Author Archives: AUWU

Right2Work Conference Give Away!

The AUWU has 5 tickets to give away to AUWU members for the Right2Work Conference in Melbourne on 21 July (valued at $25 each).

To win a ticket, write a letter to Minister Cash at senator.cash@aph.gov.au explaining how the Coalition’s failure to address the employment crisis has affected you.

Post your letter on your facebook or twitter with the #Right2Work hash tag.

The Right2Work conference features renowned experts John Falzon (St Vincent De Paul), Jim Stanford (Australian Institute), Warwick Smith (Per Capita) and Steve Keen (economist) who will discuss Australia’s employment crisis and how the government should address it.

The best five letters will win a ticket. Winners will be announced on Monday 17th of July.

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon backs Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union

Renee Viellaris, The Courier-Mail

Subscriber only

A SOPHISTICATED “bludgers’ club” that coaches dole ­recipients how to fight being pushed into paid work is being financially backed by Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon.

Senator Rhiannon has told The Courier-Mail she wants the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) membership to increase, raising questions why a parliamentarian would want more jobless Australians to rebel against their mutual obligations to taxpayers.

The union, which is not registered and does not have charity status, has 6500 members across the country, hosts a ­detailed website and a “national advocacy phone” to advise welfare recipients of their “rights” when it comes to Work for the Dole and job searching.

Articulate union president Owen Bennett advocates for the working week to be reduced to 35 hours, increasing Centrelink benefits to $517 a week and the abolition of the Work for the Dole program.

Firebrand Senator Barry O’Sullivan yesterday slammed Senator Rhiannon for bank­rolling the “bludgers’ club”, saying that she should be ashamed of herself for offending “fair-thinking Australians who want to support the genuinely unemployed”.


Senator Lee Rhiannon.

He accused Senator Rhiannon of backing the group in a bid to attract more voters to the Greens.

But Senator Rhiannon said the group provided support and believed it should attract more members.

“I donated $300 to the AUWU as I support the ­important work they do,’’ Senator Rhiannon said. “Considering the high levels of mismanagement by job agencies, and the exploitation of workers when they do find a job, I hope this union gains more members and more support.”

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said that the organisation had a perverse purpose.

“Mr Bennett would better serve the unemployed if he ran an organisation that aimed to get people off welfare and into work,” she said.

Mr Bennett denied the organisation distracted the jobless from looking for paid work. The website sets out what mutual obligations are fair, how to hit back at job agencies when they do not contact penalised jobseekers who fail to turn up for compulsory activities and rails against the physical danger of Work for the Dole.

Jobactive Directory

If your job agency is treating you badly and not respecting your rights, its important that you fight back.

When you write to your job agency to assert your rights, it is important that your job agency is not able to sweep your issue under the carpet.  That is why it is important to send this letter to the top brass at your job agency.

Click here for a complete collection of all the publicly available contact details of all the most powerful people at job agencies.

Find the CEO of your job agency and email them!

PaTH and CDP Guidelines

The Coalition government have released guidelines about the PaTH program and the Community Development Program (CDP).

These guidelines state the rights of unemployed workers. The Coalition, however, does not make these rights easily accessible. The AUWU will be summarising these guides shortly and making them available in our unemployed workers rights guideline.

In the meantime, they are available here

Dignity Not Drug Test Campaign Launch

In its 2016-2017 Budget, the Turnbull Government announced its plans to give Centrelink new powers to harass, humiliate, and financially penalise social security recipients. As part of the latest round of cruel attacks, the Turnbull government wants to:
 
• drug test social security recipients and penalise those who refuse
 
• give Centrelink more powers to financially penalise the unemployed
 
• force more people onto the Cashless Welfare system
 
• make it harder to get on the single parent pension
 
• sack over 1000 Centrelink staff and privatise call centre operations
• kick people with drug and alcohol issues off the Disability Support Pension
 
These measures are part of a broader attempt to effectively cripple our social security system. The result is the current mess: an overworked staff, inability to provide basic services, absurd call-waiting times, 36 million unanswered calls in 2016, not to mention the ‘robo-debt’ debacle, which saw tens of thousands of Australians defrauded by their own government!
 
Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 3.43.06 PM
 
Turnbull is deliberately trying to make collecting social security as difficult and humiliating as possible. He wants us to feel like criminals for accepting assistance that is our legal right, assistance that is already so meagre it fails to keep us above the poverty line.
 
Rather than investing in job-creation, Turnbull wants to grind us down with cruel measures that punish the vulnerable, the victims of poor public policy.
 
Our social security system is being purposefully defunded, privatised, and dismantled; the poor and vulnerable are being criminalised and trampled upon.
 
Fight back by joining the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union’s Dignity Not Debt leafleting Campaign.
 
If you are able to print the leaflet, please click here to download it (this booklet is designed to printed on one folded A4 sheet (allowing four A5 pages of  text). Click on the pdf link above to print your booklet)
If you cannot print the leaflet, please contact the AUWU at secretary@unemployedworkersunion.com and we will send you the leaflet in the mail.

