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Unemployed Peoples Embassy ;
PO Box A360 Sydney South 2000. Messages to our Phone number - in Sydney telephone book, or Emails to unemploy
firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't expect quick replies unless you are a member. See our howtojoin webpage. Enclose a contact phone number if possible or SAE - as replying with an Email is a time wasting process with the facilities access we have so far. expect to enclose stamps for hardcopy documents to be sent.
PURPOSE : The Unemployed Peoples Embassy has generated a number of publications over the years, mainly in the form of submissions to Govt Inquiries. We would like to produce new reports and even narrative documents. Shorter ones could be put in this section - or at least new "chapters" of such projects posted here to replace earlier chapters. The entire production could then be reviewed here and the full document be made available upon request by mail or email (where available). Another feature could be a list of other Websites that we feel may be useful - plus any comments we think will help people in how they use them. Another idea is to produce whole new publications on this site - which brings various documents together. See below for our first "E Book" called Activity Test. As usual we could do with more volunteers to help in our online Research Library, to prepare this material. See our Odd Job Centre site about other voluntary positions.
PUBLICATIONS LIST: AVAILABLE IN HARD COPY FOR DONATION
Welfare Business - Conference paper
Higher Education - Submission to Federal Govt Inquiry
E PUBLICATIONS :
To start this idea of publishing our reports to various enquires and conferences - we first present an E Book of a real case of how the Howard Govt uses its "Intensive Assistance" regime to discriminated against mature aged unemployed people trying to appropriately access tertiary education in order to improve their employability.
The following is brief review of the prequel to " Activity Test " (that then begins);
THIS PUBLICATION REVIEWED IS AVAILABLE FREE TO DONORS
WORK TEST - story
of the operation of the federal Government owned Commonwealth
Employment Service under the conservative Fraser Government.. We
provide evidence of how the Government used the CES to cut the job-
less off the dole with fake offers of jobs - which the CES then falsely
claimed the jobless "refused" to take. This exposure led to the Fraser
Government fabricating a criminal charge to try and silence our invest-
igator, after we kept publishing their scam in our Dole News paper.
Dole News received a small grant from the Human Rights Commission
A C T I V I T Y
T E S T
how Howard's "Intens-
ive Assistance" means
copyright 2002 by Unemployed Peoples Embassy, Australia
A DOCUMENTARY RECORD
Downloads allowed for research and
personal reading only. Fuller version
available in hardcopy. See details on webpage.
To artificially reduce the jobless figures, the Howard conservative Federal Government is pushing the jobless into either fulltime (usually short course) education and (low paid) part time work. This is their alternative strategy to making the jobless disappear that so far has mainly been fulfilled by putting the mature aged jobless onto the disability pension.
Part time employment was formerly mostly for young tertiary students and female partners of full time working males. The author or subject of this book - who original name was John Bull - has since 1998 been in public housing. This means that, unlike most jobless in private rental housing, he could possibly survive on just part time work - provided it was at a reasonable hourly rate. However this would give him about the same chance of meeting a female partner as being on the dole does. Females are more easily allowed the option of part time work and/or dependence on a partner.
The first part of his book concerns his struggle to have the Federal government agency Centrelink, running dole and pension payouts, recognise his need to be allowed to do his Social Science degree part time - while also doing related volunteer work in the community. Centrelink never recognised this need - despite the many letters he wrote to them. The second part is about trying to have his degree recognised as a factor is determining whether "intensive assistance" is appropriate for him and trying to get the right to see only a male case manager if it is. The third part is still in play in terms of administrative and political appeals.
We will try to stick to just the actual documents in telling this real life story, though some "comment" pieces may be necessary. We hope people in power and people in general may be able to learn what is wrong with the "mutual obligation" system, from the ordeal of the writer, and help fix it so no more people need suffer from it.
CHAPTER ONE : FIRST DEGREE
LETTERS TO MANAGER, CENTRELINK, Darlinghurst, unless otherwise stated. Occasional additional words in (brackets) to clarify. Emphasis in form of this (ie bold and italics) is added for the purpose of this presentation. UPPER CASE typed words and usually bold or italics are the original emphasis in the letters.
10 March 2000
You have sent me a letter saying that I have to go and sign an "Agreement" with a commercial firm called Select Personnel Pty Ltd - about whose operation I have no knowledge. The appointment is in not much more than a week's time. As I have written to you before during last year - I had no success in getting a JobNet agency in responding in writing to written and verbal requests for their support for my then Jobseeking Plan (JB)> However, Work Ventures came closest to it with a verbal assurance - which I indicated to you in writing.
Nevertheless, you "referred" me to Employment National instead - which seems now to have disappeared in relation to "intensive assistance". Since you ignored my stated "preference" for Work Ventures last year - it seemed pointless to bother saying it again this year. I am not interested in having anything to do with a non-community based JobNet agency - as the agencies I have looked at in the past make clear. My JP is the best way I can secure good employment - and it will only take this year to complete.
I will certainly be asking Select Personnel Pty Ltd to postpone any demand that I sign an "Agreement" NOT including my longstanding JP, while I await a reply to this letter from you.
COMMENT ; The JP (Job Plan) referred to here is no doubt basically about letting me complete my university degree on a part time basis - as in previous years. They did not allow this - with predictable consequences.
22 August 1999 Work Ventures, Surry Hills
I have previously written to Centrelink to tell them that after some investigations of several JobNet agencies I have decided that I would be prepared to negotiate with your agency, Unfortunately Centrelink has ignored this request - so I am attempting to make an appointment to see the manager there. In the meantime Centrelink has sent me to a distant agency in an (agency) chain I told them in the letter I wasn't interested in - except - perhaps if at this late stage they would write in reply to the criteria I have laid out in a letter I sent to Centrelink - which I sent them a copy of.
I attach the most recent letters I have sent to Centrtelink (excepting the last which haven't actually sent to them yet). Obviously I an being put in a position I have predicted several times - ie I am being given NO time whatsoever to negotiate ANYTHING with the agency Centrelink refer me to. The distant one they have sent me to (but which supports me approaching you for a transfer) is giving me a week before it instructs Centrelink to cut me off/down from the dole - if I do not sign an "activity agreement" that they put in front of me. That agency has shown no interest to positively support me finishing my (part time) course this year - though they claim they'll give me the next few weeks to complete my present semester.
You can see from the letters attached that this process has meant anything but choice or support for my job prospects through finishing my degree and other activities. I will be contacting you early next week about this matter. Obviously I hope that any meeting we set up will be brief - as I have only a VERY short time to do some major university coursework before a deadline in very few weeks. I am most unhappy with Centrelink for ignoring my several letters requesting the possibility of negotiating with WorkVentures about an "activity agreement".
23 August 1999
Your Authorised Officer "John", on 20 August - finally revealed that you have NO assessment procedure as to whether a person needs to have "intensive assistance" - at least not one that involves any actual assessment of the person themselves. I have had NO assessment which involved an interview with Centrelink, as to whether I personally had an activity plan of my own which would improve my job prospects. Unlike a number of JobNet agencies I've contacted, you have no copy of my resume or my degree course transcript.
That means that "intensive assistance" ie so-called case management - is not being forced on people as a welfaare matter - but as a police matter. "Case management" is about supervision and punishment for being unemployed. Talk of being able to "negotiate" with a "case manager" is nonsense if your dole can be reduced by 18% if you don't sign an "activity agreement" that is put in front of you (already made out before they've even talked to you). Therefore I have been spending time I should be spending on my part time Uni course - trying to negotiate with "case manager" outfits BEFORE being referred to one of them. "John" contradicted "Enrico's" claim that it was possible to dispute Centrelink's "assessment" that you must accept "case management" (though JobNet agencies generally refuse to even talk to you before "referral").
