Crikey readers have their say on Rolf Harris, unemployment and other issues of the day.
Crikey writes: Yesterday we ran a story (“Disgraced Harris’ reputation will never recover”) on which one of the people quoted said that O.J. Simpson was an A-lister at Hollywood parties. As several readers have pointed out, he’s not; he’s serving time in prison.
Delicate language between Israel and Palestine
Paul Byrne writes: Re. “Is East Jerusalem ‘occupied’ or ‘disputed’? Media organisations split on Israel/Palestine” (yesterday). I am outraged that Crikey would print an article like this without highlighting that according to international law, the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, Palestinian territories that are under the control of Israel are “occupied territories”. Please respond with a correction and do not use the lame excuse that the article is merely describing the usage of terms by various media outlets, that would be just insulting and below what I would expect from Crikey. Will you next be telling us that that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was also legal and debatably desirable?
Footy fans vote with their wallets
Mary Noonan writes: Re. “Footy fail: the AFL has lost its way” (Tuesday). Thank you, Adam Schwab — those sentiments about the out of touch AFL are spot on! I work and live in Frankston. In order to get to a night time match I have to swap my five-hour afternoon shift with the morning person, thus getting up at 6.30am. After my shift I return home and do all the “mum” stuff for a few hours, leaving home to walk to the station and catch the train up to Richmond. I try to get there before the rush to get a good seat, so I usually arrive by 7pm. The bloody game doesn’t start until nearly 8pm. After it’s over, I trudge back with all the other idiots like myself and join the throng at Richmond station. I usually arrive back at the Frankston station at about 10 minutes to midnight, and stomp home in the freezing cold, cursing to myself, “next winter I am voting with my feet”. Well, this winter I’ve done just that. Much to my amazement it seems that we’ve all reached critical mass in 2014. The amount of times I’ve see the ‘G totally empty at 2pm on a Saturday and Sunday just makes my blood boil. I’m thrilled with their dwindling attendances, long may it continue. The AFL really needs to start to show us the respect we deserve. I should not have to endure an 18-hour effort to watch my team play a game of footy.
Welfare to work ignores the real issues behind unemployment
Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “British disability reforms a perfect model of a mess” (Tuesday). The key point missing from this story is the current job vacancy rate. It stands at around five-plus unemployed persons for every vacancy, the lowest for many years. Or, if you use the real unemployment rate, it stands at 15 to 20-plus unemployed for every vacancy, depending on one’s skill level. Another one million Australians are underemployed, so why add in DSP recipients to this bloated figure? If every job available (140,000, advertised and not advertised) was filled instantly, there would still be more than 700,000 people unemployed — or more than two million if you used a more accurate definition of unemployment. The ABS survey of the real level of unemployment refers to this. The vacancy rate shows that the most important thing to do is increase the supply of jobs, not increase the employability of unemployed people.
Since the Australian government began its welfare-to-work blitz, the proportion of unemployed people out of work for over a year has gone up. More people than ever are starving on the miserly Newstart allowance, one of the lowest in the developed world. The labour market isn’t getting better. Any signs of so-called improvement is usually due to a drop in the participation rate and on the most important measure of all — vacancies — it’s getting much worse. As for the morass of different payments, the only way out of this mess is to have a guaranteed minimum income payment, a payment based on how the basic wage was formulated so many years ago.