The Daily Telegraph’s hate affair with dole bludgers continues today with an article entitled “Turn back the bludgers”:

“Dole recipients are ripping off millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money by exploiting a loophole that allows them to knock back jobs without losing welfare payments”.

According to the article, “the bludgers are rejecting jobs because ‘shifts fall on their golf day’ or they don’t want ‘to work hard’”.

The Daily Telegraph went to Bondi Beach looking for bludgers, and saw plenty of candidates lying in the sun on the taxpayer’s dollar,” the article stated. Because naturally everyone who goes to the beach on a Monday is getting Newstart  — even the tourists. Alas, it seems the paper couldn’t check. “Not surprisingly they weren’t too keen to talk to us, or have their ­picture taken,” the article reads.

The dole bludger beat at the Daily Tele has a long history. In May 2011, theTele published an article, “Rush to dob in a dole-bludger”, and argued that “ordinary Australians have turned public spies for the Federal Government as the number of informants dobbing in welfare cheats is set to reach the highest on record”.

In June 2011, the paper linked disability support pensions and Australians injured in warfare. “More residents of NSW are now on the disability support pension than the total number of Australians injured in 127 years of warfare”, claimed the opening salvo. Exactly why the comparison between these two groups was so shockingly scandalous wasn’t clear. Which partly explains why the front-page splash eventually lead to an adverse ruling from the Press Council.

Three years later, the Tele updated the public on this warfare-to-welfare comparison with a front-page spread on May 23, 2014, writing that “NSW Disability Support Pensioners now outnumber Australia’s total war wounded by more than 44,000”.

On January 14, 2015, the Tele published an article labelling the young unemployed as “job snobs”, “dole-bludgers” and “too lazy to pick up $250 a day picking fruit”.

By July of the same year, the paper wrote another article entitled, “Milking the system”, arguing that “more than 70 per cent of people on the dole have been milking the taxpayer for more than a year”. The article didn’t discriminate, though, noting how it’s both the young and old who are “milking” taxpayer money and forcing the government to battle “an annual welfare bill that is now double the entire NSW budget spend”.

In September the paper reported:

“Almost 40,000 dole bludgers who were making no effort to find a job have been told to ‘get off the couch’ and find work as part of the federal government’s new Jobactive scheme”.

Peter Fray

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