No penalties for those who fail to look for work

Welfare cheats are not being penalised for failing to meet job seeking requirements.

Layabout man not looking for work

Despite tough talk about cracking down on welfare cheats, data has revealed that not one person who failed to meet the ‘required activity’ standard in the last year was financially penalised.

Even the four per cent who were initially hit with a financial penalty for having no reasonable excuse for not meeting the work activity had their suspended payments repaid.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge told an assembled crowd at the Sydney Institute on Monday night that tougher sanctions would be sought for those who could work but simply couldn't be bothered to even look for a job. According to the Minister, 400,000 welfare recipients were perfectly capable to work but didn’t have to meet any work-related criteria. “Sanctions are often imposed far too late to be effective at shaping behaviour, and even when penalties are imposed, they can be waived.

“All it takes to have the suspension waived and to receive full back payment, is for the job seeker to call and agree to undertake some activity such as further training in the future.”

He also questioned why drug and alcohol issues were acceptable excuses for not looking for work and said that leniency was shown too often due to a person’s “personal background”.

“When it comes to critical activity to place people onto a better life path, we too often make excuses for them,” Mr Tudge said.

Although welfare groups are calling on the Newstart Allowance to be increased, Mr Tudge said he would work with Employment Minister Michaelia Cash and Social Services Minister Christian Porter, to design and implement a system that called for higher standards to be met before payments are made.

“Setting low expectations is a sign of disrespect ... we are telling them that they lack the capacity to change their lives,” Mr Tudge said.

The Government is currently undertaking measures to recoup $1.9 billion in outstanding welfare debts, with $2.5 million being repaid in the last two months.

Read more at ABC.net.au

Do you think tougher rules are needed for those claiming job seeker payments? 

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    COMMENTS

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    Turadactyl
    26th Oct 2016
    10:14am
    Yes and No.
    Yes for those that are blatantly trying to take advantage of the system.
    No for the bulk of Newstart recipients who are barely able to survive
    on an inadequate payment. Don't forget there are a lot of people aged
    In there fifties or above, that through no fault of their own have been made
    Redundant over recent years with little or no prospect of finding another job.
    It has come time that politicians of both persuasions stop the rhetoric and
    come up with initiatives that actually create jobs.
    Simply talking about innovation will not create jobs!
    We need a P.M. with true vision, and sadly I see none of this happening in the short
    term from labor or liberal.
    mogo51
    26th Oct 2016
    11:16am
    Agree about initiatives, especially for those aged workers made redundant due to government failing to protect our manufacturing industries.
    But on the other side, if they won't get out there and try to find a job, they should be penalised and it followed through.
    TREBOR
    29th Oct 2016
    8:49am
    Many a person has been 'asset-stripped' in their late forties and early fifties by the teetering-towards-collapse 'economy' run by fools, as well as the modern rush to divorce and such.

    When such a person is forced into abject poverty before even getting sustenance money from government, what real chance have they of being 'self-sufficient' at retirement age?

    All these policies and 'future directions' are short-sighted and utterly self-serving - for politicians 'self-serving' can be in the form of 'political ammunition' or in some murky back room deal that benefits themselves or families - to the detriment of anyone and everyone else ('privatisation' being one clear case in mind).

    Anyone who, by now, does not understand that we live in a Third World Diktatorship of a self-appointed elite, who run the whole shebang for their own benefit and not for the people's - is blind.

    ... and (deliberately uses 'and' at sentence start as per The New England Journal of Medicine - for emphasis of point) that applies to 'business' rip-off merchants and politicians.
    TREBOR
    29th Oct 2016
    8:52am
    My point:- Refusing sustenance at the prevention of poverty stage is better than the 'cure' of postponing Social Security payments until Pension Age by forcing the recipient into abject poverty with nothing before getting a meal.

    For those politicians and their running dog senior public servants who can't add - a Pension costs more than Unemployment Benefit.... and creating the environment in which a person thrown out of work is bust, only postpones payment until they are older, but does nothing to help the problem.

    Scrap means testing Unemployment Benefits.
    tactful
    26th Oct 2016
    10:44am
    I would love to see all welfare cheats with debts over $5,000.00 given a mandatory prison sentence.
    Adequacy of Newstart Payment, if it were higher many wouldn't bother getting a job. Investment from Australian Companies including job creation is what we need, so many companies head offshore to low wage paying asian countries. Our high standard of living along with the ever increasing demands of unions we are no longer the place to make goods.
    It is not a Government's role to create jobs, this is the role of business, perhaps if businesses who head offshore have an import tariff and then a tax for taking the jobs out of this country.
    Business already receive heaps of incentives at all levels of Government - Federal tax breaks, State tax breaks, local Council tax breaks, then the business uses ploys to avoid paying any form of tax.
    We need the unemployed to re-educate themselves, take any job that is available even if it seems beneath them. Even now there are sales jobs advertised in shop windows and they are there for up to 3 months. Why? You must present in clean clothes that fit the role and those clothes are available to buy, cheap as chips from an op shop. It is where I shop.
    Typically, the onus is not put on those who are unemployed, why are they not doing the same work as the backpackers? Our farming communities are screaming out for workers, yet the unemployed sit back and do not take these job opportunities.
    Yes work is difficult to find, however if you really want to work you will find a job that needs filling.
    Always, always, go to job interviews neat clean and tidy with any documents needed, be enthusiastic and research the company so you understand what they are looking for.
    I have seen people show up for interviews dressed worse than our homeless, yet they wonder why they do not get employed.
    Just remember, it is the unemployed person's responsibility to look for work and take any job they can undertake, it is the business community who creates jobs, the only role the Government should play is providing short term welfare payments.
    Time those who think everything should be done by government, go live in China this is a communist attitude.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    11:35am
    And how then do they repay the cash?

