Turnbull’s budget is almost identical to Abbott’s 2014 monstrosity. Let’s just bed down that fact right up front. All the hopeful expectations of change, of the turd being polished good, of a more grown up, less nasty, spiteful government, of economic literacy, environmental friendless and social progressiveness have all been washed away with Turnbull’s ideological tide. Of course the press gallery are not saying any of this, but they wouldn’t, would they? They didn’t exactly complain about Abbott’s budget either.
Rather than focus on the terribleness and unfairness of Turnbull’s budget, since I’ve already been there and done that in May 2014, I want to pay particular attention to one of the new, back of the envelope policies announced this year: the work-for-the-dole $4 an hour intern program. Or, what I will henceforth be referring to as modern slavery.
This policy treats unemployed young people like pets in a pet store. Actually, that’s unfair because pets are paid for by their owners. I’m trying to think of a circumstance where someone is paid to take a pet on, but I can’t think of one, so no, it’s actually worse than treating young people as pets.
The employer is getting paid at least $1,000 per modern slave. The young person only has to be unemployed for a very short time (6 months) to then be forced to take lessons in presentation skills and punctuality. And then they are ‘placed’ in a workplace and paid $4 an hour on top of their Newstart Allowance.
So what does this tell us about the Liberal government’s perception of the young unemployed? Does it tell us that they understand young people just want their start in life, and are desperate to be given an opportunity to work in a company who values their contribution? No. Does it imply that the Liberal government understands that young people need access to quality education, whether it be at university or at a credible vocational education provider in order to have the skills an employer is going to value? Nope. Does it show us that the Liberal government recognises that the economy isn’t providing young people with enough jobs for each of them to find their place? Again, no. What does it tell us exactly?
It tells us this: that the Liberals think there are plenty of jobs for all the young people in society, but that those young people are too dirty, badly dressed, lazy and running late to be bothered taking those jobs. It tells us that the Liberals think that $4 an hour is fair compensation for hard work, and that the young person should be grateful to the employer for letting their badly presented, smelly, can’t tell the time sack of hopelessness into an employer’s shiny gift of a company. It also tells us that the Liberals think young people should take any job they are given, whether it is in the industry they want to work in or not, and that if they complain they’re just job snobs who would prefer to be at home on the Playstation shoving Cheezles in their mouths.
Think about this for a moment. What sort of choice will these modern slaves have in the workplace they get placed into? Will they be able to specify that the workplace needs to be close to their home or will they be travelling for hours, at cost to themselves, to turn up wherever they’re told to? Will they be given experience in a job-type of their interest, or will they be expected to work in a field they never plan to work in again, which provides them with zero useful experience for the rest of their careers? What if they’re trying to care for children or other family members, or trying to study while they work? Will they have the choice of the hours they take or should they be grateful to the employer deeming to give them access to whatever hours the employer chooses, whether the young person is available at that time or not? What about the job seeker who actually wants the position that is filled by a modern slave? If there is work to be done, why the hell isn’t there someone doing it, and being paid for it already? Is this just a plot by the Liberal government to undermine, and eventually destroy the minimum wage altogether, along with workers’ rights, including to health and safety legislation, and of course, unions, until employees lose any sort of agency whatsoever in their work, and for employers to get paid as nice-little-earner-for-the-boys bonus to take on modern slaves? Yes, I would say it is.
Why the hell aren’t I hearing these questions being asked of Michaelia screeching-Cash and Malcolm turd-face-Turnbull by our hopeless, complicit mainstream media? So many questions and we’re not getting any answers.
Young people aren’t slaves who can be bought, traded and ‘placed’ by the government and their rich mates. Young people have hopes and dreams and aspirations and the drive to contribute. Young people are Australia’s future. I guess the only answer is to get rid of this policy by getting rid of this awful government. Let’s kick this mob out.