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May 14, 2004

Lateline: Tax policies, youth employment, and the current situation in Iraq

Lateline: Friday forum

Tax policies; youth employment; and the current situation in Iraq

Friday 14 May 2004

CHRIS CLARK: Now to our Friday forum where tonight we’re going to talk about how to win the battle for Iraq and how to win the next election in Australia.

This week the prisoner abuse scandal just seemed to go from bad to worse if that’s possible.

On Capitol Hill in Washington, senior American politicians have spent hours looking at more pictures of torture and humiliation inflicted by American soldiers.

Here, the Government’s about to mail out some nice fat cheques to families with children over the next two months and the Labor Party says it will give even bigger tax cuts than the Government’s promising.

Anthony Albanese is the Opposition spokesman on Employment, Services and Training and he’s with me in the Sydney studio.

Christopher Pyne is the Government’s Parliamentary Secretary for Family and Community Services and he joins us tonight from Adelaide.

Anthony Albanese, Simon Crean says tax cuts for all, Mark Latham says maybe not.

Which should we believe?

ANTHONY ALBANESE, LABOR EMPLOYMENT SPOKESMAN: Well, what’s very clear is that Labor will have a tax announcement down the track.

We’ve said that this is a highest taxing Government in Australia’s history.

We’ve said that even with the Government’s tax cuts announced on Tuesday night, bracket creep will still exceed them and we frankly were very surprised as were most Australians I think to find that those under $52,000 a year get nothing out of this Budget in terms of tax cuts.

We’ve said that the tax cuts will be made broader and they’ll be made fairer, but the Government’s had six months to work on this package and I find it quite hypocritical that they suggest that we should put out a response without the benefit of Departments of Treasury and Finance in two days.

CHRIS CLARK: OK, detail is one thing, but are you saying you haven’t yet figured out just how far you can put those tax cuts down the income scale?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’ve said they’ll be broader and they’ll be fairer and we’ll be making the announcement at a time of our choosing well before the next election.

CHRIS CLARK: Let me put it another way.

Should high income earners get a $42 tax cut which is what they’ll get under the Government’s plan?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We’ve said that we will pass that package but we do not believe it goes far enough.

We think there’s certainly an argument re bracket creep in handing back some tax to hard working Australians.

What we say is that those hard working Australians aren’t limited to those who earn $52,000 a year.

Why should I get $42 a week and most of the battlers in my electorate get nothing?

CHRIS CLARK: OK.

Where are you going to find the extra money for health, education, training and all the other things you want to do if you’re also going to give a bigger, broader tax cut?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: We have already found $8 billion in savings.

Today we announced a fully costed $700 million ‘Youth Guarantee’ program.

We’ve fully costed with savings in there.

And that is another example of where every time we’ve announced our policies, whether it be the plan to save Medicare, the plan to save higher education and make it more affordable, our child-care policy, today’s youth guarantee, we have on each occasion indicated where the savings will be.

They’ve be all been fully costed because we’ve made sure that we’ve got it right and we’ll get our tax policy right as well.

CHRIS CLARK: Christopher Pyne, I went back and had a look at John Howard’s address in reply as Opposition leader in 1995.

In it he said, "If we put our policies on the table tonight, that bloke over there would pinch them all."

It’s fair enough, isn’t it, the Opposition says it will have its tax plans out in detail before the election and that the Budget reply isn’t for that?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY: Well there was a big difference in 1995 and that was that the Budget in those days was being handed down in the middle of the year and the Federal Election wasn’t until the following March in 1996, so there was a very fair time period between the Budget and, in fact, when the next election was due.

I think what’s interesting about what Anthony Albanese had to say was that he says that the Labor Party has found $8 billion worth of savings and yet he said the Labor Party is not ready to publish its tax policy, so if it’s found $8 billion worth of savings, why can’t it publish its tax policy?

CHRIS CLARK: Well you’re handing out $51 billion odd over five years.

More than $4 billion in cheques is going out in the next couple of months.

There’s another $2 billion effectively in tax cuts from 1 July.

Should people think that you’re just trying to buy votes?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No.

What the Government has said is that we’ve handed down our Budget, the Budget comes down in May.

We want to get relief to working families, to carers, to those people on middle and high-income earners as quickly as possible.

We want to give people the chance to invest in their superannuation as quickly as we can.

There’s no reason to hesitate.

Why delay the payment of these bonuses and increases in allowances and the Family Tax Benefit and so on?

Why wouldn’t we bring it out as soon as possible?

In fact, it would be more cynical, Chris, to hang on to these changes and this terrific benefit for families till later in the year when the election is actually due.

In fact, the Government is paying people now because we’re ready to pay them now.

There isn’t any conspiracy of any kind.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: That’s an extraordinary argument given that the cabinet made a decision last year to make these payments and they held off.

We’ve had the cabinet documents we’ve been raising in Parliament, they’ve held off so that they can make a pre-election announcement.

We know that this is a Government that spends $32 billion when it’s an election year but $3 billion in the intervening years.

With regard to the Family Tax Benefit, it’s quite clear that one-third of all families who receive that benefit at the same time they’re going to get $600 prior to July 1 but they’re going to get a bill for the average debt of one-third of those families, that’s $900.

They’re going to lose more than they get.

CHRIS CLARK: Christopher Pyne, is this just going to be an election that goes to the highest bidder?

Is there nothing more to talk about in Australian politics this year?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: No.

The most important issues in this election towards the end of the year are national security and who is best able to manage the Australian economy.

And I think most Australians will decide – I hope they’ll decide – that Mark Latham and his team are just too big of a risk when it comes to interest rates and their mortgages, handling the Australian economy and also a risk in terms of our relationship with the United States.

I mean, Mark Latham has just cancelled his trip to the US because he knows that if he goes there he’ll get such a bad reception that he thinks it will be politically damaging for him back home.

So this brave attacker of the United States President isn’t prepared to go to the United States in case he gets embarrassment from the US President back.

So, in fact I think the major issues for the election will be national security and who is best able to manage the Australian economy.

On both of those issues, the Liberal Party is clearly the better party.

