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Brough welcomes support from the Left.

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Media Release


Brough Welcomes Support From The Left Employment Services Minister Mal Brough welcomed support from an unlikely ally for the Howard Government’s policy of Mutual Obligation and its approach to employment services.

Director of the left-wing think tank, the Whitlam Institute, Professor Peter Botsman has backed Prime Minister John Howard’s approach to welfare support saying:

'Mutual Obligations was controversial as an idea … but I think it is now well accepted as a pre-condition for a new chance for many people who have been left behind in our society.' and

'John Howard was right about … his idea that a social coalition is at least potentially more flexible and responsive than say a government monopoly over social welfare services.'

Professor Botsman gave his assessment in the Workers Online newsletter.

Mr Brough said Prof Botsman’s opinions should be carefully considered by the Australian Labor Party in its push for the Government to weaken its stance on breaching welfare recipients who failed to live up to their side of the Mutual Obligation bargain. (Breaching occurs when welfare recipients are docked part or all of their welfare payment because of failure to fulfil pre-arranged and agreed conditions)

'There is no doubt that our welfare system needs continual fine-tuning and that is what the Australians Working Together package, announced in the last Federal Budget, is about doing,' Mr Brough said.

'But our commitment to Mutual Obligation remains and that requires that people who are able to work, must make an effort to find work in return for the community’s support in the form of income support.

'We must not throw the baby out with the bath water on the basis of a skewed reports which attempt to portray the exception as the rule.

'The reality is that most breaches occur as a result of people wilfully disregarding their obligations to the taxpayers who are signing their welfare cheques.

'This Government remains committed to the concept of mutual obligation and helping those who are

prepared to help themselves in the search for employment.

'Clearly there are those who are not capable of mounting a serious bid for employment and those people must be provided for and given special consideration.

'But I will not tolerate Job Network providers or my department turning a blind eye to cases where jobseekers fail to live up to their side of the bargain.

'If there are legitimate excuses, where people have been inappropriately breached, there are avenues for appeal on the basis of extenuating circumstances.'

Mr Brough said the great majority of jobseekers did live up to their side of the mutual obligation bargain and deserved the community’s continued support and respect for doing so.

'Mutual obligation is about running a firm but fair system where both sides of the equation are recognised and respected,' Mr Brough said.



For further information contact:

Greg Jackson  0419 713 246