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Crikey says: create jobs instead of punishing the unemployed

Keane on why Immigration’s Martin Bowles should be sacked. Jewish paper calls for Fairfax boycott over Carlton column. Rundle on Vic Greens rumblings. Securency scandal backgrounder. Abbott’s popularity up, but votes are flatlining. Latham slams ‘political feminists’. Brandis’ war on the opera. Carbon tax refunds. The subprime crisis … coming to a bank near you. And happy birthday to Stark Tony.

Mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest looked close to tears this morning as he described the plight of a four-year-old Aboriginal girl living on a remote community.

“I see in her the future and hope of our nation. I see in this dear little girl all the hope, all the future … And then I see beyond her, into her home, and I see her drug-addicted older sister, who’s become quite wealthy peddling drugs,” he said, at the launch of his blueprint for indigenous welfare and employment in western Sydney.

“Quite wealthy” was an odd way for the billionaire to describe a disadvantaged Aboriginal teenager, and it spoke to the disconnect between those peddling welfare reform in remote communities — notably, The Australian newspaper, Noel Pearson and the Abbott government — and those actually living in them.

It’s all very well to say we need an end to the “poison of sit-down money”, but where are the jobs to replace it? Certainly not on the communities that dot the Northern Territory desert, many of which can claim one shop that sells five-day old vegetables if they’re lucky.

The bulk of Forrest’s report, which has been embraced by the Abbott government as “bold and ambitious”, is focused on income management, punitive measures, and on blaming people who live in areas with no jobs for not having them. “It’s very easy to generate a shock horror headline — but that doesn’t help the debate,” Tony Abbott said at this morning’s launch. “Andrew Forrest and I are at one … There has to be consequences for sub-optimal behaviour.”

However, it’s clear that Forrest’s concern about the inequality facing Aboriginal people in remote communities is real — and the report does contain some admirable measures that could help create more jobs in remote areas: new job centres that fund training only when it is linked to a guaranteed job, and tax breaks for Aboriginal-run firms that have a minimum of 60% indigenous employees and 40% disadvantaged job seekers.

These will likely be overlooked as it is hijacked by the Abbott government to dodge its real responsibilities in the travesty that is Aboriginal disadvantage in this country in the 21st century.

8
  • 1
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Friday, 1 August 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    It’s all very well to say we need an end to the “poison of sit-down money”, but where are the jobs to replace it? Certainly not in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. Now come to the rescue Erica Betz …you need to furnish 40 job applications a month otherwise you’re not serious about gaining a non existent job. Oh how easy it is to pontificate about jobs and wealth if you have both don’t you think Twiggy, mr rAbbott and Erica.

  • 2
    Pedantic, Balwyn
    Posted Friday, 1 August 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    As has been pointed out in past correspondence to Crikey job applications are made today almost exclusively on-line. So for Aboriginal and other disadvantaged people the lack of access to a terminal and connectivity will be serious impediments to submitting an application, even if jobs were on offer.
    Once again our Government has demonstrated how out of touch they are with the reality of getting people into work.

  • 3
    Yclept
    Posted Friday, 1 August 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Tony Abbott said at this morning’s launch. “Andrew Forrest and I are at one … There has to be consequences for sub-optimal behaviour.”

    Oh yes there are Tony, indeed, we are all waiting for yours!

  • 4
    graybul
    Posted Friday, 1 August 2014 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    What is SUB-OPTIMAL . . is the ideology of this Government! Their disconnect from an Electorate they purport to serve. Their physical/psychological abuse of asylum seekers ie confiscation of prescribed medication. Imposition of extraordinary secrecy extending to removal of essential facts from official reports et al.

  • 5
    Tom Jones
    Posted Friday, 1 August 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately this is at least the third time that Twiggy Forrest has announced a jobs program for Aboriginal people. The first time was 10 years ago under the Abbott government. Perhaps they were all to eager to scrap CDEP which at least gave people work to maintain the community. Coming up with paying jobs such as the kind performed by local government elsewhere would be a start. However it would require more support than the meaningless cant that PM Abbott is becoming so well known for. Dollars would be required. It seems we have plenty of money judging by the amounts spent on searching for planes and on detention centres.

  • 6
    paddy
    Posted Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Ah Twiggy of the crocodile tears.
    It was fortunate (for my TV) that I didn’t have a brick handy when he “performed” his spiel about how he loved the poor and disadvantaged.

  • 7
    klewso
    Posted Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Twiggy The Altruist”? More evidence :- Roebourne, March 2011?

  • 8
    klewso
    Posted Saturday, 2 August 2014 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Yindjibarndi, Twiggy.

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