herself from the shamelessly self-aggrandising Gonerils and Regans of this world.

Now DH has two post-graduate qualifications, a Cert IV in training and assessment, a long list of published articles, and a heap of experience in project management, publishing, admin, office management, programming and analysis, IT, technical writing, communications, mostly in non-profits, and government

And DH has given back heaps to the community, on P&C executives, on HNSW committees, on disability support groups and local community groups.

So how come she can't get a job?

Simple: she
  • is over 50
  • has a patchy work record having been a carer for a disabled child
  • took a gamble and decided to target contract work with the NSW government in the hope that it would eventually pay off as a permanent placement. But then the State Govt employment freeze happened. (And there's a whole article on her friends in the public service who are being expected to do more and more on less and less as colleagues are not replaced when they leave).
As a result, DH has a patchwork resume, which she thinks demonstrates her initiative and adaptability, but employers don't see it that away. Every job she applies for ends up being offered to people who've been doing the exact same job for 5 years.

Anyhow, the good news is, she has finally got a job, starting soon.

But not soon enough to over-ride the bitterness of a year and a half living off $135 a week after rent. And she's one of the lucky ones living in cheap public housing. Her heart bleeds for other Australians who don't have this. How on earth are they surviving?

And just what does the Labor Party expect its traditional supporters, the working class, to spend that $135 on if it's not food and electricity? The basics card is to be spend on clothes??? Who has money left over out of $135 to buy clothes??? And what about telecommunications. Aren't a phone, mobile, and internet access and computer consumables absolute necessities these days? And what about things like annual membership fees, repairs, medical bills, dental work, medications, insurance, and yes, cosmetics. How are you gonna get a job with teeth missing and no lipstick?

And won't we be allowed to pay for the occasional outing? We can't all get an invite to the Lord Mayor's picnic as our one outing of the year for Chrissake!!!

DH, btw, is always well dressed, so if you know her, and thinks she's lying about how hard up she has been, here's how she does it: She bloody well had to cash out half her super, which was minuscule in the first place (she was a carer, remember) and now there's practically nothing left.

Bloody hell.

DH, btw, resigned from the ALP just before the local council elections this year. She figured she was already part of one one despised minority as a houso. She couldn't bear the approbrium of being associated with another as an ALP branch member.

But maybe it's time to rejoin the party as the Ghost of Pre-selectors Past to haunt Tanya and Verity.



Dear DH
Great to hear you've got a job, but don't forget this means 1/3 of your precious salary will go to Housing NSW which ups your rent when regular payments start coming in. The original idea behind public housing was to give Aussie battlers a leg up to buying their own homes by charging them cheap rent while they saved a deposit. No way today.

DH said...

Don't I know it! As 30% is the definition of Housing stress, its a strange notion that you make a system just by extending injustice to all. Hmm ... i feel a blog entry coming on...

Anonymous said...

Are you guys saying that rent in NSW public housing is now charged at 33% of income, not at 25%? This would set an alarming precedent - please, tell me this isn't so.

DH said...

It starts to accelerate from 25% once they determine you have exceeded a moderate income, set at a laughable $617 pw for a single person. I believe the average wage is now $1200.. Once you hit $769, you pay 30%. However, say you are already paying a Higher Education HECS and SPSS Debt, you will pay evem more of your gross. Or if you hit the subsidy limit threshold, set at $1145, you will pay market rent. Which, if you live in a high rent area, can exceed 30%. You can see the rules at and commentary from the Tenants at


I thought I got it wrong, saying HNSW took 1/3 of your income when it was actually 1/4, but seems like I unwittingly got it right afterall. A couple of years ago I was told by my DOH CSO that deductions of extra rent from salaries only started after 12 consecutive weeks of work. This was after I had made deposits of additional rent when I had only worked for seven weeks and they were not accepted by the DOH financial system. They still owe me money 'lost' in the system at that time.