Welfare: help or hindrance to job-seekers?

At an average cost of $3.50 for a small store-bought coffee, I’ve been having my daily cuppa at home. However, every few days, I like to treat myself to a professionally made one by frequenting a cafe near Amanda’s school. Nothing beats the taste and smell of freshly ground arabica beans, and if you usually dash out of the house before having breakfast like me, you’ll want something to go with your coffee.

My choice of late has been samosas. I normally have two to go with my coffee, which will keep me suitably satisfied until lunch. This morning, while filling in my order for coffee and samosas, the owner of the cafe I go to said, “Marg’s leaving us.”

I had no idea what he was on about. Who’s Marg? His wife?

“Marg’s promised to teach me to make samosas before she leaves.”

Oh, that’s who Marg is. The lady who makes MY samosas.

“Where is she off to?” I asked, privately worried for my future supply of samosas.

“She’s going rural. A requirement of her permanent residence visa is that she go to the countryside for 3 years.”

“Can’t you tell the department of immigration that you need her in your shop?”

“I’ve told them but they won’t listen. I advertised for 3 months in the papers to get a local but the only people who enquired after the job were Indians, Greeks and Italians. The locals prefer to go on the dole.”

“I thought people have to work for the dole now.”

“They still have that grace period, before they have to attend interviews or go onto any of the job schemes. Tell you what, Aussies are just plain lazy.”

For the record, the owner of the cafe is a white Aussie dude. Working with him was another white Aussie dude and one white Aussie dudette. Neither took offence to what he was telling me as I paid my bill.

But to say ALL Aussies are lazy is patently unfair. I’ve come across some pretty hard-working ones during my many moves across the country. Notably, many are in business for themselves. It figures, if you are going to put your nose to the cliched grindstone, you mights as well do so for yourself. That’s the same across any race or culture. We always work much harder at our own projects than we would at anyone else’s.

Be that as it may, is the safety-net that is the dole, helpful or a hindrance in getting people back on their feet? As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the upside of our welfare system is that nobody goes hungry. However, it is also what dissuades people from actively seeking work. Crafty ones moonlight while collecting the dole. Others contend that with current welfare rules being what they are, it makes more sense to go on the dole instead of eking a living doing menial jobs. After all, the difference between working part-time for the minimum wage and going on the dole can be as little as $30 a week.

Most single mothers can only work part-time because it is hard raising children alone while putting in 40 hour weeks. Single people or childless couples, none of whom draw any benefits but contribute to the public kitty, argue that they shouldn’t have to pay for other people’s lifestyle choices. I agree, but would assert that most couples with children draw as many benefits if not more than their single counterparts. So why go after the single mothers? After all, it is with the government’s help that most mothers of young children manage to stay at home. Without tax benefit part A and B, rent assistance and baby bonuses, most mothers, single or married, would be forced to put children in childcare from birth, like in Asia. If not, how would they be able to go to work?











2 thoughts on “Welfare: help or hindrance to job-seekers?

  1. It is happening here in Malaysia where sourcing for local employees are getting sparse even though we hardly have welfare system. It seems many prefer to do sales or marketing or insurance or unit trust jobs instead of getting their hands dirty in trades (which pays well).

    Apparently the work does not commensurate the pay. Then what do they live on? It is a mystery but my guess is they are living on FAMA.

    • Well, Malaysians have long been known to work illegally in Japan and the US. When they go back to Malaysia, they find local wages unappealing because they’re constantly comparing it to that earned abroad. Hence, I suspect, the inactivity.

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