Quarantining our income: it’s still on the agenda
What changes will the new government make? Not many. The independents call the tune and the Gillard will not rock the boat. This will mean whilst no new serious attacks will be introduced, things will remain the same and that’s bad. We will still have work for the dole , breaching, private job network agencies and we are forced to live in poverty.
Something still on the agenda is quarantining. This was introduced for Black people in the Northern Territory as part of the Intervention. It has been extended to all unemployed and those on benefits throughout Northern Territory as a trial for its introduction throughout Australia.
What it means is that our income is divided into two. A portion is placed on a special card and can only be used at the food section of Coles and Woolworths. The rest we get to spend as we please.
This seriously limits our spending. There are many more essentials apart from food. Many of us need a car in order to take the kids to school or to get work as many employers demand you have one. It will be difficult to pay for license, registration or maintenance. Many of us need a telephone, mobile or landline. This will be more difficult to afford. As a large portion of our benefits will be tied up, this will be more difficult to afford. You also need money for your children’s expenses at school and elsewhere. There will be less to spend on entertainment.
Some from different cultures only find a limited number of their ethnic foods at Coles or Woolies. By quarantining, their cultures are affectively discriminated against. You also cannot spend your quarantined money at a food co-op even though the food is cheaper and healthy.
They think that unemployed cannot budget our meagre subsistence. On the contrary, the dole makes you more disciplined. There are plenty employed or unemployed who cannot manage their incomes. They need help with special programmes. But most of us who do know should not be punished. Incidentally, you can still buy plenty of junk food at Coles or Woolies food sections. So quarantining is not a solution to a bad diet.
Of course it does assist these two greedy monopolies gain a strangle hold over the food market. Small corner stores will suffer as unemployed customers will often have to travel many kilometers to spend on basic food items.
We don’t get much. But the meagre amount we do get should be ours, to spend as we please. We therefore oppose quarantining, unconditionally.
The government plans to introduce quarantining throughout Australia in 2011 or 2012. That is , if they consider the trial introduction in the northern Territory to be successful. We need to fight this oppressive measure. StandUp is committed to building a fighting organisation to resist this and other attacks. We’re not going to take it!
Unemployment is a health hazard.
A paper to a South Australian conference about Workcover, paints a grim picture for long term unemployed meaning those unemployed for more than six months. Firstly we are six times more likely to commit suicide. Also we are far more likely to suffer from heart disease respiratory problems or mental illness. Especially vulnerable are young unemployed males. There are probably many other illnesses which are exacerbated such as alcoholism, drug addiction malnutrition and diabetes. Unemployment is a health hazard. We are under immense pressure. Surviving on so little money puts pressure on us. We are under pressure to look for work. We are under social pressures due to stigmas. There is often the threat of, and reality of homelessness. Relationships often break up and so on.
What we must tell the government is they are not dealing with statistics but human lives They say that giving us more or solving the unemployment crisis will mean higher interest rates. Their cavalier approach is forcing us to suffer. It’s time to put our lives and health before their economy. We need to fight unemployment. Our lives are at stake.
In the Northern Territory Work for the dole is not working.
For decades Black people in townships have had to endure te CDEP. This was effectively the Black work for the dole. Black people on CDEP built roads, houses and community centres for a bit more than the dole. It was abolished by the Rudd Government. The reasons for its abolition were in no way honourable. For some reason CDEP was classified as work and couldn’t be quarantined. They can quarantine the pay of those on Newstart doing work for the dole. So now Black workers do the same work for the dole as unemployed elsewhere. They get less pay. And as their pay is quarantined they are effectively working for rations. This has been convenient for government. But in no way is it an incentive for Black unemployed to re-enter the workforce. On the contrary! Black workers hate their new form of slave labour! They come to work late and are more likely to be absent. One worker whoo previously worked on the Adellaide to Darwin railway complains that he now works thirty hours per week constructing a community centre for $250 per week pay. Jenny Macklin suggests he only should be working a twenty five hour week. This is slavery. There have been a few angry demos in the Territory against this. We share their anger. No one should be forced to work for next to nothing.
Fight back with StandUp!
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