CHRIS CLARK: When people come to make that decision, should they be thinking about a government led by Peter Costello or one led by John Howard?

Why can’t you put this issue to rest?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well the issue – there is no issue.

The issue has been put to rest.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Careful Chris, remember what happened last time.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: John Howard is the PM.

And he will lead us to the election and the party room is entirely behind him and he has our full confidence and there isn’t an issue in terms of the Liberal Party leadership.

CHRIS CLARK: So, when you said earlier this year on our program that there’d be a smooth leadership transition from Howard to Costello after the next election, that’s changed, has it, that won’t happen now?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: We are very proud in the Liberal Party to be putting up at the next election John Howard for PM and Peter Costello for Treasurer and I’m not sure the Labor Party is as proud to put up Mark Latham as leader and Simon Crean as his Treasurer.

We’ve seen Simon Crean hidden for the last four or five months.

He’s had a run in the park this week.

I think most people in the Labor Party would agree that it hasn’t really been to the Labor Party’s advantage.

Even today, as you said in your intro, he is saying something different to Mark Latham.

I’m not sure the Australian public are ready for Simon Crean to have his hands on the lever of economic policy and tax policy in this country.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well Christopher Pyne can’t be believed.

What’s extraordinary is he got whacked down after that Lateline interview.

George Brandis and Brett Mason and other members of the coalition were out saying the same thing last weekend.

They didn’t get cut down and that might say something about the influence of Chris.

But what we’ve seen this week is the real dramatic policy impact of this division in the Liberal Party.

I mean, Tony Abbott goes to the cabinet with a policy, $60 million.

They’re handing out $52 billion He goes to a policy, $60 million a year to have the pneumococcal vaccine available to stop 800 children getting infected a year and 50 kids dying.

In the Budget they talk about families.

Why does it get knocked off?

Because Peter Costello knocks it off.

Knocks off Tony Abbott’s plan because of the leadership tensions within the Government.

CHRIS CLARK: Where are the policy differences between the Labor Party and the coalition?

They say tax cuts, you say bigger tax cuts.

They say work for dole, you say learn or earn.

Aren’t you trying to out tough them on welfare?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No we’re certainly not.

The learn or earn program is a comprehensive, the most comprehensive youth strategy ever put forward by a political party.

Work for the dole is simply keeping people active.

It’s not a job.

What we’ve got as a plan for 7,500 TAFE places, 7,500 new apprentices, 1,080 mentors to keep people in school.

We want 15,000 people to stay at school.

We have a plan in which every young person will either be in education, staying at school, in training, or in a job.

A real job, not a Mickey Mouse one.

A real job in a real work place to get that work experience which they need.

Because if you have a look at your average 28-year-old who’s a long term unemployed person and have a look at what their background is, you can guarantee it, that nine times out of 10 they would have fallen into unemployment between those ages of 15 and 18.

What we say is that we actually have a policy for the future.

The Government has a policy for the election.

We have a visionary policy for the future.

None of these people get votes, but we think it’s important to invest $700 million to lift them up, to give them that opportunity so they don’t get left behind.

CHRIS CLARK: Christopher Pyne I’ll just give you a quick right of reply before we go on to Iraq?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: What’s interesting about that answer from Anthony is that he completely failed to defend Simon Crean as the future treasurer in a Labor government which I thought was remarkable.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Because it’s not an issue.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: The thing about Anthony Albanese’s response is you have to look at Labor’s record and for Anthony to say that there’s $700 million spent by a Labor Government on the youth guarantee.

Well, Labor spent $1 billion on the One Nation program, the working nation program which was a complete catastrophe.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: One Nation were your friends.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: There are less jobs.

It was actually one of your government’s programs, the One Nation program, but nevertheless you’ve forgotten that.

There were less jobs after that program than before it had started.

The other thing about the Labor Party’s record, apprenticeships were almost wiped out under the Labor Party.

There were 60,000 young people a year missing out on university and TAFE places under the Labor Party, so you don’t actually have to listen to what Labor says.

You actually have to listen to what it does and see what it does in the State level, in its previous guise as the Government.

And Labor simply can’t be trusted.

They’re note ready for Government.

This Government is ready to continue to govern, Labor is not ready for Government.

CHRIS CLARK: OK, let’s move on to Iraq for a moment.

Christopher Pyne, Tom Freedman writing in the New York Times says that while he now thinks the war in Iraq, he’s always been a supporter of it, he says the Bush team aren’t the people to be doing it.

He describes Bush as having a moral vision, but no moral influence.

Do you think America’s lost the moral high ground?

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Well, I think the revelations in the last week or two about the prison in Iraq have been utterly repulsive and have done great damage to the reasons why the coalition of the willing went into Iraq to eradicate that country of Saddam Hussein’s vile regime and there’s no doubt that has been a tremendous error and the Labor Party – the United States Government have admitted that and Donald Rumsfeld has said that it was like a body blow when he was given this news.

No one is trying to defend what happened.

It was a mistake.

A small number of people in the United States forces made an egregious error, but that hasn’t changed the fact that the Saddam Hussein regime was a blood-thirsty dictatorship that murdered hundreds of thousands of people in mass graves and I am glad that Government was removed.

So when you say that has it got the moral influence to continue the campaign that was begun early last year, then I think it does and I think the Iraqi people overwhelmingly are pleased to see the back of Saddam Hussein.

I mean, who wouldn’t be?

And America and its allies are working towards handing over government to the Iraqi people on June 30.

We would like to see a flourishing democracy in that country that can be a beacon for the rest of the Middle East.

That will be difficult, but none ever thought it was going to be easy and the United States is the country to lead that…

CHRIS CLARK: Sorry to interrupt you there, but we’re running against time here.

Anthony Albanese, you might not have greed with the war in Iraq but now we’re there shouldn’t we fix what’s broken?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well, we should own up to our responsibilities.

It’s the Government who’s running away from them.

CHRIS CLARK: Do we own up to our responsibilities by pulling the troops home for Christmas regardless of the situation on the ground?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Our responsibilities as an occupying power have been there.

We believe are an occupying power and have ongoing responsibilities.

