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Beazley bribe sends wrong message.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


16 March 1999



Beazley bribe sends wrong message


Labor’s plan to offer a token bribe to long-term unemployed people to stay in work is reinforcing the message that unemployment is their fault, said the Australian Democrats’ Employment Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


“If this is the best ‘new idea’ the ALP can come up with in its supposed policy renewal, then perhaps it should return to borrowing ideas from the Democrats,” said Senator Stott Despoja.


“The ALP is saying it thinks these people are so unmotivated that a token $100 at the end of six months will somehow have an effect on the long-term unemployment figures. They are wrong.


“Many long-term unemployed are highly motivated, but those who have despaired of finding work need more support than the feeble cash lure on offer from the ALP.


“The ALP is continuing to echo the policies of the Government, from repackaging mutual obligation as ‘reciprocal obligation’ to supporting the Government’s ‘spell for the dole’ and telling those who find it most difficult to find work that they need to be bribed into employment.


“The relentless rise in long-term unemployment is the cause of structural changes in our economy, which have simply eliminated many jobs. Those in long-term unemployment need intensive training, assistance and ongoing support to find new work.


“For this reason, the Australian Democrats support the move to establish a new category of Intensive Assistance in the Job Network, specifically designed to help long-term unemployed people.


“Such targeted assistance must be combined with a strong commitment to creating sustainable jobs through industry support. Last November, the Government abandoned its pledge to create 200,000 new jobs through industry development initiatives, and we are still waiting for a commitment on this issue from the ALP.


“It is time the old parties realised what more and more Australians know — that there is no ‘quick fix’ solution to unemployment, that most job seekers desperately want to find work and the security and social engagement it brings.


“This announcement only goes to show that the only Party with real new ideas on employment is the Australian Democrats,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment, contact Senator Stott Despoja on (08) 8232 7595 or 0418 812 589