Australian Job Providers are Not Free Markets yet Unemployment is!

It seems to me as a person who conscientiously objected to the Job Provider system given concerns about rorting raised by the media and validated by Senate Inquiries, that the system is about restructuring to casual and free work coaching the unemployed to take anything and disregard their needs. The point of former Commonwealth Employment Services was to assist the unemployed into work. It was unconditional welfare as stipulated by the Australian Constitution as a safety net given the business community could not provide full employment.  What we are seeing today is welfare being transformed into conditional and low income support and forced into any job or working for free (work for the dole) in organisations that are unable to sustain employment. The system is extremely coercive and the ramifications for democratic choice is to lose welfare as you are deemed non compliant.  This emerges from ideologies that believe the best form of welfare is a job in a system whereby 15:1 apply for work.  Moreover, the disruption that has been spoken about is the introduction of artificial intelligence and automation replacing low level jobs. 

The current employment statistics according to ABS data is as follows:


Dec 19
Jan 20
Dec 19 to Jan 20
Jan 19 to Jan 20

Employed people (‘000)
Unemployed people (‘000)
Unemployment rate (%)
0.0 pts
0.1 pts
Underemployment rate (%)
0.0 pts
0.2 pts
Participation rate (%)
0.0 pts
0.4 pts
Monthly hours worked in all jobs (‘000 000)

So the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate there are 12.9 million employed and 709,100 unemployed.

According to my former employer, Roy Morgan research, the estimates are the following:

The latest data for the Roy Morgan employment series for January shows:

  • The workforce is 13,455,000 comprised of employed and unemployed, up only 41,000 on a year ago;

  • 1.219 million Australians were unemployed (9.1% of the workforce); a decrease of 76,000 (down 0.6%) on a year ago. In addition 1.371 million Australians (10.2% of the workforce) are now under-employed, working part-time and looking for more work, a rise of 264,000 in a year;

  • 12,236,000 Australians were employed in January – an increase of 116,000 over the past year (an average of just under 10,000 jobs added per month);

  • The increase in employment over the past year was driven entirely by an increase in part-time employment which rose 156,000 to 4,191,000 while full-time employment fell 40,000 to 8,045,000;

  • Roy Morgan real unemployment figures of 9.1% for January are substantially higher than the current ABS estimate for December 2017 of 5.5%.
Roy Morgan Unemployment & Under-employment - January 2018 - 19.3%
Source: Roy Morgan Single Source October 2005 – January 2018. Average monthly interviews 4,000.


What is evident above is that unemployment is underestimated and employment is overestimated.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics should be accurate given it is census data and can be compiled using tax information and welfare benefits statistics plus calculating under employment (hidden and unclaimed unemployment). 

My sense is that unemployment is growing as the impact of narrow human resource criteria, mandated qualification costs imposed on the job seeker, lower real income and unaffordability of a basic standard of living, contracting markets and online competition, restructuring global markets into large automated Smart Cities (automation, artificial intelligence) crowding out public space and providing access to the poor.  These new societies will be compliance designs favouring technocratic (STEM) skills rather than traditional skills along side education systems favouring online education rather than a evolving education system serving human needs and developing emotional intelligence and real connectivity in respect of communication, empathy, conflict resolution, peace education and community building.  the online environment will lower empathy, will widen income disparity, minimise welfare as a cost rather than a safety net.  There will be little room for dissent as corporations control governance in controlled hierarchies.  Influence is garnered with political donations as corporate concentration of the 1% controlling 40% of the world’s wealth influences world capital markets, precious metals and leaders worldwide.  The world is refashioned in their image to ensure maintenance of the wealth and life styles of a small number.   Market concentration happened in the time of economist Adam Smith who attempted to redistribute the wealth via taxation and competition (rationalise price given demand and supply). 

Inequality is the major disruption which cannot be gated or siloed off, it ends up repeating history as the lesson of greed has not been learned.  Greed is a mental health issue that distorts the reality of equality.  All are born equal.

If La Trobe University’s Future Report is accurate it predicts a 40% unemployment rate due to automation in the future. Utilising current employment figures it is estimated that unemployment will grow to 5.2 million (higher when adjusted) given automation.  This is approximately 20% unemployment rate. This will not only cause a massive disruption to the standard of living, but will create fear, despair, anger and major upheaval.  It will destroy the quality of life in this country and fear will grow social divisions.  All because of greed and no genuine will to work on future designs that benefit 100% of all people, as inspired by Buckminster Fuller.


