"The Newstart program will basically force the unemployed to work for the dole", says James Basle, an activist in the Sydney Unemployed Workers Union.

"In essence, the government will be subsidising the private sector with public money, and providing industry with a cheap source of labour."

He said the program, in which unemployed people would be forced to sign agreements with CES officers and undergo compulsory job training, was "not only a band-aid solution to bad economic policies" but it could even be used to break up strikes (unemployed people refusing to work will be cut off the dole).

Basle is also involved in producing a newsletter, UPSTART, which aims to keep unemployed people informed of their rights and anti-Newstart activities. Contact UPSTART on 02 690 1220.

If you like our work, become a supporter

Green Left is a vital social-change project and aims to make all content available online, without paywalls. With no corporate sponsors or advertising, we rely on support and donations from readers like you.

For just $5 per month get the Green Left digital edition in your inbox each week. For $10 per month get the above and the print edition delivered to your door. You can also add a donation to your support by choosing the solidarity option of $20 per month.

Freecall now on 1800 634 206 or follow the support link below to make a secure supporter payment or donation online.