    I won't even read the rest..... Quasi-Fascist nonsense....
    Anonymous
    30th Oct 2016
    8:28pm
    Obviously, tactful, you have never walked in the shoes of those you condemn and have no understanding or empathy for those less privileged than you.

    Unemployment is a complex issue, and to force a person who has suffered deprivation, abuse or persecution into unsatisfactory work is beyond cruel. It's downright inhuman.

    Very few people would refuse a fair offer of work unless deprived of hope and self-respect by past abuse or deprivation. What we need, if we are to solve the problem of unemployment (apart, of course, from ways to create more jobs!) is understanding of what motivation is and how to create it; respect for ability; understanding of the fact that people have aptitudes and personal capacities that determine what they can and can't do; and appreciation of the need for hope.

    Get off your soap box, tactful, and go mix with people who have suffered deprivation and abuse. Talk to people who refuse work and ask why, and what it would take to change their attitude. You will be surprised by what you learn. There are decent, ethical, willing people out there just begging for a chance. Sure, they refuse to pick fruit for peanuts. Offer them a future in return for a year of fruit picking and they will quickly reverse their position. But why SHOULD they suffer a lifetime of misery while YOU - who have only a fraction of their ability - prosper because you had better opportunities than they?

    The problem with our world is SELFISHNESS, ARROGANCE and VILE CONTEMPT- not laziness or unfair expectation.

    Offer HELP instead of PUNISHMENT and watch the world change.
    grounded
    26th Oct 2016
    10:47am
    As a rule I am totally opposed to individuals who bludge off the welfare system....however Alan Tudge is as sick as any welfare cheat when he speaks in the vain as if there are just millions of jobs waiting to be done.

    We all can't follow the fruit picking seasons....and beside, more often than not, pickers have to fight to be even paid.

    Government's - Lab and Lib - love to drag out this furphy of 'coming down' hard on those on welfare for not having found a job. Their logic, there must be a % who are rorting the system.

    Who are this 40,000 Tudge speaks of...more figures grab out of (highly researched) thin air. Where are the 40,000 jobs just sitting waiting to be snavelled up.

    Pure scare mongering garbage on Tudge's part....to cover for respective Government's - Lab and Lib - being totally inept in providing an economic landscape that allows for all sections of society to be gainfully employment.

    Successive Australian Government's are solely to blame for the chronically un and under employed in this country. Of course there will be rorters. They exist even in the best of times...but no where near the number Tudge alludes to.

    Who in their right mind would look for a non-existent job. Idiocy is the one commodity Government and Bureaucrats have a good grip on. Government inspired fear alone drives people on such a wild goose chase as seeking a positon that doesn't exist.

    Very rudimentary recorded stats alone illustrate this. Hundreds of thousands needing/looking for a job. Only thousands of jobs available. So idiocy has it we are going to divide 100's thousands into 1000's.

    (The last time that was done was with Loves and Fishes)

    The only bludgers in this picture scenario are the lying, lowlife politicians - both Lab and Lib!
    Grateful
    26th Oct 2016
    10:57am
    Come on Debbie, you are now reading out of Scott Morrison's little red book. Compare the mega billions that billionaires and multi billion dollar companies evade in tax payments, and I use that word deliberately, and that's apart from what they legitimately avoid.
    Of course those who cheat the system should be penalized severely, but, that means ALL Australians , all Australian companies and all multi national companies. NO exceptions and zero tolerance.
    Grateful
    26th Oct 2016
    11:01am
    And that doesn't include all of those hyper exorbitant tax concessions a super generous pension limits which must be addressed immediately as they have already done irreparable damage to at least the next 2 generations (on OUR watch!!!!).
    Guess we won't be hearing anything about them, will we, much more populist to knock the "dole bludgers"??
    archer
    29th Oct 2016
    3:47pm
    100% grateful
    particolor
    29th Oct 2016
    7:21pm
    Desperate Job Seekers !! PC..
    MICK
    26th Oct 2016
    11:03am
    The problem we are having with 'justice' in this country is that courts and public entities slap criminals of all manner on the wrist when they INTENTIONALLY behave like crooks. That is why con men, serious career criminals, petty crooks and even car infringement recipients laugh at the system. There is not piper to pay so why bother when the probability of being caught is low and the sentence is non existent.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    11:40am
    Most real criminals don't pay fines - only the average JHo and Joe pay fines and feed the government. You ever tried to argue a wrongful traffic ticket in a 'court'?