After successfully fighting Centrelink's attempt to to "refer" me to "case management" before I had any chance to choose one - I approached a number of JobNet agencies via letter (including Resume extract). As indicated in previous letters to Centrelink, and meetings with "Enric" and others - none of them replied to my letter asking if they were interested in supporting me finishing my degree. A more recent letter was hand delivered. Surprisingly - all of a sudden, the four agencies approached wanted to talk to me (to some extent) before giving me a receipt that they have received the letter (with Uni transcript included). Strange that none of them had invited me along to any sort of information session after my first letter to them. Only when I approached Options directly did I get some sort of conversation with a "case manager".
Unfortunately, Nadine (of Options) was only interested in treating me like I would be one of her patients (she used to work for Sydney Councelling Centre, Chatswood). She couldn't outline how they actually ran their "case management" regime. Apparently it's a mysterious process that may vary between JobNet agencies - but "can't" be quantified or explained in any way. In other words - the idea of "choice" between these agencies if meaningless - so long as "case management" is all in the mind of the practitioners (though any actual qualification that they may or may not have, are also mysterious and never revealed), "Case management" is about management of the unemployed who are seen as a "case" or problem. The problem is how to hide or get rid of the unemployed. JobNet only get paid if they get the jobless into things like - three month TAFE courses, at least 15 hours of casual/part time work a week, some "authorised" volunteer work or onto the disability pension.
Since your supposed "assessment" for "intensive assistance" is not any form of assessment, but a "computer" decision (According to "John") - I have to treat the whole process as being a part of a police state - rather than a welfare state. In a police state nothing is fair. Nadine from Options said that. She said that when she had to do Uni full time on the dole because her folks were too well off for her to get Austudy - that wasn't fair - and that I had to accept that NOTHING in society was fair. in other words, she wasn't at all sympathetic to me doing Uni part time on the dole. I suppose I should "accept" that Uni degrees are only for the children of the rich. for that reason - given that Options also didn't reply to the letter - I rejected Options for "case management".
Employment National is also rejected - because not only didn't they reply to the letter (about my jobseeking plan - involving finishing Uni etc) - but the receptionist sprouted the old CES line ; that my interest in completing my degree was only my "opinion". Therefore Employment National (must) be rejected. The female Namaroo "case manager" wanted to ask me all the points already covered in the letter she said she'd just read. She was clearly unhappy with the idea of them having to put up with me finishing my degree if they "case managed" me. She asked "how long" it would take me to finish it. I told her they could me if they replied to the letter - which they didn't. She then came out after I left (still carrying various things) - screaming out in the street that I should have closed the door. They are rejected.
Finally there is WorkVentures Surry Hills, where a woman whose name - like that of the Namaro, I'll (not reveal) for the moment - actually asked me questions about my Uni transcript - and said that their policy was to support academic progress like mine. To be more precise - we'd never stop someone's education (or something like that). Although they failed to actually reply to my letter - and indeed she tried to hand it back to me - I would be prepared to try and NEGOTIATE with them. My non negotiable terms being:
1) I will tape all interviews with them
2) I reserve the right to have a male "case manager" (as I've never found ANY female that understands the impact of unemployment on males - and I assume, none of (the JobNet) practitioners are in any sense professionals or qualified),
3) I expect courtesy at all times
4) I am allowed to finish my Uni course - given that two units of it amount to 16 credit points - just 2 short of eligibility for Austudy
5) that voluntary work for a project supported by a local Council count as a unit (8 points) like a Uni course (unit).
I will ONLY negotiate with WorkVentures - unless another agency is prepared to put in writing a reply to my invitation letter (you have a copy of). I won'y consider a foreign owned, ethnic or religious agencies - and certain distance ones - such as at Chatswood. I will be preparing a complaint about Centrelink to the Human Rights Commission on Age discrimination (and other issues) - as well as Appeals , if you decide to cut off/down my dole for daring to actually stand up for my rights to TRULY negotiate in your police state.
15 September 1999
Last week I sent a corrected copy of my last letter to you (dated 23 August) not only to you but to Employment National, Chatswood, with a PS that I contacted Employment National by phone, indicating that any day other than 14 September was convenience for seeing Employment National. The anonomous person on the phone falsely claimed that I would not sign up for so-called "intensive assistance" with them anyway. I sent them the 23 August letter as part of yet another negotiation to try and find a "provider" who was prepared to allow me to finish my BA Social Science course (with only a few units now to go). That letter said that it was still open for these agencies I had approached by letter (and some in person) several times - to write to me to indicate their support for my jobseeking plan.
I will also send Employment National this letter to level 1/345 George St, Sydney - as I am still objecting to being sent to Chatswood - though I live in Surry Hills. I've previously said (see 23 September letter) that I'm prepared to try and negotiate with Work Ventures, Surry Hills. To indicate how this cruel farce is affecting my part time University course - next follows the contents of a note I sent to the co-ordinator of a Subject I'm doing at UTS:
Ms Ghosh, 15 September 1999
Last night I gave a presentation on "Social Movements in the Third World". The Tutor....made a comment about the difference between Interest Groups and Social Movements not being made. This is a copy of the section of the notes I used on this point - that I missed out using.
I have to say that I was under a lot of stress, due to the fact that Centrelink is likely to cut down/off my dole , due to the fact that a Job Network agency it referred me to in an interview with (apparently) refused to postpone an interview time set down for yesterday. After that phone call, I asked (the tutor) last week for an extension of time to do the assignment, which he refused.
END OF LETTER TO UTS - continuation of Centrelink one ...
I have about eight weeks to my last assignment deadline. I could not clear my post office box until I finished yesterday's university work, because it would be too stressful to have to try and prepare any appeal against a callous decision to cut my dole while coping with the most intense day I've had at university (two assignments on one day yesterday).
I know of other people who are also suffering under this regime, where agencies are only interested in making money out of the unemployed - not helping them by supporting the jo0bseeking plans they have already developed - including self selected studies and meaningful voluntary work. Now they are trying to deprive me of any time for negotiation - and placing that period at the most critical time for trying to pass this semester at Uni.
28 October 1999 Employment National, Chatswood
I enclose a letter to Centrelink, Darlinghurst, which I intend to send soon. It complains about the fact that your agency was unwilling to change an appointment for 14 September by a least one day, due to it being the heaviest day in my part time uni course this year (in relation to getting work in). You then counted this as a "failure" to attend an interview that day - desppite the fact that my call to your contact number made it clear that I could come on any other day. Now your operative called "Geoff" has given me this week to negotiate a transfer to Work Ventures, Surry Hills - which is close to where I live. I told "Geoff" that their (Job Venturer's) manager would (instead) only tell me to go to Centrelink for a "referral". "Geoff" instructed me not to write them a letter.
I also enclose a copy of comments on two assignments from the tutor in a subject I'm doing this semester at Uni. he first is at the end of the completed assignment I handed in on the deadline of 14 September. Obviously I did fairly well - despite the pressure your agency was unfairly putting on me. The second comment is on a 700 word draft I gave to the tutor this week on the final major assignment for the subject. After writing the (enclosed) letter to the Work Ventures manager last Friday (against) the instructions of "Geoff", I got into working on some library books that have only a seven day loan period on them. Over (last) weekend I worked on one to get the first draft introduction of my assignment started.
