Category Archives: Announcements

Submit to the Cashless Welfare Senate Inquiry

Are you opposed to cashless welfare?

If so, the AUWU strongly encourages you to write a letter saying so to your local member and to the Senate Inquiry into the INDUE welfare card.

Unfortunately, you don’t have much time. The Senate submissions will be closing on September 29 and the vote will be going to the Senate after the inquiry finalises its report on 13 November. We need to put maximum pressure on politicians to vote down the INDUE card.

It’s easier than you think – your letter should be very brief (four pages maximum) and briefly detail some of your concerns about the program.

Here’s a quick four step guide:

Step One: Why Are You Opposed to the Card

Some questions to consider if you have not been on the card:

● How do you see people spending cash and managing their money?
● What goods or services (other than the card’s targets, alcohol & gambling) does/would the card prevent people you work with from accessing?
● Do you think the card has/will have unintended consequences for people and the community?

Some questions to consider if you have been on the card:

● What were/are some of the things you spend cash on?
● Where did/do you spend cash?
● Does/would not having cash effect your budget?
● Does/would not having cash change where you shop?
● What goods or services (other than the card’s targets, alcohol & gambling) does/would the card prevent you from accessing?
● Do you think the card has/will have unintended consequences for people and the community?
● Can you think of any better solutions to problems like addiction than the card?
● How does the card make you feel?

See below for some more information.

Step Two: Introduce Yourself

Politicians needs to know what qualifies you to advise them on the INDUE card and who you are.

For the purposes of the Senate Inquiry you need to  tell them how you came to have your knowledge on the card.You also need to directly mention the bill they’re reporting on.

If you’re not sure how to do that it’s okay to copy this sentence below and then finish it by adding relevant detail.

I have knowledge of/information about/familiarity with the Cashless Debit Card  that the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 would extend because  I…

or… As a member of ____________, I have grave concerns about the likely impact of the  Cashless Debit Card that the Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017  would extend, because…

For the purposes of writing to your local MP you need to demonstrate who you are and where your are based. Here is a good sample:

 

“To the Minister / Shadow Minister for Parliament,

My name is _____  and I am based in ____. I am deeply concerned about the Cashless Welfare Card and the legislation currently before the Senate to expand the program.

Even though there have been very negative reports about the effect the card has had on trial communities, the Government seems to be ignoring the people on this issue and increasing the trials in other areas…”

Step Three: Put It All Together

Politicians like it when each different point you make has a heading. In your letter, try to group together all your similar points in a list and put that under a heading.

Some heading examples include:

  •  “good things about cash”
  • “stuff I can’t do on the card”
  • “things I worry about”
  • “ideas I have”
  • “how I feel”
  • “things I’ve seen”
  • “These are some things I’ve noticed in the community since the Cashless Card was introduced”

You are now ready to send it off.

Step Four: Submit

Contacting your local MP or other politician:

To find your local MP’s email or Minster go here.

Submit to Senate Inquiry: 

Go the the Senate Inquiry page for the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017 here and click upload submission. You will need to make an account on My Parliament before you can submit.

Send on your letter to the AUWIU

Please forward your letter onto the AUWU at contact@unemployedworkersunion.com for our record

More Info

Why The Cashless Welfare Card is Bad for Business and for Communities:

 

 

  • The card is produced by the Australian company INDUE, to use it the business owner needs to enter into a business agreement with INDUE which may not benefit the business.

 

  • Small business in regional and rural areas do not necesssarily use Eftpos machines. The cost of small business is climbing, particularly in relation to utilities, the books are getting tighter and every cent counts. There is currently no way for small business owners to quantify how much of their takings is supplied through welfare recipient cash transactions, making a feasibility assessment of wether or not to invest in an eftpos terminal and go into an agreement with INDUE impossible.

 

  • The cashless card is geared towards bigger business such as Coles and Woolies, where shopper anonominity is encouraged, particularly with the installation of Cashier Terminals where no human contact is necessary for a transaction to take place. This means that people who feel stigmatised by the cashless welfare card may choose to stop shopping with small businesses.

 

 

The many draw backs of the cashless card include:

 

  1. The app designed for people to check their account on their smartphone is reported to be glitchy. In areas with poor internet reception the app is a useless utility.

 

  1. The INDUE card is very different from a bankcard. It operates as a credit card in the sense that funds are not the property of the recipient, so a recipient has no claim to interest accrued on funds over time. In the case of persons becoming ill and spending a period of time in hospital, (elderly, chronically ill and mental health patients who are unable to access the Disability Support Pension) this can amount to regular periods of many months. Interest accrued on funds becomes a significant revenue stream for the company INDUE who have full ownership of accrued interest across millions of Newstart recipients. In other words INDUE gets to keep the sum total of all your small change, the stuff that goes in the jar above the fridge and comes in handy to pay the winter electricity bill with. This amounts to welfare spending contributing directly to the profit margins of big business, diminishing the growth of smaller local economy.

 

  1. The low amount of cash that can be accessed through compulsory income management is not enough to participate in alternate markets such as farmers markets, trash and treasures, local craft markets, alternate food and goods banks and many charity shops which deal exclusively in cash transactions. In regional and rural areas eggs, mulch and fresh vegetables can often be purchased from road side sales points and co-ops dealing only in cash, these healthy options for people on low incomes will be impossible to access with the cashless card.