    Laughable the way they bulldoze any rights the defendant has - then the pernicious thing that follows is that the same 'magistrates' get to sit on 'minor' criminal matters that can affect a person accused for life - and they apply the same standard. There is no such thing, to the ordinary,decent citizen, as a 'minor' conviction for a 'crime', created or just plain made up out of thin air, as happens far too often.

    Only MAJOR criminals get the benefit of any real assistance or doubt in our legal system - all others pay cash, and that's the whole point of such things - to garner cash for the government.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    11:53am
    I'll add to that in my usual incendiary style:-

    When government becomes an end in itself and functions for its own benefit first and foremost, or becomes an avenue for individuals or groups to do the same, thus criminally abandoning its duties to its people who elect and employ it - it is time to change that government. It is not time to bring the people to heel.... rather to bring the tail that is wagging the do to heel.

    Aye - grab yer pitchforks an' flamin' brands... there be work to do...
    MICK
    26th Oct 2016
    2:17pm
    That's about it TREBOR.
    The latest coalition government frauds are there for all to see:

    1. Brandis behaved in a criminal manner and sacked the solicitor general for not falling in behind him.
    2. The TPP - GetUp has just gotten back an Independent analysis of the deal and it is clear that big business will repeatedly sue our government as it has done extensively in Canada where such an agreement already exists.
    3. Turnbull got legislation through to hide the business dealings of himself and other very wealthy individuals. Now he is trying to sell off the corporate database to hide the dealing of multinationals. That way journalists have no information and cannot bring fraud on a large scale into the media.
    4. ABCC legislation to cripple unions and make them ineffective.

    It just keeps going on. When will voters realise they are being done over and kick this toxic lot in a big way? It matters not what comes after them as NOTHING can be as bad as this lot trying to turn the nation into a dictatorship. Surely Brandis would have shown this quite clearly over the past few days.
    It just keeps going
    JAID
    27th Oct 2016
    10:45am
    "When government becomes an end in itself and functions for its own benefit first and foremost, or becomes an avenue for individuals or groups to do the same, thus criminally abandoning its duties to its people who elect and employ it - it is time to change that government. It is not time to bring the people to heel.... rather to bring the tail that is wagging the do to heel."

    Well said Trebor and I agree. Yet, we do have a problem in this country in that much of the trampling has kind of become built in. Largely, it will continue regardless of the government of the day. It will do that because in assuming controls we too consistently forget the tenet you imply.

    On this particular matter however resolution may require a variety of different approaches. As many here have said, there are too few work positions to go around. A certain level of unemployment is also part of the construction of the economy and actually considered 'good.' Not that that makes it good.

    Training. Some training is fruitful some not. To force roundish people into squarish holes armed only with 'training' they may not have wanted to do and probably were not required to excel at also seems anaethema to your tenet.

    Yet, we need people to take responsibility in so far as they possibly can for their own provisioning. Whether partially disabled or able-bodied if you do not work, someone else is required to work for you and not, as would be far preferable, out of the goodness of their heart, but as an obligation imposed by government incapable of finding appropriate resolution. Any government that is, all have been complicit in this at least since the war.

    Overpayments must cease. There is no value in imprisonment and probably little value in attempting to recoup payments other than those made due to malicious and criminal intent. Mechanisms are required which catch payments before they are wrongly made. Not under a mass of documentation and counter-signed certifications draconian fashion but by the nature of honest representation with digital immediacy.

    Work must become the natural course of action. Almost all can do some. The nation can assist in assuring flexibilty so that training, relocation, child care and access is available for those that temporarily find jobs which appear inappropriate for any number of reasons but one's first responsibity is to find work and maintain good work attitude. Attitude is important as in the context of the flexiblity above, where it does not exist it is reasonable to expect that payments reduce or abate until even more menial tasks relatively impervious to ignorance are taken on.

    We know that there are not enough jobs to go around, to achieve this notion that the first responsiblity of anyone is to provision their existence and not be a drag on others there are multiple possible mechanisms available. These may include creation of long-term community projects which require a range of skills but a predominance of low skill. Road building, then less automated worked well in the 30's. There also needs to be pathways that build enthusiasm and competence. Mechanisms may include training. This can vary. On-the-job, part-time, in or after hours or full time. Training is a life-long thing but it need not be a life-long cost to government. There are others but this paragraph is becoming too long.

    Clearly, government cannot compete with private industry, sometimes, as it does, it will assist industry to employ. Sometimes it will will assist people to join in where work is available. The fruit industry is a case where bussing, sometimes accommodation and security may establish the necessary transitory migrations, it is also one where work can moderate if one is willing to accept lower payment. Goverment cannot compete directly and it cannot also undermine by subsidising a worker (or for that matter a dole recipient) where there would otherwise be an inclination to work in lower paid jobs. The formula may then not be an easy one but it needs to be found.