By this Tuesday I had 1700 of this draft - though I only had the first 700 words to give to the tutor on Monday to look at by Tuesday. This is a harder assignment to write than the earlier one - because the first draft has to be radically redrawn to get the essay's argument flowing. Today I have to return the books - so I lose the key one I'm initially working with (so as) to tie down and finish the first draft. I have never given a tutor any draft before before handing in the final essay before but (this) does illustrate the struggle I am having, simply to finish my subjects this year, with all the games involved with so-called "intensive assistance" - that disputes both my progress in the course and my usual job seeking efforts.
Obviously my efforts to talk to the Work Ventures manager would be a waste of time - and severely disruptive to the frame of mind I needed to kickoff my assignment last Friday (with some key library books that I may not be able to get my hands on again). I did ring the (Work Ventures) manager yesterday - and, predictably, he said I must see Cenntrelink about any transfer. On the phone (the manager) started into a provocative line I'd heard briefly from one of their operatives a while back, when i paid a visit - (ie) falsely claiming I wasn't looking for work and/or my course wasn't part time. Today I have to try and complete the first draft of my assignment - including various corrections (since the books have to go back today). "Geoff" (Employment National) sent me on a false errand this week - with a threat to "breach" me if I don't sign an "activity agreement" with no possibility for my own input into it.
I will also attempt to make an appointment to see the manager at Centrelink, Darlinghurst regarding getting this unnecessary "intensive assistance" (at Chatswood, Employment National instead) near to where I live .Tomorrow I have to get to the Uni for enrolment for next year. I hope to get back some of the library books on the weekend to help in my second draft of the essay. If I get no further disruptions, perhaps I can finish it even before the deadline. As I told your operative - I'm trying to get into my usual scrounging for whatever casual work is around after Uni is finished with. As I told "Geoff", City Casuals under the old CES used to make it possible to get some days of work here and there while I was doing Uni (part time). Its privatised version (under Employment National) now has little casual day work. the problem is that your agency may decide to have me "breached" before I'm free in a couple of weeks to get such labouring type work (which is very difficult to do during this most intensive time of doing my major assignment. Many full time workers doing part time Uni take some weeks off work at this point (so they can work on their assignments).
3 November 1999
Enclosed are my most recent letters to two JobNet agencies - one you sent to me (which is) a long way away at Chatswood (Employment National) - over my objections as to distance and myy previous investigations as to their willingness to assist me in finishing my Uni degree, and another (agency) I've written to you that I would try and negotiate with. As you can see, the local one is not prepared to negotiate with me (letter enclosed). Also enclosed is my letter to you, which I don't believe I sent at the time. It points out that the Chatswood agency refused to change its appointment date by just one day - though I'd pleaded with them by phone to do so because it was the most heavy day for Uni work I had to present.
This letter is to inform you that I cannot do anything but look for work and finish my Uni work for the year until its deadline of 15 November. I have informed the Chatswood (National Employment) operative of this - and he claimed he would support me in fiinishing up my Uni year's work. Since you and them have both consistently sought to ignore my own job seeking plan - including finishing my Uni degree - and the interrogation of myself by the Chatswood operative made it clear that that agency wouldn't actually leave me alone - even probably over the next week - I wish to made it clear that I will not be opening any of my mail that I collected yesterday for a week from today.
I will probably send a copy of this letter to both the local and distant agencies mentioned in the attached copies of letters to them. I NEED TO USE THIS COMING WEEK TO FINALLY WRITE THE UNI WORK I NEED TO TRY AND PASS (WITH). From talking to the two agencies recently - i know their police type interrogation techniques - where threats of sanctions and methods of lowering self esteem are used routinely. I cannot subject myself to that regime again until I finish my Uni academic work - which is very demanding and needs as much concentration as I can still manage after the harassment you and those agencies have already subjected me to. Any further appointments must be AFTER 15 November. I refuse to talk on the phone or be interrogated by JobNet operatives until then. I have already enrolled at Uni to finish off my course next year. I will be complaining to the Minister about how your agency and those of JobNet have sought to' at the very least, disrupt my progress in my Uni degree course.
I must add that I have yet to be given any "Activity Agreement" which I was required to sign - let alone given any opportunity to "negotiate" the terms of it. I will publicly dispute any penalties and criminal type sanctions (eg "breaches") that you impose on me for my struggle to try and improve my employment opportunities via higher education. I have clearly been applying for full time work at all times, and available for it. I have always disputed any need to subject me to "intensive assistance" as I have my own jobseeking plan which I am enacting. The tactics of JobNet agencies have confirmed my experience that "case management", as they practice it, is not about the welfare of the jobless - but a policing function - which is unethical against people who can bearly survive on the small amount that the dole is. "Intensive assistance" is only intensive harassment to get people off the dole (in) any way possible - not about ethical case management - where the skills and background of the person is taken into account. A bad law must be challenged.
COMMENT; I did manage to complete the Making the Third World unit at UTS - gaining a Distinction, despite all the harrasment from Centrelink and the Job Network agencies. Unlike with some other units I did in the course. I felt I was marked fairly - but then that was by about the only male tutor I had in the course.
INTERVIEW TO APPEAR IN THIS SECTION
CHAPTER TWO ; SECOND DEGREE
NOTE ; Added emphasis is in bold with italics. Also added punctuation. Letters to Centrelink, Darlinghurst unless otherwise indicated.
1 February 2002
I wish to , at least, postpone the "appointment" you have made with the Job Network member at 9am on Monday 4 February, firstly due to the fact that at the time, I will be helping a friend get to hospital at RPAH to have a serious operation - and then assist her to get back home in a drugged state. She has no one else to assist her in this way. I certainly cannot go to that Job Network appointment at that time - and indeed refuse to do so. I attach a statement from the person who I will be helping. She herself receives a pension.
I also want to postpone any interview with a Job Network member until I have had the opportunity to investigate the list of agencies you sent me - or at least (their replies) I received AFTER the 16 January deadline. I enclose a recent newspaper article about a submission by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to an "independent" review of the Job Network. It points out that the Job Network is a deeply flawed system that doesn't work, either for the jobless or business - but is driven by a perverted profit motive.
I enclose another newspaper article about a survey commissioned by the Federal Government, showing that employers are in fact biased against 45 year olds. my past experience with the Job Network is that they are contemptuous of the long term jobless - and males in particular (and mature age males especially)). I strongly object to the fact that you have given me no opportunity (ie time) to interview any of the agencies you listed. No Doubt you have forgotten that I refuse to have anyone but a MALE "case manager". No doubt the one you have chosen will try and force me into a useless short (training)( course - though I already have a (university/i>) degree and have done other tertiary courses.
This will nno doubt interfere with my own job seeking efforts - and as usual, you will ignore any part ttime courses that I might choose to do (as you did with my degree course) and any worthwhile voluntary and casual work I do. Clearly you relish the idea of forcing people to "comply" with illogical "back to work" plans - that I would have NO input into - but someone has to try and stand up to the regime of punishment (rather than actual help) that you administer. Unfortunately for you - any breach that you illegally put on me - won't force me onto the streets - as I have public housing.
I ask for an extension of time, sufficient to allow me an INFORMED CHOICE between members of the corrupt Job Network - that will only waste my time from seeking work - to their own profit. I am currently looking at a TAFE course.
