Category Archives: Announcements


Remember when you had to select a provider and had no information to help you decide? Imagine how much better it would have been if you had accurate information based on real feedback from the people who know best – unemployed workers.

Australia’s employment services are failing unemployed workers.  The AUWU, together with our partners at Monash University, want to change that – but we need your help.

To start the survey please click on this link: HELP US CREATE A RATING SCALE OF EMPLOYMENT PROVIDERS

We know that in health, education, and aged care for example, when you systematically ask people who use a service to rate their experience, the feedback can lead to big improvements.  To do that for employment services, we need a reliable rating scale that people trust.  Right now, there is no rating scale for employment services, so we are creating one.

To do this, we need to start with dozens of test questions and then narrow them down to the “best” ones and this is where you can help.

If you are interested in participating, before you start the survey, you will be asked to read the information for participants and confirm that you:

  • are at least 18 years old
  • are, or have been within the last year, a client of an employment service
  • have understood the information for participants
  • know that you stop at any time

To start the survey please click on this link: HELP US CREATE A RATING SCALE OF EMPLOYMENT PROVIDERS

You can also help us by forwarding on this to anyone you know who is a client of an employment service.  We especially want to hear from anyone who is taking part in the online employment services trial

We need at least 100 unemployed workers from across Australia to take this test run.  At the end of the survey you can be entered into a draw to win one of four $50 online shopping vouchers, please provide an email address at the end of the survey.  To be eligible, you need to enter before 30th June 2020, when the prize will be drawn.  The email address you provide will not be linked to your survey answers in any way – so your responses will remain anonymous.

To start the survey please click on this link: HELP US CREATE A RATING SCALE OF EMPLOYMENT PROVIDERS

Get Paid to Attend AUWU Focus Group

Have you ever been ‘parked’ by your provider? The AUWU would like to hear from you!

‘Parking’ means that your provider has decided that you are too hard to help and limits services you are entitled to. ‘Creaming’, on the other hand, means that your provider has decided you are easy to help, or maybe even have lined up a job already, and they provide you with lots of services, including ones that you don’t need.

Together with our partners at Monash University, we are looking to hear from current and former unemployed workers about their experiences of parking (or creaming) in jobactive.

You can participate in two ways.

1.       Tell us your story here – tell us how you knew you had (have) been parked (or creamed), how that felt and what happened to you.

2.       If you live in Brisbane, Melbourne or Adelaide, you can attend a focus group (see below for more details). Focus groups will be for approximately 2 hours and participants will receive a $40 gift voucher.

Please RSVP at one of our focus groups below.

  • Brisbane: Monday 20th January at 10.00am – 12pmBrisbane Square Library 266 George Street, Brisbane, Brisbane, Australia 4000, RSVP here
  • Melbourne:  Wednesday 5th February 2.00pm – 4pmMonash University Level 7, 30 Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia 3000. RSVP here
  • Adelaide:  Thursday 6th February 12.00pm, AUWU National Office, 47 King William Rd, Unley, Adelaide, Australia 5061, RSVP Here

Please click on the event you would like to attend to sign up. We will then be in contact with you with more information about the focus groups.

All information provided will be de-identified and its collection has been approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC).

The information gathered will form a central part of the AUWU’s ongoing efforts to reform the employment services industry. There are limited spots available so get in quickly. Click here to share on facebook.

Please email David if you have any questions:


Bill Mitchell Adelaide Event, January 10

Happy new year!

2020 is a good time to be an Adelaide AUWU member.

On Friday January 10, the AUWU are thrilled to be hosting Professor Bill Mitchell – widely regarded as one of the most important and influential economists working today – in a discussion on how Modern Monetary Theory can help the Australian working class movement advance its interests.

Professor Mitchell has been a tireless advocate for governments to adopt a Job Guarantee policy – a proposal Bill helped develop in the 1990s.

WHAT: A Discussion with Bill Mitchell: Why MMT is Good for All Workers
WHEN: 4:30-6:30pm, 10 January
WHERE: SACOSS Building, 47 King William Road, Unley, Adelaide
RSVP: Tickets available here (through facebook) or here (through eventbrite). Tickets are free for AUWU members.

