100 signatures reached
To: Michaelia Cash
Restore Unemployed Workers' Rights of Appeal!
Minister Cash, unemployed workers deserve fair treatment. Like everyone else, they deserve the right to appeal against unfair government decisions.
Last year, you took away the right of unemployed workers to appeal against unfair penalties. As a result, according to the Guardian "there has been a 70% increase in the number of suspensions, with job seekers having their payments temporarily cut off 2.3 million times in 2018-19".
Without any right of appeal, unemployed workers have nowhere they can turn if their privately-owned employment service provider cuts their payment and are being increasingly pushed deeper in poverty, homelessness, and even suicide.
Privately owned companies now have the power of life and death over unemployed workers. This is a national disgrace.
Minister Cash, you must respect the human rights of the unemployed. Restore unemployed workers' right to appeal!
Why is this important?
During the 2015-16 financial year, 50% of penalties imposed on unemployed workers have been overturned by Centrelink upon appeal.
This adds up to roughly 1 million unfair penalties being dished out to unemployed workers every year by privately owned agencies.
In any other area of government policy, a 50% error rate would be a crisis. Rather than addressing this crisis, Minister Cash decided to strip unemployed workers of their right to appeal. Now, she using the high rate of penalties to justify further punishment of unemployed workers.
This unfair compliance regime has had a catastrophic impact on the lives of unemployed workers. As reported by the New Daily, this punitive policy is driving people into poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and even suicide.
Kristian Clancy, 32, was cut off his Newstart payment for not attending a employment service provider appointment despite informing his agency he had a shift that day.
Melissa Fisher, 37, was cut off her Newstart due to her employment service provider mistakenly reporting she did not attend an appointment.
Zeya Raymond* (name changed) was incorrectly cut of by her employment service provider which led to her contemplating suicide.
These are only a few of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers being unfairly cut off by their privately owned employment service provider.
By stripping unemployed workers of their right to appeal unfair penalties and denying them a right to a reasonable excuse, the Coalition is creating a segregated society.
Unemployed Australians – people who have ended up unemployed due to no fault of their own – are being branded as second-class citizens. If an unemployed worker faces an abusive employment service provider, there is nothing they can do. They have nowhere to turn.
We know the employment services system is broken. In 2018-19, job agencies imposed 2.3 million penalties on unemployed workers - a seven times increase since 2010.
Why is the Coalition giving job agencies more powers to punish unemployed workers?
Join the AUWU's struggle for dignity. Sign the petition.
Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/aug/08/more-than-120000-people-whose-welfare-was-suspended-were-not-at-fault-data-shows?fbclid=IwAR2-lmi6UIcFmjD4X9CAFGQYAgekL_JuwbMGWEo_neWMp0DgFgg6U7Annsw