Australian Unemployed Workers' Union
A union run by the unemployed, for the unemployed.
Started 10 petitions
Scrap Broken Compliance System for Unemployed
In the lead up to the 2017-18 budget, the Turnbull Government have proposed implementing a 'demerit points system' to give job agencies and Centrelink more powers to financially penalise the unemployed. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Already the compliance system is overly punitive and out of control. It should be scrapped. In 2015-16, the $10 billion job agency system imposed more than 2 million penalties on unemployed workers for not meeting requirements (up from 200,000 in 2011).DHS data reveals that each year roughly 35-40% of reviewed penalties are overturned because there was not sufficient evidence or the unemployed worker had a reasonable excuse. This means that 4 out of 10 penalties imposed on unemployed workers are unfair. It can take months for fined unemployed workers to go through Centrelink's lengthy appeals process and retrieve money incorrectly deducted from their entitlement - an entitlement that is already just under $400 per fortnight below the poverty line.The AUWU has received countless cases of unemployed workers being penalised unfairly, most commonly for not attending appointments that they were not even informed of. Despite this broken compliance system, the Turnbull government wants to give money-hungry privately owned job agencies more power to punish unemployed workers. The Coalition has justified these increase penalties by arguing that there are too many unemployed workers refusing to accept jobs. This is a lie. In 2015-16, job agencies imposed 12,000 penalties to unemployed workers for refusing to accept 'suitable work'. This represents less than 1% of the total amount of penalties imposed that year. Of these cases, only 1,047 unemployed workers face a penalty as the majority were deemed to have 'reasonable excuses'. Other unemployed workers had their penalty 'waived' by Centrelink as it was deemed to harsh to cut them off Newstart for more than 2 months (this is the alleged 'loop-whole' the government are trying to "slam shut").There is not a problem of unemployed workers not accepting jobs. The problems is that this government is not creating any. Currently, there are 17 job seekers competing for each job vacancy according to government statistics. The compliance system is broken. It needs to be scrapped, not strengthened.
Prosecute Christian Porter For Corruption
I have evidence that Minister of Social Services Christian Porter engaged in corrupt activity while Attorney-General of the WA state government in 2008. I am asking that Social Services Minister be investigated by the authorities for corruption. Regarding Centrelink’s debt recovery program, Porter has said “they're letters seeking information to explain a discrepancy” and “the person can go online or use the assistance of Centrelink officers to explain the difference”. The key to my claim of a difference between his involvement in corruption and the standards he is supposed to keep as a minister is in three parts: (1) the advice from the WA Department of Transport to the WA Parliament as to the existence of documents addressing my claim; (2) my advice from 1999 that Transport’s advice was false meaning a search for such documents would be a logical start to an investigation; and (3) the WA Corruption and Crime Commission’s 14.8.08 acknowledgement that such documents don’t exist. As recently as 2016 the WA CCC has refused to address the misleading of the parliament. In 1998 I submitted a public interest claim as a Transport employee (although unpaid since 2000) concerning the introduction of privatisation regarding that department. The claim, ultimately encompassing alleged fraud, misappropriation, falsification of records, abuse of office and perjury, was never the subject of an objective and thorough investigation. There was a cover-up. In all, 16 Members of Parliament have tried to achieve a resolution. Since 2000, there have been nine statements made in parliament by politicians aimed at a resolution to my disclosure. The letter I sent Porter the day after our first meeting in 2008 covered my request for his help in great detail. I explained to him that the issue involved a cover up of corruption within my department and victimisation I was receiving as a result of the claims I was making. Critically, my request of Porter featured points (1) and (2) of what I have emphasised above as irrefutable evidence. In arguing that individuals that were not doing their job I identified the Police Commissioner and the Parliamentary Inspector for the CCC, who was later appointed as the WA Governor. Importantly, the parliamentary record was highlighted. In his response to my appeal for help Porter gave me a commitment to formally request the Parliamentary Inspector for an explanation as to why the responsible authorities were only expressing an intention to address a very small proportion of my corruption claim. Porter did not honour that commitment and in so doing, as I put to Prime Minister Turnbull in October 2015 regarding Porter’s ministerial appointment, he decided to collaborate with the others involved in the cover-up. Porter’s decision contrasts with the actions of his then boss, Hon Paul Omodei as Leader of the Opposition, who in 2008, being one month before my meeting with Porter, elicited an answer in parliament in regard to points (1) and (2) of what I have emphasised above as irrefutable evidence. Despite all the above, the authorities have not assisted in