13 February 2002 NOT SENT
18 February 2002
Despite my previous letter to you asking for further time to interview JobNet (agency) members on the list you sent me - since I received it AFTER your deadline to supposedly make a "choice", you then sent me a letter threatening to remove the dole if i did not attend an agency site that was not even on the original list. My letter made it clear that I would only see a male "counsellor"/ "case manager". I also enclosed a newspaper clipping regarding research showing how prejudiced employers (are) against the over 45's.
The "Choice" agency you demand I attend - on pain of losing the dole - had no male "counsellor" - let alone any male one over 45. The female one was disrespectful, would not listen to me and tried to push me to sign a statement - before I had time to read and understand what it was about. I therefore DID NOT sign it - but altered the word "agreement:" to "contract" on it - since it is clear that I will be given no freedom to negotiate on its conditions.
That is, it is not an "agreement" between two parties - but a contract I am being forced to sign against my will, in order to continue to receive further small dole payments. Since you are not interested in supporting my rights against sexism and ageism by the JobNet agency YOU chose for me - I am now going to make complaints about against Centrelink and "Choice". Though I do not agree that I need to attend a further session at "choice" this week - I know that you will most likely unfair cut me off the dole if I don't go.
Though you would be sure to make sure I got a female "counsellor" if I was a female and asked for one - you continue to ignore my request to have a male one. This is a sexist attitude that is prejudicing my chances to find suitable work. Naturally I am forced to attend the "interview" this week - but I will take an old cassette radio machine and tape any conversation with the female "counsellor" who treated me so poorly last time. I have had no such problem with male "counsellors". I believe I have a legal right to do this - since I have given you notice of this.
In addition I continue to refuse to sign any statement supplied by "Choice" of which I have not had sufficient time to read and understand. Obviously the statement enclosed (from last time) involves a so-called "agreement" between her and me - despite the fact that i made it clear that I would NOT allow a female to be a "counsellor" (to me). You were irresponsible also for "referring" me to an agency that had NO male "counsellor" - let alone (neither having) one over 45. If i were a female you would have been far more considerate. This ongoing disrespect and lack of communication from Centrelink and JobNet agencies is not helping my level of self esteem - required in applying for jobs at the level of my qualifications.
Ironically, the "Intensive Employment Assistance" form from "Choice" (Personnel) asks " how confident do you feel when you are being interviewed". they also ask in the form "why you think you are having trouble gaining experience". Of course, they wouldn't accept the fact that you are over 45 or a male as being a reason - though no one of that description is employed as a "counsellor" by them. I enclose a recent version of my Resume - with references to specific voluntary work, I at times do. deleted, as I have no idea how Centrelink judges volunteer organisations to be "approved" or not (despite it getting some Govt funding).
I was also hoping to enclose a copy of a letter from an employer who interviewed me for a position ( who said my background was "impressive") but I got the wrong letter from my file. Should I give them a survey form with questions as to whether my gender or age affected their decision? "Choice" (agency) suggests that clients actually ask an employer why they didn't employ them, and asks them why you're having trouble getting employment. Obviously they won't be interested in hearing that employers are prejudiced against over 45 year olds - particularly male ones. They also seem to expect you to wear expensive clothes to interviews - although other employees there may not be wearing expensive clothes themselves.
In other words - its always the jobseekers' fault that they can't find a job. as to my request to see a male "counsellor" - the female one told me to "go down to Centrelink"- and then tried to get me to sign an "agreement" she didn't explain to me - or let me read, in order to understand it. I therefore did not sign it - but got her to give me a copy anyway. My "signature" looks like the initials I put on my alterations to the word "agreement". She claimed that "Choice" did employ a male - but that was only the Receptionist. Obviously she was happy to keep ignoring my point about them having no male "counsellor" and then try and trick me into signing an "agreement ' that (was really ) a "back to work " contract with her (as I worked out later - when I had time to read the contract).
Since she didn't identify herself - my complaints will have to be against "Choice" itself. It may be difficult to find the agency that is supposed to represent the "ethics" of JobNet members - but complaining to the Antidiscrimination Board and the Human Rights Commission should be quite straightforward..
27 Feburary 2002
Your last (computer) letter to me gave me a little more than a week to try and "choose" a JobNet agency for compulsory "intensive assistance" (IA). The enclosed SMH clipping indicates that the efficacy of IA is currently being investigated in Senate estimates hearings. I would certainly like to tell them some of my experiences - starting with the fact that I could only realistically approach five of the JobNet agencies on the list you sent me since:
a) Choice" agency has no male "councellors"
b) many of the JobNets are religious based
c) a number of (the) others are poorly located, as per public transport (unless you live nearby)
d) Leone Green and Associates (may) no longer trade at the address in Regent st given in the list ... since that company was caught out on fraudulant practices. (Their other locations (may) also be suspect.
e) the various Job Futures locations are basically all the same company
Given the lack of time you have given me (better than NO time that you gave me before) - I have only been able to send the few possible JobNets ( ie mostly Jo Futures outlets), a letter setting my very basic conditions for considering them. Of course, any that take the time to reply and offer me an interview - will face the fact that you will have AGAIN sent me to another JobNet by them. I sent them all the Website Design TAFE course rgat i sent you. I now include the page of the TAFE course Calendar 2002 - that indicates that the course goes for 7 Saturdays at 7 hours per time (which comes down to 42 hours - perhaps including lunchtimes).
I also include another SMH clipping indicating that soon, under 50 year olds will be "encoraged" to do up to 6 hours a week doing dole-for-work. In addition I enclose a copy of your guidelines for "mutual obligation", which talks about a "requirement" for under 50's of "participation" for 150 hours in 6 months - in return for a &800 for cost of accredited training. Since I am over 49 - this may be all academic - but the fact is that a Centrelink officer gave me exemption from IA late last year because I was organising a Council backed community project. The registered non-profit organisation that runs that is waiting for Council funding for several ongoing projects to start soon. They want me to do some regular hours running these too.
In other words - not only am I offering to do a $1000 TAFE course in something I already have experience with (Website design) - but also continue to do community work for the recognised community organisation I did voluntary work for later last year (with at least informal Centrelink approve). the problem here though is that Centrelink is trying to force me (under threat of losing the dole) to sign up with one of the few possibly useable JobNets to sign up with them for IA -where they are unlikely to want to come up with $1000 for the Web Design course or to approve my voluntary position as organiser in a Council recognised community organisation that has no idea how to get Centrelink approval for its work.
In addition - I can only get any Training Credit AFTER doing "community work" for some mysteriously "approved" non profit organisation. Meanwhile, the JobNet agency that you try to send me to, will no doubt try to get me into a unless Resume course (rather than use part of the $4000 - $9000 it gets for minding me via IA to pay for the $1000 - which I many still get a concession in the course for). I now intend to forward this letter via an interested human rights organisation to the Senate Estimates committee - to demonstrate just how irrational the IA system is. Why don't you just support what I've outlined?
7 March 2002
I have received some sort of request from from Xcellerate JobNet agency (X) to attend an interview on 19 March. I believe I have previously made it clear to Centrelink that i do not wish to attend that agency since I discovered that their core business is counselling. This investigation involved visiting their office at Bondi Junction and finding evidence of their main role (in the form of leaflets etc, that are not made available by Centrelink to help make an informed choice possible). I then objected to Centrelink about being sent there.
Just because I have tried to make an informed "choice" of JobNet agencies for pointless "intensive assistance", doesn't mean that Centrelink should treat me as if I need some psychological counselling. Such treatment smacks of a denial of human rights. As I advised you in my previous letter, I have sent a letter to fiove JobNet agencies - asking a few basic questions about how I would be treated.
