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I’ve been watching the minions of the left have conniptions about the proposed changes to the way that Job seekers are expected to show their willingness to find work. On one hand you have the Government suggesting that the Unemployed should be willing to make 40 job applications a month and on the other side you have people insisting that its too much to ask.
I sort of think that both sides are right and wrong here.
Its very clear that in some parts of the country there simply are not enough jobs for the people who need them. and no amount of badgering the unemployed to make more of an effort is going to make thee needed jobs magically appear. Frankly the mad drive to import every more people is not helping either because every new arrival is going to be competing for that scarce commodity,namely a job. Further the march of the technology that is so beloved by our Latte sipping friends is only going to make things worse. Take the example of your local supermarket. Have you noticed they all now have the self serve checkouts? well do you realize that those self serve checkouts only have one person watching say six units in use and to help customers make their purchases? That represents the loss of five jobs right there. Now while working in retail may not be that glamorous it is an honorable profession that has sustained many workers, (mainly women) in the quest to provide for their own and the sustenance of their families. This sort of automation is happening in every aspect of our society. Its in the your library, its in your bank its every where and the trend is accelerating. The trend simply means that no matter how many more people we have the machine of our economy needs fewer people to run it. Likewise I draw the attention to those cute little robot vacuum cleaners that are endlessly advertised on TV and ask you to consider how long will it be the case business will be using them to replace cleaners in their offices?
On the other side of the ledger the obligation to make 40 approaches for those ever decreasing job opportunities will probably not be that hard to meet if a Job seeker digitizes a generic application letter and their resume that they send out to any business or potential job source entity. It does not even need to be customized for each instance that it is sent. Now I’m guessing (because I’m not personally playing this game) this on top of checking any jobs that are actually advertised would meet the obligation. How long till someone develops an app to do precisely that? However having made the obligation more onerous and punitive it hardly going to make the lives of the unemployed any easier. Worse yet it will turn every job seeker into something of a Spam merchant and if my friends in small business don’t just mark all of the extra job applications as “spiced ham” I would be very surprised indeed.
The other aspect in play is the old “work for the dole” which I have some serious reservations about. Mainly those reservations concern the amount of time that individuals will be obliged to work each week and the effective hourly rate that they will be working for. Its just manifestly unfair that any work people are obliged to do should be anything less than the going rate for such work. On top of that just what work are these people going to be asked to do and who is going to manage organize and supervise such work? Further I have concerns about the possibility that participants may be subject to bullying by those who run any “work for the dole” schemes. Finally there is the issue of cost, these schemes will cost more to run than any potential savings in the welfare budget so will it really be about the savings?
In conclusion though we can’t escape the fact that all of these proposals will require legislation to be made to happen and I just can’t see the current Senate passing many of these proposals which means that when the rubber hits the road what we will see will be somewhat diluted from what is currently being discussed. Sadly what neither it nor any alternative from Labor is going to address the clear structural issues that the march of technology is going to pose for humanity without that in the mix neither side of politics and certainly not the ordinary people are going to be winners. The Politics of this are pretty obvious though The Government is playing to its most hardline economic neoCon demographic who believe that welfare is just a waste of taxpayer’s money and that the poor or unemployed are just an inconvenience and generally a cohort of bludgers. The simple truth that conservatives like me recognize is that our welfare system is a necessary bulwark that ensures that we have a truly civil society and not one where the underclass is driven to a life of intrusive criminality to sustain the necessities of life Maintaining that bulwark at a cost that our economy can afford is the trick of it and on this score both sides of our politics play the “cruel to be kind” game (remember Gillard’s treatment of single parents?) Taking the longer view I am going to reserve my judgement on this whole thing until I see just how it comes out in the wash.
Regular Readers may recall my posts here about Slippery Pete, some may even remember certain people defending the wine loving political poser
He was found guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court on Monday, and is due to be sentenced on September 22.
Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker found Slipper had acted dishonestly when he used the vouchers to pay for the three trips, and that he had knowingly caused a risk of loss to the Commonwealth.
Isn’t it nice to see that he has now been found guilty and I can’t help wonder what his fate will be on September 22? I tend to think that the usual rubric of sentencing for such things will not see him receiving a custodial sentence my best guess is that he will get a good behavior bond. which in layman’s terms means that he will have “got off”. Given his political career is well and truly over he will very soon return to his well earned obscurity.
Dead, deceased, it is no more, it has shuffled off its mortal coil, the Carbon tax has fucking snuffed it, or death of a vile impost on our lives.
The tragedy of the Carbon tax/ETS is not in its passing but that it ever existed in the first place because it was always based on a false premise, namely that it was ever going to make the slightest bit of difference to the global climate and so many leaders, on both sides of politics have been destroyed by it. It took out Rudd, Turnbull and Gillard in turn and it also played its part in taking out the resurrected Rudd as well. There has been more bullshit produced to promote the various incarnations of this toxic scheme than our national herd. And for what? All that it ever gave us was a wildly expensive token gesture and a rather nasty piece of socialist wealth redistribution which in layman’s language means it was a totally useless money churn.