    The first part of any formula for success is for the people to create a compact regarding the manner in which they govern their affairs. That agreement would re-vitalise the view that every individual is and must be respected as and must also respect themselves as an integral, free and responsible part of society. Integrity and freedom and responsibilty must govern relations between ourselves, our respect for each other. With that comes a great responsibility we do owe. With respect will come the humanity to care and assist and to find pathways beyond punishment and denial.
    ex PS
    27th Oct 2016
    11:35am
    MICK, we don't have a Justice System in this country, we have a Legal System. The law is generally easier to manipulate if you have money or influential friends.
    Career criminals have worked out that it is more profitable to commit crime and spend a fraction of their lives in gaol than to work for a living. Who knows, in the future, Pensioners may decide that it is more cost effective to commit a crime and go inside rather than pay for Aged Care, I don't think that this time is far away.
    That will be the real example as to how good our system of government is.
    TREBOR
    27th Oct 2016
    12:17pm
    ex PS - so very true about criminals. I once met (it's in my partial auto-bio) a young-ish man of Asian extraction, who said he was happy to deal drugs - since being caught cost him two years, and at mid-20's he already owned one house and was buying another, and the 'gang' looked after his interests while he was in.

    Not a problem for some - my concern is that their descendants will then become 'solid' business people etc, well-heeled professionals, etc, and will live off the fat while the ordinary old Aussie eats pig fat on dry bread.

    As a society, we have a lot of things backwards.

    I raised the issue, on another forum, about the origins of the current 'multi-billionaire Asian trading partners' we allow into this country on mining deals and so forth - stating that most such, if not all, got their start in forced prostitution, forced organ 'donation', and a few other unsavoury things.

    Like the Mafia in the US, start off with a system of crime, then graduate with riches into the better life of business...... go straight, superficially at least.
    Dave R
    26th Oct 2016
    11:11am
    Many of the low skilled jobs that are going begging, such as fruit picking, are better suited to fit young backpackers than our often aging and arthritic unemployed who are that way because they are limited in what they can do. Most of the easier jobs are taken.
    Also in country areas there are only so many jobs available, with vacancies being less than the number of jobs an unemployed person is supposed to apply for every fortnight. So as meeting their job search requirements is impossible they either invent non-existent jobs to apply for or their Job Search provider takes into account the lack of available jobs and approves a lesser number.
    The crap the politicians are sprouting about jobs is just that unless the politicians are going to provide jobs for all the unemployed.
    Dave R.

    26th Oct 2016
    11:12am
    Talk, talk, talk is ALL we get from these people, ALL of those in government. Penalties for tax and dole fraud are as unenforced and lenient as those for assault, rape, murder, and molestation. The lawlessness in this country is getting worse everyday and precedents for being guilty are not being set for discouraging transgressions. Courts' judgements and sentences are being laughed at because of their leniency and detergents to crime are almost non-existent. You don't seek work you don't get the dole, you have a drug test and you fail you don't get the dole! Easy and simple. Bludgers and lowlives don't get any smoking, drinking, gambling, and drug money! Why can't the government see this writing in BIG letters on the wall?!
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    3:47pm
    Cutting people off their right to Social Security (in this case Unemployment Benefit) as punishment, when they have little to nothing else to live on, will only escalate the crime rate.

    Social security on core issues - Pensions, Unemployment Benefits and sustaining poor families and children - is a right paid for out of the tax system over many decades now.

    These should thus not be affected in any way by way of punitive measures.

    The argument, to me, is the creeping proliferation of things that are now covered by Social Security - stated or disguised - and the way this has become more of a benefit to the 'lower middle classes' rather than the poor at the bottom, and has created an escalating series of divides in this country, with some copping the sweet ride and others living on the dregs.

    Social Security does not need changing - what is covered by Social Security needs changing......
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    3:47pm
    Cutting people off their right to Social Security (in this case Unemployment Benefit) as punishment, when they have little to nothing else to live on, will only escalate the crime rate.

    Social security on core issues - Pensions, Unemployment Benefits and sustaining poor families and children - is a right paid for out of the tax system over many decades now.

    These should thus not be affected in any way by way of punitive measures.

    The argument, to me, is the creeping proliferation of things that are now covered by Social Security - stated or disguised - and the way this has become more of a benefit to the 'lower middle classes' rather than the poor at the bottom, and has created an escalating series of divides in this country, with some copping the sweet ride and others living on the dregs.

    Social Security does not need changing - what is covered by Social Security needs changing......
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    3:48pm
    Sorry, lads and lassies - double tap there... the phone cut my internet and I hit the button twice.
    Rae
    26th Oct 2016
    5:10pm
    Yes TREBOR my NBN connection has been dropping in and out all day.

    I've also been harassed by electricity billing companies.

    Talk about desperate.

    How long before the crash I wonder?
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    5:14pm
    I'm ADSL and its the same :-( So don't feel privileged :-)
    I've also had 2 Switch Power Emails ! :-(

    26th Oct 2016
    11:18am
    This is a dog-whistle thread.

