After the maternity leave fiasco, it’s nice to see Tony Abbott making some sense again.
The idea for firm time limits on the dole (the payment for people who are unemployed, are not students, not retired and not ill or disabled) has always seemed like a good idea to me, especially seeing as in the area where I live, there seems to be an endless supply of drug-fuelled dole-bludgers who manage to stay on the dole by attending job interviews for jobs which they have no intention of getting, thereby fulfilling their payment requirement of appearing to be looking for work.
I don’t support the idea of completely banning the dole for people under 30 years of age, although I would be in favour of tighter restrictions on the dole for people under 21 years of age. At that age, quite frankly, it’s a case of study or work.. If parents want to fund their adult offspring’s leisure, then so be it, but the offspring shouldn’t expect the taxpayer to do so.
The plan from Tony Abbott and the opposition, apparently, is to limit the dole to six months . This seems perfectly reasonable to me, and should be more than enough time for people to get back in to the workforce, even if it means going in to a job other than one which they would prefer. They can always change to a different job later on if necessary.
The idea of the dole is not to act as an income from which one can live, but to act as an interim safety net, accompanied by one’s savings, to get one through a brief period of unemployment. People who are working and paying taxes should not be expected to pay for the lives of those who are capable of working, and choose not to work.
Paul Howes, boss of the great socialist empire known as the Australian Workers Union, calls this whole idea a “Sarah Palin moment”  and, for once, I agree with him. Where I disagree with him, is that he thinks this is a bad thing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sarah Palin is a great conservative figure with a great understanding of the economics which help countries to thrive, and I’m sure that Tony Abbott would be delighted by the comparison. Personally, I’d call it a “Stan Zemanek moment” as the late Stan Zemanek battled for this type of sensible policy for years.
Now, I’m sure that people (it’s happened before) will point at me as an example of why this policy can not work as I spent much of last year out of work. The fact is, I was looking for work for almost all of the time that I was out of work last year, but I had saved enough money beforehand to avoid needing to rely on the public purse. Things were tight for a while, but I did not, at any stage, receive a government unemployment benefit. There were a few times where I almost took a job which I didn’t really want, and if it had been necessary, I would have taken those jobs, but I was fortunate that small amounts of ongoing work, and an eventual more permanent job made it possible for me to get by without needing government handouts.
It’s true that I had to learn a lot more about budgeting and sacrifice during this time. In fact, for large portions of the year I went without a car. It is this sort of careful planning and budgeting which makes government handouts, for the most part, unnecessary in the long-term and hopefully for most people, in the short term.
I fully understand that there will be some people who need the financial assistance during a period of unemployment. That’s fine and that is what the dole is for. But as I’ve already said, the dole is a temporary measure, and should have firm time limits on it.
As Sean Hannity would say, “when you’re unemployed, it is your job to find a job”. It is on this basis, that dole payments should be made. A temporary helping hand while you get back on your feet.