The Government says that it’s nothing to do with them, any of the treatment of these prisoners.

However, under UN resolution 1483, didn’t come in till May 2003.

Under the Government’s own definition, it was an occupying power.

The International Committee of the Red Cross say that there were systematic abuses occurring during that time and yet the Government walks away from that responsibility.

You have Australian soldiers who’ve captured Iraqis but they say because there was an American with them, It’s nothing do with us.

You have a Foreign Minister who on this program two days ago couldn’t say, wouldn’t make a formal request to major Mori about what’s happening to the two Australian citizens and how they’ve been treated in Guantanamo Bay.

It’s up to Australia – when you talk about responsibility, this is a Government that’s walked away from its responsibilities with regard to the mistreatment of Iraqis and indeed the mistreatment also of prisoners in general.

Chris just gave it up when he spoke about the moral high ground, he spoke about the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

Well that actually wasn’t the reason we were given for going to war.

We were told about weapons of mass destruction and the moral high ground, of the United States was undermined by the fact that they’re not there and the fact they didn’t participate through the United Nations.

CHRIS CLARK: OK and there gentleman, I’m sorry Christopher Pyne.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Anthony Albanese has just said something very important.

He said that the Labor Party position is that we have ongoing responsibilities.

and yet his leader has said that they will cut and run by Christmas, so he, yet again, is saying something very different.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Those responsibilities are there until the handover which occurs on June 30.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: You’re saying something different to Mark Latham.

You’re just like Simon Crean.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: No, I’m not.

CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Yes, you are.

CHRIS CLARK: Gentleman, I’m sorry, Christopher Pyne, Anthony Albanese, we’ve run out of time.

Christopher in Adelaide, Anthony Albanese in Sydney, thanks very much for talking to us tonight on Lateline.

 

Mar 9, 2004

AM – Casual Employment

AM – Casual Employment

Tuesday 9 March 2004

TONY EASTLEY: The Government and the Opposition are shaping up to clash on employment in the lead-up to a Federal election. Labor wants to improve conditions for casual workers but a new employment study shows its plan could be at the expense of the unemployed.

The Government argues that casual employment is a stepping-stone to higher-paying and permanent jobs, so if employers have to pay more for casual workers they may baulk at employing them and the unemployed will ultimately miss out.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The progress of nearly 40,000 unemployed people was tracked by the Commonwealth Employment Department over almost two years.

Employment Services Minister Mal Brough says the message is clear.

MAL BROUGH: Go out there, if there’s a job offered to you, if it’s part-time, if it’s casual, if it’s even low-paid, then you are giving yourself the very, very best chance of getting higher paid work and more hours by taking that job.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Also under the microscope was the performance of government employment programs and work for the dole.

MAL BROUGH: So to know that they’ve actually earned more money, that they’ve earned more hours, and I guess, become more independent, just shows that the interventions that the Government has been buying have been working, and that they work better over time.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Mr Brough’s opposite number, Anthony Albanese, dismisses the Government’s good news message. He says the latest survey, up to May 2002, is out of date.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

The Government is desperate. It’s relying upon an internal departmental report in a job network mach 2. What we know is we’re now in job network mach 3, and the system isn’t working: the modelling was wrong, the IT system has been a disaster, we know that job seekers are complaining, we know that job network providers are demanding an immediate cash injection if they’re not going to go under.

And here the Government is, talking about an old system that’s out of date and whose findings are pretty irrelevant to what’s happening to the unemployed and the job network system today.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And the welfare sector says the jury is still out on how effective the new job network is in getting people enough work to get them off benefits.

The Government meanwhile, is using the study to warn that Labor’s plan to improve conditions for casual workers will be at the expense of jobs for the unemployed. Mal Brough says casual employment is a stepping-stone to higher paying and permanent jobs.

MAL BROUGH: There is one embuggerance to this, or potential embuggerance, and that is the Labor Party’s attitude of saying that the full suite of conditions of employment should apply to people in casual and part-time work.

Now, if that was to occur, what we could see happen here is the very first rung on the ladder of opportunity removed for many of our unemployed people – that is, getting into casual work, low-paid jobs. If you remove that opportunity, that rung of the ladder, they won’t go on to be fully functioning members of society because they haven’t had a start.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Labor insists a voluntary scheme for casual workers to negotiate permanency with employers won’t hurt the job prospects of the unemployed.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

There’s no evidence that it would make casual jobs more expensive for employers. In fact, there’s a fair bit of evidence that by converting those jobs to full time jobs, to permanent jobs ten what would occur is over a period of time, less expense to employers, because you’d have less turnover of employees, and more certainty.

TONY EASTLEY: And that was Labor’s Anthony Albanese, and AM is still searching for a true and accurate definition of Mal Brough’s "embuggerance".

 

Mar 9, 2004

AM – Casual Employment

AM – Casual Employment

Tuesday 9 March 2004

TONY EASTLEY: The Government and the Opposition are shaping up to clash on employment in the lead-up to a Federal election. Labor wants to improve conditions for casual workers but a new employment study shows its plan could be at the expense of the unemployed.

The Government argues that casual employment is a stepping-stone to higher-paying and permanent jobs, so if employers have to pay more for casual workers they may baulk at employing them and the unemployed will ultimately miss out.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The progress of nearly 40,000 unemployed people was tracked by the Commonwealth Employment Department over almost two years.

Employment Services Minister Mal Brough says the message is clear.

MAL BROUGH: Go out there, if there’s a job offered to you, if it’s part-time, if it’s casual, if it’s even low-paid, then you are giving yourself the very, very best chance of getting higher paid work and more hours by taking that job.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Also under the microscope was the performance of government employment programs and work for the dole.

MAL BROUGH: So to know that they’ve actually earned more money, that they’ve earned more hours, and I guess, become more independent, just shows that the interventions that the Government has been buying have been working, and that they work better over time.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Mr Brough’s opposite number, Anthony Albanese, dismisses the Government’s good news message. He says the latest survey, up to May 2002, is out of date.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

The Government is desperate. It’s relying upon an internal departmental report in a job network mach 2. What we know is we’re now in job network mach 3, and the system isn’t working: the modelling was wrong, the IT system has been a disaster, we know that job seekers are complaining, we know that job network providers are demanding an immediate cash injection if they’re not going to go under.