    "Hands up who hates welfare cheats?"

    Some real facts please. Numbers are essential.

    And some policies that will catch the cheats without making life any harder at all for deserving recipients.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    11:34am
    Define 'caught' and for what 'offence'? I know a lady who was in hospital drugged up to the gills and failed to send in her income for the fortnight and copped a fine.

    Simple solution - if you are unemployed you get Unemployment Benefit from Day One - since Unemployed is your status - none of this winding down your assets so as to accrue nothing against future retirement, and then get a full pension... it's called deferring the Social Security duty, not setting a fair and reasonable table to work on.

    Next loosen up the opportunity to earn a little extra :-

    http://www.ncoa.gov.au/report/appendix-vol-1/9-11-unemployment-benefits-minimum-wage.html

    "Newstart Allowance is income tested, with payments reducing by 50 cents in the dollar for income over $62 per fortnight, increasing to 60 cents in the dollar if income is above $250 per fortnight. Newstart Allowance also has an assets test applied and if assets are above a certain threshold, the person is not eligible for the payment. For a single person, the asset thresholds are $196,750 for a homeowner and $339,250 for a non-homeowner (Department of Human Services, 2014)".

    $62 a fortnight extra isn't very much, added to $501 a fortnight = $563. In this day and age that wouldn't feed a cat after paying rent on a small room in a major city.

    Assets tests are absurd, since - again - all they do is defer Social Security duty on government until Pension time - leaving the person thrown out of work to start all over again to build a retirement package including such a simple thing as your own roof over your head. A person forced to relinquish assets built up will not have those assets and/or their value later, and will thus more readily qualify for full Pension.

    More short-term thinking by fools in government right there.

    Time to scrub assets tests entirely for Core Social Security - which is Pensions, Unemployment Benefits, and funding for poor families and children. All the rest should be means tested - which would mean that many who currently receive government assistance while having massive assets will no longer get it, and the money can go where it is NEEDED.

    People over a certain level of income do not need childcare assistance, and so forth - and the removal of those freebies will have a long term effect of lowering the upward push on incomes and on the things that rise in price to match, such as housing.

    Modifying all those things will materially assist the Unemployed (primarily) to have and hold some assets towards the future, and will reduce the perceived need to cheat if at all possible, which will result in cost savings across the board.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    11:45am
    "“Setting low expectations is a sign of disrespect ... we are telling them that they lack the capacity to change their lives,” Mr Tudge said."

    What a ridiculous and self-serving comment - so those people - all 800,000 of them or more unemployed - can alter their lives and their work prospects if they just get out there and have a positive attitude?

    Sounds like that ridiculous cult-ish thing that gets around, that says that if you imagine something it is yours....

    That's what happens when your employment (LMAO) and social services (LMAO) ministers and their Tudges smoke too much of that good stuff....

    "Oh - I made it in politics (with more than a little help from my friends), so everyone can do that, can't they?"

    Twerps I call them, and twerps they are.
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    1:15pm
    You have to 'be made' to live among it to appreciate it :-( :-(
    Its out of Control !!
    I saw a Newstart Increase mentioned up there ! Cancel it altogether !! And make them Front up Daily for an Alcohol and Drug test ! and then given them Rations like the 1930's !! I have to live among them, and its Hell !! They wouldn't work in an Iron Lung :-(
    I was once a Happy Sausage, but I'm now reduced to the Charred remains of a BBQ that went Wrong :-( :-( .. I'm glad I'm old and mightn't have to stay here much longer ! :-) :-)
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    3:50pm
    "make them Front up Daily for Alcohol "

    Fixed for ya.....
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    5:18pm
    Yes ! "ISOCOL" Cleaning Alcohol :-) :-)
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    6:39pm
    *ROFL emoticon implied*
    particolor
    28th Oct 2016
    8:22pm
    What Me Work :-) :-)
    See todays Media... They can make More on Welfare than going to Work :-) :-)
    TREBOR
    29th Oct 2016
    8:58am
    Blame the government for its attacks on wages and conditions.... catering to the business lobby by chopping away at wages creates exactly that problem - people can live better on Social Security than they can by going to work, and their costs of living are reduced - no fuel, fares and clothing needed.

    Overhaul needed - of the whole deal.
    particolor
    29th Oct 2016
    7:28pm
    Good Idea !! Lets Start Right Up The TOP !! :-)
    floss
    26th Oct 2016
    1:41pm
    Why do we need back packers and 457 visa workers when we have a large pool of fit young people sitting around getting into trouble on welfare.This is why we must end up a third world country.
    Anonymous
    26th Oct 2016
    1:45pm
    Exactly how large do you think this pool is?
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    1:53pm
    Just looking around this Small Village and then taking the rest of Australia into consideration, Id say as Big as the Mediterranean :-(
    Anonymous
    26th Oct 2016
    2:01pm
    I didn't think I'd get a sensible answer. You proved me right.
    Rodent
    26th Oct 2016
    3:22pm
    Dear All- just thought I might repost this as information for anybody interested who may have missed it- Its a reply I received from Mr Tony Sheppard - Chairman of the National Commission of Audit

    Dear Mr ....... thank you for your email. Without going into the details of this particular reform and whether it could be done more fairly and equitably , my central point is unchanged. We are spending far more than we are receiving and the situation is getting worse. We are borrowing money to fund this shortfall and the deficit keeps growing. It is clearly unsustainable. The Commonwealth writes welfare cheques to the value of $450m per day , 365 days per year to over 50% of Australians.