This event is a must-attend for everyone involved or interested in fighting for the rights and dignity of workers – both in and out of work.

The event will take place during the ‘Sustainable Prosperity Conference: Modern Money and a Green New Deal’, at which Bill Mitchell will also be speaking. We encourage you to attend this conference as well. Tickets available here.

Look forward to seeing you on the day.

2019 in Recap – A Message from AUWU National Coordinator

2019 has really been a year fit for a Charles Dickens novel. It’s been the best of the times for the AUWU and the worst of times for unemployed workers.

With Newstart being the lowest OECD unemployment benefit in the world, with the sexist and patriarchal ParentsNext, with the horrors of Robodebt, with the racist and discriminatory Cashless Debit Card, and the complete failure that is the jobactive system, it is easy to give up hope.

But the AUWU – the organised peak-body of the unemployed, underemployed, and unwaged workers’ movement which has no funding, political affiliations and is run entirely by volunteers – has been more organised, more effective, and more prominent than ever before.

Show Your Support to the AUWU by Becoming a Monthly Donor Here

My name is Alex North and I’m the National Operations Coordinator of the AUWU, and I want to take this opportunity to discuss some of our union’s key achievements this year. I’ve never been prouder to be a member of the AUWU and on behalf of the Operations Committee, I want to make sure that you feel proud of yourself and your union too.


“Comrade Barnaby, welcome to the Resistance” – Jeremy Poxon, July 28, on Sky News

2019 saw the birth of the Operations Committee of the AUWU and the massive expansion of our services and activities. The year started off with a bang with the ParentsNext senate inquiry (read our submission here) and the launch of our Dignity Not Dole campaign. It also saw the first ever AUWU Annual Plan produced by the collective efforts of the Operations Committee and the release of several viral videos of our members experiences surviving on Newstart.

(Journalist and activist Virgina Eubanks speaking on a panelat the AUWU ‘Dignity Not Dole event in March)

We’ve experimented in organising tactics as well this year. From the no.1 trending #NotaDoleBludger campaign forcing Sunrise to apologise for their perpetuation of the dole blunder myth, to our viral “Dignity Not Dole” campaign videos and actions (especially outside Frydenberg’s office organised by our Campaign Coordinator, Sean Kenny), our innovative online organising is making great strides. A big kudos is due to our comrades and supporters on Twitter, especially Asher WolfNot My Debt, and WGAR news.

Thanks to the ingenious efforts of our first-ever Online Advocacy Coordinator, Gene Saraci, the AUWU launched our first endeavour into online advocacy services. Together with our National Advocacy Coordinator, Tracey Smallwood, the AUWU’s advocacy services have never been more professional or more in demand. Advocacy is the heart and soul of the union, and through it the union helps thousands of Australians every year.

Show Your Support to the AUWU by Becoming a Monthly Donor Here

This year our National Facebook page hit 20,000 likes and maintained an incredible and dynamic post-rate thanks to the efforts of Social Media Coordinator (James Craig) and all the admins of our various AUWU pages, especially the SA-Division page passing 1,500 likes by the efforts of President Hayden Patterson.

A week does not pass when our Communications Coordinator/Media Officer, Jeremy Poxon, phone does not buzz with dozens of media requests and requests for comments. Thanks to the enormous courage of our members speaking to the media about their lived experience this year, we’ve struck the hearts and opened the eyes of millions of Australians this year.

(AUWU Media Officer, Jeremy Poxon, on Sky News)

There was the much publicised “Canberra trip” where four AUWU representatives, with the help of GetUp, met with dozens of politicians in Canberra and where Newstart recipients finally had the opportunity to represent themselves to those who make the decisions that affect their lives.

It’s been a bold year in research too. With the Greens Jobs Guarantee publication, our Mutual Obligations survey, our on-going submissions to senate inquiries, and the on-going publications of our Senior Policy Adviser, Dr Simone Casey. I would also like to thank our Researcher Connor Jolley, Professor Rob Watts, Professor Bill Mitchell, and Victor Quirk for their advice and guidance this year as well.

