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Our readers tell John Howard what he should do in his third term - Part 2

By Readers Write - posted Tuesday, 18 December 2001

From: John Main
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2001 11:01 AM

What should be the first issue on the Howard government's third-term agenda?

Unemployment and underemployment.


One of the core issues central to the ever-widening social divide of this once-great nation, unemployment, especially youth unemployment, remains a massive problem. Unemployment causes family breakdown. Unemployment causes crime, and unemployment causes suicide. The statisticians cook the books these days and consider people with one hour of employment per week to be employed. Ignore this bureaucratic deception and we still have well over a million people unemployed, and youth unemployment running at about 25 per cent (15-24 age group).

If a young person should manage to get a job , it's probably what's called a McJob, with low hours and low wages. Not a real job, but one of those jobs you have while you wait to get a real job, hence the wages can be kept minimal. Successive Howard governments have said the following about unemployment:

"to fix unemployment we need a strong economy, because with a strong economy the jobs will start to flow".

That seems to be their entire policy for unemployment, apart from victimising the victims (remember some of Tony Abbott's comments). Successive Howard governments have also told us what incredibly good economic managers they are. THEY CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS !

If we've had a strong economy for all these years of Howard & Costello, then their unemployment policy is a miserable failure. Is it possible that the Federal Government actually wants a large pool of unemployed ? After all, unemployment helps keep wages down, which keeps their business backers happy. Their lack of action on this issue suggests the truth lies in this direction. Let them prove us wrong.

From: Ted Harris
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2001 11:12 AM


We live in a time when, rightly or wrongly the public feels increasingly alienated and out of the loop in matters political. We live in a time when communication has never been faster or easier but paradoxically people feel that their political leaders are out of touch with them.

It is my contention that the average politician and most Governments have made poor use of technology. I further contend that the 3rd Howard Government would do itself a lot of good by improving it's reach into the community.

Example. I had a matter of concern with a Government Minister's handling of existing legislation in regard to a matter of national significance. I spoke phone with senior Departmental staff and senior staff in his Ministerial Office. I wrote to the Minister seeking information. After two (2) months in one case and five (5) months and a call to the Office of a same party Senator in another I got a reply. The first reply gave general background information. The second reply said "The Minister is not prepared to debate individual cases with anyone who is not a party to the application".

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