    Raising taxes is not the answer as all that does is kill off incentive ,investment and growth. Sure we can make sure global companies pay the right tax and hit the smokers but that is not going to go anywhere near fixing the problem. Personal income taxes are high by OECD standards and the top marginal rate is now over 50%. The top 20% of income earners pay 70% of the income tax. The top 12 companies pay 80% of the company tax.

    We have to reduce the growth in entitlements across the board whether that be in aged pension, aged care, medical benefits, pharmaceutical benefits, disability, education , hospitals, corporate welfare etc. My Committee estimated that we needed to reduce expenditure by $65b per annum to return to a modest 1% of GDP surplus and have any hope of paying down our burgeoning national debt. This should be done equitably and fairly with the concentration of our limited expenditure on those who cannot look after themselves. The alternative is a drastic correction in the years ahead when the chickens come home to roost.

    I apologise for being so gloomy but I am very concerned about the future for my children and grandchildren.

    Regards Tony Shepherd
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    3:57pm
    From my double tap above:-

    "The argument, to me, is the creeping proliferation of things that are now covered by Social Security - stated or disguised - and the way this has become more of a benefit to the 'lower middle classes' rather than the poor at the bottom, and has created an escalating series of divides in this country, with some copping the sweet ride and others living on the dregs.

    Social Security does not need changing - what is covered by Social Security needs changing...... "

    The Good Shepherd may call it welfare, but he is wrong... and he has not begun to address what is currently handed out as Social Security by one name or another.

    Many make the mistake - which he makes no effort to clarify - that 'welfare' (read Social Security in English) ONLY covers Pensions and Unemployment Benefits, whereas that concept, viewed in its entirety, covers many many things that are paid to people with an already adequate income and economic standing. I include in this childcare, PPL, Family Benefits to those without genuine need, Pensions to the rich, and so forth.

    The Core Social Security issues of approved Pensions, Unemployment Benefits and support for low income families and children (especially) are untouchable here - there is plenty of space for cutting out the wood that is already green with bank-note leaves, and the salutory effect of that will be an inevitable downturn in the costs of living, since with less 'middle class' money around, the pressure on incomes and prices must inevitably lessen.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    4:03pm
    I deliberately left out 'corporate welfare'..... that is an issue for another day.... one bite out of the government's ass at a time....
    MD
    26th Oct 2016
    8:05pm
    Good post Rodent and just as good Trebor. Both the Chairman NCA and Trebor - via Rodents post - have very distinctly spelt out the "core" issue(s). This obvious problem is not a matter for us to address as it principally seems to be of the governments making. It seems anyone/ everyone nowadays feels 'entitled' to some form of government largesse, their expectations, from their perspective, considered valid or otherwise being irrelavent. I want as much as I can get and I want it now. Age, leaving school, single mother/parent, (giving) birth, raising children, studying, (questionable) disability, drug addiction, drop kicks and alcoholism - NONE OF THESE are qualification for entitlement. Everybody is capable of contributing something to the social good. Of those that have made contribution they should be afforded first consideration.
    Anonymous
    26th Oct 2016
    8:14pm
    MD - are you seriously saying that disability is NOT a qualification for government financial support?

    Sorry. You've lost me with that one.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    9:44pm
    I'm not going to argue the merits or otherwise of people on DSP - it is not easy to get and is not just an easy way out of unemployment. I've said before, I went on DSP pending DVA when I was down and out with fifteen disabilities.... and even today, carrying the residuals of those which kick in when they want, I cop verbals for parking in a disabled zone with a fully correct permit, since I look good (thanks) at 6' and around fourteen stone of slim, yet endure pain walking twenty metres.

    I discussed approved Pensions, and that includes accepted DSP. DSP properly evaluated is a Core component of Social Security. You can't send wheelchair bound kids with spina bifida out into the workforce without support, or pass over people with genuine mental health issues.

