AUWU BS Awards

… the lies and the lying liars who tell them

Contact the AUWU to nominate a person or organisation that has publicly misrepresented or lied about unemployed people or issues related to unemployment. We need the actual remark and where it was reported in the media.

October 2016 BS Awards

AUWU bullshit award the australian newspaper


The lie: Parental welfare pays more than work.

Who told it: The Australian ran this headline on their front page, October 28, 2016







AUWU bullshit award sarah martin, reporter

The lie: Thousands of parents claiming government benefits are financially better off not getting a job…

Who told it: Sarah Martin, political reporter, October 28, 2016

Martin’s article, under the above headline, claims that a sole parent with four children would be better off relying on social security than taking on a full-time job at a ‘median’ wage. Using the same scenarios, ACOSS shows the family would be at least $20,000 better off with a working parent. How can this be? Martin is able to make her claim by comparing the welfare received by the non-working family with only the earnings of the working family, and omitting the welfare payments the working family could also get. Read the full correction by ACOSS here.


AUWU BS Award alan tudge, minister for human services


The lie: There are more than 400,000 capable people who are not subject to any work-related mutual obligations in exchange for their payments.

Who told it: Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, speech at the Sydney Institute, October 24, 2016

Of the 880, 606 Australians currently attending an employment service, government data indicates that only 106, 805 have received a temporary exemption from meeting their requirements – roughly 300,000 less than Tudge claimed. The Department has made no explanation regarding the origins of the mysterious 400,000 figure.



AUWU BS Award alan tudge, minister for human servicesThe lie: Only about four percent of those who fail to undertake a required activity without reasonable excuse receive a financial penalty.

Who told it: Human Services Minister, Alan Tudge, speech at the Sydney Institute, October 24, 2016

According to the Coalition’s own job seeker compliance data, during the 2015-2016 financial year 261,529 financial penalties were imposed on unemployed Australians. This means on average three out of every ten unemployed workers faced a financial penalty – a rate 7 times higher than Tudge claimed.

Since the Coalition was elected three years ago, the number of financial penalties imposed on unemployed workers has increased 20% and the number of payment suspensions has increased a staggering three and a half times.

For details on these and more whoppers by the minister responsible for the wellbeing of half of Australia’s families, see this New Matilda article by AUWU President, Owen Bennett.


September 2016 BS Awards

AUWU BS award christian porter, minister for social servicesThe lie: Today’s welfare spend is around $160 billion a year. And as a matter of scale, or comparison, that represents 80 per cent of all individual income tax raised in Australia. So $196 billion in income tax, 80 per cent of that is, in a practical sense, allocated straight to welfare.

Who told it: Social Services Minister ­Christian Porter, National Press Club, Canberra, 20 September 2016

The federal government does not make welfare payments by using revenue from individual income taxes. There exists no process whereby the government allocates welfare payments out of income tax revenue. In fact, this is not how any federal taxation or spending works. A sovereign government which issues its own currency does not tax in order to get money. It taxes in order to create demand for the currency (people want dollars in order to avoid going to jail for not paying taxes), and to adjust the spending power of those with the currency.

Porter’s misguided assertion (italics above) is, in a practical sense, a lie. See Bill Mitchell’s Blog and this Sydney Morning Herald article for a more detailed explanation.


AUWU bullshit award daily telegraph, newspaper



The LieYoung, able and unwilling to work. Meet the … new breed of bludger

Who told it: The Daily Telegraph, ran this headline on their front page, 15 September, 2016






AUWU bullshit award jack houghtonThe lie: Amy… no desire to join the workforce… recently kicked out of her trade college… unable to hold down a job.

Who told it: Jack Houghton, reporter, 15 September, 2016

When the story took off, the Daily Telegraph, came back on16 September, 2016 with another two-page spread that labelled the two interviewees, ‘career welfare scabs’ and “Centrelink layabouts’, and claimed they “turned down” job offers at McDonalds.

Turns out that Amy, 17, from Mt Druitt in Sydney’s west, had taken Houghton, somewhat obsessed with her offroad driving, for a bit of a ride. She had been working part-time at McDonalds, was still at school at Mt Druitt’s Loyola Senior High, and was also enrolled at TAFE. See the ABC’s Media Watch for details.