getting Porter to explain the difference between his involvement in corruption and the standards he is supposed to keep as a minister: - The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Federal Police have failed to respond to my correspondence concerning the involvement of a member of the ACIC Board, namely WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan and Minister Porter in the cover-up; - The ACIC since 6.1.16 has failed to respond to my request for an explanation as to the difference between the ACIC’s definition of organised crime and the conduct of O’Callaghan and Porter, when the WA Attorney-General, in relation to the corruption cover-up; - The AFP has failed to respond to my request, made in light of the Attorney-General’s Department advice of 29.5.16 for me to report to the AFP, for a ‘put up or shut up opportunity’ in regard to documentation in support of my claims; - The AFP has failed to respond to my request for an explanation of the protocol for the initiation of an investigation into politically sensitive crime; and - The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity has failed to respond to my request, in accordance with their role, for them to gain advice from the ACIC on their failure to respond. The ‘just don’t respond’ strategy of the federal authorities is a repeat of that employed by WA authorities. Consequently, I’ve complained to the Australian Parliament. The Joint Committee for the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity and Joint Committee on Law Enforcement on 8.11.16 and 10.11.16 respectively asked the agencies within their respective jurisdictions to consider my claims. Still no response! I contend I can explain the discrepancy between Porter’s involvement in corruption and the standards he is supposed to keep as a minister. I am seeking support for an opportunity to table my evidence. Neil Winzer Letter to Crime and Corruption Commission (6.3.16) by ALP WA Minister Kim Chance on behalf of Mr. Winzer Response to Minister Chance from Crime and Corruption Commissioner John McKechnie (10.5.16)
Vote Down the Cashless Welfare Card
Dear Mr Shorten,I write to you in regard to the cashless welfare card. I wish to raise my concerns to the continuation of the card based on a report that has apparently grossly manipulated many facts to suit a political agenda. To highlight the point approximately 50% of trial participants said it made their life worse off, compared to 22% who said it had improved things. Judging by the ministers recent statements and actions it seems that the anecdotal evidence of vested interests who instigated the trial in the Ceduna region are of greater weight and value than the lived experience of trial participants. There are a number of other concerns regarding the trial. Apart from the stigma, discrimination and shame imposed on those who are forced to use the card, there is also social exclusion and the prevention of community participation in sporting and cultural events as the small amounts of cash are necessary for participating in these events. There are issues with being able to give children an allowance or money for trips away on school camps or other outings and functions. Major issues with reliability of the indue system, the phone app and also power and communications in the trial region are all spoken of on a regular basis by many trial participants. These issues are glossed over and ignored by the department of human services and DSS. The report into the card does not seem to stack up with the statements made by the Ministers in regard to the increase in crime within the region. Indeed, significant increases in many categories have occurred which have been totally over looked and not publicised by the minister. As an example: Serious Assaults not resulting in injury up 4%Common Assault up 3%Aggravated sexual assault up 2%Non Aggravated sexual assault up 71 %Robbery and related offences up 125% Aggravated Robbery up 150%Non aggravated robbery up 400% Serious criminal Trespass up 16%Serious Criminal Tresspass up 31% upReceive or handle proceeds of crime up 30 %Fraud deception & Related offences up 45%Obtain Benefit by Deception up 49% While revenue from Pokies machines in the area may have declined, there is some concern regarding the claims that it’s as a result of the ration card. Upon examination of statistics available from the state government, the gambling data in Ceduna seems to be in line with state-wide reductions in gambling. Gambling revenue has fallen by 15% in SA over the 12 months to June: It seems to have been falling over the past five years. In Ceduna, it has been on a downward trend at least since 2011/12. I would also bring to your attention once again the inconsistencies of the trial consultation process which excluded those affected. Available evidence indicates even those consulted were lied and tricked into believing the trial was to be Targeted and Voluntary approach. This can be demonstrated by statements made in the Guardian on Monday 9 January 2017: “Minutes from a meeting of more than 100 people from Ceduna and the surrounding towns taken in November 2015 note that the Yalata elder Mima Smart, a medal of the Order of Australia recipient for her services to the Aboriginal community, supported the card “for some, not for all”. She signed up to the card on behalf of the Yalata community, 200km west of Ceduna on the Great Australian Bight.” “The chair of the Maralinga Tjarutja Council, Keith Peters, told attendees, including Senator Nick Xenophon and the then assistant minister for social services, Alan