Bludging on the dole

John Howard had it down to fine art: find someone to blame for his government’s political agenda; the method of demonizing.

Immediately asylum seekers come to mind, however Howard was also adept at demonizing other groups of people.

Remember “the family”, a tale of ne’er do wells who proudly boasted of never having had a job between them in their family of five. The son was offered The Dream Job, something involving sun-baking in a tropical paradise, or so we were told. He however refused to cut his hair and to remove his numerous piercings in order to take up the offer.

Success! Proof positive that the dole in its generosity encourages the idle to remain that way.

Likewise others, who were presumably examples of their “ilk”, were scrutinised as to their rorting capabilities. There was the disabled person “caught on film” on his roof doing repairs, plus others with disabilities who were clearly laying it on thick in order to reap a clearly overly generous government handout.

Further success! That a majority of people with disabilities clearly aren’t, and fit into the above category of being idle, and prefering to remain that way.

And as for struggling pensioners, that’s their own fault as well. They should have worker harder and been more frugal during their working years. Too bad that you’re now on struggle street.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald introduces an article with the words, SHOCKING findings.

As the article pertained to assessment of life on the dole and other welfare benefits I was at first a little reluctant to read this, fully expecting one of the usual; let’s bash a dole recipient.

However, not so. Instead factual information was provided, being research as commissioned by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs by former department head, Dr. Jeff Harmer.

Hungry: 10.3% of Newstart recipients are unable to get a substantial meal a day, which compares with 0.7% of aged pensioners.

Medical Treatment: while 1.4% of aged pensioners surveyed were unable to get medical treatment, for those on Newstart the proportion was 22%.

Prescribed medicines: 2.1% of pensioners were unable to buy prescribed medicines, with the proportion being 16.7% for those on Newstart.

Dental treatment: 13.7% of age pensioners cannot get access to dental treatment if needed, which compares with 44.7% on Newstart.

The report says that although the results do not necessarily imply anything about whether the age pension is adequate, it appears to be more adequate than the payments to people with a disability, to parents and to those on Newstart.

For those who are not aware of payments currently available, these are as follows:

Newstart adult allowance $245 per week, $265 per week for those with dependent children. This higher rate is also available to recipients aged 60 years and over who have been unemployed for more than nine months.

Disability Support or Aged Pension (single) – $347 per week.

According to the OECD Australia has one of the lowest unemployment benefits, as a percentage of the average wage, in the developed world. Shocking findings indeed.