But anybody who’s ever been on the dole knows that bogus applications are already part of the deal. It’s an especially cynical process when you know damn well that there are no jobs to be had in your industry, even for people who really want them. Sending off form letters and a skeleton CV for a bunch of roles for which you’re completely unqualified is par for the course. Right along with cash-in-hand work that even goody-two-shoes can’t claim for fear of being sacked, the interminable call waiting times, the interview queues, the random benefit cut-offs for no reason, and all the lost paperwork. One begins to wonder if “lost paperwork” is an officially sanctioned process designed to weed out the “bludgers”.
“The staff would frequently lose documents that took weeks to complete […] We ended up photocopying everything before submitting. We got to the point where we would get the counter staff to sign our photocopies to prove they were submitted. Some were submitted three times, photocopies of photocopies.”
“I applied for many jobs I was not qualified for because I had to apply for anything to make the quota,” wrote another. “I worked at a few of the places that the job service agencies put me on to for a month or so before they fired me because I couldn’t do the work, but I was never qualified for it in the first place. The job service agencies never taught me how to apply for jobs I could do, or how to find the jobs that I should have been applying for.”
Everyone has their Centrelink stories. […]
But my favourite story was told to me by a friend on disability support. Her payments had been cut off unexpectedly and without justification three times since she registered for them in 2009 — in one case, because the computer system couldn’t cope when she submitted her paperwork a week before the due date.
It’s tradition to make jokes about Centrelink, because if you didn’t laugh, you’d cry. But it doesn’t take much digging to find the serious side. The system is so broken that the only people who could conceivably derive benefit from their benefits are those who are willing to game it. And that’s the horrible, toxic justification behind these changes. They’re not designed to help anyone. Instead, they’re setting people up to fail.