And here the Government is, talking about an old system that’s out of date and whose findings are pretty irrelevant to what’s happening to the unemployed and the job network system today.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And the welfare sector says the jury is still out on how effective the new job network is in getting people enough work to get them off benefits.

The Government meanwhile, is using the study to warn that Labor’s plan to improve conditions for casual workers will be at the expense of jobs for the unemployed. Mal Brough says casual employment is a stepping-stone to higher paying and permanent jobs.

MAL BROUGH: There is one embuggerance to this, or potential embuggerance, and that is the Labor Party’s attitude of saying that the full suite of conditions of employment should apply to people in casual and part-time work.

Now, if that was to occur, what we could see happen here is the very first rung on the ladder of opportunity removed for many of our unemployed people – that is, getting into casual work, low-paid jobs. If you remove that opportunity, that rung of the ladder, they won’t go on to be fully functioning members of society because they haven’t had a start.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: But Labor insists a voluntary scheme for casual workers to negotiate permanency with employers won’t hurt the job prospects of the unemployed.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

There’s no evidence that it would make casual jobs more expensive for employers. In fact, there’s a fair bit of evidence that by converting those jobs to full time jobs, to permanent jobs ten what would occur is over a period of time, less expense to employers, because you’d have less turnover of employees, and more certainty.

TONY EASTLEY: And that was Labor’s Anthony Albanese, and AM is still searching for a true and accurate definition of Mal Brough’s "embuggerance".

 

Mar 1, 2004

Transcript of Interview with John Laws – Job Network’s Funding Crisis – 2UE

Transcript of Interview with John Laws –

Job Network’s Funding Crisis – 2UE

Monday 1 March 2004

LAWS: Well here we go again; the Government’s infamous Job Network is in big trouble, are you surprised? It says it needs more money to survive, but that’s what its being saying from day 1. This is the infamous system now where the Government privatised the old CES and contracted an array of private employment agencies to do the job instead and it doesn’t work. Simple as that, ask anybody who’s had to deal with it from either side of the desk. But that’s something the Government has steadfastly refused to acknowledge because that’s the way they are and it’s not just this government, I’m not being critical of John Howard’s Government, any government, they won’t admit that this thing does work. Last year the Network was granted more funding but now only 6 months down the track The Australian newspaper says that it’s seen a secret discussion paper by the National Employment Services Association, the peak body representing the Job Network providers, which says an immediate cash injection is necessary to keep the Network alive. But we’re paying for this.

This report talks about ridiculously burdensome paperwork costing agencies money, and a lot of it. And in some cases with absolutely no return. In one case study a rural provider calculated that it had spent over $78,000 in 3,240 jobseeker transactions without any compensation. Well the system doesn’t work, that’s been proven time and time again. But instead of accepting that and returning to something like the old CES, obviously vastly streamlined as the CES was far from perfect, but instead of accepting the Job Network system as a failure the Government keeps on providing bandaid solutions and your money. And its only response to the latest round of criticism is to say that if the agencies found more people more jobs it would be OK. What a lot of simplistic crap that is.

Massive intrinsic problems which the Job Network, problems the Government must address because taxpayers won’t continue to put up with their money being spent to prop up a system that simply doesn’t work and that’s all there is to it.

Interview

LAWS: Hello

ALBANESE:   Hello John, it’s Anthony Albanese here ringing in from Parliament House in Canberra.

LAWS: OK what can we do for you Anthony? Good morning.

ALBANESE:   Good morning. Well I heard you before talking about the Job Network.

LAWS: What a balls up that is.

ALBANESE:   It absolutely is. I mean you have a system which began on July 1 last year and you think they’d get the system right before you introduced it but it’s pretty clear they didn’t know how many people were going to be in the system – they said it would 700,000 but it was only 500,000, and therefore those providers missed out on something like 30% of their business. The computer system has been a disaster and instead of admitting the problem the Government continued to cover up and pretend everything is OK.

LAWS: But if you were in government wouldn’t you be doing the same thing?

ALBANESE:   What I believe governments have to do, the first thing they have to do to correct something is admit there’s a problem. Until they do that this will continue to dog the government and it’s too important an issue, getting people into jobs, to fool around with and that’s what the Government’s been doing. The centrepiece of their new system was the Jobseeker Account and we found out last week through Senate Estimates that they allocated $220 million which was supposed to really assist the long term unemployed, and of that only $30 million has been spent because it’s simply too bureaucratic and too difficult for the Job Network providers, who are trying to do the right thing out there, to actually access the money and spend it on the unemployed.

LAWS: Well all of that I obviously agree with but are you telling me that if you people were elected it would be different?

ALBANESE:   Well yes it would because we’d actually sit down and acknowledge the problems that are there and implement the restructuring that’s needed, that the Government’s own departments’ are telling them. We obtained information through Freedom of Information documents which showed that the Department Family and Community Services and the Minister’s own department and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet were all saying to the Government that there are these problems.

LAWS: Would you bring it back under government’s control?

ALBANESE:   No we would do that, but we do think there is a role for the public sector. But the problem is that once the egg’s been broken if you were to commit to re-establishing the old CES the cost of infrastructure would be enormous, you wouldn’t have any money left over to spend on education and health and other issues. But one of the issues that we would do is ensure that the structure is streamlined, make sure that Job Network providers actually had the flexibility to assist the unemployed, and make sure that before changes are introduced – the Government’s talking about now putting people with disabilities in, putting mature age unemployed into the system – the problem is it simply isn’t working.

LAWS: No well it isn’t working but how could guarantee that it would work any better?

ALBANESE:   Well what you could do is for a start you have to be honest about how many are in the system. You do need more money, you can’t rip $500 million a year…

LAWS: How much more is this costing than the CES cost?

ALBANESE:   Well it’s not costing more, it’s costing less but the service is substantially less. And the old CES did have some difficulties, we’ve got no problems with the concept of Job Network providers, community organisations actually providing these services but we do think that the system needs to be real.

