Politics

Scott Morrison Says People On JobSeeker Don’t Want To Work Because Welfare Is Too Generous

"So apparently we can ‘afford’ $27bn pa on military spending, but we can’t afford $17bn pa to keep JobSeeker above poverty levels."

ATO scam

The government has carried on its grand tradition of demonising unemployed Aussies by suggesting they’re refusing to work because JobSeeker is too high.

“We are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses, even large businesses,” he told 2GB radio on Monday.

“Some of them are finding it hard to get people to come and take the shifts because they’re on these higher levels of payment.”

It’s since emerged that this “feedback” is based on a handful of responses from 2,324 surveyed employers. Still, the government is using this anecdotal evidence to justify not extending the JobSeeker supplement, despite experts recommending they do.

Meanwhile, the anecdotal evidence from welfare recipients saying that the previous $40 a day dole payment was unliveable hasn’t rated a mention.

Others are pointing out that if people really are refusing to work, it could also be a reflection on stagnating wages, poor job conditions, and the fact that many casuals don’t have access to sick leave in the middle of a pandemic.

The Jobseeker payment has been doubled until the end of September to help people survive the pandemic, but experts are recommending the government extend this further.

This month the Grattan Institute — a Melbourne-based think tank — recommended the government permanently increase the Jobseeker allowance by $100 a week.

But the government is ignoring this advice by claiming the higher rate is a disincentive for people to work.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there were 129,100 job vacancies in May. According to the Prime Minister’s office, there are about 1.6 million Australians on JobSeeker.

Morrison said they’re also concerned the government is spending $11 billion a month on the wage subsidy, and wants to redirect support to industries hardest hit.

“There are many moving parts in this, this is not a simple issue,” he said.

Unrelated, today he announced $270 billion over the next decade for our defence budget, including strike weapons, underwater surveillance and cyber capabilities.

In the last month he’s also announced $1.5 billion for infrastructure projects, $680 million for residential construction, and a measly $250 million for arts (not to mention, ending JobKeeper early for childcare workers).

The JobSeeker coronavirus supplement is due to run out at the end of September.