Since as of today, i have received no reply from any of them as to their attitude to my conditions - I ask for more time for them to reply. Afterall, I was given only about a week to approach them - which made a standard letter to them all, the only possible method available. If you seek to force me to attend an interview with X - I will have to advise them that I insist on bringing a tape recorder to tape any interaction with them.
This ill be my only protection against any arrangement you have with them to produce a profile of me that falsely characterisesme as being other than simply an unemployed person. Since you have failed to reply to any of the detailed proposals in my previous letters, I have no alternative but to send them elsewhere - other than to areas previously mentioned. I am yet to be convinced that I am in fact trying to communicate with anything but a computer , when it comes to Centrelink.
If I do not receive a letter from you by Friday week, giving an alternative to sending me to X - i will have to consider writing directly to X about my problems of getting co-operation from Centrelink on this matter. as mentioned above - i will also be putting in that letter my insistence that I can tape any interview (and perhaps also have a witness present). If one of the five JobNets reply to my letter in the affirmative (as to my proposed conditions for signing with them) - i will seek to exit from any forced Centrelink arrangements with X.
Meanwhile, I am making further investigations of high tech short courses and have received added confirmations about grant applications for community projects I have volunteered to organise. The community organisation involved, however, still has received no information as to how their government funded projects can seek to be "approved" by Centrelink (considering it is non profit - but not a religious organisation).
I will be seeking advise from various sources as to how the ridiculous situation Centrelink has gotten me into can be resolved.
6 May 2002
I saw "Joseph" (probably for the first time) at your Centrelink office yesterday. He is mentioned in my letter to you of 13 Feburary - who a female "consultant" at &"Choice" Personnel, said would see me about getting me a JobNet ageny with a male "consultant", otherwise known as a "case manager". The fact is that "Joseph" still can't seem to find a JobNet agency that has a male case manager. Instead he said that I must find one myself before an appointment with Centrelink on 12 June.
He said that I would have to find a JobNet agency with a MALE "case manager" by myself. I tried to point out that JobNet agencies simply won't answer questions on the phone. Also I have tried to get replies from them on this matter by mail with no result. I therefore demand that Centrelink INFORM me which JobNet agencies actually do have MALE case managers.
7 May 2002
I was to find out yesterday, when I looked at a letter from you, that you intend to force me to see a FEMALE "case manager" tomorrow at Marrivckville (ie IPA). You previously threatened to remove my dole if I do not follow such instructions - though I have made it clear repeatedly in (my) letters that a FEMALE "case manager" is not acceptable.
I have indicated that i will make complaints to the relevant authorities about you ignoring my pleas to be sent to a MALE "case manager" - though I have also made it clear that I believe that so-called Intensive Assistance is a sham and totally useless for me. I again demand that you either drop trying to force me into useless "intensive Assistance" via a threat of financial sanctions or apologise in writing for continuing to send me to FEMALE "case managers".
You would obviously not try to force a FEMALE "client" to go to a MALE "case manager". However you continue to practice sex discrimination against me. I will now prepare my complaints against Centrelink. I now demand that you change the appointment to one with a MALE "case manager". Since you have threatened to cut my dole if I don't appear tomorrow - i demand the right to take a cassette recorder along to record whatever the FEMALE "case manager" has to say.
Whether or not I will pretend to sign any document SHE puts in front of me, I will judge according to whether I feel you will immediately cancel or reduce my dole. In any case, I would be "signing" under duress - as I TOTALLY reject being forced to see a FEMALE "case manager". since you have attempted to send me to JobNet outfits that were in fact psychologists (Govt or private) - without any further information supplied by them or you (as to their otherwise secret role ) - I have to assume that the Marrickville (IPA JobNet agency) is ALSO an undercover "rehabilitiation" agencuy.
You have absolutely NO grounds to send me to an agency with nutcases (as you would view the clinically mentally ill). This is political oppression of the worst kind. I demand that you cancel this appointment and :
1) withdraw me from useless "intensive assistance"
2) at least cancel - so a MALE "case manager" can be found
3) cancel the appointment until the credentials of any such JobNet outfits is sent to me (eg I I refuse to go to a "rehabilitation" one)
7 May 2002 LETTER TO VARIOUS JOBNET AGENCIES
I have an appointment at Centrelink, Darlinghurst next Friday - at which time they expect me to "chhoose" a Job Network agency which has a male "case manager" to see me. They have accepted that this "requirement" by myself is a legitimate one. However, i have previously attempted to get a response from several agencies via mail before - with no result at all.
If I get no response at all - Centrelink will probably try to refer me to some agency which is likely to have no male "male manager". They have done so on the last two occasion. This means they will probably threaten to breach me again - supposedly due to the time I have taken to sign up with an agency for "intensive assistance".
However I have made it clear to Centrelink in a number of letters that I will not sign up with a female "case manager". I now have a complain form both from the SS Appeals Tribunal and the Human Rights Commission - the later organisation seem to accept the legitimacy of my insistence on choosing to ONLY sign with a male case manager.
The "Welfare Rights Centre" tells me that the "case manager" employment sector is a "female dominated". This is interesting since, despite my appropriate tertiary qualifications, I have been unable to get an interview for any advertised "case manager" jobs. Obviously gender bias is operating within Job Network agencies.
Please reply urgently to the above email address - which I will check at an internet Cafe by next Wednesday.
JOBNET EMAILS HERE WHEN LOCATED
12 May 2002
I enclose a copy of my medical certificate that I have already lodged at Redfern Centrelink (the closest one to me). The Officer there suggested that I ring a call centre number to contact you - but my previous attempt to do so resulted in the operator hanging up after I asked if they were recording the conversation. I had a witness present during that conversation. This letter is about asking you to reschedule the interview with Centrelink, Darlinghurst to next week. I enclose my previous letter to you - criticising the fact that your office for some time now has failed to supply me with names of JobNet agencies that employ male case managers.
As promised, I have today checked my Email messages at an Internet Cafe - despite the fact that I should be resting in bed. I enclose a copy of one - where one of the JobNet agencies I approached by letter fails to indicate that they will give me the choice to select a MALE "case manager" if i "sign up" with them. They have also presumed to arrange an interview time (for me) with them - suggesting that they may be able to have me breached if I cannot attend. Since my interview with you, (will) be postponed to next week - I will wait for any other (hopefully) better responses, before "choosing" any particular agency. I feel that my deadline for such responses can extend to Monday 17 May.
The Doctor wanted to give me a medical certificate running longer than to this weekend - but I hoped I could even get well this weekend - if I was able to get enough rest this week. Given that I am forced to write to Centrelink on every single point (as the Centrelink Call Centre line is so hopeless) - I am now exhausting myself today doing this letter - thus causing my viral infection recoveryy REST period to be pushed into this weekend. This is an extra reason to INSIST on having a male Centrelink officer to do the interview next week. If I receive no confirmation of this "requirement" by mail prior to the date of the interview - I INSIST on being able to TAPE any interview - and bring my own witness,
I will also bring my written complaint to the Centrelink Authorised Review Officer with me - regarding the ling-time ongoing failure of Centrelink to supply information about - not only which JobNet agencies employ male "case managers" - but which ones will let you choose to have a male "case manager". This ongoing failure of Centrelink to recognise the special needs of male jobless - has not only caused much stress to me - including the repeated threats to "breach" me - as I, over and over, have had my written requests to Centrelink for a male :case manager" ignored. This sort of harassment would not be tolerated against any other disadvantaged group in society. I will certainly make a further complaint against Centrelink if you fail to supply a male Centrelink officer to interview me next time.