LAWS: Well that’s what the general public thinks too?

ALBANESE:   Most importantly the unemployed. I mean I’m getting an enormous number of contacts from unemployed people who’d been sent to – we had cases last year of people being sent to jobs as money launderers or with escort agencies.

LAWS: I know it’s a dreadful mess.

ALBANESE:   It simply isn’t working. The computer system for example – we got documents from the department under Freedom of Information that showed that out of 11 weeks when it was introduced there were only 2 or 3 days where the system didn’t breakdown.

LAWS: Well all of that is true, but given that you are going to stick with the model, assuming that you are elected, which incidentally I don’t think you will be at this stage, but assuming that you’re elected, if you’re going to stick with the model, how are you going to improve it?

ALBANESE:   Well what you’ll do is sit down with providers, we’ll restructure the payments so there is genuine incentive to assist particularly those who are most need in terms of the long term unemployed; we’ll get rid of some of the bureaucratic hindering that’s there at the moment with use of the Jobseeker Account; we’ll actually change the relationship between Centrelink and the Job Network so that the initial response when people are unemployed, that people are actually sat down and get face to face service and get linked up with a Job Network provider that is appropriate to them; and we’ll actually change some of the mutual obligation regime as well so that people actually get genuine work experience.

LAWS: Now hang on, a lot of people like the mutual obligation deal. I’m one of them.

ALBANESE:   We like it too. We started it but we think at the moment in fact it doesn’t go far enough. There’s quite a considerable number of reports that show people just doing 2 days a week, simply that becomes the end in itself. What we need to do is acknowledge that when these reports come through suggesting reform, suggesting changes be made the Government needs to respond to that. At the moment the Government simply keeps saying it’s all OK, pouring a bit more money in but failing to make the structural changes which are needed to fix the system.

LAWS: OK nice to talk to you Anthony, could you send me any information that we’ve got on that, that you got through the Freedom of Information thing. I’d like to have a close look at it?

ALBANESE:   I certainly can John.

LAWS: I’d appreciate it very much, thank you.

ALBANESE:   Thank you, bye.

END

Mar 1, 2004

Transcript of Interview with John Laws – Job Network’s Funding Crisis – 2UE

Transcript of Interview with John Laws –

Job Network’s Funding Crisis – 2UE

Monday 1 March 2004

LAWS: Well here we go again; the Government’s infamous Job Network is in big trouble, are you surprised? It says it needs more money to survive, but that’s what its being saying from day 1. This is the infamous system now where the Government privatised the old CES and contracted an array of private employment agencies to do the job instead and it doesn’t work. Simple as that, ask anybody who’s had to deal with it from either side of the desk. But that’s something the Government has steadfastly refused to acknowledge because that’s the way they are and it’s not just this government, I’m not being critical of John Howard’s Government, any government, they won’t admit that this thing does work. Last year the Network was granted more funding but now only 6 months down the track The Australian newspaper says that it’s seen a secret discussion paper by the National Employment Services Association, the peak body representing the Job Network providers, which says an immediate cash injection is necessary to keep the Network alive. But we’re paying for this.

This report talks about ridiculously burdensome paperwork costing agencies money, and a lot of it. And in some cases with absolutely no return. In one case study a rural provider calculated that it had spent over $78,000 in 3,240 jobseeker transactions without any compensation. Well the system doesn’t work, that’s been proven time and time again. But instead of accepting that and returning to something like the old CES, obviously vastly streamlined as the CES was far from perfect, but instead of accepting the Job Network system as a failure the Government keeps on providing bandaid solutions and your money. And its only response to the latest round of criticism is to say that if the agencies found more people more jobs it would be OK. What a lot of simplistic crap that is.

Massive intrinsic problems which the Job Network, problems the Government must address because taxpayers won’t continue to put up with their money being spent to prop up a system that simply doesn’t work and that’s all there is to it.

Interview

LAWS: Hello

ALBANESE:   Hello John, it’s Anthony Albanese here ringing in from Parliament House in Canberra.

LAWS: OK what can we do for you Anthony? Good morning.

ALBANESE:   Good morning. Well I heard you before talking about the Job Network.

LAWS: What a balls up that is.

ALBANESE:   It absolutely is. I mean you have a system which began on July 1 last year and you think they’d get the system right before you introduced it but it’s pretty clear they didn’t know how many people were going to be in the system – they said it would 700,000 but it was only 500,000, and therefore those providers missed out on something like 30% of their business. The computer system has been a disaster and instead of admitting the problem the Government continued to cover up and pretend everything is OK.

LAWS: But if you were in government wouldn’t you be doing the same thing?

ALBANESE:   What I believe governments have to do, the first thing they have to do to correct something is admit there’s a problem. Until they do that this will continue to dog the government and it’s too important an issue, getting people into jobs, to fool around with and that’s what the Government’s been doing. The centrepiece of their new system was the Jobseeker Account and we found out last week through Senate Estimates that they allocated $220 million which was supposed to really assist the long term unemployed, and of that only $30 million has been spent because it’s simply too bureaucratic and too difficult for the Job Network providers, who are trying to do the right thing out there, to actually access the money and spend it on the unemployed.

LAWS: Well all of that I obviously agree with but are you telling me that if you people were elected it would be different?

ALBANESE:   Well yes it would because we’d actually sit down and acknowledge the problems that are there and implement the restructuring that’s needed, that the Government’s own departments’ are telling them. We obtained information through Freedom of Information documents which showed that the Department Family and Community Services and the Minister’s own department and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet were all saying to the Government that there are these problems.

LAWS: Would you bring it back under government’s control?

ALBANESE:   No we would do that, but we do think there is a role for the public sector. But the problem is that once the egg’s been broken if you were to commit to re-establishing the old CES the cost of infrastructure would be enormous, you wouldn’t have any money left over to spend on education and health and other issues. But one of the issues that we would do is ensure that the structure is streamlined, make sure that Job Network providers actually had the flexibility to assist the unemployed, and make sure that before changes are introduced – the Government’s talking about now putting people with disabilities in, putting mature age unemployed into the system – the problem is it simply isn’t working.

