The Guardian • Issue #1960



  • The Guardian
  • Issue #1960

The war on workers continues. The Morrison government has created The Employer Reporting Line allowing “employers to report jobseekers for declining or voluntarily leaving a ‘suitable’ job, demonstrating ‘misconduct’ during a job interview, or failing to attend one, and submitting an ‘inappropriate’ job application” (SBS). The new hotline has been dubbed “Dobseeker” by its critics.

Speaking on the new hotline, Minister for Employment Stuart Robert justified the hotline by telling the unemployed that “[y]ou have a responsibility. You just can’t sit on the JobSeeker payment and expect your neighbours to cover that lifestyle”

Talking to SBS, one JobSeeker recipient, Jay, noted how he didn’t eat three meals a day and rarely goes out. He asked, “What kind of a lifestyle is that?” The answer is that it isn’t one.

One might decide to argue that such a hotline serves to reduce unnecessary government spending. Yet, if spending was a concern, why would the government dump millions into setting up the hotline? It is obvious that this is just another ploy by the Morrison government to demonise the poor and unemployed. Furthermore, how does such a hotline help get people employed?

ALP deputy leader and employment spokesman Richard Marles, wondered the same thing, stating that the hotline was “a bad idea from the start” and “does nothing to get Australians secure jobs.”

Australian Unemployed Workers Union spokesperson Kristin O’Connell, speaking to SBS, felt that “there is no need for the hotline, considering the ‘infinitely small’ number of people who turn down work.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said the expanded scope of the hotline “creates a very wide range of subjective reasons that could result in people being cut off payments.”

Yet, the government is keen to present those who do not accept jobs with unacceptable conditions as “bludgers” – a tactic that has run forever within Australia’s bourgeois media.

However, the hotline has even proved to be controversial within the Liberal Party room. MPs, such Bridget Archer, have even publicly acknowledged the unusually cruel nature of the hotline.

Archer felt that the hotline’s approach was “very simplistic” and only serves to “further demonise jobseekers, which is just unnecessary in my view,” further stating that “the whole system of mutual obligation for jobseekers is well overdue for some reform.”

People should not have to look over their shoulders for fear that possible job interviews could cause them to lose their benefits. Employers already possess the dominant position within the power dynamic between themselves and workers. This hotline only enhances their position, giving the bosses a mafia-esqe ability to “make an offer they can’t refuse” to the unemployed with the unspoken threat that if they don’t accept jobs with unacceptable conditions that their benefits could be taken.

This is just another example of how the Liberal party is a Party of the bosses, of the capitalist ruling class. This government is not concerned with “jobs”. It is concerned with maximising the profits of capitalists at the expense of the conditions of the working class.

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