Musical chairs

Tony Abbott’s brilliant idea of quarantining 50% of dole payments for “necessities” will have no practical effect: in metropolitan areas where most people live, the full dole plus rent aid is less than the average rent. It’s already quarantining itself.

His “reform” package will no doubt appease his fans in shock-jock land who believe the unemployed are living the high life at their expense, but with both major parties subscribing to an economic theory that regards unemployment under 5% (that’s one human being in twenty) as too low, what is gained by flagellating the losers in a game of musical chairs?

Forcing people into oxymoronic “Work for the dole” press-gangs is not going to improve their prospects or self-esteem. If there is work to be done, pay people to do it, if training is needed, provide it.

If Abbott really wanted to save tax money he would tackle middle-class welfare – but that would cost votes.

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