LAWS: No well it isn’t working but how could guarantee that it would work any better?

ALBANESE:   Well what you could do is for a start you have to be honest about how many are in the system. You do need more money, you can’t rip $500 million a year…

LAWS: How much more is this costing than the CES cost?

ALBANESE:   Well it’s not costing more, it’s costing less but the service is substantially less. And the old CES did have some difficulties, we’ve got no problems with the concept of Job Network providers, community organisations actually providing these services but we do think that the system needs to be real.

LAWS: Well that’s what the general public thinks too?

ALBANESE:   Most importantly the unemployed. I mean I’m getting an enormous number of contacts from unemployed people who’d been sent to – we had cases last year of people being sent to jobs as money launderers or with escort agencies.

LAWS: I know it’s a dreadful mess.

ALBANESE:   It simply isn’t working. The computer system for example – we got documents from the department under Freedom of Information that showed that out of 11 weeks when it was introduced there were only 2 or 3 days where the system didn’t breakdown.

LAWS: Well all of that is true, but given that you are going to stick with the model, assuming that you are elected, which incidentally I don’t think you will be at this stage, but assuming that you’re elected, if you’re going to stick with the model, how are you going to improve it?

ALBANESE:   Well what you’ll do is sit down with providers, we’ll restructure the payments so there is genuine incentive to assist particularly those who are most need in terms of the long term unemployed; we’ll get rid of some of the bureaucratic hindering that’s there at the moment with use of the Jobseeker Account; we’ll actually change the relationship between Centrelink and the Job Network so that the initial response when people are unemployed, that people are actually sat down and get face to face service and get linked up with a Job Network provider that is appropriate to them; and we’ll actually change some of the mutual obligation regime as well so that people actually get genuine work experience.

LAWS: Now hang on, a lot of people like the mutual obligation deal. I’m one of them.

ALBANESE:   We like it too. We started it but we think at the moment in fact it doesn’t go far enough. There’s quite a considerable number of reports that show people just doing 2 days a week, simply that becomes the end in itself. What we need to do is acknowledge that when these reports come through suggesting reform, suggesting changes be made the Government needs to respond to that. At the moment the Government simply keeps saying it’s all OK, pouring a bit more money in but failing to make the structural changes which are needed to fix the system.

LAWS: OK nice to talk to you Anthony, could you send me any information that we’ve got on that, that you got through the Freedom of Information thing. I’d like to have a close look at it?

ALBANESE:   I certainly can John.

LAWS: I’d appreciate it very much, thank you.

ALBANESE:   Thank you, bye.

END

Feb 18, 2004

Breakfast: Job Network

BREAKFAST – Job Network

Wednesday 18 February 2004

TONY EASTLEY: The federal opposition claims that the government has misled the Australian people and wrongly blamed the unemployed for problems with its privatised Job Network. Labor says internal government documents, obtained under freedom of information, show that the government overstated the number of job seekers expected to turn up to employment providers by as much as 400,000 and, it says, the documents also reveal structural problems in the system that need urgent attention, but the government says Labor is wrong and it has nothing to apologise for.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor’s Anthony Albanese says the Department of Family and Community Services and the welfare delivery agency, Centrelink, have complied with his FOI request, revealing they were ringing the alarm bells last year.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

They said prior to the introduction of Job Network III on 1 July, 900,000 people would be in the system—we now know that there were only 500,000.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: In his sights is Employment Services Minister, Mal Brough.

MAL BROUGH: The figures that he quotes, I don’t know quite frankly where he gets them from because the documentation that was provided to those people who tendered for Job Network … accepting those contracts that were expected—720,000 jobs seekers; as of last Friday, there were 794,518 people that were registered to go onto Job Network.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: And industry sources told AM the real figure is closer to 500,000 than 700,000. He says the difference is made up of those whose names are registered on the job-matching database but don’t receive any more assistance than that, plus those who are sick, studying or working part time and, therefore, not compelled to go to the Job Network.

Anthony Albanese says while the government’s own departments were pointing out flaws in the system, the unemployed were being blamed for the government’s mistakes with other welfare beneficiaries, such as people with disabilities and mature-age workers, brought in to bolster the numbers going into job agencies.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Well, the government should concede and actually be honest with the Australian people, it should be honest with Job Network providers, and fess up to the mistakes that were made. It should stop vilifying the unemployed and it should make structural changes to the Job Network so that Job Network providers can have some certainty but also so that job seekers can actually get the assistance that they need.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Anthony Albanese says he is using the government’s own figures and is standing by them while the minister still maintains the system found unemployed people who shouldn’t have been claiming benefits.

MAL BROUGH: Clearly that’s been a very important part of this. I think that’s why we are getting more people through the door because they understand—the job seekers and the job network members—that the government is serious about compliance. We are serious about trying to help people, and if they don’t want to be helped then they have no right to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: So how many people do you think are on unemployment benefits and shouldn’t be?

MAL BROUGH: There is no point is actually trying to hazard a guess at that because it is only speculation.

TONY EASTLEY: Federal Employment Services Minister, Mal Brough, speaking to Alexandra Kirk.

 

Feb 18, 2004

PM – Albanese claims Government ignored concerns of its own departments

PM – Albanese claims Government ignored concerns of its own departments

Wednesday 18 February 2004

MARK COLVIN: The Federal Government has defended its privatised employment agency system, Job Network, against Opposition claims that the Government ignored the concerns of its own departments.

Labor says internal government documents show the Job Network has been plagued by serious problems since last July. It claims the need to prop up the Job Network is now distorting other areas of social policy.

But the Government says that with unemployment falling, and the cost of helping jobseekers into work about one third that of the old Commonwealth Employment Service, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor has long been claiming the Job Network is in trouble. Now it says it has the proof from within the Government itself.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

And Job Network three and the lead up to its implementation on July 1 is a sorry and sordid tale of deception, incompetence and malice against the unemployed. The Government misled providers, the Government vilified job seekers and the Government deceived the community.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The opposition’s Employment Services spokesman Anthony Albanese says documents obtained under freedom of information from Centrelink and the Department of Family and Community Services, key to the operation of the Job Network, show they, along with the industry, were ringing alarm bells, but that the Minister, Mal Brough, wasn’t listening.