    I don't think MD was saying DSP-ers are all rorters... though some may be.... but that remains to be proven.
    MD
    27th Oct 2016
    7:47am
    Thanks Trebor, I couldn't have managed the reply any better myself. Succint is the word that springs to mind,thanks again.
    Barak, My sincere wish is that I/we have not "lost you" on "this one". Your contribution is as valid and welcome as is all participants input. Occasionally we may not agree however, I see this as a means for some small degree of personal introspection which might thereby cause us to rethink our (sometimes) bloody mindedness. Please be assured that I do in fact 'take on board' other opinion, not as a means of formulating a reply /attack, but rather generating some topic reflection and/or reconsideration. It is for this same reason that I occasionally post critical comment, in that this might generate fresh perspective. Call me a provocateur - I've been called worse and daresay every name/title probably equally applies to the individual calling me out. Good cheer.
    B j
    26th Oct 2016
    4:16pm
    Anyone on Newstart should be made do something volunteering re education learn work ethic.The problem with a lot of people on Newstart is they make themselves so unpresentable that no one wants anything to do with them(seen this first hand).Very bad attitude most likely comes from home life cycle needs to be broken.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    6:45pm
    How does one get 'presentable' on $250 a week before living expenses?

    Who is the manager going to employ - Little Johnny from the impoverished, alcoholic family, who broke away from it to find his own way without a cent to his name ... or Little Sally from the business family nearby who's never missed a meal or a good dress or good shoes in her life?

    When we live in a society divided, as ours currently is and getting worse, along socio-economic lines, there is little to no room for merit.

    I speak here as one from an impoverished, alcohol-ridden family - in which we kids were half-starved and neglected, without even shoes to wear to school, etc. I was (am) one of the three highest IQs in my school... as a public servant I produced and developed a system they use to this day off my own bat - t be dumped to favour affirmative action for a young sweetie who'd never missed a meal.

    I had to virtually beg to get into university - my cousin's daughter, whose father is a Deputy Commonwealth DPP, romped into ANU.

    It's not what you are, but who you are, it seems.

    Anyway - you get my drift - as long as people continue to judge people by their family and so forth - this society will always go backwards, and will always be the playground of the well-to-do and the 'connected'.
    phantom
    26th Oct 2016
    5:19pm
    It's a joke and everyone knows it. The "Dolies" and so called "Invalid pensioners" know the system. They tell other people how to get away with everything. Ask some of the newcomers what they are entitled to and they know more than our home grown bludgers. A drug addicted couple in Qld are getting a nanny for their last baby when 8 other siblings have been taken from them. He is an aggressive partner and the politically correct do-gooders are making this happen. What are the babies rights.
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    6:37pm
    You got a link? That could be my niece - and I'm not joking.
    older&wiser
    26th Oct 2016
    6:34pm
    Aged pensioners are easier targets
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    6:51pm
    They don't move very fast :-(
    TREBOR
    26th Oct 2016
    9:47pm
    .. you just lead 'em a little less....

    26th Oct 2016
    6:56pm
    I do not support dole bludgers, and I know there are SOME out there, but no-one here has been able to tell us how many there really are.

    What I do know is that there are a lot of genuine recipients of the dole out there. This is particularly true for older people, who are past the age when anyone will actually give them a job.

    There's also a very large number of perfectly genuine recipients of the disability pension.

    Another major concern to me is that this sort of hate based, dog-whistling thread is just likely to lead to even tougher demands on genuine recipients. We must NOT do that to them.
    particolor
    26th Oct 2016
    8:38pm
    I know some people that are thoroughly Deserving of Support and Welfare Disabled or not !:-)
    But the lot I was talking about have long left whatever Home they Hatched out of and are nothing but Grubs, Bludgers Vandals, and Alcoholics :-( Whatever happened to the Work for the Dole Bus ? It used to sit out the front here and Toot the Horn ,but they wouldn't get out of bed because they Partied All night !! :-( :-( Until they ran out of Money :-(
    Strummer
    27th Oct 2016
    9:12am
    The government claims it's getting "tough" on welfare recipients who are taking advantage of the system. When will it start getting tough on politicians doing exactly the same thing.
    Turadactyl
    27th Oct 2016
    2:43pm
    Excellent comment!
    ex PS
    27th Oct 2016
    11:18am
    When you think about it, the government has no incentive to cut people off. Stop their money and what do they do? Commit crimes in order to feed themselves or family? They then end up in gaol and cost the government even more to take care of. This government seems to manage by making empty threats, it's easier than actually trying to solve systemic problems.
    You can run a business along the lines of a profit and loss ledger, but it does not work when trying to manage a society. It requires brains and imagination, something quite lacking in our current batch of politicians.
    TREBOR
    27th Oct 2016
    12:27pm
    "This government seems to manage by making empty threats, it's easier than actually trying to solve systemic problems."

    Ah, yes - the old principle of The ShirtFront, eh? Good thinking, 99!

    "Did you grab him by the shirt,
    Thrown him face down in the dirt,
    Did you front him?

    Did you make his buttons pop,
    Make him cower like a sop,
    Did you front him?

    .. Or did you just.. back.. down..."

    (From Shirtfront - The Musical).... (just made that up)...
    ex PS
    27th Oct 2016
    7:21pm
    Oh the hidden talents of those who share this little forum, Hey the government is broke, let's put on a show. Where's Mickey Rooney when the nation needs him?
    particolor
    27th Oct 2016
    8:17pm
    Feeding Mr Ed !! :-) :-)
    TREBOR
    28th Oct 2016
    1:56am
    If we shirt-fronted all the bastards who need it in a desperate way, we'd be employed until 3016.....
    Anonymous
    28th Oct 2016
    7:00pm
    Put everyone on welfare...oh..one thing...who is going to pay the taxes to provide the money...mmmm that could be a problem!

