Letter | Work in Return’ not work for the dole

In May 2016 I wrote to the Minister for Social Services concerning the matter of the descriptive “Working for the Dole”.

In June 2016 I had a response which indicated that, as the then Government was in a “caretaker role” due to forthcoming election; I should write to the incoming Government??

It appears that they could not be bothered to have my comment carried forward for the attention of the newly elected “Management team” in Canberra.

The purpose of my original letter basically stated that the nomenclature used in the management of unemployment benefits being offered in return for some selective duties, namely ‘Work for the Dole”, was self- defeating, in that it was degrading to those genuine cases of the unemployed who were ready and willing to “carry out some duties” in return for the benefit and, it should therefore  be referred to as “Work in Return”.

Having myself been a recipient of benefits for a short period upon my discharge from the RAN, I am fully aware of the connotation being financially forced to accept such a “hand out” can have on genuine beneficiaries.

In the 1950’s I worked for the Department controlling these payments and, at one stage, I was an Inquiry/Investigation Officer, charged with the investigation of alleged cases of fraud and, there were many to keep me employed full time!

However, there are those among us who genuinely wish to work/be employed and, are therefore happy to be given some duties in return for the Benefit received.

In such cases I believe the benefit paid to those people should be referred to as “Work in Return”, not “Work for the Dole”, which in itself is a  degrading classification for those genuinely seeking employment and, who are quite happy to do their bit for the community.

Reg Brody



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