May 19, 2010

‘They don’t give a shit about young people’: the shelved welfare report

Federal youth minister Kate Ellis ordered the Salvation Army to shelve a report slamming her department's treatment of disadvantaged young people, fearing pre-Budget backlash.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Federal youth minister Kate Ellis ordered the Salvation Army to shelve a report slamming her department’s treatment of disadvantaged young people, the Salvos say, apparently because she feared a political backlash among a key constituency in an election year.


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52 thoughts on “‘They don’t give a shit about young people’: the shelved welfare report

  1. Gary Johnson

    (((“Kate Ellis is the minister for delayed reports. It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” he said.)))

    It must be contagious up Canberra way.

    (((The government was singled out for not doing enough on homelessness, despite Kevin Rudd’s pledge to fix the issue in a whistle-stop tour of shelters after the 2007 election.))))

    Again…surprise surprise!!!

    Now lemme see here…ETS, Pink Batts, Education Revolution, FIRB among countless others and now a failure to act on homelessness.

    We should call the Rudd govt… the “Claytons” govt….the govt you have when your not having a govt.

  2. Michael Wilbur-Ham

    An excellent report of yet another failure of the Rudd government to live up to its spin.

    But the article also shows what is wrong with our political debate.

    The Opposition are asked their opinion, and say “there was nothing in the recent federal budget to fix the problems in the system.”

    No questions of what is meant by this, and what the Opposition think should be done. Are we meant to believe that the Opposition think that more money should have been spent fixing these problems?

    This is just one case of many where the real opposition is The Greens. But, as usual, they are ignored.

    And if the MTM report on this, even (or should I say especially) the Age and the ABC are almost certain to do so in a similar way to the above article.

  3. Meski

    @Michael: Re the Greens: Perhaps they are a real opposition, but people aren’t prepared to risk electing them in the lower house (there are odd exceptions, but pretty much this is the case. Electing them as a check and balance in the upper house is another matter. I’d be happy to se more there.

  4. Michael Wilbur-Ham


    A real democracy is when an INFORMED electorate can, in a fair way, elect their leaders.

    My concern is that with the constant media focus on the two major parties, the electorate are kept in the dark.

    If an informed electorate does not vote Green then that is democracy in action.

  5. jacksont

    I have family members who are involved with working with homeless youth and they all have said the same thing over the past 2 years, that Kate Ellis and her department have done nothing to address the problems that have built up after years of neglect under the Howard government.

    As for the greens, they have a good chance of picking up Lindsay Tanners lower house seat of Melbourne. As someone who lives in this electorate I can tell you that people are seething over issues like lack of action on climate change, labors tough stance on refugees, opposition to gay marriage, internet filter etc etc.

  6. Meski

    I wasn’t ‘young’ the last time I ‘interacted’ with CentreLink, but the comments from the young people seemed spot on. Condescending supercilious bastards R Us

  7. shepherdmarilyn

    But all of this stuff has been reported over and over again, wasn’t anyone listening?

    I have a 19 year old grand-daughter, Centrelink kept losing her details and insisting she didn’t actually exist.

    It took numbers of phone calls and visits before they got it.

    Her provider is paying for driving lessons, TAFE courses and so on and now that she is connected to a proper provider she feels much more secure and well looked after.

    There was in fact a further $119 million in the budget for this sort of program.

  8. Tom Jones

    The problem for Kate Ellis is the same one that Julia Gillard faces. The same people who brought us Workchoices and the lack of care for people’s fate are in charge. The Department has spent nothing on training its staff for the last three years and so the culture is the same as it was when Workchoices was the flavour of the month.

    Not only Youth are affected but childcare too as it was removed from families and put with work. The Ministers if they survive should demand that the staff receive training on Government initiatives. Cutting Centrelink by 2,000 staff and DEEWR by 525 staff will not help, but the real problem is a failure by the government to make sure that staff are trained to understand what is required to get results rather than a report.

    This requires a complete rethink because there is no training section in Kate Ellis’s department. All that is required of staff at the moment is that the boxes are all ticked and the backsides covered in contract management. Thus the staff responsible for the report only had to make sure that it was written on time and within budget – not that anything actually comes out of it.

    No-one is held accountable for the actual end result. Heads should roll at the top but the Rudd government is too weak to make the departmental heads perform.

  9. C J

    Kate’s spent all the money – giving it to John Coates so that Krudd can bask in the reflected glory of a few more gold medals.

  10. Dajopa

    Issues with Centrelink are a symptom, not the cause of the problem. It’s the State governments that are in a better position to attack the causes, through DoCs, state police, state laws/justice systems and other community services.

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