Oz Blog News Commentary

So you think it's OK to keep voting for your local Liberal or Nationals MP ?

July 18, 2017 - 00:16 -- Admin

So you think it’s OK to keep voting for your local Liberal or Nationals MP and return them to the federal parliament next year?That all people on Centrelink income support need to do is pull up their socks and get on with it because many of those Coalition MPs have told their electorates that ‘the best welfare is a job’?Perhaps it is time to pause and think about the possible relationship between states with low employment opportunities as well as high unemployment levels and states with high working-age suicide rates – and then consider the effect of those punitive welfare policies that first the Abbott and then the Turnbull governments have created or expanded.Starting with this policy debacle......ABC News, 15 July 2017:Fines imposed on welfare recipients in a controversial work-for-the-dole scheme have soared to 300,000 in under two years, prompting renewed claims of poverty and hunger in Aboriginal communities.Jobless people in remote Australia must work up to three times longer than other unemployed people to receive benefits.The overwhelming majority of participants in the Community Development Programme (CDP) are Aboriginal.The latest figures reveal about 54,000 financial penalties were slapped on participants in January, February and March alone for missing activities or being late."It's extraordinary," Australian National University researcher Lisa Fowkes said."Those 35,000 people have incurred more penalties than all of the 750,000 other Australians in the social security system."There is something really seriously wrong with the program, and that's showing up in these figures."Unemployed people under the CDP must work 25 hours a week to receive welfare payments.State unemployment levels and the jobs market in April 2016: NSW - est. 4 job seekers for every job vacancyVictoria - est.7 job seekers for every job vacancyQueensland - est. 8 job seekers for every job vacancy South Australia – est. 16 job seekers for every job vacancy Western Australia – est. 10 job seekers for every job vacancyTasmania – est. 14 job seekers for every job vacancyNorthern Territory – est. 4 job seekers for every job vacancyAustralian Capital Territory – est. 3 job seekers for every job vacancyThe Australian Bureau of Statistics recorded a total of 2,540 people of workforce age took their own lives in 2015.The all ages state suicide rates in that year were:NSW 10.6Vic     10.8Qld     15.7SA      13.4WA     15.0Tas     16.3NT      21.0ACT    11.6In 2016 the Australian Youth Development Index reported the state 15-29 year-old suicide rates for 2015 were:NSW 10.3Vic     9.7Qld    12.4SA     11.6Tas    13.4NT     11.2ACT   9.7Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death, Australia, 2015: Intentional Self-Harm In Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander PeopleThis section focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide deaths for which the usual residence of the deceased was in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia or the Northern Territory. .....In 2015, 152 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons died as a result of suicide. The standardised death rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons was 25.5 deaths per 100,000 persons, compared to 12.5 deaths per 100,000 for non-Indigenous persons. Suicide deaths also accounted for a greater proportion of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths (5.2%) compared with deaths of non-Indigenous Australians (1.8%). In the five years from 2011 to 2015, intentional self-harm was the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons between 15 and 34 years of age, and was the second leading cause for those 35-44 years of age. The median age at death for suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons over this period was 28.4 years, compared with 45.1 years in the non-Indigenous population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females had a lower median age at death than males (26.9 years for females compared with 29.0 years for males). Australia's population pyramid is not so balanced that it can afford to lose its teenagers and young adults to an early death from despair.So why are we tolerating a federal govenment which does its best to grind down some of the most vulnerable amongst them - those who cannot easily find paid employment.