Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Here come those 'dole bludgers' again

During this last week here in Australia, Senator Eric Abetz [I’m sorry, I can never hear that name without picturing ‘Erica Betz’], the Employment Minister, announced that people who were on unemployment benefits would be expected to apply for forty jobs per month—that’s one in the morning and one in the afternoon, apparently. Apparently, unemployed people are generously being given the weekend off. Oh, and, by the way, that includes those people who are going to have to wait for six months before even qualifying for any kind of unemployment support.

There were 741,700 people officially unemployed in Australia as at the beginning of July 2014 (and this doesn’t count those who have long since given up, or are looking for work without registering for unemployment benefits). According to the Federal Government’s own job vacancy report ( there were 17,400 job vacancies in June 2014. Assuming that there are the same number of new vacancies each month for the next twelve months (a very generous assumption, I would think) there will be 208,800 job vacancies during that time. Also assuming that unemployment doesn’t grow during those twelve months (another generous assumption), twelve months from now 532,900 of those who are currently unemployed will still be without a job.

If each one of those people who are currently unemployed has to apply for forty jobs per month, that generates 29,668,000 job applications per month—for 17,400 vacancies per month.

And now let’s come back into the real world. One job application in the morning and one job application in the afternoon... I wonder, has Senator Erica Betz... er, Eric Abetz actually had to apply for a job lately? To prepare a decent application, specifically tailored for a specific job, requires work—at least hours of work. It is not simply a matter of changing the names, place and dates on the form. If I were unemployed I would be required to apply for a broad range of jobs with a variety of employers in diverse fields—if for no other reason than that there will simply never be forty job vacancies a month (and probably not in an entire year) which match my actual qualifications. There is no one-application-fits-all. To apply for a job in some fields requires not hours, but days of work. [This is certainly true in one of the fields for which I may sometimes be qualified—evolutionary biology.]

Or does Eric Abetz mean by a ‘job application’ nothing more than a cold telephone call or a form letter and CV sent to a range of businesses? Yeah, sure, I can waste my time and the time of those businesses by doing that, day in and day out. Yeah, that’ll work.


  1. Yes the figures just show how ridiculous this all is. Common sense dictates how ridiculous this is. It is all waffle - smoke and mirrors - pretending to create policies and hard lines when the concept is ludicrous. Well said!

  2. The job application requirement is totally ridiculous but not giving the young unemployed any money is dangerous.... This govt is the worst I've ever known