The Social Services Minister, Christian Porter, lives in a fantasy world where jobs grow on trees and where the unemployed are to blame for unemployment.
In a speech to the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) National Conference, Christian Porter claimed there was no shortage of jobs in Australia, and that instead the Centrelink “compliance regime is failing miserably”.
The Social Services Minister believes that “there’s going to be 115,000 jobs created over the next several years” in the care sector, and thus:
“I just don’t put my hands up and say there aren’t enough jobs. I just don’t think that that’s statistically the case.”
Well it is statistically the case and Christian Porter fails at basic maths.
The ABS reports that there are 708,600 people unemployed in Australia as of October 2016.
Official unemployment figures massively underestimate the true scope of the employment problem. The rate of underemployment (where people have some work but need more) sits at around 8.5%, or a further 1 million people.
The most recent report on advertised job vacancies estimates there are 175,300 advertised job vacancies.
Christian Porter reckons there is no shortage of jobs when approximately ten people compete for every advertised vacancy. If Porter’s hypothesized 115,000 new jobs “over the next several years” materialized tomorrow, there would still be approximately 9 people competing for every advertised vacancy.
Bur rather than an employment problem, Christian Porter reckons there is a “compliance” problem. At the ACOSS national conference Porter raged that a reported 3000 people on some form of welfare turned down a job in the past year.
There are 854 665 people currently claiming either Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance. 1 in 284 people on Newstart or Youth Allowance turned down a job.
And what kinds of jobs would you turn down when the dole is well below the poverty line? I can think of a few.
A female friend reports being offered a hospitality job at a venue with a less than desirable reputation.
I asked if I would get sexually assaulted. they said: well, it’s not ideal, but it’s not rape.
I wouldn’t take that job. My friend is in dire financial straights, so she submitted an application anyway.
This is what the government means when they talk about “compliance”.
The welfare system is designed to discipline the working class. The payments are at poverty levels and the process of claiming is both punitive and humiliating so that when you are offered a minimum wage job with the likelihood that you will be “groped and fondled a bit”, you will apply.
I don’t actually think that Christian Porter is delusional or bad at basic maths. The government attacks welfare claimants because they want to force unemployed Australians to take any job, in any conditions, at any rate of pay.
The government blames job seekers for being unemployed (calling unemployed workers job snobs, dole bludgers, etc etc) in order to justify worsening poverty payments and increasingly punitive measures, which in turn are intended to drive down the cost of labor for capital.
Despite poverty payments and the punishment regime embedded in the welfare system, 3000 people on welfare refused a job last year. I shudder to think how bad those jobs must have been.