Dump Your Demerits

On 1 July 2018, the Turnbull Government’s punitive Demerit Point system will be gunning for unemployed workers. This system strips unemployed workers of their right to appeal job agency decisions (like suspending your payments), and introduces tougher fines.
It’s easy to get involved with our Dump Your Demerits campaign. Together we are fighting back against this brutal system.

What can I do?

  1. Download and read the AUWU Dump Your Demerits campaign leaflet. Share it with other unemployed workers.
  2. Print our Dump Your Demerits leaflet at your local job agency, your local Greens, or ALP office. Hand them out. Post them around.
  3. Come along to one of our Dump Your Demerits gatherings. Pick up some leaflets and meet other unemployed workers who are helping each other resist the abuse.
  4. Follow our “how to resist” instructions on the leaflet and below — for yourself, and your loved ones. As a result of our research, and input from unemployed workers, we have detailed instructions, templates and more (click here), on how to successfully resist the abuse. For more help, contact the AUWU hotline and advocacy services. Every piece of evidence about job agency abuse you collect… every written complaint you make… every appeal you make against unfair Centrelink decisions… they all add to the case we are building together, against the “job active” system. (Its failure is one of Australia’s worst kept secrets). Act individually, and think nationally!
  5. Many AUWU members are resisting. Fill in the Job Agency Action Group form below to get in touch with fellow unemployed workers, get the latest news about our ongoing campaign, and to add your ideas to our campaigning. Or contact your AUWU representatives here.


What is the Demerit Point System?

Under this system — for the first time ever — the government has given privately owned job agencies the authority to impose payment suspensions without any government oversight. This means they have stripped unemployed workers of our right to appeal.

What can I do to block it?

How many times has your job agency suspended your payments even though you actually attended the appointment, or you tried to let them know you couldn’t make it for good reason? The government has cruelly stripped you of your rights to appeal against unfair job agency decisions (points 1-4). But together we can fight back against the Demerit Point system. You need to build your case for when you are able to appeal at points 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Follow these three steps to Dump Your Demerits!

Keep a diary of all interactions, (can include audio recordings), note dates, what was said, who said it, and how they disrespected your rights.

Complain in writing to the Department of Jobs and Small Business, your job agency, federal politicians, the media, and ASIC. More information here. This is not a random list. We have carefully selected the agencies we need to target.

Collect all complaints and evidence. You will need this for your assessments and appeals.

Remember you are not alone.

Need help recording evidence? Need help writing your complaint? Need help making an appeal?
Get assistance from an AUWU advocate, at our national advocacy service here.
Unemployed workers are uniting to fight back against this unfair system. The government’s punitive $10 billion job agency system will crumble under the weight of its own unworkable system. The cracks are already forming!
Join the fight, and Dump Your Demerits!

More Nasty Details

The changes were made in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017, which was passed by federal parliament on 26 March 2018.

This legislation comes with other nasty “reforms”:

  • Throughout all phases, if you refuse paid work, voluntarily leave a job, or are dismissed for misconduct from a job, your payment will stop for 4 weeks. This cannot be waived.
  • Job seekers will no longer be able to use drug or alcohol dependency as a reasonable excuse for being unable to meet their mutual obligation requirements, unless they agree to seek treatment. It sees drug and alcohol dependency as a moral issue, not the health issue it is.
  • Longer wait times for new applicants… and we know how easy the application process is — not!
  • A new single JobSeeker Payment will progressively replace or consolidate seven existing payments between March 2020 and January 2022. No more Widow Allowance — too bad grieving widows, you now get to go onto Newstart. And no more Sickness Allowance.


National Social Security Rights Network – fact sheet about the new system

In the Media

An opinion piece in The Guardian (Australian edition): The demerit system is ruthless social policy, designed to keep the poor powerless by Jeremy Poxon, Monday 2 July 2018, says: “a culture of lawlessness and unaccountability already pervades the employment services sector. Under the new “demerit point” scheme, this $10bn industry will enjoy even more freedom to run riot. The 800,000 unemployed workers attending job agencies will be left to fend for themselves.”

An article in The Guardian (Australian edition): Jobseeker service failures revealed as Coalition accused of ‘digital stuff-up’ by Paul Karp, Thursday 5 July 2018, says: “…the Australian Unemployed Workers Union launched its Dump Your Demerits campaign in Sydney, lobbying against changes on 1 July that granted job agencies new powers to punish Newstart recipients for failing to perform compulsory activities.”

One AUWU Member’s Story

Today I got on the phone to have an unfair demerit point on my jobactive profile removed. It’s my opinion that my DSP (APM) are responsible – albeit accidentally – for the demerit point.

APM said that they couldn’t do anything to reverse the demerit point, even if it is unjust, if the demerit has already been applied.

When I called Centrelink they said that the only way I could challenge the demerit point was to contact Jobs Australia (03 9349 3699).

Jobs Australia took my name and Centrelink CRN and said that they would get one of their “policy advisors” to call me back.

I didn’t receive a call from Jobs Australia so I called back. She referred me to the main complaints line. I said I’ve already contacted them.

I called the customer service line and spoke to a nice lady who spoke to her manager and yes, your service provider should be able to remove a demerit point from your file. They said that the service provider should be able to access the information to achieve this.

So yeah, it appears job seekers don’t have an adequate method of appealing an unfair decision with the new compliance system.

UPDATE: Well I’m really in the twilight zone now!!

Apparently I was exited out of the Jobactive system.

I’ve been bounced back and forth between CRRS (Dept of Social Services) and the CSL (Dept of Jobs)

I wrote a long email last night to my local member Ross Hart MP. That’s all I can do at the moment.