Apr 2, 2004

Jobseekers queried about their sexual activities


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 2 April 2004

A Job Network provider in Queensland has been forcing jobseekers to reveal sensitive personal details during their compulsory Job Search Training courses.

A Questionnaire entitled Can You Take a Risk asked jobseekers questions such as:

Would you be more likely to choose:

a) A lover who delighted you, even if you thought it wouldn’t last?

b) A lover who adored you and would stay with you?

c) To avoid close relationships?

For women job seekers the questionnaire asked whether they “had risked an unwanted pregnancy?” And for male job seekers the question was asked if they “had ever risked getting a woman pregnant?”

The questionnaire asked about their gambling experience and if the job seeker had ever stopped themselves becoming involved with someone else in case of rejection?

When a female jobseeker complain about the questionnaire saying that she felt it both “degraded and insulted” and queried the provider regarding how these questions had anything to do with reaching her employment goals, she was refused a sensible explanation.

The jobseeker was simply threatened with the loss of her unemployment benefits if she did not participate in this compulsory program.

This jobseeker’s degrading experience follows on from revelations last year that jobseekers were being subjected to material that promoted discriminatory stereotypes while supposedly getting assistance to find work.

I find it hard to fathom how such an exercise involving such personal questions particularly about their sexual practices are intended to improve the ability of jobseekers to secure employment.

It is just not good enough.

The Minister should apologise to jobseekers that have been subjected to this and take action to ensure that no other jobseekers have to suffer this humiliating and degrading experience.