Activists demand Labor raise JobSeeker

A snap action in front of Centrelink called for JobSeeker to be raised to the poverty line. Photo: Tyrus Maxwell

A snap protest in front of Centrelink on July 27, initiated by a stay-at-home mother, calling for JobSeeker to be raised, drew support from passers-by.

Socialist Alliance and the Greens supported the action timed for the day before Treasurer Jim Chalmers delivered his economic statement to federal parliament.

The protesters also called for more public housing and other solutions to address homelessness.

Labor has continued the previous Coalition government’s neglect of welfare recipients, in particular the unemployed. It has not supported the call to raise the JobSeeker allowance to $88 a day, a campaign initiated by the Australian Unemployed Workers Union.

The roll-out of the new national Workforce Australia system has also been catastrophic: jobseekers have not been able to log in to the online system, forcing the government to extend a 30-day pause on payment suspensions for those unable to meet appointments.

Those who did faced absurd requirements. The Guardian reported one instance where a job seeker was hounded by their job services provider to attend an appointment, despite having a job and working at the time the provider called.

The new government’s lack of concern for welfare recipients highlights the need to get organised to force changes.