Join our new online groups!

Join our new online groups (at loomio.org.au)! These groups provide our members a direct and convenient way to get involved. If you would like to connect with other AUWU members near you, follow this link and leave a comment on your local branch’s page to express your interest.
 
Or, if you would like to assist with the AUWU’s national tasks, please join one of our three Working Groups:

Advocacy (click to join)

  • operating national AUWU Advocacy Service
  • staffing hotline in shifts from any location
  • respond to email queries
  • presenting rights workshops
  • developing case studies for media
  • coordinating legal challenge against Centrelink
  • lobbying government for regulation of jobactive/DES/CDP programs
  • coordinating workshops

Communications (click to join)

  • producing campaign materials (leaflets, posters, video, radio)
  • producing media content (Fightback! (our quarterly newsletter), media releases, interviews, news articles, blogs)
  • website management
  • social media management
  • political lobbying and alliances
  • petition writing

Campaigns/Strategy (click to join)

  • national campaign priorities
  • developing and executing campaigns (from demands list)
  • organising protests

The AUWU only survives because volunteers dedicate their time to the cause – we receive no funding and have no affiliations. Whether you prefer to be on the streets or behind the scenes, whether you like to “do” or to organise, we hope you find a way of contributing to the AUWU that suits you. We look forward to working with you.

Dignity Not Drug Tests

In its 2016-2017 Budget, the Turnbull Government announced its plans to give Centrelink new powers to harass, humiliate, and financially penalise social security recipients. As part of the latest round of cruel attacks, the Turnbull government wants to:
 
• drug test social security recipients and penalise those who refuse
 
• give Centrelink more powers to financially penalise the unemployed
 
• force more people onto the Cashless Welfare system
 
• make it harder to get on the single parent pension
 
• sack over 1000 Centrelink staff and privatise call centre operations
• kick people with drug and alcohol issues off the Disability Support Pension
 
These measures are part of a broader attempt to effectively cripple our social security system. The result is the current mess: an overworked staff, inability to provide basic services, absurd call-waiting times, 36 million unanswered calls in 2016, not to mention the ‘robo-debt’ debacle, which saw tens of thousands of Australians defrauded by their own government!
 
Screen Shot 2017-05-29 at 3.43.06 PM
 
Turnbull is deliberately trying to make collecting social security as difficult and humiliating as possible. He wants us to feel like criminals for accepting assistance that is our legal right, assistance that is already so meagre it fails to keep us above the poverty line.
 
Rather than investing in job-creation, Turnbull wants to grind us down with cruel measures that punish the vulnerable, the victims of poor public policy.
 
Our social security system is being purposefully defunded, privatised, and dismantled; the poor and vulnerable are being criminalised and trampled upon.
 
Fight back by joining the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union’s Dignity Not Debt leafleting Campaign.
 
If you are able to print the leaflet, please click here to download it (this booklet is designed to printed on one folded A4 sheet (allowing four A5 pages of  text). Click on the pdf link above to print your booklet)

If you cannot print the leaflet, please contact the AUWU at secretary@unemployedworkersunion.com and we will send you the leaflet in the mail.

AUWU Address at ACOSS Post-Budget Breakfast

In July 2015, the Abbott government implemented the most punitive approach to unemployed Australians ever seen in this country. Under the three new contracts rolled out by Abbott (Jobactive, CDP and DES- DMS), the number of penalties skyrocketed to 2 million – double the previous year (and a 10 times increase in 2011 figure).

Many Australian Unemployed Workers Union members report diminished capacity to effectively seek work combined with increased mental health pressures as a result of these systems. Some have described these systems as “soul destroying”.

The very expensive job provider system and its punitive regimes including the breaching of payments, denies money necessary for basic living in a consumer driven society.

These policies form a downward pressure packaged in the form of repressive justice which politicians claim to be the will of the taxpayers.

Since the announcement of new, demoralising, still more punitive measures in the federal budget – such as the ‘demerit point’ system, the cashless card and mandatory drug testing – it is true to say that welfare policy looks a lot like correctional services policy.

If Government is going to further target Australians on behalf of taxpayer desires, misinformed as they may be, then AUWU suggest they start at the top and work through the middle rather than target the bottom.

On the basis of welfare policy alone it will be Mr. Scott Morrison and his fellows who history may recall as being the first true tyrants of contemporary Australia.

In her 20th C commentary regarding the nature of political parties, philosopher & activist Simone Weil pointed out that:

“Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing.

It is the person who is crushed who feels what is happening.

Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand.”

As representatives of welfare recipients we all need to do much more work to undermine this oppressive treatment of the unemployed. We need to actually take some action.

The AUWU would like to propose a compliance working group be established immediately to workshop effective strategies to resist the current punitive approach to the unemployed.