I would like in fact to complain about how I was treated by the last Centrelink officer - who I protested against being forced to see. i have detailed records of how she insulted me as a male person, which I will be typing up for a future complaint
INTERVIEW TO APPEAR HERE
24 May 2002
When I saw Lisa at IPA at the previous appointed interview time, I think she said they had only ONE male case manager, who was in an outer west office. She said she might be able to get him to see me at the Marrickville office at a future time - and that she would inform me about this my mail. She was unable to contact him by phone while we were there.
I have received NO correspondence from IPA at all. I have received a letter from you dated 23 May, in which you falsely claim that I "did not attend" an interview with IPA Personnel. I did in fact attend - and have a witness to prove it. I demand that the next proposed interview with IPA, 2 June, be cancelled, and you make an interview date for me to see you about this matter.
At the time, I told her that I intended to tape any interview - which is something I have advised you about in writing on several occasions regarding Job Network interviews. I have also pointed out to you in writing that there are NO grounds on which to send me for so-called "intensive assistance" as I am making my own reasonable efforts to find work. IA is just a sham program with no defined modus operandi and no known criteria for deciding whether someone should be included in it.
If, as usual, you refuse to respond to this letter, I will not only take a witness again with me to IPA - but also video-tape any proceedings during the so-called interview. I refuse to phone the lying IPA about this recording - so I demand you inform them that I will video-tape. Again, I demand that I only see a MALE "case manager" if you wish to continue to force me into useless IA. I certainly will not sign any contract that I am allowed no input into.
I am making further complaints about this matter - such as an appeal against the false statement in your last letter to me. Despite what your letter might seem to suggest, I speak English and am not hearing or speech impaired.
3 July 2002
I have now received yet another summons from you to attend an interview with a JobNet agency for unspecified, unnecessary and useless "intensive assistance". As usual, you have failed to respond to my letters on this issue - such as my last one dated 12 May. In it I ask you to reschedule an interview with a MALE "case manager" at Centrelink - due to my illness - for which I supplied a Doctor's Certificate. Instead you have sent me to yet another JobNet agency - without assuring me that I would be seeing a MALE "case manager".
I now want to complain to your Authorised Officer, through the relevant form that:
a) you have failed to grant me the interview you assured I could have with Centrelink on this issue
b) you have failed my insistence on only seeing a MALE officer at this meeting
c) you have referred me to a compulsory interview with another JobNet agency without certifying to me by letter, that I will be able to choose to see a MALE "case manager" there.
I now ask you to at least postpone any interview with this new JobNet agency and reschedule an interview for me with a MALE ONLY Centrelink Officer - via a letter to my postal address - giving the usual amount of notice. If I receive no such letter by this Friday, I will proceed with a complaint I have already flagged with the Human Rights Commission. If I am therefore forced to attend the COMPULSORY interview with the latest JobNet agency next week - I will not only take a witness - but also a video camera to record the usual harassment (that) such private agencies practice on their forced "clients". I ask you to advise that agency of my conditions for attending their "interview".
I ask you to insist that JobNet agencies make a MALE "case manager" available for people to CHOOSE. I enclose another Email I received from one of the JobNet agencies I approached - which admits it has no MALE "case managers" in their office local to me. My complaint to the Human Rights Commission will be about the fact that such agencies FAIL to employ at least ONE male "case manager" in any office of their agency. Such anti-male discrimination must cease. I will soon be sending that full series of my letters to Centrelink on this matter - to various politicians - and later to the Media - if necessary.
9 July 2002
As usual, you have failed to respond to my latest letter of 3 July. In it I again requested that the interview I managed to secure at Centrelink, only after paying a visit there to the front counter, be resheduled to another time (after the flu prevented me from attending the first date arranged). My letter referred to the fact that you had sent me to yet another "referral" to go to another JobNet agency at 10am on 8 July - instead of rescheduling the Centrelink interview about my foreshadowed complaint to the Authorised Review Officer.
Early on 8 July I went to Centrelink, Darlinghurst - after having received no reply to my last letter. At the front counter I pressed my point, from the letter. that I would only want to see a male Centrelink officer. Eventually the front counter officer said he would see if their only male Manager was "in". After some wait, I was presented with their Disability officer called Brian. I believe this was the first male Centrelink officer in recent times I have been allowed an interview with.
He claimed that it was irrelevent that he happened to the the Disability officer - but his questions showed he was obviously taking that role. He asked if i was on medication, for instance, though he clearly knew I was on the dole and not claiming any ongoing medical exemption. He interviewed like I was a person with a mental disability - though all I have been asking for are two things:
1. that I be properly assessed as to my eligibility for
2. that Centrelink inform me as to whether JobNet agencies they refer me to have
any male "case managers" available, and whether any agencies that have male
ones are prepared to let me choose one.
For these two quite reasonable requests, I am being treated (falsely) as a madman by Centrelink - as revealed by the assignment of the Disabilities officer to see me on 8 July. Brian (Baker?) at least did ask me - though in his dismissive way - on what grounds I was demanding to see only male officers. I had a go a explaining this - though I could more easily do this via letter (if Centrelink was actually interested). He made it clear that Centrelink was not prepared to either review the criteria judgements for giving me the "highest" (ie worst) "intensive assistance" grading, or contact JobNet agencies about my point (2) before referring me to them.
After several firm requests, Brian reluctantly gave me a review form for my two pronged complaint to their Authorised Review Officer. Despite his commands that I must straightaway go to the JobNet agency interview - some distance away (from Darlinghurst Centrelink)- which was now due in half an hour, I told him that I would fill out the complaint form straight away. First I rang the JobNet agency from Centrelink, to explain that I needed to reschedule the interview, as I was about to fill out a complaint form about how Centrelink refused to inform me if a JobNet agency would let me choose to see a male "case manager".
The JobNet agency (JobVentures Redfern) did postpone the compulsory interview - but failed to respond to the very point I was making about their agency. Instead they simply said that "files" (meaning clients) were allocated on some criteria of availability (presumably of what "case managers" had what caseload). In other words, as usual with all other JobNet agencies I've encountered, they were not prepared to say (that) I would have any choice in what gender of "case manager" I could have. It is now perfectly clear, especially from Brian's additional remarks, that Centrelink's policy is to refuse to assist in their jobless "clients" having an informed choice as to what type of "case manager" they (are forced to) have.
This is despite the fact that on the list of JobNet agencies
they (Centrelink) supply, different types of "case management"
is specified among some agencies - with regards to aboriginality and
disabilities etc. I received that list, by the way after the short period
allowed to "choose" an agency. Brian was helpful at least in regards
to my point (1), in that he briefly showed me the type of criteria
used to decide what level of "intensive assistance" a person is
allocated - if any. In a number of my letters to you I have been asking to see
these criteria - as I believe I have been unfairly judged in need
of so called "intensive assistance".
I am now even more convinced that you have got it wrong. My complaint to the Authorised review Officer on 8 July - tried to argue, in the small space allowed on the form, that it was incorrect that my part time university degree course was seen as not a serious "activity" in terms of getting me work. I told Brian of my complaint about a previous female Centrelink officer I had been ordered to see (who i repeatedly told that I had made it clear I didn't want to see - because I insisted on ( instead seeing) a male one). She dismissed my efforts to try and get "Council" jobs (in community development and so forth) - which were in tune with my Social Science degree that I graduated in last year.
