Stop spending billions to punish the unemployed

The federal government is handing billions of dollars to private corporations to punish the unemployed.

A leaked employment department letter reveals that the federal government is demanding (un)employment agencies get proactive and schedule appointments with unemployed workers — despite mutual obligations being suspended until June 1.

This has given the green light for agencies to ramp up their bullying tactics to force unemployed workers into pointless appointments, and claim government commissions of up to $377 per initial appointment.

The Australian Unemployed Workers Union has created a petition demanding the government stop handing over billions of dollars to private corporations to punish the unemployed.

Below is an account by an unemployed person of the sort of harassment they are receiving.

• • •

Got called by my “provider” this morning, trying to talk me into doing a 3-day online Job Ready™ course. I said I wasn’t interested. They were relentless.

I told them that I’d been forced into numerous such activities, which hadn’t made me any more employable but weren’t good for my mental health.

They told me that this course would be good on my resumé.

I responded that no employer would be impressed by another Centrelink Micky Mouse course on my resumé, but if they could help be access a real course — leading to an actual qualification — I’d be interested.

Finally, after I reminded them that “mutual” obligation had been suspended, they said: “OK. We can’t force you”, sounding like they wanted to cry.

I thought to myself: sorry you won’t be getting your bonus this time but I’m kind of enjoying the novelty of them not being able to force me to do pointless, soul-destroying things.

Anyway, government is planning to restart “mutual” obligation as soon as it can, and I’d appreciate people signing the petition.

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