Category Archives: Announcements

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 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 and we will send you the leaflet in the mail.

Join our new online groups!

Join our new online groups (at! 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.

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.




Problems With the INDUE Healthy Welfare Card

The INDUE card is very different from a bankcard. It operates as a credit card in the sense that the 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 a person becoming ill and spending a period of time in hospital (for mental health patients this can amount to regular periods of many months) this becomes a significant revenue stream for the company INDUE who have ownership of accrued interest. In other words INDUE & Eftpos get to keep your small change, the stuff that used to go in the jar above the fridge that comes in handy to pay the winter electricity bill with.

Other problems that present with cashless welfare in a society where the welfare payments don’t lift people over the poverty line is that mainstream shopping is just to expensive, flexible rental arrangements will be impossible to handle, share housing and split bills will be impossible to manage, emergency situations requiring cash will be impossible to manage. People will not be able to “chip in” or help each other financially from fortnight to fortnight. Another very dubious fact around cashless welfare is that the company managing it are not a bank and will not 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.

The Cashless welfare card, termed by Government as the Healthy Welfare Card, will mean the end of consumer anonymity for welfare recipients while the rest of society is free to engage in whatever transactions they choose. By removing choice and variety from welfare recipients the card will ensure the unemployed and underemployed are even more stigmatised than we already are.

The INDUE cashless welfare card will mean that all transactions will have to be made through an eftpose machine, if a business / trader does not rent an eftpos machine then no transaction can be made. This cuts out a wide variety of cheaper alternatives to mainstream shopping that welfare recipients rely on including many second hand and opportunity shops, farmers markets and trash and treasures, garage sales, all second-hand goods trading between friends and aquaintences, private owner second hand vehicals and parts, side of the road food and produce stores, regional swimming pools and many youth orientated activities, sausage sizzles, arts markets, small traders, schools and neighbourhood fund raising initiatives, small scale school excursions, lunch orders and raffels. Eftpos transactions and inter-banking (transfers and payment of invoices) will mean that mortguage payments and other payments can become more expensive with extra fees being required from receiving banks and organisations as well as transaction charges being applied. Eptpos is a company which makes money from transactions and card, it is wholly owned by its 18 Members and all profits from cashless welfare transactions will go to these companies:

Justice For Josh Rallies Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the tragic death of Josh Park-Fing at his Work for the Dole site in Toowoomba.

The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union are holding rallies in Sydney and Melbourne tomorrow to demand Justice For Josh and that the dangerous Work for the Dole and Community Development Program be shut down.

If you can’t come and show your support in person, please share the Justice For Josh campaign and petition throughout your network under the #JusticeForJosh handle.

Speakers for Melbourne rally (12pm, State Library of Victoria) include:

Ged Kearney (President, ACTU)
Sophie Johnstone (President, NUS)
David Thompson (CEO, Jobs Australia)
Lisa Newman (Deputy National President, CPSU)
Godfrey Moase (Assistant General Branch Secretary, NUW)
Owen Bennett (President, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union)

Speakers for Sydney rally (1pm, 137 – 153 Crown Street, Darlinghurst):

Ed Husic (Shadow Minister for Employment Services, ALP)
Mark Morey (Secretary, Unions NSW)
Peter Davidson (ACOSS, Senior Policy Advisor)
Raul Bassi, Lizzy Jarred (Indigenous Social Justice Association)
Bill Keats (Sydney Branch, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union)

There will be a Justice For Josh Memorial in Toowoomba on Saturday 22 April.



Labor has called for a Senate inquiry into the fraught Community Development Program, with the support of the Greens.

Communities across the Northern Territory and Western Australia have consistently told us that this system leaves people in more debt, without food to feed their families, in rental arrears and feeling hopeless, struggling with an infuriating bureaucratic reporting process.

In 2016 an ANU report labelled the CDP a policy disaster that widens gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, rather than closing them.

The Inquiry’s comprehensive terms of reference will give CDP participants and stakeholders the opportunity to make submissions that reflect the true nature of the fraught CDP.

The inquiry is an opportunity to hear directly from CDP participants and communities to provide authentic insight into the shambolic process of CDP.

Through community engagement and direct involvement in the submission making process, there is the real potential to make significant improvements in addressing employment across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

The motion to establish the committee was tabled in the Senate on 22 March, 2017.

The Inquiry will review the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of the Community Development Program (CDP), with specific reference to:

  1. the adequacy of the policy process that led to the design of the CDP;
  2. the nature and underlying causes of joblessness in remote communities;
  3. the ability of the CDP to provide long term solutions to joblessness, and to achieve social, economic and cultural outcomes that meet the needs and aspirations of remote Indigenous people;
  4. the impact of the CDP on the rights of participants and their communities, including the appropriateness of the payments and penalties systems;
  5. the funding of the CDP, including the use of unspent funds in the program;
  6. the extent of consultation and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the design and implementation of the CDP, and the role for local decision making within the program;
  7. alternatives approaches to addressing joblessness and community development in remote Indigenous communities; and
  8. any other related matters.