Abbott Relegates the Unemployed to “Junk Status” at Meeting of Business Leaders
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has relegated unemployed people to “used car” junk status who can be used, abused and tossed back on the scrap heap if they don’t measure up to an employer’s expectations.
The controversial measure, largely overlooked in the recent budget, will see unemployed people perform “work experience” for employers as part of the Government’s “work for the dole” program.
Addressing Queensland’s Chamber of Commerce, Mr Abbott told business leaders that they will be able to have a “try before you buy look” at unemployed people.
“It gives you a chance to have a kind of try before you buy look at unemployed people,” he said.
The measure paves the way for exploitation of the unemployed with no onus on the employer to provide initial or ongoing training, or any surety of employment beyond the initial trial period should the employee perform satisfactorily in the role.
The scheme provides zero protection for job seekers who may simply fall victim to unscrupulous employers who may view the scheme as a revolving door opportunity to benefit from a free workforce.
The Prime Minister says job seekers will be available to do up to four weeks work experience without losing their welfare benefits if they have been unemployed for six months.
“I think this is good for you, it gives you the opportunity to get staff who want to have a go. And it’s also good for the unemployed people of our country, the young unemployed people in particular, because it gives them the opportunity to show a potential employer what they can do rather than what they can’t do.”
The “try before you buy” comment has already received some backlash, with independent senator Nick Xenophon saying the remark was unhelpful.
“It’s probably not helpful to compare someone who’s trying to find a job with a used car that you can take for a test drive,” he said.
The new proposal comes as the government abandons its controversial plan to force young unemployed people to wait six months for the dole.