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This Government has failed the unemployed

By Luke Williams - posted Thursday, 5 September 2013


Despite having some clear economic achievements – the stark reality is that the ALP has failed on jobs growth.

To date the ALP's approach to reducing unemployment stands to represent this Government's more general failings – philosophically incoherent, wasteful, inefficient, overly-bureaucratic, verbose, disorganised, all the while apparently lacking strategy, vision and direction.

Under the Rudd-Gillard governments, direct payments to the unemployed have been cut and re-cut or not increased when they clearly should be.

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Money is flowing out of hands of the unemployed and redirected directly to business and oversized bureaucracy – since the ALP came to power it has created eight new Government bodies (from 'social inclusion' to 'Skills Connect' or the National Workforce Development Fund to the Australian Skills Quality Authority) to undertake the task of 'skills and employment'.

This is all part of an emerging 'unemployment industry' (of which private employment companies have been the biggest beneficiaries) and a be-dazzling lunar-landscape of over-lapping departments within departments which often have no discernible targets and sometimes do little other than reiterate Government spin.

And now, one week out from the election Kevin Rudd expects us to believe they have suddenly cooked up a solution.

The proposal – a new 'super agency' called Jobs and Training Australia; another Government department with another new name, presumably at more cost, taking more money out of the economy and without any quantifiable job gains (unless of course you're a public servant).

His other plans – tax breaks for small business and a boost for apprenticeships are certainly welcomed, but they are about 3 years too late.

The ALP can claim some of the credit for low inflation and strong wages growth, but their spin on the jobs issue is hard to swallow; the most commonly repeated misleading statement from the federal ALP since coming to power in 2007 is this one– "we created 950,000 jobs since we came to office".

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Now I'm not saying this isn't true – it's just very, very misleading, and the ALP know it; the economy has also shed over 1 million jobs during this time.

There are nearly 200,000 more peopleunemployed (not working a single hour a week) since the ALP were elected six years ago.

Yes Australia, we have a problem – a fact which has been disguised by the comparatively higherOECD rates and our appallingly out-of-touch press gallery more interested in political strategy than real-world policy implications.

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About the Author

Luke Williams is a journalist completing a Juris Doctor in Law at Monash University.

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