Last month, GetUp members applied for an ambitious job: helping Employment Minister Eric Abetz to rethink his ’40 jobs per month’ requirement for Newstart benefits.
Together, we flooded Senator Abetz’s office with more than 7000 ‘cover letters’ — some were funny, some heartfelt, but all demonstrated that 40 job applications a month was punitive for jobseekers and an administrative nightmare for employers. And guess what?
This morning, Senator Abetz announced that the Abbott Government would abandon its plans to up the job application target, after noting a “degree of community reaction” to the idea.
The Abbott Government has backed down in the face of powerful collective action by GetUp members, community groups, academics and the business community. Congratulations to all who took part!
Prime Minister Abbott is playing down the move, saying his party is “fair dinkum” when it comes to listening to feedback. But he can’t hide what is an obvious retreat on a deeply unpopular proposal, due to sustained, creative community outcry. Crucially, his language of consultation and compromise is a marked shift, opening the door for more backdowns on the worst parts of Mr Hockey’s budget, but only if we keep up the pressure.
That’s why GetUp members are kicking up a storm on university fee deregulation this month, rallying at senate hearings this week, hitting the streets for the Student National Day of Action on 16 October, and chipping in to a brand new ‘$100K fees’ TV ad campaign. If you haven’t yet seen our new ad, you can check it out and chip in to put it on the air here: https://getup.org.au/at-what-price
We’ll be heaping it on in coming weeks to keep the compromises coming. But in the meantime, thanks for being a part of this campaign and helping to ensure that jobseekers won’t have to jump through 40 impractical hoops to receive income support.
Let the Abbott Government’s budget backdown begin,
Nat, Sal and Mark, for the GetUp team
 ‘PM plays down job application backdown’, SBS, 7 October 2014