Mr Albanese says it’s unfortunate the minister’s own department has refused all his FOI requests. Labor blames the Governemnt for the financial crisis that engulfed the Job Network, accusing Mr Brough of failing to heed myriad warnings and the concerns and advice coming from government agencies.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Does the Minister recall telling Parliament on the 18th of June 2003 that the Job Network was based upon 720,000 job seekers? Does the Minister also recall telling the Canberra Times on the 23rd of August last year that more than 900,000 interviews had been conducted.

Minister, on what number of Job Network customers were the contracts for Job Network three based?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Minister, Mal Brough, is standing by his numbers.

MAL BROUGH: I brought with me the request for tender, which is the document presented in September of 2002, to people looking or businesses looking to tender for Job Network. In that document those figures are 780,000 job seekers.

This document was then put out, a public document to everyone that did tender, so that they could make a decision upon whether or not to take up those offers of contract. This figure was 720,000 job seekers. In other words, that was the potential for the market.

Why a reduction, Mr Speaker? Simply because unemployment had come down, something that this Government actually applauds.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor argues the government is using single parents, mature age workers and people with disabilities to boost the numbers going through the doors of job agencies and prop up a flawed system.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Is the Minister aware that a minute from Centrelink to FACS (Department of Family and Community Services), dated 25th of July and obtained under freedom of information, stated: "I think we need to bring out the fact that there are only perhaps 500,000 customers who can be compelled to come in. The rest are either beneficiaries or exempt from the activities test or non beneficiaries."

Minister, didn’t the Government have to bail out the Job Network because the Government based the tender round on the wrong number of Job Network customers?

MAL BROUGH: If you think that single parents shouldn’t be assisted then say so. If you think people with disabilities shouldn’t be assisted then say so. These are people who cannot be compelled to come in to have interviews, but who we believe, this side of the House, the Government, have a need to be assisted so that they can reach their potential in society.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Anthony Albanese says the problem is that up to 200,000 people are virtual participants, not actually engaged in the Job Network.

But Mal Brough says no matter which way you look at it, the Job Network is working, more efficiently helping people back into work, at one third of the cost of the old Commonwealth Employment Scheme.

MAL BROUGH: We’ve seen this tired old story many times before. A public provider driving down outcomes and driving up costs, giving your money back to the unions, not helping unemployed Australians, no wonder unemployment peaked at over one million under the Labor Party.

MARK COLVIN: The Minister for Employment Services Mal Brough, ending Alexandra Kirk’s report.

 

Feb 18, 2004

Doorstop Interview: FOI Documents exposing Job Network fiasco

Transcript of Doorstop Interview: Parliament House, Canberra

FOI Documents exposing Job Network fiasco

Wednesday 18 February 2004

ALBANESE:  Today we see the latest example of why the Howard Government has a reputation for being mean and tricky. The Job Network administration has been a fiasco. What we know from documents obtained under Freedom of Information by the Opposition is that prior to the new system coming in on July 1 the government was telling providers that there’d be some 900,000 people participating in the Job Network, we know that the real figure was around 500,000.

We know that the IT system which the Government said would be world’s best was, in the words of these documents, up and running for only two or three days in eleven weeks. Or some 5 per cent of the time it was operating.

We know that when the bail out occurred of Job Network just eleven days into July, some $30 million, and then on August 22 some $670 million per year for three years or 2.1 billion guaranteed to providers. The minister didn’t accept that it was the Government’s system that was to blame. He tried to blame the unemployed.

He spoke about “shaking the tree”, he spoke about how 84,000 people would be taken of benefit saving the Government some $1 billion. But now these documents from the Government have belled the cat. The Minister this morning on AM said that he couldn’t quantify how many people hadn’t fulfilled their obligations. What we know from these documents is that in the period from April to the 5th of September only 286 people were breached.

So we know that the Government had to prop up the Job Network simply because its modelling for how many people would participate in it was wrong. We know that rather than concede its mistake they attempted to blame the unemployed when it was in fact the system that was to blame. And we know further that since then the Government’s still unclear about how many people should be in the system and has sort to distort social policy in order to prop up the system by making changes including pushing more disabled people into the Job Network and more mature age people into the Job Network.

The Labor Party supports giving assistance to the unemployed, including the disabled and mature age workers, but what we believe is that their needs should be driving the policy not the need to prop up what is an incredibly flawed system.

The Minister has refused to release any documents from his own Department outlining this sad and sorry tale and he should come clean immediately if we’re going to have open and accountable government. These documents suggest that some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia are missing out on getting employment services assistance that they should get. And it’s about time the Government conceded the problems with the system and set about fixing it.

JOURNALIST: What kind of effect is it having on people (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Well the effect that it’s having is that they’re being told by the Government from the top down that some how they’re not fulfilling their obligations, that some how they’re to blame for the incredible frustration which they’re feeling with the Job Network system. They’ve experienced the problems. They’re people who’ve been sent letters to wrong addresses because of the IT system. They’re people who because of the maladministration have been sent, we have the example of the Tasmanian young man sent to work in an escort agency. There are practical effects on the unemployed due to the Government’s maladministration and unemployed people are feeling it every day. And in spite of the fact that you have had substantial employment growth you still have today more people on unemployment benefits for more than 12 months, more long term unemployed today than there was in March 1996. And that’s a disgrace. That’s because the system isn’t looking after those people who most need assistance.

END

 

Feb 18, 2004

PM – Albanese claims Government ignored concerns of its own departments

PM – Albanese claims Government ignored concerns of its own departments

Wednesday 18 February 2004

MARK COLVIN: The Federal Government has defended its privatised employment agency system, Job Network, against Opposition claims that the Government ignored the concerns of its own departments.

Labor says internal government documents show the Job Network has been plagued by serious problems since last July. It claims the need to prop up the Job Network is now distorting other areas of social policy.

