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Fight 4 Facts!

It is one of the worst kept secrets in Australia that the Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) produces misleading unemployment and underemployment statistics.

Even the former head of the ABS Bill McLennan has stated that ABS employment data “is not worth the paper they are written on”. Glenn Stevens, while Governor of the Reserve Bank, had similar concerns about the quality of unemployment data.

According to the ABS, Australians who work more than one hour are considered to be employed. This has allowed the Government to hide the true nature of of Australia’s growing employment crisis.

As part of the its Fight4Facts campaign, the AUWU will release monthly figures showing the true nature of Australia’s employment crisis.

The AUWU’s releases will coincide directly with the distorted and ideological picture of unemployment presented by the
ABS. Please share throughout your networks.



February 2017

Feb press release
Fairfax article





Newstart Vs Poverty Line

Fro the late 1970s onward (when the dole was made equal with the Henderson poverty line by the Whitlam Government), the dole has been sinking further and further below the poverty line. Today it is the worst it has ever been.


Below is a comparison of the current maximum rate of the dole (including rent assistance) with the current Henderson Poverty Line has calculated each quarter by the Melbourne Institute.

March 2016 Quarter

Henderson Poverty Line: $1049.78 per fortnight
Maximum Newstart Rate (including rent assistance): $658

$391.78 below the poverty line per fortnight


Your Rights Workshop (Melbourne)

Community Hub Room (Urban Communities), Ground Floor
Kensington Public Housing Estate
94 Ormond Road, Kensington, 3031
Snacks provided
Free, open to all
Hosted by Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU)

Find out
– why job agencies are not on your side
– what you can do about your job plan
– what you can do about your Work for the Dole placement
– how to fight back

Workshop Schedule
2:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.
Workshop: overview of your rights under the law, hear what other Newstart recipients are dealing with.

3:00 p.m. — 4:00 p.m.
Drop-in: no appointment necessary, one-on-one with an AUWU delegate. We can help you make the best of a bad situation. (Note: the AUWU does not offer legal advice.)

Getting there:
– Williamstown train to South Kensington Station, walk (about 200m): across Childers St, turn right, and walk along Ormond Road, up the hill keeping JJ Holland Park on your left. 94 is the tower just past a block of flats.

– bus 402 along Kensington Rd. to Derby St, walk (about 500m): south along Derby St, turn right into Ormond Rd.

What to do if you get cut off Newstart

If you are one of the many thousand of unemployed Australians who get cut off their Newstart, it is important that you ‘re-engage’ as quick as possible in order to get back on the payment and avoid losing money.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to get back on the payment after you get cut off.

  1. Call the Centrelink Participation Team

    First you need to work out your problem with Centrelink.

    It is a common mistake for people to go to their job agency to work out your problem. However, job agencies are very untrustworthy and can give you incorrect information.

    By calling the Centrelink Participations Team on 1300 306 325 you can go over the head of your agency and work out the problem with Centrelink directly.

    In fact, the Centrelink Participation Team are required to call you to sort out the issue immediately after you get suspended from payment.

  2. Call your Job Agency to Reschedule a ‘Re-engagement’ Appointment

    In order to get back on the payment, you must be attending monthly appointments with your job agency. If you have not already got an appointment booked, call up your job agency and ask for them to reschedule a ‘re-engagement’ appointment.

    Remember you have the right to reasonable notice of at least 3 calendar days before the reschedule you, although you may want to attend the appointment as soon as possible if you are required to re-engage.

  3. Make a complaint (if applicable)

    We encourage all breached unemployed workers to make a complaint if they feel they have been unfairly penalised. Please click here for more information.

    We would also greatly appreciate it if you could send your stories to us so we can publicise the abuse of unemployed workers (anonymously) on our facebook and website.


Fight the Fine Phone Bank

Fight the Fine Phone Banking(3)

