The media today was awash with post-Budget analysis, not the least the ABC. I turned into The World Today, ABC Radio’s midday current affairs show, to hear their economic editor, Stephen Long, drop a real clanger.
Eleanor Hall, the host of The World Today, asked him about whether Labor’s moves to get those on parenting payments and disability support pensions will work. Stephen started off making a good point, that long term unemployed people need help to get back into work as they can be unready.
But then he said something that I think reveals a real ideological bias, one that even Labor has nothing to do with any more. Let’s turn to the transcript:
But the other side is there is an assumption in all the discussion around this from the Government and just about everybody that somehow this is a universally good thing, that any job is better than no job and we will be giving these people the dignity of work, the dignity of labour.
Now there is a whole body of medical research and other research that actually says that pushing people into low wage, insecure jobs that can often be quite oppressive and give people little control can actually undermine their health and well being.
So in other words, if your crappy job (of which I hold two of at the moment) is getting you down, quit because Centrelink has got your back. Stephen Long thinks that the dignity of unemployment and being on the dole is greater than the dignity of putting in a hard day’s labour, even if is a real s**t kicking job.
I’m sure this logic is exactly why isolated Indigenous communities, where intergenerational welfare dependency is entrenched and prospects of finding a job are very low, are happy, fun places filled with rainbows and sunshine and smiling children. Just ask Noel Pearson.
So to all you dole bludgers, don’t stress. The ABC says you guys are all fine. And if someone should know what it’s like to sponge off the taxpayer, it would be the ABC.