Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Work-testing "draconian"

The following are excerpts from an article about Australian welfare reform posted at the World Socialist Web Site;

The new, far more draconian, system also affects single parents and the disabled, many of whom have been placed on Newstart Allowances (unemployment benefits), rather than Parenting Payments or Disability Support Pensions, for the first time from July 1. Those now being subjected to the “work test” include single parents whose youngest child has turned eight, partnered parents when their youngest child turns six, and disabled people deemed able to work between 15 and 29 hours per week.

...In addition to these measures, Family Services Minister Mal Brough recently unveiled a planned voucher scheme to restrict welfare benefits where the government alleges that children are being neglected.

Up to 40 percent of payments will be denied to drug and alcohol addicted parents, parents who allegedly gamble and parents whose children regularly skip school. Instead they will receive vouchers that can be used only on food, rent, clothing and essential bills. Brough said discussions with retailers and software companies had come up with a plan to issue a debit card that could not be used to buy certain items such as junk food or cigarettes.

This system will lead to discrimination and public humiliation, with those on vouchers assumed to be neglectful or drug-addicted.

By now I should be used to socialist views but ...I'm not. They don't accept any obligation on the behalf of people on benefits, they reject any kind of alternative work as demeaning, they express no concern about children having drug and alcohol-addicted parents but worse, all the usual suspects come out supporting them. Many of today's charities have lost their way. Traditionally charity theorists understood the principles of helping people help themselves and the value of reciprocity. Now they just indulge and manage and demand the government funds them to do it. And I could say something platitudinous about being part of the problem...

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