Thursday, 14 December 2017
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Vinnies: Surplus on the back of sole parents and the unemployed

St Vincent de Paul Society Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon, has sharply criticised the failure of the 2012 Budget to deliver relief for people who are outside the labour market. He said:

“Tonight’s Budget confirms one thing that both sides of politics agree on. And that’s their belief in the existence of an undeserving poor. Their message is that if you’re poor it’s because you’re just not trying hard enough. So the unemployed are left below the poverty line. Newstart has not received its much-needed boost of $50 a week. And a $700 million chunk of the surplus has been skimmed from the pockets of sole parents and their children.

“You don’t build people up by putting them down. You don’t help them get work by forcing them into poverty.

“There’s nothing wrong with bringing home the bacon for middle Australia. But the people living at the rough end of Struggle Street are trying to get by on baked beans.

“The young unemployed bloke scraping by on $35 a day and we wonder why we he doesn’t get a haircut before going for a job interview, or the single mum who has just been forced down to $38 a day on Newstart. They remain unheard.

“The middle-aged mum or dad on low wages or no wages as they battle to re-enter a workforce from which they have been dumped like so much human garbage. They remain unheard.”

St Vincent de Paul Society National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, added:

“A good Budget should at least be a step in the direction of putting a charity like ours out of business. Sadly, this is not the case tonight. We will always be there to give our fellow Australians a bit of a hand-up. But people don’t want charity. They want dignity whether they are in the low end of the labour market or outside the labour market door, trying to get in. At a time when they increasingly have to turn to charity, it is not charity they long for. It is justice.”

Dr Falzon welcomed Government initiatives such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and other measures that would help reduce inequality but was scathing of the Government’s treatment of the people who continue to be left out. He said: “The forgotten and excluded have not been heard. They’ve been answered, not with hope, but with a bucket-full of austerity.”

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4 comments

  1. Yep i’m quite happy living on $14 a day.But that is before i even think about paying for telephone/internet, electricity, gas, car rego.I have been unemployed for about 18 months in total now. I am 50 yo and I am certain that employers consider you too old.I applied for a job in the industry i worked in a while ago and the feedback I got was that i was too old and would not be able to cope with the new technology.I grew up with the technology that exists now.
    What a society we live in when employers think anyone 50+ is too old to be employed.Trouble is there is a whole lot of us who vote.I for one will remember the Labor Govts. contempt to the unemployed and single mothers in this country.All for a budget surplus.
    The Job Service Providers really have done nothing for me as well.What is even more annoying is what I call the generic jobs that are advertised.By this I mean companies advertise jobs because they have to when they have already filled the position and people like me waste our time applying.Then the Govt. claims there are jobs available.Why don’t the dole bludgers go and work in the mines they say.Well i would if i could afford to get there.Trouble is i am not qualified to work in the mining sector anyway.Is someone going to train me?. I think not. Makes me laugh when the Govt. prides itself on the low unemployment rate.I would guess it to be more like 15%.
    As an exercise I would like to send my resume to Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan and either of them can pretend to be me and find a job.Bet they can’t.I can’t even after considerable effort I am now convinced that I will have to live in poverty for the rest of my life.Thank you St.Vinnies for helping me out with my telephone/internet bill a while ago.But you should not really have to do this if the Govt. gave people on Newstart some sort of allowance for this.What do they think I would blow it on the pokies or something.
    I would like also to thank all Australians as well for sterotyping people as dole bludgers and baby bonus bludgers.Just read some of the forums on the internet and people who have never experienced disadvantage say things like “dole bludgers should not get a raise”. Single mothers called things like “baby factories”.
    Yep it is a hell of a lot of fun living on $14 a day, knowing that this is how your life is going to possibly be forever.
    I thought Australia was supposed to be a place where everyone got a fair go.Not anymore

  2. There are many people who find themselves outside the labour market door. No one stays there because they want to – more often than not there are structural or systemic reasons why they are there. In other words they are unable to enter through that ‘concrete’ door to employment by the very policies that the Government create themselves. If it weren’t for Welfare organisations such as Vinnies and many others I hate to think what would happen to all of those of us who find ourselves unable to break through that door – there help is very much appreciated by those who need it.

  3. I watched John falzon on abc news this morning and thought what an amazing man!
    He is absolutely spot on about the dole, we currently live on the pension due to my husband being made redundant and we cant survive, so how can someone on the dole make ends meet? Rent, food, clothes, electricity – these things have more than doubled and yet the doles been the same for years- its a joke! We are in our mid forties and have 4 children. We had to sell our home and are now renting. I am a stay at home mum proudly – I choose to raise my kids instead of some stranger at day care, I am there to pick them up from school, help in the canteen and school holidays etc. I have been a mum for 16 years and have no formal training but what is wrong with me being there for my kids at school, having tea cooked for them when they get home and being with them in school holidays, I work every day of my life, it is not our fault that my husband lost his job and we now rely on payments from the government. We can barely survive on the pension, my kids dont even have a school jumper and have holes in their shoes .
    The government needs to increase the dole especially, youth allowance and the pension, these payments are a joke for families living on them. It only makes a person more depressed and not motivated to go out and look for work or study. Believe me people are not living it up on the dole, there are many reasons why they are on it, they need to be supported more not ridiculed and shunned as dole bludgers.
    The job agencies are a joke, they wouldnt even pay for my son to go for a fork lift liscence and the only thing they paid for was pants and a shirt for an interview, and yet a centrelink employee told my husband that they get $20,000 once someone gets a job. They are the ones ripping the government off. He ended up getting a job on his own without their help!
    Thank you John for speaking up for the minority, and shame on Julia Gillard who has no idea of the real life struggles people living on welfare payments are going through..
    Thanks again john and to st vincents – you are wonderful human beings.
    God Bless
    Anne and family.

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