2019 is a historic year for the AUWU and marks the first year that a truly functioning National Structured was born. We’ve finally developed a functioning and exciting National structure here at the AUWU, and I encourage you to read our National Structure documents and get involved in 2020. For more on our activities, be sure to check out the National Organising Committee 2019 Report.

Show Your Support to the AUWU by Becoming a Monthly Donor Here

And of course, we would be nothing without our local branches and State Coordinators, bringing the fight to their local communities. I would particularly like to acknowledge the innovative organising efforts of:

  • Inner-West Sydney branch’s Art shows and community murals projects.
  • Adelaide branch’s series of prominent experts and speakers lecturing on economics, history, and public sector job creation proposals (especially Steven Hail’s Job Guarantee talk)
  • Brisbane branch’s snap-action protests and media stunts against the roll-out of the cashless welfare card.
  • Launch of the ACT/Canberra AUWU branch
  • Melbourne’s Branch’s organising outside of the jobactive senate inquiry, and the use of humour and comedy in public speeches, and over 100 photos of locals supporting Raising the Rate.
  • Ceduna branch’s coordinator assisting over 100 involuntary trial participants.
  • Frankston branch’s “Jams for Jobs and Justice” music events.
  • Perth branch’s annual May Day march participation and engagement with local trade/labour unions.
  • Among the efforts of our many more local branches.


(ACT AUWU Branch members)

For the first time since the Great Depression, unemployment is no longer being perceived as individual failing by the public. Fraser’s government, in opposition and especially in power, was the first of many Australian governments to systematically implant and foster the pernicious myth of the dole bludger in the public’s consciousness. Thanks to the countless efforts of the rank and file members of the AUWU, organising in their local community, that myth has been largely dispelled. Persus’s cap has been lifted from their eyes, and they can see the monster of systemic, structural unemployment. It is now up to us, in 2020 and beyond, to forge the connection between unemployed and employed workers’ to slay that monster.

Show Your Support to the AUWU by Becoming a Monthly Donor Here

On behalf of the Operations Committee of the AUWU, I want to personally thank each and everyone of you for on-going support of our union and the movement of unemployed, underemployed, and unwaged workers’. I apologise to all the countless comrades I have not mentioned in this email, especially our supporters at ACOSS and the COSS network, the broader Union movement, and those politicians that are trying to change things for the public good.

I will leave the last word to Charlie Fox, historian of the Unemployed workers’ movement in Victoria during the Great Depression.

Welfare history is rarely if ever written with a sense that the clients of the system have a part in the making of policy and administration. But in the 1930s, the history of unemployed relief and therefore the history of state provision for the unemployed cannot be written as a top down application of policy by either political parties, government, bureaucracies, or organisations like charities that presume to speak for clients. The clients themselves, the unemployed, demanded to be heard, and were….As individuals they were subject to the all-encompassing power of the relief system and its agents. As individuals they had lost control of their lives, they were supplicants. Collectively they were participants in Depression politics. The difference is phenomenal.

Charlie Fox, Fighting Back: The politics of the Unemployed in Victoria in the Great Depression​

In Solidarity,

Alex North

National Operations Coordinator

Employment services: a broken system that breaks people

Australia’s mutual obligation system is broken and is breaking people – say the findings of the Mutual Obligation survey

AUWU President Hayden Patterson said:

“The results of this report are a shocking indictment of the employment services system and fly in the
face of what we’ve been told unemployed workers want and need to help them get jobs.

This is the first quantitative survey of this kind that has been made possible by the strength of the
AUWU’s membership. With over 650 individual responses it is statistically significant, and contains
more data from job seekers than the government’s own expert panel report.

The results clearly show that current Mutual Obligation requirements are punitive and that the
majority of job seekers do not get any benefit from employment services. In particular, respondents
indicated a high level of dissatisfaction at the kind of activities that went into in their job plan. The
results also showed there was very little choice over activities and that job seekers were not listened
to about what they wanted to do.

The AUWU said:

“We call on the Government to undertake an urgent review of these unfair and punitive Mutual
Obligation requirements that are causing needless suffering to thousands of ordinary Australians
every day.

Final report available here: Mutual Obligation Survey Results.


Media Inquiries – Jeremy Poxon
Survey background -Simone Casey