Even if you believe the AGW proposition there is no reason to believe in the often chanted mantra that the best way to address it is through a “market mechanism” because there is absolutely no reason to believe that such a mechanism can ever produce the desired outcome without some nasty unforeseen consequences, of which the massive spike in energy costs is a rather good example, and before anyone says “its the gold plating of the poles and wires” that caused the majority of those price rises I’m going to say that the “gold plating” is just another example of the same thinking that the poor long suffering consumers are an eternal milch cow that can be taken for granted by planers and ideologues just as they take for granted the idea that costs for essential commodities can rise endlessly and no one will suffer or object.
Suffer and object we have and now the vile impost on every aspect of our lives has be dispatched to the dustbin of history and any claims that it will bring down Abbott in its passing are utterly ridiculous. The trend in technology now is very much focused on energy being used as efficiently as possible and for that I do think that, to some extent, we can thank the panic merchants of the Green Religion but just as we can take from the Christian religion useful notions of community and what makes a good society without taking on the supernatural Mumbo Jumbo of that faith. So to we can take the good things that have come from the Green religion, like seeing our planet and its biosphere as a whole and complexly interconnected entity of which we are just a small part, but we can let go of its millenarian prognostications and dire predictions of doom because no matter what life and the earth itself is far more resilient and adaptive than the doom merchants of the Green religion are willing to admit
While i don’t want to dismiss the angst I see in the commentary on the Welfare review lets keep a couple of things in perspective here, firstly no matter how much the government may want to do any of the things that make up the sum of all of the fears expressed here they do not have the senate and those with the balance of power there are not going to be able to pass the enabling legislation to change very much of the status quo.
Secondly one thing that the review is right about is that the current welfare system is very complicated and confusing both for those who now rely on it for their sustenance and for those who have to administer it. Further to that there is the popular myth that getting on to the DSP is in any sense easy or that it is subject to a great deal of fraud. Frankly if this government were to find savings with better administration and simpler process without hurting any of the vulnerable I don’t think anyone would object. Given the senate we have now I do expect some changes in the way that the department is run are very likely to eventuate rather than this government doing to the disabled what Gillard did to single mothers .
On the matter of encouraging work, well its fine in principle but I find it difficult to believe that there is even enough unpaid volunteer work to viably engage very many of the disabled especially when you consider the extra support that many of the disabled would need to be able to work at all. So if you are starting form a purely economic point of view it may well be that the cost of forcing or coercing the “unwilling” disabled to “work” is far greater than the value of the work that they may be able to do. Further to this there has been no consideration of the contributions that so many disabled people make to their families and communities. Things like the child care and good old domestic duties that they do for their families and the contributions that they already make to their communities with their involvement in a great deal of volunteering. Of course much of this is totally invisible to the general public who sadly think that shows like “Housos ” is reality TV rather than greatly exaggerated satire. There certainly has to have been some fraud because no system of welfare can be immune to it. But there are enough checks and balances that make it less common than some would have us believe.
Taking that all on board I can’t help but think that this whole thing is a very big ambit claim because the government must know that they will not get the sort of changes that are mooted here through the senate so I think that their end game here has to be to seek simpler and less expensive ways to administer the welfare system while minimizing the possibility of having to run a gauntlet angry starving cripples on the way to the next election, because if they don’t tread lightly here then the desire to reform welfare could become Tony Abbotts’ “Gimpchoices” that sees their much needed tenure in the lodge cut short .
Like others I woke up this morning to the news that the government has had a very sharp turnaround in the polls many people are unhappy with the budget. Well just tell me who is surprised? I’m not because the government have gone the difficult path of doing the right thing. something that is often rather unpopular. Its times like this that we learn the true calibre of our leaders. Perhaps its time for those who are cheering so loudly for Labor in the commentary should take a moment or two to consider just how we got to this place where a government has to bring down such a harsh and, lets be frank, unpopular budget.
That is exactly what happened. Rudd was worse than Whitlam. In the six years Labor was in government, the growth in Australia’s real federal expenditure was close to highest in the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development – even though Australia was a resource economy with a sturdy banking sector and no housing bubble, and thus not susceptible to the financial shock in the US and much of Europe.
It is difficult to move the macro-economic needle quickly in a $1.5 trillion economy that is the 12th largest in the world (larger than Spain, which has 47 million people). In 2009, Rudd managed to jolt the needle, ramping up federal spending as a percentage of GDP.
He was also more profligate than Julia Gillard and she was no prize, loading future budgets with the Gonski education program, the national disability insurance scheme and the multibillion asylum seeker debacle without seeming to have a Gonski about how it would all be paid for.
Now that the bills are coming due, neither Rudd nor Gillard are around. It is the morning after. The clean-up. The payment due date. And the demographic challenge has loomed into focus. So let’s not confuse who did the spending and who is having to pay.
It would also be remiss not to mention the supposed “crisis” in NSW. The people who instigated the current revelations about Liberal politicians, lobbyists and fund-raisers were a Liberal senator, Bill Heffernan, and a Liberal Party executive member, Holly Hughes. Not exactly a cover-up.