Tudge, that he did not support the card. No one at the meeting supported universal application of the card to everyone on welfare in the community, the minutes said” This is once again highlighted in a letter article Tuesday 14 March 2017: “But a respected elder in the South Australian remote community of Yalata, Mima Smart, who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her work with Aboriginal people in her community, was shocked to learn the trial had been extended. Yalata is included in the Ceduna trial. “This is not good enough,” Smart said. “Cancel it. Think about the people that are suffering and the young people on it, who don’t understand how to fill out the paperwork.” Smart was one of the elders who signed up to the trial on behalf of her community. But she says she was misled about how the trial would work. “I thought when it was first talked about in the past, I thought it was going to be for the main people that hang out in Ceduna drinking and causing trouble, and not the people living in Ceduna who don’t drink and get into trouble. “I didn’t think it would be for the people who do look after their kids. I thought the cashless card would be targeted.” Those statements are also backed up by Maureen and Keith signing documents seeking to dissolve the Memorandum of understanding in early 2016 when it was apparent that the wishes of their communities were being ignored. I am aware that documentation was tabled in parliament to enable the continuance of the trial for a further 6 months and is yet to be reviewed or voted on by either the house or Senate.I have noted that Senator Lambie is seeking to introduce a bill into the Senate calling on the "Government to support the inclusion in the upcoming Budget for a further rollout of the CDC for all persons 17 years of age and under who are on ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Assistance for Isolated Children, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment Partnered, Parenting Payment Single, Special Benefit, Youth Allowance (apprentice), Youth Allowance (other), Youth Allowance (student) across Australia on 1 January 2018." I would ask you to give serious consideration to propose to disallow the continuance of the trial or support any motions proposed to disallow it. Yours Faithfully David Pav Ceduna S.A.
Justice For Josh: Release the Report Into Work For The Dole Death
In April last year, 18 year-old Josh Park-Fing tragically died at his Government-approved Work for the Dole site in Toowoomba. Distraught family members and the shocked members of the public demanded answers. Minister of Employment Michaelia Cash indicated that an investigation would be carried out into the tragedy and a report would be released within a month. Eleven months on and the Park-Fing family, Josh's friends, and the general public are still waiting for the report into this tragedy to be released. Furthermore, immediately following the tragedy the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (AUWU) made an FOI request for the Government's Work for the Dole risk assessment conducted for the Toowoomba site. This request has also been rejected by Minister Cash because it contained information that could "harm" NEATO - Josh Park-Fing's job agency. By withholding this crucial information relating to the Work for the Dole tragedy, the Coalition is shamelessly trying to cover up Josh Park-Fing's death to protect the already damaged reputation of the Work for the Dole program. This is a national disgrace. Work for the Dole is dangerous - last year injuries sustained at Work for the Dole sites increased 5 times. According to a recent government commissioned report by Ernst and Young, 36% of Work For The Dole activities do not meet basic safety standards. The government cannot guarantee the safety of unemployed workers forced to attend Work for the Dole programs. Work for the Dole must be shut down. Please sign this petition to demand the release of the report into Josh Park-Fing's death and the Work for the Dole risk assessment. The Turnbull government must take the necessary steps to investigate this program and ensure the safety of all Work for the Dole participants before another serious injury or death occurs at Work for the Dole. The AUWU has launched a Justice For Josh campaign (#JusticeforJosh) and is calling on Australians to call Minister Cash's office to demand the release of the report and the risk assessment. Please share the facebook event throughout your networks.Minister Cash's contact details are below: Parliamentary office: (02) 6277 7320Electoral Office: (08) 9226 2000Email: email@example.com If you are one of the 90,000 Australians currently participating in a Work for the Dole activity, the AUWU encourages you to assert your right to participate in a non-Work for the Dole activity - such as Voluntary Work or approved study - until your safety can be guaranteed. See here for more info or call the AUWU hotline on (03) 8394 5266.Stay tuned for further actions demanding #JusticeforJosh
Overhaul Punitive and Dysfunctional Employment Services Industry