 

  1. The small-economy becomes impossible under income management, how do you pay the babysitter with an INDUE card? How do give $50 to the bloke up the road who fixes your lawn mower or $20 to the boy who mows your lawn if you are unable to? How do you support your children and teenagers to participate in school fates and local excursions that require lunch money, pocket money and taxi money for an emergency such as having no safe option to get home from a late party? How do you teach your kids how to handle cash?

 

  1. Residents in Ceduna, one of the trial sites for the Cashless Welfare card have reported their mortgage payments have become more expensive due to added transaction fees.

 

  1. People cannot contribute to share house costs with a cashless card. How can you pay your landlord if they only accept cash?

 

  1. There are reports that people on income management are begging, are buying food and then reselling it at lower prices to get access to cash so they cover costs like share-room rent, private studio and caravan rent, getting around town using alternate transport systems (throwing in some cash to help with petrol for a friend who gives them a lift somewhere etc) and providing pocket money for their kids, which effectively makes welfare recipients even poorer than they already are.

 

  1. Compulsory income management stigmatises people and separates them from mainstream society even further, disallowing social mobility and scapegoating poverty.

 

  1. Cheap shopping alternatives such as Aldi are excluded from participating in the scheme because there is no separation between the liquor store and the main store, thus preventing cheap goods being obtainable to people on tight budgets.

 

  1. AUWU have information that organised crime gangs are already strategising around how they can recruit a labour force to achieve criminal goals from the pool of unemployed on income management who need access to cash.

 

  1. The only people with access to cash in welfare demographics will be elderly pensioners and disability pensioners who will be made vulnerable targets for criminals.

 

  1. Cashless welfare, in a society where the welfare payments don’t lift people over the poverty line, forces people to use mainstream shopping outlets that are just too expensive for limited budgets, making emergency situations requiring cash impossible to manage.

 

  1. People in welfare demographics will not be able to “chip in” or help each other financially from fortnight to fortnight.

 

  1. INDUE are not a bank and cannot provide any of the privacy and security measures that banks provide. Our data will be open to organisations who collect data to profile and target consumers. The Government cannot guarantee our privacy because INDUE are not a Government organisation, regardless of assurances and agreements Government and INDUE come to. This lack of privacy is already an ongoing issue with Job Network Providers who are reported to be repeatedly breaching the privacy rights of their clients.

 

  1. There are reports of people manufacturing bootleg liquor because they can no longer by alcohol. The cashless card has already created a back yard market in liquor and gambling in exchange for resalable goods.

 

  1. The card will encourage black market labour hire because more people will accept cash work that pays below the minimum wage.

Tell Your Story!

To fight the government punitive approach to the unemployed, it is important that the voices of unemployed people are heard. The AUWU is currently collecting stories from unemployed people about their experiences with job agencies with the aim of releasing a report next year exposing this broken and inhumane system

Please fill out this 5 minute survey and join the fight against this punitive system.

#CallOutCash Campaign Launched

Last month, Minister Cash labelled the AUWU an “offensive” organisation “whose sole purpose appeared to be “keeping members out of gainful employment and encouraging them to shirk their responsibilities”.

Cash did not offer any proof of this. It appears she just wanted to bully us because we are unemployed people trying to stand up for ourselves.

Today we a hitting back with our #CallOutCash campaign.

As part of this campaign, we are asking all our members and supporters to #CallOutCash by filling out a short 2-minute survey about their experiences of unemployment. The answers will be collated and sent to Minister Cash and her parliamentary colleagues .

To complete the survey, click here.

Its time Minister Cash was held accountable for her bullying tactics.

Despite there being 17 job seekers competing for every job vacancy going by the official figures, Minister Cash still treats unemployed workers like we are the problem.

It is time we let Cash know that the Coalition government is the problem.

Why aren’t they creating more jobs? Why are they handing $10 billion of government money to private companies who fail to help unemployed workers? Why are they condemning unemployed workers to a life of poverty on a payment that is $380 per fortnight per fortnight below the poverty line?

Please share throughout your networks and lets send Minister Cash a clear message.

Ed Husic: Establish Senate Inquiry Into Job Agencies

The AUWU is petitioning Ed Husic, the shadow Minister of employment services, to establish a Senate inquiry into the broken job agency system. Please click here to view and sign the petition.

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Why is this important?

The $10 billion employment services system is one of the biggest and most socially destructive rorts ever perpetuated against a Federal government

Every day, private job agencies bully unemployed workers into attending dangerous Work for the Dole sites and other unfair activities in order to make a quick buck.

Unemployed workers who refuse to be bullied into one of these unfair activities are penalised.

During 2015/16, job agencies imposed a record 2,114,291 million penalties on unemployed workers – up from 311,622 in 2011.

Many penalties are unfair – 37.5% of unemployed workers who appealed against a penalty had it overturned by Centrelink. Since 2011, the rate of job agency decisions overturned by Centrelink has increased by 15% – a clear sign the system is broken.

The failure of the government to regulate the industry and penalise abusive job agencies has created a culture of fear and intimidation throughout the industry.

The suffering endured by the 900,000 unemployed workers participating in this system is incalculable

The tragic death of Josh Park Fing at his Work for the Dole site in Toowoomba – one of the 64% of WFTD sites that do not meet basic safety standards – is a product of this punitive and broken system.

The punitive job agencies system must be addressed immediately.

A Senate inquiry is the first step. The ALP has the power to make this happen.

Click here to sign the petition.

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.

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!
 
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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

    To learn about our advocacy work, click here to sign up to our free online advocacy course!

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.