Rally demands real jobs
By Nicole Hilder
WOLLONGONG — A "No Work for the Dole" rally organised by Resistance and the Democratic Socialist Party was held at Wollongong Mall on April 19. More than 100 people came to the event, which was sponsored by the Maritime Union, South Coast Labour Council, Wollongong University Students Representative Council and the Illawarra 1997 May Day Committee.
Andrew Hall from the DSP said, "We have seen attacks on migrants, Kooris, young people , students, trade unions, the environment, the public sector and now the unemployed. Why? Because Howard has no idea how to solve the problem, just as Hawke and Keating before him. The work for the dole scheme won't address massive levels of unemployment or create any real jobs. Instead it is scapegoating the unemployed."
Carol Berry, president of the SRC, highlighted how this regressive policy will affect students."Unemployment, underemployment and an inadequate social security system ... drive down wages and create a desperate army of people prepared to work for lower wages under worse conditions. Families, young people and students will be particularly affected in the Illawarra region if the Common Youth Allowance passes through parliament because of youth unemployment rates in this area."
Paul Matters from the SCLC criticised the "work for nothing" scheme. Participants will not receive protection of occupational health and safety, worker compensation or anti-discrimination legislation because they are not legally defined as employees. This undermining of conditions will create insecurity which will spread over the entire work force.
Resistance activist Simon Frew said, "Before the last federal elections Honest John Howard promised that the Liberal Party wouldn't introduce a work for the dole scheme. He lied. He also lied about the introduction of up-front fees for university students, and he lied when he said young people would be no worse off under a Liberal government.
"We demand: a rebuilding of the public sector, including education and health care, a shorter working week with no loss in pay so that work can be shared around and a massive program providing real solutions for the environment."