New South Wales has a new premier untouched by scandal. He has a thumping majority in Parliament and firm hand on the budget. The Independent Commission Against Corruption is doing its duty to the discomfort of both sides of politics, unhindered by political interference. Its work will lead to better governance of all political parties.
A clean-up is not a crisis. We’ve already had a false crisis and are about to pay for it.
The brilliance of the government’s tactics in using those orange boats is being refined with each time that they have to be deployed:
The asylum seekers were transferred to the Customs vessel – perhaps MV Triton, though they do not know the name. As they were loaded on board, officers were ”pushing one by one with hands behind our back”, Ali says, showing on his friend how their arms were bent into a painful position.
Any objections or requests for food and water were shouted down, no discussion entered into.
”He says: ‘Don’t speak. Shut up. F— you’,” Ali says, the others nodding. One man, Khazim Mohammad, from Iraq, was lying sick on the boat: ”The [Australian officer] said, ‘You’re joking. Liar, liar’ … and grabbed him and pulled him.”
The Indonesian crew have told Central Java police that the wooden boat was then ”blown up”. They cannot say how this happened, but speculate on a bomb.
On board the large Customs ship, interaction between crew and asylum seekers was minimal. Once their details were taken and entered on a computer, the men were given wristbands with numbers on them.
For about three days, they say they were kept below decks.
”Inside the big ship, no sun, no air. We don’t know if it’s night or day. We can’t sleep; loud noises,” says Ali.
They were fed once – cheese sandwiches – and given a cup and told to fill it up in the bathroom to drink. ”For two days we went on hunger strike.”
The Indonesian crew was kept in a separate part of the ship.
On the Customs patrol boat, Ashrof says someone searched their belongings, and all valuables – money, phone, SIM card – were taken. He does not know who took them. No phones means that, unlike on other ships, there is no video footage of their experience.
The next move, on Monday morning, was to the orange lifeboat. It was the first time they had seen it and the transfer was done in sight of land.
”The soldiers brought [us to] the orange boat … and closed the door and said to the driver of this boat … ‘Go to that island’,” Ali says.
Again the Australians would not answer questions. The Indonesians – who spoke almost no English – said it was Christmas Island. Ali did not believe them.
But there was no chance of turning back to the real Christmas Island. The crew, though experienced sailors, had never seen anything like the orange blob they now captained, and there was not enough fuel to go anywhere except to that island on the horizon.
The island, it turned out, was Java.
The lifeboats are small and inside they feel smaller. They are dark and airless with only a couple of small, high windows. Having 28 on board would have felt crowded – not everyone could have a seat, though the nameplate says it is rated for 55 people.
”No air inside and no airconditioning for the orange boat. We are very sick. We have no oxygen. We are very sick,” says Ali. ”It’s like animals. Animals [cannot be treated] like this.”
There was water on board and muesli bars.
The journey lasted only about three hours before the boat ran aground in huge seas on a rugged bay near the village of Kebumen. They were 30 metres from the beach and the surf was high, but there was little choice but to jump.
”We jumped from the boat. We are at the beach, ocean high. We arrive and drift, arrive and drift. We think we will die. We think we will die. We can’t swim,” Ali says.
Finally on the beach the exhausted men were confronted with a steep, slippery slope to climb before a local farmer found them and called the police.
The crew is now in custody being questioned by police under people smuggling laws for taking people out of the country illegally and then, at the insistence of the Australian Customs and Border Protection, back into it. The asylum seekers are bound for detention, although they don’t know where.
Some how I doubt that this group of chancers will be trying again and while I expect that the usual suspects will whine about the less that luxurious conditions in the orange boats , or the confiscation of mobile phones from this cohort but there is no escaping the simple fact that this tactic works as a way to return people who try to enter this country illegally under the pretense that they are refugees . Labor believed all of the lies that they were told because they wanted the preferences of Greens voters and the Greens were the most useful idiots to the people smuggling trade but we , the Australian people, want orderly a controlled immigration program that chooses socially useful immigrants that will help make this country a better place instead of self selectors who bring with them a legacy of self serving deceit.
You have to hand it to Kevin Rudd, when it comes to ‘rat fucking” his party he is a true champion not only did he lie about serving the electorate of Griffith for the full term but he would not even give its current leader the courtesy of a forewarning of his intention to resign:
While I would expect a certain level of magnanimity from the current prime minister about the man that he so decisively defeated in September I frankly would have respected Electricity Bill just a bit more had he just stood up and said that the party will be better off now that it is fully free from the spectre of Rudd’s pernicious influence. No we did not get such candor from Electricity Bill instead we got the usual empty platitudes even though he was clearly NOT feeling the love at all. Sorry folks but to may mind that is precisely why Electricity Bill will never be PM of this country.
So as Rudd retires on his 155k per year along with a car and security detail we poor long suffering voters will have to take comfort from the fact that thanks to the efforts of our Kevin it may well be longer than a decade before we again see a Labor PM in the Lodge, the sensible among us may well think that I am being too generous the the ALP in this prediction but I prefer to err on the side of caution…