In late March, the Senate will be debating the Coalition’s bill propsing to give job agencies unprecedented powers to fine unemployed workers.
After protesting against this bill outside Senators offices, the Australian Unemployed Workers Union is now encouraging its members to call their local Senators and voice their opposition to this cruel and punitive bill.
With many independents yet to make up their minds and Labor clearly unaware of the dangers of this bill, we feel this phone banking campaign could stop this bill in its tracks. We encourage our members to make calling independents a priority, then call Labor party members secondly.
At a bare minimum, we must let them know we are watching their vote and will hold them accountable!
Choose a local senator from the below list – every Senator except Liberals (who have pledged to vote for) and the Greens (who have pledged to vote against) – and start fighting this fine!
Ricky Muir (Motor Enthusiast Party): (03) 5144 3639 / 1300 965 848 (toll free)
John Madigan (Independent): (03) 5331 2321
Kim Carr (Labor): (03) 9639 2798
Jacinta Collins (Labor): (03) 9890 7022
Stephen Conroy (Labor): (03) 9391 4952 / 1300 131 546 (toll free)
Gavin Marshall (Labor): (03) 9348 9699
David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democratic Party): (02) 9719 1078 / 1300 884 092 (toll free)
Doug Cameron (Labor, responsible for party speeches on this bill): (02) 4751 4288 / 1300 226 005 (toll free)
Sam Dastyari (Labor): (02) 9326 5987 / 1300 880 904 (toll free)
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells (Labor): (02) 4226 1700 / 1300 735 268 (toll free)
Jenny McAllister (Labor): (02) 9719 8100 / 1300 301 752 (toll free)
Deboray O’Neill (Labor): (02) 4367 4565
Fiona Nash (Nationals): (02) 6382 3400
John Williams (Nationals): (02) 6721 4500 / 1300 301 816 (toll free)
Glenn Lazarus (Independent): (07) 3001 8940
Chris Ketter (Labor): (07) 3881 3710 / 1300 884 489 (toll free)
Joeseph Ludwig (Labor): (07) 3229 4477 / 1300 301 944 (toll free)
Jan McLucas (Labor): (07) 4031 6009 / 1300 301 959 (toll free)
Claire Moore (Labor): (07) 3252 7101 / 1300 301 879 (toll free)
Matthew Canavan (Nationals): (07) 4927 2003 / 1300 301 887 (toll free)
Barry O’Sullivan (Nationals): (07) 4638 7555
Bob Day (Family First): (08) 8331 0151 / 1300 554 166 (toll free)
Nick Xenophon (Independent): (08) 8232 1144 / 1300 556 115 (toll free)
Alex Gallagher (Labor): (08) 8269 6022
Anne McEwen (Labor): (08) 8352 7477 / 1300 889 477 (toll free)
Penny Wong (Labor): (08) 8212 8272 / 1300 301 698 (toll free)
Zhenya Wang (Palmer United Party): (08) 9486 9650
Joe Bullock (Labor): (08) 9260 5090 / 1300 301 726 (toll free)
Sue Lines (Labor): (08) 9481 4844 / 1300 655 388 (toll free)
Glenn Sterle (Labor): (08) 9455 1420 / 1300 666 494 (toll free)
Jacqui Lambie (Independent): (03) 6431 2233
Catryna Bilyk (Labor): (03) 6229 4444 / 1300 855 225 (toll free)
Carol Brown (Labor): (03) 6231 0099 / 1300 301 532 (toll free)
Helen Polley (Labor): (03) 6331 2599 / 1300 134 923 (toll free)
Lisa Singh (Labor): (03) 6223 1135
Anne Urquhart (Labor): (03) 6423 1933 / 1300 792 331 (toll free)
—— ACT ——
Katy Gallagher (Labor): (02) 6230 0411
—— Northern Territory ——
Nova Peris (Labor): (08) 8941 0003
Nigel Scullion (Country Liberal): (08) 8948 3555
Under this bill, unemployed workers can be fined 10% of their Newstart entitlement (increasing by 10% each day until they ‘reengage’) if they:
– fail to sign a job plan at first appointment
– are found by the job agency to have behaved ‘innapropriately’ at an appointment (“innapropriate behaviour” is vauguely defined as acting in a manner “such that the purpose of the appointment is not achieved”.)
– fail to attend Work for the Dole or Training exercise without an excuse deemed reasonsable by the job agency
Fines will be deducted immidately. Due to the slow and arduous Centrelink appeals process, wrongly accused unemployed workers will have to wait months before they can get their money back.
We have seen a number of our members being fined unfairly and being forced to wait 3-4 months as they chase this money that was incorrectly taken from them.
With the Newstart Allowance is already $380 below the poverty line per fortnight, how are fined unemployed workers meant to survive?
The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union strongly condems the Coalition’s cruel and punitive approach to the unemployed.
By giving the dysfunctional employment services industry the power to financially penalise the 750,000+ unemployed Australians, this bill will only push Australia’s most disadvantaged deeper in poverty, and ultimately, away from employment.
Please join our ‘Fight the Fine’ Phone Bank and help protect the rights and dignity of unemployed workers!
——— EMAILS ———
Additionally, you can urge the Senators to oposse this punitive bill by email. The emails of all Senators are follows (feel free to copy all emails and email them all at once!):,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, senator.o’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Work for the Dole Abuses

Unemployed workers are forced to do all sorts of unfair and unsafe Work for the Dole activities, and are ridiculed and humiliated while they do them.

This page is a way to collect all these stories. If you have an experience, please email us on or post it below.

Story #1

“Afternoon I’m new here and just have a question regarding wftd. I waked on mine after four days since I was ridiculed and demeaned whenever possible and insulted before I finished what little I was asked to do this morning and left. I called my jsa and she said I need wait for her manager to be in so I can do a statement however I’m extremely worried centrelink will be stopped since I walked. Is that legal if I do get cut since I left before I broke and with what little dignity I had?? I live alone and my home is the home my kids come to during holidays its hard enough to survive I can’t risk not getting paid even just once. Thank you for allowing me to rant.”