But the Government says that with unemployment falling, and the cost of helping jobseekers into work about one third that of the old Commonwealth Employment Service, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Alexandra Kirk reports from Canberra.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor has long been claiming the Job Network is in trouble. Now it says it has the proof from within the Government itself.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

And Job Network three and the lead up to its implementation on July 1 is a sorry and sordid tale of deception, incompetence and malice against the unemployed. The Government misled providers, the Government vilified job seekers and the Government deceived the community.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The opposition’s Employment Services spokesman Anthony Albanese says documents obtained under freedom of information from Centrelink and the Department of Family and Community Services, key to the operation of the Job Network, show they, along with the industry, were ringing alarm bells, but that the Minister, Mal Brough, wasn’t listening.

Mr Albanese says it’s unfortunate the minister’s own department has refused all his FOI requests. Labor blames the Governemnt for the financial crisis that engulfed the Job Network, accusing Mr Brough of failing to heed myriad warnings and the concerns and advice coming from government agencies.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Does the Minister recall telling Parliament on the 18th of June 2003 that the Job Network was based upon 720,000 job seekers? Does the Minister also recall telling the Canberra Times on the 23rd of August last year that more than 900,000 interviews had been conducted.

Minister, on what number of Job Network customers were the contracts for Job Network three based?

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Minister, Mal Brough, is standing by his numbers.

MAL BROUGH: I brought with me the request for tender, which is the document presented in September of 2002, to people looking or businesses looking to tender for Job Network. In that document those figures are 780,000 job seekers.

This document was then put out, a public document to everyone that did tender, so that they could make a decision upon whether or not to take up those offers of contract. This figure was 720,000 job seekers. In other words, that was the potential for the market.

Why a reduction, Mr Speaker? Simply because unemployment had come down, something that this Government actually applauds.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Labor argues the government is using single parents, mature age workers and people with disabilities to boost the numbers going through the doors of job agencies and prop up a flawed system.

ANTHONY ALBANESE:

Is the Minister aware that a minute from Centrelink to FACS (Department of Family and Community Services), dated 25th of July and obtained under freedom of information, stated: "I think we need to bring out the fact that there are only perhaps 500,000 customers who can be compelled to come in. The rest are either beneficiaries or exempt from the activities test or non beneficiaries."

Minister, didn’t the Government have to bail out the Job Network because the Government based the tender round on the wrong number of Job Network customers?

MAL BROUGH: If you think that single parents shouldn’t be assisted then say so. If you think people with disabilities shouldn’t be assisted then say so. These are people who cannot be compelled to come in to have interviews, but who we believe, this side of the House, the Government, have a need to be assisted so that they can reach their potential in society.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Anthony Albanese says the problem is that up to 200,000 people are virtual participants, not actually engaged in the Job Network.

But Mal Brough says no matter which way you look at it, the Job Network is working, more efficiently helping people back into work, at one third of the cost of the old Commonwealth Employment Scheme.

MAL BROUGH: We’ve seen this tired old story many times before. A public provider driving down outcomes and driving up costs, giving your money back to the unions, not helping unemployed Australians, no wonder unemployment peaked at over one million under the Labor Party.

MARK COLVIN: The Minister for Employment Services Mal Brough, ending Alexandra Kirk’s report.

 

Feb 18, 2004

Doorstop Interview: FOI Documents exposing Job Network fiasco

Transcript of Doorstop Interview: Parliament House, Canberra

FOI Documents exposing Job Network fiasco

Wednesday 18 February 2004

ALBANESE:  Today we see the latest example of why the Howard Government has a reputation for being mean and tricky. The Job Network administration has been a fiasco. What we know from documents obtained under Freedom of Information by the Opposition is that prior to the new system coming in on July 1 the government was telling providers that there’d be some 900,000 people participating in the Job Network, we know that the real figure was around 500,000.

We know that the IT system which the Government said would be world’s best was, in the words of these documents, up and running for only two or three days in eleven weeks. Or some 5 per cent of the time it was operating.

We know that when the bail out occurred of Job Network just eleven days into July, some $30 million, and then on August 22 some $670 million per year for three years or 2.1 billion guaranteed to providers. The minister didn’t accept that it was the Government’s system that was to blame. He tried to blame the unemployed.

He spoke about “shaking the tree”, he spoke about how 84,000 people would be taken of benefit saving the Government some $1 billion. But now these documents from the Government have belled the cat. The Minister this morning on AM said that he couldn’t quantify how many people hadn’t fulfilled their obligations. What we know from these documents is that in the period from April to the 5th of September only 286 people were breached.

So we know that the Government had to prop up the Job Network simply because its modelling for how many people would participate in it was wrong. We know that rather than concede its mistake they attempted to blame the unemployed when it was in fact the system that was to blame. And we know further that since then the Government’s still unclear about how many people should be in the system and has sort to distort social policy in order to prop up the system by making changes including pushing more disabled people into the Job Network and more mature age people into the Job Network.

The Labor Party supports giving assistance to the unemployed, including the disabled and mature age workers, but what we believe is that their needs should be driving the policy not the need to prop up what is an incredibly flawed system.

The Minister has refused to release any documents from his own Department outlining this sad and sorry tale and he should come clean immediately if we’re going to have open and accountable government. These documents suggest that some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia are missing out on getting employment services assistance that they should get. And it’s about time the Government conceded the problems with the system and set about fixing it.

JOURNALIST: What kind of effect is it having on people (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: Well the effect that it’s having is that they’re being told by the Government from the top down that some how they’re not fulfilling their obligations, that some how they’re to blame for the incredible frustration which they’re feeling with the Job Network system. They’ve experienced the problems. They’re people who’ve been sent letters to wrong addresses because of the IT system. They’re people who because of the maladministration have been sent, we have the example of the Tasmanian young man sent to work in an escort agency. There are practical effects on the unemployed due to the Government’s maladministration and unemployed people are feeling it every day. And in spite of the fact that you have had substantial employment growth you still have today more people on unemployment benefits for more than 12 months, more long term unemployed today than there was in March 1996. And that’s a disgrace. That’s because the system isn’t looking after those people who most need assistance.

END

 

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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