    Greece here we come!
    Rodent
    27th Oct 2016
    1:03pm
    I have posted this before, but it seems that its about time for another airing

    Its about Welfare - its really well worth the read for ALL- I found it to be very informative

    http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1516/WelfareSpend
    TREBOR
    28th Oct 2016
    2:04am
    'Old it, Bruvva! Wa's 'is 'welfare'?

    'Welfare' is when ye go dahn t' the Salvo and ask fer a feed an' a 'andout!

    Nah - where Ah coom from - where ye pays yer taxes an' contribute t' this 'ere societ'eh - ye gets yer 'Social Security' as an earned Right, bough' an' paid fer!

    So you watch yer tongue young 'un! Or yer grand-mother'll be paddling yer 'ide wiv a wooden spoon fer yer troubles!!

    Bluidy twerps these day.... yer tell them youn 'uns what it were lahke t' fand five pence in gootter - and they'll nought believe yer!
    TREBOR
    28th Oct 2016
    2:10am
    I frankly and personally do not give one rat's about whether or not 'government' can make its ends meet. They've had decades and billions to sort that out - if they can't get it right by now - they need to go!

    And they can forget all their special needs for all their special groups, too. This country is bleeding to death - they can just get on with the job they are so handsomely paid to do.... or get out!

    (ah - the joys of being old and poor - with nothing to lose any more - and thus established as Her Majesty's Loyal and Permanent Opposition Until She Finds Truth And Allows It To Prevail)....
    archer
    27th Oct 2016
    7:50pm
    There needs to be jobs before they can contemplate their mass punishment
    There is only one job for every 5 + applicants so 4 people need to be harassed over not being able to get phantom jobs
    The government promised jobs but where the hell are they they say they have created jobs but the hours worked haven't risen since Libral came to power but many more workers came on line in that time. One hour equals employment. So if you have 3 or 4 part time jobs (if you can get them) that counts as 3 or 4 jobs created That's creative accounting at its best

    The welfare they should crack down on is the corporate welfare and subsidies given coal and mining industries Plus the wealthy Australians who pay no tax and also the people who keep their money tax free in the Caymens
    TREBOR
    28th Oct 2016
    2:11am
    Jobson Growthe - RIP.

    I was amazed when Malcolm brought out that three-worder three days before election day....

    How far away from reality can one government get?
    TREBOR
    28th Oct 2016
    2:19am
    Oh - and those "wealthy Australians who pay no tax and also the people who keep their money tax free in the Caymens " ..

    ..people...

    ........ are the people in government themselves!

    Welcome to Realityworld...... they hid their 'superannuation fund' in the Caymans, where its benefits pay no Australian tax .... and where they can 'provide' any amount they wish to that fund at any sitting of 'Parliament' ....from YOUR tax money....

    Am I beginning to hear any echoes of Reality here yet?

    You, The People, are being Royally Screwed ... and you haven't even begun to see it.....and you spend your time and energy 'fighting' against the small issues while the real issues get away Scot-free.

    (just another incendiary comment from one who knows)....
    MD
    28th Oct 2016
    9:57am
    Jaid; (10:45 yesterday), your exceptionally interesting dissertation made for a good read. Dare I suggest that mankind has long been searching for answers to a good many of the points you mentioned. What constitutes one person's idea of 'work' might well be considered an imposition by another. Just as you've pointed out - Governments' (of varying shades of grey) have been found wanting when it comes to dealing with this extremely complex and contentious issue. Who is it that is yet to determine or differentiate between the needy and the greedy ? What might further complicate this issue is quantifying the degree of 'need' to satisfy the individual notwithstanding the opinions of institutionalized advocates that purportedly make representations on behalf of those 'needy'.
    Your final para touches on the very essence at the heart of this matter namely, individual respect and the associated responsibility. I fear that it may take far more than either the 'Wisdom of Solomon' or Herodotus's; 'The Histories' to instill values - of the calibre that you allude to - in our politicians, before these same values might thereafter be adopted by social "compact".
    Spitfire
    29th Oct 2016
    9:43am
    Hasn't anyone told you its Aussie in-bread culture to behave like a criminal.
    Let's adopt the Breaker rule 303 as a deterrent for those that cheat the system; after all the judiciary can only put people away when the they have a vacancy at a prison hostel.
    Since they do not have to many vacancies they get off scot-free.
    Law and order in this country has become non existant.

    30th Oct 2016
    8:37pm
    Yep, persecute the persecuted. They are easy targets. Who do you think would refuse a decent opportunity? Very few! But we torment the tormented while allowing the privileged to steal, defraud, exploit and plunder - and condemn the victims of their vile crimes. Obviously too few understand what abuse and deprivation does to the human spirit, and too few support social justice and human decency.


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