Tag Archives: Joe Hockey

View From The Couch – 31/Jul/2014

Even More Things Wrong With Work-For-The-Dole

When you think about it, all the things described as ‘work’ under work for the dole is…work that other people would ordinarily get paid to do. Heck, some un-ordinary people like people deemed guilty of offenses and hence must do community service might be working right along with the work-for-the-dole crowd.

”There’s nothing that would prevent activities being conducted by both community-service orders and work for the dole at the same premises,” the spokeswoman said.

”But work for the dole is preserved for people on income support.”

But Ashley Geelan, 36, says when he heard about the government’s proposed work-for-the-dole activities they sounded exactly the same as activities he once had to do to complete court-ordered community service for a number of traffic offences.

Mr Geelan, from Victoria, said after he completed court-ordered community service in 2009, he joined a work-for-the-dole program but he wound up back at the same place, doing the same thing.
He also said he worked on three separate projects – sweeping the car park at Reservoir railway station, working at a Salvation Army store in Doncaster, and helping repair the Kinglake Ranges Neighbourhood House – that had a mix of work-for-the-dole workers and those doing court-ordered community work.

This would suggest that the Abbott government sees the unemployed as criminals. it’s one thing to champion the protestant work ethic but it’s entirely another to stigmatise the unemployed.

The crappy thing is that work-for-the-dole projects would go to the non-profits sector meaning charities, who get a tax exemption. So it’s essentially creating slave labour for the charity sector i.e. giving away free labour to people who already get a sizable break from the government. If this is giving back to the community, I say on behalf of the community, just let them keep whatever it is that they got.

But here’s the fundamental point that the Abbott government is ignoring: If you pay somebody to do ‘work’, then that’s called ’employment’. Like it or lump it, the moment the work-for-the-dole takes an unemployed person and makes them work for their dole money, the government has expanded its payroll, except it’s doing it of the books. If even a fifth of the 830,000 or so unemployed people were sent out to do community service style projects, it might be the biggest expansion in the Federal government payroll since the time the Howard government tried the work-for-the-dole scheme.

Worse still, these unofficial-workers would not have union protection or rights as properly employed workers. They’ll effectively be working for much less money than an equivalent person in the private sector would be earning for doing similar work. Furthermore it’s arguable that it may put some low level cleaning companies out of business should the scheme reach 100,000 workers. It’s up to the government to decide where it sends workers but work for the dole workers would need to be protected with professional indemnity and public liability insurance as well as Work Cover, so you have to ask just who is footing that bill, and if those calculations have been made. Knowing this government, probably not.

It’s amazing that a government that allegedly champions the cause of small business could be so inept at understanding how these things work.

The Land of The Un-Free

Forget the MH17 Ukrainian brouhaha, here’s a bit of eye-catching news.

As part of the review, it is understood that Mr Forrest has recommended that the government radically expand the current income management system.

This would see everyone on a working age payment – which includes those on Newstart and the Disability Support Pension – have 100 per cent of their payments managed by the government, preventing them from using payments to buy items such as alcohol and cigarettes.

The recommendation follows the interim report of the McClure welfare review, which last month said that ”consideration should be given to incorporating income management” in services for job seekers ”who need to stabilise their circumstances”.

On Thursday, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government had no current plans to expand the income management system to all welfare recipients, pointing out that Mr Forrest’s report was only a report to the government.

Aha. So Andrew Twiggy Forrest is moonlighting again as the resident right wing nut job adviser saying the money the government pays to you is still not your money. I’ve pointed out that the people who complain about the government “spending our money” are misguided in thinking they have a bigger say in how money with which they have parted, than the government that taxed them. Similarly, if the said money takes that money and gives it to a disabled person or a homeless person or simply an unemployed person, it’s really not their business to say how that money should be spent. It sounds blood simple doesn’t it? Except here’s Twiggy saying that people should have no control over that money.

This is the kind of nutbar the government pays to give them advice. It kind of shows you how desperately out of ideas this government is already.

Corporate Shills And All Its Ills

The Abbott government also wants to water down laws on company directors and their liabilities.

The group representing Australia’s most powerful boardrooms will on Thursday release a proposal to water down the Corporations Act and ASIC Act, saying corporate directors need a ”safe harbour” from personal liability.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has been lobbying Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, benched Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos and Attorney-General George Brandis for a new ”honest and reasonable director defence” to be inserted into existing laws designed to protect shareholders and consumers from boardroom negligence.

If adopted by the Coalition, the new defence would shield directors from prosecution where it cannot be proved they told a lie or failed to act with ”integrity and commitment”.
The new provision would apply to directors facing alleged contraventions, including offences around financial reporting, continuous disclosure rules and misleading or deceptive conduct.

It’s as if every idiot vested interest group has come forth with their incredibly unwanted and deeply undesirable ideological hobby horses. Of course these people would say that they don’t like personal liability. The whole point is so that they won’t jeopardise other people’s lives. It’s not surprising this government would even lend out a forum for such views. if anything there should be ways to get at company directors who use shell-games with paper companies to shield their personal stake from creditors. What we need is a way to get at those directors and make them personally accountable for the damage they wreak.

Just as the article says I’ve never seen anybody treated unfairly as a result of personal liability. The vast majority of instances  where directors’ liabilities have been an issue that I’ve seen, have resulted in directors walking away scot-free without really losing anything, That, seems far more unfair than anything that’s actually written into law covering this point.

There You Go Using That Word Mandate Again!

Tony Abbott is still, to this day, one of the least popular Prime Ministers in the short history of Australian Prime Ministers. What makes him even less popular is his insistence that he won some kind of mandate in the last Federal election 10 months ago. His personal popularity that languishes in the low 30s says ‘no’ to this fanciful notion.

Yesterday Clive Palmer challenged Tony Abbott to go for a double dissolution. Somehow we kind of expected things to work out this way. Today, Tony Abbott served back his own take  right at Clive Palmer, and so he used that word ‘mandate’. It’s hard to argue you have a mandate when you are so unpopular, heading up a government that produced the leas popular budget since polling began. I mean, yeah, sure, whatever you say Tony. It seems to me this whole Abbott government might disintegrate if any more scandals come to light. Hardly a government that could claim having a mandate.

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