The first yearly report of the AUWU’s National Advocacy Hotline provides aunique insight into the dysfunction occurring within the Government’s $3billion-a-year employment services industry. The AUWU strongly champions the need for a thorough investigation into job agencies, Centrelink and Work for the Dole sites across the country. Given the dysfunctional and punitive nature of the employment services industry, the Coalition’s recent push to give job agencies unprecedented powers to penalise the unemployed is inappropriate and dangerous. The implementation of the Government’s proposed PaTH program next year presents similar problems.The AUWU would like to point out in the strongest possible terms that before any changes are made to the employment services industry, the government must appoint an independent body to review and appropriately regulate the employment services industry. The government should and must do better to ensure that unemployed workers are treated fairly and offered the helping hand they require to get back into the workforce. To this end, the AUWU make the following recommendations to the Coalition government:• Establish an employment services ombudsman to handle complaints• Establish a parliamentary enquiry into the implementation of thejobactive and DES deeds• Raise Newstart to the Henderson Poverty Line• Improve laws and processes to hold badly behaving job agenciesaccountable• Provide more funding to advocacy support related to employmentservices issues• Remove strict eligibility requirements for the Disability Support Pension• Abolish the dangerous Work for the Dole and Community DevelopmentPrograms.• Establish parliamentary enquiry into Centrelink’s process of rejectingmedical certificates• Establish parliamentary enquiry into Centrelink’s imposition of financialpenalties• Implement Extensive Government Job Creation Programs
Shut Down the Dangerous Work for the Dole Program
As reported in the Herald Sun recently, this month Sandor Szolnoki was exposed to asbestos at a government-approved Work for the Dole site in Adelaide. Just one asbestos fibre can cause deadly asbestosis, which is a serious scarring of the lungs. Sandor is only one of many unemployed workers concerned about their safety at Work for the Dole programs across Australia. This year there were 500 Work for the Dole injuries reported - including the tragic death of Josh Park Fing at his Work for the Dole site in Toowoomba - compared to 90 the previous year. According to the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union's 2015-16 National Advocacy Hotline Report, 30% of calls related to Work for the Dole safety issues. It is clear that the Government can no longer guarantee the safety of Work for the Dole participants. The program must be shut down. After signing this petition, please call the Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash on (08) 9226 2000 and ask her office how this could happen and what they are doing about this WFTD crisis.
Sack Human Services Minister Alan Tudge
As reported in the New Matilda, Human Services Minister Tudge is a liar and is a threat to every Australian receiving social security.In his recent speech to the Sydney Institute, Tudge fabricated evidence to support the government’s long-standing desire to subject the unemployed to an unprecedented array of cruel and unusual punishments This is unacceptable and he must be stood down.
Abolish PaTH Program
The Government's Prepare Trail Hire (PaTH) program is a disaster waiting to happen. As warned by a number of commentators, the PaTH program will not only fail to create one single job for young unemployed workers, it will actually reduce the amount of jobs on offer by giving businesses the free labour of unemployed workers. It is a job killer and, according the the ACTU, illegal.Last August, the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union submitted its response to the Department of Employment's consultation paper relating to the Employability Skills Training phase of the PaTH program. The AUWU's submission raised many concerns with the Department's outline of the Employability Skills Training Phase, which according to the AUWU, presented significant risks to unemployed workers and the integrity of the system. Some of these concerns included: The PaTH program's lack of safety procedures No compensation for extensive travel costs related to attending PaTH program Unemployed workers being unfairly forced to attend when ineligible due to perverse financial incentives offered to training providers and job agencies Training will humiliate and undermine confidence of unemployed participants Lack of protection against Job agencies and training providers rorting the system No procedures to prevent low level quality training On October 13, the Department of Employment responded to the submissions. In its response, the Department of Employment failed to address one of the concerns the AUWU raised. Instead the Department emphasised the importance of the 'flexibility' of the training offered (despite this being raised as a problem by the AUWU), and increased the amount of money payable to training providers for delivering the training (ignoring the AUWU's concerns about the possibility of rorting). From the Department's submission, it is clear that the PaTH program is not concerned with the wellbeing of unemployed workers. The PaTH program is a pro-business stitch up that will make businesses and training providers rich at the expense of unemployed workers. The Department's response has only confirmed the suspicions raised in the AUWU submission. The AUWU reaffirms its position that the PaTH program should be abolished in favour of Government job creation to address lack of jobs in the Australian economy. The AUWU would like to see Government investment in programs that actually create jobs, such as apprenticeships and various job create schemes. To help us in the fight against this punitive program, please sign this petition which the AUWU will use in its campaign against the Government's punitive program of free labour.
