No penalties for those who fail to look for work

Font Size:

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.


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

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


Welfare review signals change

Review undertaken by Patrick McClure has found welfare system needs restructured.

Centrelink is monitoring social media accounts to catch fraudsters

Centrelink is monitoring social media accounts to catch welfare cheats.

Budget 2016/17: Targeted welfare safety net

Stopping the Clean Energy Supplement is just one welfare measure.

Written by Debbie McTaggart


Total Comments: 73
  1. 0

    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.

    • 0

      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.

    • 0

      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.

    • 0

      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.

  2. 0

    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.

    • 0

      And how then do they repay the cash?

      I won’t even read the rest….. Quasi-Fascist nonsense….

    • 0

      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.

  3. 0

    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!

  4. 0

    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.

  5. 0

    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.

    • 0

      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.

    • 0

      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…

    • 0

      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

    • 0

      “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.

    • 0

      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.

    • 0

      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.

  6. 0

    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.

  7. 0

    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?!

    • 0

      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……

    • 0

      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……

    • 0

      Sorry, lads and lassies – double tap there… the phone cut my internet and I hit the button twice.

    • 0

      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?

    • 0

      I’m ADSL and its the same 🙁 So don’t feel privileged 🙂
      I’ve also had 2 Switch Power Emails ! 🙁

  8. 0

    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.

  9. 0

    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 :-


    “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.

  10. 0

    ““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.

Load More Comments



continue reading


CHOICE tips to take charge of 2021

Have you made a resolution to be better with money this year? After 2020, many of us could probably do...


The rules and the telltale signs that you're too old to drive

Approaching the subject of giving up driving due to age can be difficult for all involved. While driving offers independence,...


The dos and don'ts of lifting weights if you're older

If you're to believe what you see on social media, only the young and super fit lift weights. This, unfortunately,...


Pfizer vaccine safe despite Norwegian deaths, say health authorities

Is the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe? Health minister Greg Hunt is assuring Australians it is after it was reported that...


Great things about ageing - as Dawn French says 'it's not for wusses'

A lot of people fear growing older but, if you ask us, the ageing process brings some great benefits, too...

Finance News

The top five things this leading economist thinks will happen in 2021

Saying the year 2020 wasn't a great one for the economy is a bit of an understatement. Shops shuttered, businesses...

Health news

Scientists closer to developing 'smart' stem cells made from human fat

Much controversy has surrounded stem cell research, and yet therapies and treatments involving stem cells have the capacity to treat...


Top 2021 new year's resolutions revealed

We may be halfway through January, but it's not too late to make a new year's resolution. "It’s human nature...