Astonished at her insensitivity, I softly replied that I guess it was a waste of time me doing the Degree then (ie at all). I had written to Centrelink many times, asking you to count my degree course, I had written to Centrelink many times, asking you to count my degree course, involving usually two units per semester, as an approved "activity", it provided my best chance of gaining future employment> My other activity in the community involves volunteering to manager a community event that is supported (repeatedly) by a local Council. Instead, Brian claimed that my major "barrier" to employment to employment was the false claim that I had been undertaking no approved activity at all - and had supposedly simply been (just) unemployed for some time (without doing anything worthwhile).
I put it to him that Centrelink was discouraging mature age people doing high level practical courses, that will more likely get them work, than trying to get more manual work (which is limited by my back problems anyway). That discouragement is achieved by Centrelink refusing to recognise the need of many mature age people to study part time so they can keep up their community volunteering commitments. Centrelink refuses to recognise that mature age people have different needs and ways to operate than younger students, who can simply focus on full time studies, as they usually have little in community commitments as yet.
Therefore, not only does Centrelink discriminate against male jobless who wish to choose to see male (non Disability) officers and "case managers", it weights its "intensive assistance" criteria to discriminate against mature age people who undertake tertiary courses (in order to increase their employability). Centrelink therefore creates a lucrative market of newly degreed mature age people that it can then falsely pass off as having the highest "barriers" (by dismissing their period of doing part time study as simply being unemployed - without doing any worthwhile activity). and therefore (pass them off as having the) highest "instensive assistance" needs. Such supposedly hopeless "long term" jobless can then gain the JobNet agencies the highest fee when they are signed on for phoney "Return to work" agreements.
What a wonderful scam you are running (for the Federal government). Again, I'd like to point out that I have repeatedly told you that I will tape any inappropriate interview I am forced to go to. I will certainly walk out of any JobNet interview where I am not assigned a male case manager - which is afterall what you have been trying to achieve - humiliating me by finding a bogus reason to have me breached. You can be assured that my complaints about Centrelink are going to the Human rights Commission - who have already supplied mw with a complaint form - as well as interviewing me favourably on the issues. That is, pending the official written complaints I've made to your Authorised Review Officer.
INTERVIEW TO FOLLOW
CHAPTER THREE ; THIRD DEGREE
COMMENT; Letters to Centrelink, Darlinghurst - Manager - unless otherwise indicated. It is legal to tape interviews with Centrelink - provided a request has been made in writing - so that they can also tape the interview if they wish.
2 August 2002
I wish to complain that you have falsely calculated my "classification" for so called Intensive Assistance via the secretive "Job Seeker Classification Instrument" (JSCI) - over a number of factors including an anti-male (particularly mature age) basis in its factors - plus a glaring error in the Duration of Unemployment factor.
When I was (disgustingly) referred to the Disability officer - Brian (Baker?) - at your Centrelink (when I had insisted on seeing a male officer) he showed me my file on the computer screen that wrongly claimed that I had been unemployed for a period (that put) me in the highest score category - when in fact he also showed on the screen that I was in full time education in the first semester of my degree course at the University of Technology, Sydney in 200.
Though I still collected the dole - I was clearly classified as NOT UNEMPLOYED - and not liable to apply for full time work in that period. I therefore demand that the appointment with Job Futures at Redfern for this afternoon at 4pm be immediately cancelled and an interview set up for me to see a (non Disability) MALE Centrelink officer to correct this error in my JSCI score of "overall employment placement difficulty"
I also object to (idea of) being an older male getting me 3 more (disadvantage points) ie over 45 years of age, and lining alone (which is more common for single males than females) giving one more point. I would also like to know whether you count my two UTS courses as :"vocational or occupational" or not. I ask this as Centrelink has never counted these two tertiary courses I graduated in as legitimate activity under the "activity test". In 2001 I graduated in BA Social Science and (earlier with a) Diploma in Community Organisations.
I enclose a copy of the JSCI - which I have filled in myself (at*). I cannot sign any "Intensive Assistance Activity Agreement" (as I will be asked to do at Job Futures today) which falsely gives me the "highest" (ie WORST) disadvantage classification - based on Centrelink deliberately filling out the JSCI on me in the wrong way. i will not be collaborating in Centrelink giving Job Futures the opportunity to get the highest amount from the Govt funding by falsely classifying me as the most disadvantaged.
COMMENT ; Centrelinks secret "Job Seekers Classification Instrument" appears in Appendix below.
12 August 2002 from ROHAN PRATT "AUTHORISED REVIEW OFFICER"
I am writing to you about your request for a review of the Job Seeker Classification score attributed to you at Darlighurst Centrelink.
Your job seeker classification score may only be reviewed where you have personal factors or lifestyle issues or a disability which have not previously been identified to Centrelink at the time of being classified for labour market assistance. This is an internal administrative process.
There is no legislative basis for the review, but job seekers can be required by legislation to be classified for job network assistance and can be required by legislation to participate in job network assistance.
Job seekers can also receive an activity test breach penalty (a Newstart Allowance rate reduction or non payment period) if they do not sign a Preparing for Work Agreement (also called an activity agreement) with Centrelink or with a job network member, or if the job seeker does not comply with the terms of the agreement without having a very good substantiated reason.
You have been required under section 601(2) of the social security Act 1991 to do Intensive Assistance.
I will now quote from Centrelink's reference material in relation to reviews of the Job Seeker Classification Instrument (JSCI) score.
A job seeker or Job Network member, with authority from the job seeker, can request for a Job Network Review where the job seeker has been referred to Intensive Assistance (IA) and the Job Network member and/or the job seeker believe the job seeker's Jobseeker classification Instrument (JSCI) score and IA funding level was incorrect at the date of referral.
If the review results in a decrease in the JSCI score, no change should be made to the job seeker's funding level. It is DEWR (Department of Employment and Workplace Relations) policy that IA funding levels will not be reduced as a result of a review.
However there may be an opportunity to have your JSCI reviewed in the following instances:
* Where the JSCI involves a secondary classification (disability), the review should be considered by the Centrelink Disability Officer (CDO), or a team leader of the Disability and Carer team, or
* Where a secondary classification (personal factors) is involved, the review is considered by a Centrelink psychologist.
Therefore if there are any mental or psychological or physical or other personal factors that impinge on your ability to look for work or complete training or fulfill the requirements of Intensive Assistance, then you should contact Centrelink as soon as possible to request an appointment with a specialist to review your JSCI in order that these factors can be taken into account. This might result in a referral or Preparing for Work Agreement that does not involve Intensive Assistance.
You should make this request prior to signing a Preparing for Work Agreement with XXXX to whom you have recently been referred for Intensive Assistance. You should ring this provider as soon as possible on XXXXX if you intend to request a specialist review at Centrelink, or the opportunity for a review will be lost.
If you are also doing part time study you should also tell Centrelink and the job network member that you are referred to.
By all means show this letter to M.P. Tanya Plibersek's office, as i have assured them on your behalf that I would explore possible avenues for a review of your job seeker classification score, and this letter constitutes my response. Should you choose not to be reviewed by a specialist,, the matter is considered closed.
COMMENT: reply from Centrelink Authorised Review Officer came only after Local Federal MP was contacted. We invite response from readers who can work out just what Pratt's "response" actually was. Note that the Social Security Act that it all flows from is dated 1991 - the time of the Labor Federal Government. The following two letters are versions of actual correspondence that were "sanitised" by their source for certain reasons. Still they give some kind of window into how officials view the jobless who challenge their often ego (and perhaps money) driven decisions. Note emphasis in bold and upper case (and clarification in italics with brackets).