Prosecute News Corp for Hateful and Ignorant Presentation of Unemployed
News Corp really hates the unemployed. And they want you to hate them too.According to News Corp's hateful articles, if you can't find work its your own fault. Unemployed workers are therefore 'lazy', 'dole bludgers', 'job snobs', 'shirkers', 'leaners', 'taxed nots', 'NEETs', 'rorters', 'fraudsters'. The list goes on.News Corp never mention that there are only 18 job seekers competing for every job vacancy going by official figures, that the Newstart rate is just under $400 below the poverty line, or the nightmare of dealing with a punitive job agency hell-bent on pushing unemployed workers to the brink so they can make a quick buck.Instead, News Corp perpetuate the same old hateful and ignorant stereotypes without providing any substantive evidence. News Corp articles doesn't just reduces the self worth of unemployed workers - it also leads to increased abuse being aimed at the unemployed by the general public. Given that unemployed Workers are already at increased risk of depression and suicide this sort of reporting is not only ignorant, it is also very dangerous. Put simply, News Corp are putting lives at risk.2016 has been a big year for News Corp unfairly bashing the unemployed. First there was the article which incorrectly stated that "a quarter of all dole recipients are skipping job interviews or failing to accept decent work." This article is confusing 'job agency appointments' with job interviews but as of today, is still publishing this outright lie.Second, there was another article which made the outrageous claim that "70,000 dole bludgers are exploiting a medical loophole to avoid having to get a job by claiming they are too sick to work". With one quarter of all Newstart recipients suffering from a 'significant disability' (roughly 200,000), this is ludicrous article presented these sick people as somehow rorting the system.And lastly there was the 'NEETs' scandal, which was a story completely fabricated by the Daily Telegraph to once again bash the unemployed.This has to stop now.The Australian Unemployed Workers' Union is calling on the Press Council of Australia and the Australian Communications and Media Authority to regulate News Corp and reign in the rabid elements in the media that are hell bent on perpetuating dangerous myths about unemployed workers.Sign this petition and send a clear message that this must stop now!
Ensure Centerlink Accept Doctor Certificates
The AUWU receives many cases of people unhappy with Centrelink and their job agencies. Over the past few months, the AUWU have received a high amount of calls from people who are having their doctor certificates rejected by Centrelink any without explanation.Take the example of Anna (not her real name). Anna is fighting ovarian cancer and is still recovering from a previous surgery. She cannot stand/walk or sit for long periods of time. Anna has very severe anxiety and depression and is seeing a psychologist, who are providing her with Centerlink Medical Certificates. Recently, Centrelink denied Anna's medical certificate even though her situation has worsened and she was hospitalized. Anna has been advised by the Centrelink social worker that Centrelink's Head Office is responsible for the denial of the medical certificates and that no reason has been given for the denial. The social worker responsible is attempting to get Centrelink head office to change their minds but if they don't, Anna will be expected to look for work despite being admitted to hospital. There are a number of other people just like Anna who have contacted the AUWU stating that their doctor certificates have not been accepted. How can Centrelink staff members - who have no medical training - have the authority to deny Centrelink medical certificates? As a result of this punitive policy, countless Australians are having their severe medical issues ignored by Centrelink, which is leading to these issues being exacerbated. .The AUWU are waiting for a response from Human Services Minister Alan Tudge. Please sign this petition and share.