The real work is to change the old paradigm that no longer works and to embrace new ideas to learn how to live within the balanced ecological system which cannot sustain the excessive needs of greed. Population is not the issue, greed is the core problem arising from insecurity, inadequacy and distorted perceptions of superiority and self worth at the expense of other cultures and status perceived as worth-less. Yet the poor in the world live within their ecological footprint and are resilient.  It is those with lavish lifestyles and unrealistic ambitions that are sinking the ship as they continue to market for growth in a finite planet.  Denial is the blind spot that blames population and poverty given lack of access to family planning or contraception. Yet the availability of global capital fuels (superannuation funds, quantitative easing, energy revenues and IT markets indicate a false sense of abundance sending economic signals replicating natures sensing of right conditions for offspring, when it is a false economy.  That issue is not addressed.

Here in Australia, higher unemployment means less bargaining power for those unemployed, a compliance environment that trains them out of demanding their rights (no Bill of Rights) and places them in situations of great desperation (without a way out) as those working will either be professional (high income quartiles) and those not working in severe poverty. So Australia will start to experience the extremes in wealth disparity, gated communities, higher levels of inequality and discrimination reflecting economic imbalance, social inequity, greed rewarded and foreign influences in our country destroying egalitarianism and social harmony. 

Effective social planning for self sufficiency, free energy,, strengthening sovereignty and comparative advantage (strategic strengths) could turn this around given the substantial commodities, expertise and ingenuity of a resourceful people. 

This topic is not addressed in the media sufficiently.  There is no debate from the opposition as we lose a political and democratic  process increasingly co-opted by business agendas and influence rather than serving the real needs of the public. 

These comments below were sent to me via a friend highlighting corporate welfare and the lucrative nature of the job provider industry compared to the increasing hardship and disempowerment of the poor. The market requires unemployment to exist. The statistics are extracted from Roy Morgan research. It is heartbreaking to see this occurring as other interests decide Australia’s fate.

1.       With 1,635 outlets nationally, there are now more employment service providers than the total number of McDonald’s franchises in Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea combined. The industry’s primary resources are virtually limitless: for any single job vacancy, 15.71 workers apply. Over three million people want work or want more work, and nearly one in five unemployed fifteen to twenty-four year olds today have been out of work for fifty-two weeks or more.

2.       The big money is paid when workers are placed in employment, no matter how bad or insufficient. Based on the 2018 figures, a “partial outcome” (for example, placing someone in a Work For the Dole scheme) can net providers up to $2,000 in rural areas. A “full outcome” (for example, placing a worker in a three-month temp job) can net a provider as much as $6,250.

3.       Whether the job is sufficient is not the point: approximately a quarter of JobSeeker Payment recipients are underemployed and rely on the payment to supplement their income. Refusing to accept a terrible job results in sanctions or cessation of payments. The result is a churn and burn where unemployed workers are shunted into casual and short-term jobs while their providers make big money.

4.       The federal government pays around $1.6 million a year to maintain this rort. But as complete figures aren’t made publicly available, this is almost certainly an understatement. The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU), working in conjunction with the progressive think tank Per Capita, produced a study estimating that the sector has made at least $10 billion over the last five years.

5.       Money like this means that employment service providers have an incentive to disregard unemployed workers’ rights. A 2019 Senate inquiry noted that unemployed workers have been coerced into signing away their right to privacy and undertaking noncompulsory free labor. A 2016 report authored by senior academics found that instead of canvassing the labor market, case managers — who are burdened with key performance indicators (KPIs) of their own — spend the majority of their time focusing on penalties, administration, and compliance

6.        A further $6 billion has already been budgeted for the next four years alone. Instead of raising unemployment benefits or reducing unemployment, the Liberal Party (with ALP support) has created an industry-empire of unemployment.

7.       Worst of all, Work for the Dole sites are often dangerous. An Ernst & Young audit found that 64 percent of sites did not meet appropriate safety standards. When the unemployed are required to work up to fifty hours per fortnight, six months of the year, in businesses which only survive via handouts and super-exploitation, tragedy is inevitable. And indeed, tragedy did strike in 2016, when eighteen-year-old Josh Park-Fing died while undertaking compulsory Work for the Dole at the Toowoomba showgrounds.

Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) | Level 2, 3 Loftus Street, West Leederville 6007 (corner of Macewan St and Oxford Close)