20 August 2002 from MICHAEL, "EMPLOYMENT CONSULTANT"
Hi Rohan, I am the JobNetwork member that is currently dealing with Mr "Bull" As you are aware, My "Bull" appealed to have his JSCI score reviewed, and he has shown me the letter you wrote to him regarding your diecision.
Mr "Bull" has asked me to contact Centrelink regarding this matter. Is it possible for Centrelink to view the length of Mr "Bull"'s registration differently? It is Mr "Bull"'s assertion that the current period displayed on his registration, 143 months, does not reflect his adacemic efforts correctly. Mr "Bull" asserts that as he was actively improving his employment prospects by improving his education. As such his registration should reflect that break as he does not accept he should have been considered UE (unemployed) even though he was receiving NSB payments.
I am aware that technically Mr "Bull" to have his registration changed he should have been on an alternative benefit such as AUSTUDY, which of course he could not have been as his study was part time. Therein lays the problem. ( ED; note that he was full time for one semester after pressure from Centrelink to do Intensive assistance instead in early 2000. One semester is called "six months" by educational institutions - and is surely longer than the 13 weeks required by Centrelink.)
I would ask that Centrelink consider reviewing "Mr Bull"'s length of registration. (It) would not affect his status in any way, except perhaps his eligibility for IA. Mr "Bull" would be eligible for all other programs such as WFD & JST (ED, the latter seems to mean "Job Search Training") . I think that this would be a suitable compromise with Mr "Bull".
Mr "Bull" has advised me he will appeal the decision to the SSAT (Social Security Appeals Tribunal) and more than likely he will appeal to the AAT (Administrative Appeals Tribunal) if this is unsuccessful. This will cost Centrelink considerable sums of money to defend. (Do) you not feel that this would be a better outcome?
Thank you for your consideration on this matter.
29 August 2002 from ROHAN PRATT (AUTH REV OFF) to MICHAEL (EC)
Michael, JSCI's cannot be reviewed by ARO's (Authorised Review Officers) or SSAT or AAT. Mr "Bull" can push all he likes. There is , however, lego (legislation) that allows Centrelink to require a job seeker to have a JSCI done, but that's as far as it goes.
Mr "Bull"'s JSCI score is in fact accurate. He has been on income support for a long long time (ED including the first Uni semester of year 200 - when Centrelink itself demanded he go fuull time study - or be required to do "instensive assistance").
He would get 23 points on his JSCI score if the months registered were removed altogether (which they cannot be) (ED except that Centrelink manager has admitted that it he had done a few more months full time study - to make it up to 6 months total - after that period he would have been treated as a newly jobless person on the dole) but this would give a false representation. (ED he is also complaining to the SSAT and elsewhere that he is being lumbered with EXTRA points on the JSCI for being a male over 45).
I should point out that Mr "Bull"'s study load is (ED he is no longer studying) not enough to qualify for Austudy or any kind of activity test exemption.
You would be aware that we are paid to use this classification instrument for DEWR.... and it is not a matter of Centrelink viewing Mr "bull"'s registration differently. I appreciate that Mr "Bull" presents a difficulty to you as he has been to us at Centrelink, but I would be disappointed if he was given special treatment because he BULLIED CENTRELINK or JNM (Job Network Member) or the M.P.'s office for that matter).
I will ask Stephan King to correspond with you on this matter, as he understands the protocols better. I have a link to our Centrenet site hereunder but do not know if it will be open for you.
COMMENT ; We think that most people can see that this "Activity Test" process - first started by the Labor Federal Govt - is neither transparent nor fair. Not only is the jobless profiling (via the Job Seeker Classification Instrument or JSCI) a secret process where the job seeker is given no access to the scattergun and discriminatory survey - but Intensive Assistance itself is never defined. Instead the job seeker is forced by threat of financial penalty to sign an "agreement" to undertake "programs" - about which no information is published.
The higher the secret and arbitrary "score" from the JSCI - the greater the intrusion allowed from such so called "programs". In other words - the over 45 year old male (particularly) is blamed for the fact that the twin factors of age discrimination in the labour market and a higher employment level of females than males - makes his job opportunities LESS than a female of the same age. Such "Intensive Assistance" - run mainly by the females that are surplanting males from the workforce - are designed to make male BLAME THEMSELVES for their lack of employment.
Males are then described false as "difficult" and "bullying" if they try to appeal to Centrelink and various administrative review bodies as to how they are being treated. "Trish" from the Labor Federal MP's office even trotted out the radical feminist line that it was okay for males to be denied full time work due to increased female job market participation - since afterall, MEN had been "oppressing" females for the last few hundred years.
In other words, the genocidal high suicide rate of men - largely due to their higher relative unemployment levels and divorce rates (two thirds of divorce are brought on by women) - is a just punishment of males who apparently were entirely responsible for how the Industrial Revolution treated females. Ironically that revolution in work practices ended up stretching the privilege of wives not to have to work, down through the middle class to even the working class.
Married men were often paid more than single ones - on the basis that their wife would have to stay at home bringing up kids (some of you may remember the tennis-wife syndrome of wives having too much leisure time. All that is now forgotten as the new generation of women wonder why they have to work long hours all their life. They should be happy that (mostly) equal pay and better than equal higher education access has made them just another part of the capitalist work system. Official society now maintains that all males now and in the future need to redress the supposed historical male conspiracy of the last three hundred years.
These fascist attitudes are mainly being implemented into Govt policy by a section of middle class baby boomers who now are so powerful in Govt bureaucracy and politics. This E Book hopes to document an example of how such victimisation of males, proceeds through the system - blaming, rather than truly trying to help them. Our author did everything right eg got a degree while doing what temporary manual work he could get.
Instead of respect and consideration - he is now branded falsely like a criminal who is "difficult" and "bullies" Govt officers and officials. As usual, the jobless are always blamed for their situation - and now is to be forced to do "programs" to diminish - rather than enhance his self esteem. Increased male suicides are sure to follow stricter and harsher "Intensive Assistance " regimes under the Orwellian named ACTIVITY TEST
29 August 2002 K PEACOCK SOCIAL SECURITY APPEALS TRIBUNAL
I have received you appeal against a decision of Centrelink.
I enclose a leaflet which explains where you can get help or further information.
I have asked Centrelink to send me your file. As soon as I receive it I will contact you to arrange a time for you to speak to the Tribunal. This will be within the next few weeks.
If you change your address please tell me.
A LATER LETTER WILL APPEAR HERE
A P P E N D I X
SECRET JOBLESS "PROFILING" TOOL - not available from
Centrelink upon request ;
This is gradually being typed in.
JOB SEEKER CLASSIFICATION INSTRUMENT
On the basis of the JSCI survey findings, the advise of the Classifiation Working Group and feedback from consultations, the following factors have been included in the JSCI. Each factor has been assigned a numerical weighting indicative of the average contribution the factor makes to the difficulty of placing a job seeker into employment. An individual job seeker's score, obtained by summing all the separate weights for that person, will indicate the job seeker's overall employment placement difficulty in comparison with other job seekers.
NB: points in brackets() are those recommended by the classification Working Group. Other points are those derived from the JSCI survey findings.
* older males aged 45 years and over (additional to above)
Educational Attainment (survey)
Vocational Qualifications (survey)
Duration of Unemployment (survey)
*Recency of Work Experience (main activity in 5 years
Family status (survey)
Geographic location and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Status
MORE TO COME
MORE OF THIS LONG DOCUMENT TO COME