View From The Couch – 29/Jul/2014

Who Asked You, Peter Reith?

It’s interesting Peter Reith has taken this moment to tell us he thinks the future Liberal Party leader has to be Julie Bishop. Peter Reith, an awful character at the best of times, did have a big mouth so it’s not surprising he’s chosen to speak out of turn; and yet he’s basically sending up a weather balloon to see what happens when he nominates Julie Bishop. It’s weird because it’s hard to think of an equivalent happening right now where maybe a retired former minster like say Lindsay Tanner randomly nominating Tanya Plibersek to be the next Labor leader. Its hard to get my head around. basically, he’s answering a question that hasn’t been asked with an answer that probably isn’t wanted by anybody. It might be true that Joe Hockey isn’t the next best candidate after Tony Abbott – but why are we even talking about this now, when Tony is making his best impression as an international statesman?

I am not saying there is likely to be any leadership change in Tony Abbott’s first term or even his second term. Gillard’s knifing of Rudd with the support of Bill Shorten and others is not about to be replicated by the Coalition. However, of Australia’s 28 prime ministers, only seven have been in office for more than four years so it’s not unreasonable to suggest that after Abbott has had the job for at least four years or more, anything could happen.

Really now, Mr. Reith? Do tell!

We’re Not Talking About The Band Severed Heads Here

The headline reads: Sydney man pictured with severed heads. It sounds like the guy is having a whale of a time.

However, a friend of the pair told Fairfax Media they have no intention of ever returning.
“They say they’ve never lived a better life than what they’re living now and ‘you don’t know what youse are missing out on, especially with the turn of events happening now [with the establishment of a caliphate in Iraq],” said the friend, who didn’t want to be identified.

“People say they’re worried these guys will come back but they understand that if they leave the country to go to Syria or Iraq they’re not coming back. They’re after two things – victory for Islam or martyrdom.”

But the Attorney-General emphasised that home-grown terrorism remains a significant domestic threat.

He will seek to introduce legislation to parliament to make it an offence to encourage terrorism.

“One thing no one should think is that this is a problem on the other side of the world,” said Brandis. “This is a problem that exists and germinates within our suburbs.”

Argh. It’s hard to tell who has the lower IQ – the guy who uses the plural of you as ‘youse’, or the Attorney General of this land – “Champion of Bigots” George Brandis – who thinks he can write a law to prohibit encouraging terrorism; especially when you consider the reason he wants to champion bigots is in the name of free speech and freedom of expression. The contradiction of his position had me in stitches of laughter until I realised he’s going to try it anyway and waste everybody’s time and money.

It’s not good that there’s some angry Arab-Australian running around chopping heads in Syria, but it seems the horse has bolted. The guy doesn’t want to come back anyway. Meanwhile the rest of ISIS/ISIL is busy getting medieval on people’s asses. They’re placing decapitated heads on spikes. I mean, that’s Vlad-Tepes-Krazy.

Work For The Dole Is A Kind Of Employment, No?

I don’t get the conservative mental fixation about the imagined dole-bludgers. It’s like they don’t understand that at a certain point some people are not employable. That could be a point in time, or a point in the person’s life, but being employable in the broadest sense, narrows so much that people cannot make the grade. They might be too old to do what is necessary; they might just be too inexperienced; or dare I say too stupid to do anything of value; and then there are some who are a combination of all sort of elements that make a person unemployable.

And at a certain point, society is better off just paying these people off in some way so they don’t turn to a life of petty crime or become destitute and turn to a life of violent crime. It’s not a difficult concept to understand but you keep meeting people who say, “but it’s our tax money being wasted” as if how that money was spent was their decision to make (it’s not, it’s the government’s) and ignores the fact that the money spent staves off enough desperation it probably is doing a lot of social good. This is why our society came up with a safety net in the first place. it really isn’t a whole lot of money, and anybody living on it, isn’t having a wonderful life unless of course they live at home with wealthy parents.  And yes, such people exist – I know a couple myself – but you still wouldn’t want to be them. It seems stupidly ungenerous to want to begrudge them the pittance and punish the long-term unemployed or the young unemployed with “work for the dole schemes”.

A burning question that ought to be raised is “do they work?” According to people who have made a study, they don’t.

But Professor Jeff Borland from the University of Melbourne – who conducted the only empirical study of the Howard government’s work for the dole scheme – says years of research show such schemes are unlikely to help people find jobs.

”The international evidence is overwhelming,” he said. ”It’s hard to believe that the government couldn’t understand that this isn’t the best way to improve people’s employability.

”I guess you have to conclude that there are other reasons for wanting to expand the program, and the title of the scheme [work for the dole] suggests it’s being done for political reasons.”

Labor has warned businesses will face a deluge of fake job applications under the government’s measures.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz said that could be a fair criticism.

”We as a government do not want box-ticking to take place,” he told ABC TV. ”We don’t want red tape and inconvenience to employers, but what we do want is a genuine attempt by the job seeker to obtain employment.”

No box ticking! It’s going to be hell from next year when all these companies are going to get their inboxes of their emails stuffed with resumes from people who don’t really want a job but are forced to put on a very good show of pretending to want a job. You wouldn’t want to employ any of them, and they don’t really want to be employed. The charade is going to be unbearable. And what good does the government think it’s going to achieve? Especially when we know it doesn’t do anything tangibly beneficial.

It’s just bullying by the government. If this business of having to apply for 40jobs per month for 6 months before they get the dole comes into play, it’s going to be unwanted-resume-hell for every company out there. It totally ignores the reality of the marketplace.

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