Letters to the editor: Work for the dole, anti-bullying message

DOWN TO ZERO: Bully Zero Australia Foundation CEO Michelle Murray is inviting schools to make a positive change and spread the #bullyzero message, through art.
DOWN TO ZERO: Bully Zero Australia Foundation CEO Michelle Murray is inviting schools to make a positive change and spread the #bullyzero message, through art.

Work for the dole

As previously stated in June last year, I have taken up the matter of the definition of unemployment benefits with the Minister for Social Services in May 2017 and, of course I have not had the courtesy of a considered response to this matter.

There are those out there who would be happy to carry out skill learning duties in return for the benefit they receive from the Government.

Of course, there are those who are not genuine work seekers and, are rightly referred to as Dole recipients.

It is of little encouragement to genuine “work seekers”  to be said to be still in receipt of the DOLE, when in fact, they are genuinely  undertaking work experience, whilst receiving the benefit.

There should be two very distinct definitions for unemployment benefit viz. Work in Return or Work for the Dole.

Having worked for the Department’s Investigation Branch  in the 1950’s, I have witnessed both the genuine and the not so genuine benefit recipients- there should be a differentiation between the two.

Reg Brody,

Tamworth

Towards zero

In an irony that is not lost on Bully Zero, the Foundation will celebrate five years this coming March 16, on the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence (NDA) and the day the charity was officially launched in 2013. The charity was born from a death that was preventable and tragic. On February 5, 2009 a young teenager by the name of Allem Halkic, took his own life, as the result of bullying. In 2011 Allem was recognised as a victim of crime and the offender was convicted under the stalking act. The day of action is a stark reminder that deaths like Allem’s are preventable.

To celebrate the day Bully Zero has invited schools to make a positive change and spread the #bullyzero message, through art. Schools who participate will receive a pack where students will be invited to draw or write their pledge. These will be collated and displayed in an art installation at Essendon Fields on March 16. Ambassadors celebrity chef George Calombaris and Miss World Australia Esma Voloder will attend the installation. Student representatives from each school will be invited to attend and are encouraged to wear something orange on the day of action.

The charity has one very simple mission “to stamp out bullying through prevention”. As such government initiatives like the NDA encourage collaboration and a call to action. The recent death of Amy “Dolly” Everett reminds us of the impact of cyberbullying on our youth. As a certified provider of cyber safety programs (by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner) Bully Zero delivers programs nationally to schools and community groups. In addition, Bully Zero is also endorsed by WorkSafe Victoria to provide workplace bullying prevention programs.

The fact that 1 in 4 students are bullied daily, highlights the importance of a holistic approach and the need to educate the entire community. This means speaking with parents, teachers and students, face to face, to reinforce the message and elicit change.

After five years of working with families and communities impacted by bullying and avoidable deaths, Bully Zero firmly believes prevention is the only way to stop bullying in all its forms. The organisation works tirelessly across Australia delivering programs in schools, community groups and workplaces. Just as the one punch law was passed to stop avoidable deaths, there must be real change and consequences for criminal behaviour. The penultimate moment in bullying is death. The victim takes their life as a result of the bullying. Remove the bullying and victims will not be driven to such a violent outcome. Prevention is key, as are days where people join together to remove a problem that is becoming endemic in Australia.

Michelle Murray,

CEO, Bully Zero Australia Foundation

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