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Issue #1756      November 9, 2016


Welfare experts are not amused with the government’s often repeated claim that thousands of parents on government benefits earn more than they would if they had a job. Australian Council of social Service CEO Cassandra Goldie said the claims were part of a disturbing pattern. “It appears to be a deliberate strategy to generate a story which creates this impression that we’ve got a social security system which is ‘bloated and too generous’ when the facts will show it’s completely to the contrary,” she said. “It creates an incorrect and misleading impression that single parents are doing well on welfare. This is absolutely wrong”. Such claims are made to persuade the Senate crossbenchers to support government cuts to family payments.

Former federal treasurer and present US ambassador, Joe Hockey, used to rant about the end of “the age of entitlement”. According to him, there were “lifters” and “leaners” and one suspected he firmly believed that he was one of “lifters”. Not in real life, though. His present salary is estimated at $360,000 and he also double-dips into his $90,000-a-year pension. He has three children and has the temerity to charge Australian taxpayers for hiring babysitters when he’s entertaining.

Family First Senator Bob Day’s business Home Australia is now in liquidation owing $38 million and leaving 200 unbuilt houses. Companies going into liquidation is an increasing feature of the construction industry with devastating consequences for small businesses, workers, families and the community. CFMEU National Construction secretary Dave Noonan pointed out that one in five insolvencies in Australia were in the construction industry. “Following a senate Inquiry into this issue last year, the Education and Employment Committee made a raft of recommendations to protect small businesses and workers … that do not appear to be on the Turnbull government’s agenda,” Noonan said. “Instead they are fixated on industrial relations and going after workers, rather than address the systemic issues that wreak havoc on the community and the economy … Construction companies routinely break the law in the country and get away with it,” he added. The government was very interested in supporting Bob Day as it counted on his vote to bring back the notorious anti-union ABCC.

It is believed that more than a million workers in Britain are on what are called zero-hours contracts under which the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and workers are on call – with no guarantee of work and pay each week. A “flexible labour market” has not surprisingly proven to be very popular with employers. Big retailer Sports Direct has around 20,000 of its 23,000 staff on these contracts. Buckingham Palace has its 350 summer workers on zero-hours contracts as well. The workers are supposed to be entitled to holiday pay but they do not qualify for sick pay. Zero hours, coming to a workplace near you.

Next article – Culture & Life – Why the world is asking Britain to disarm

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