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I been down the road you talk about Terry James ( Comment 8, HERE ), many times.

I have been contacted by the government, twice in two months, to give some feedback on employment service providers. I guess this was because I did make a big whoha talking/writing to some government reps about how I was treated in the last couple of years.

I haven’t sent my government form opinion in yet. I was guessing it was all about politics and the election as to why my opinion - all of a sudden - became important. Besides most of the questions they asked were so superficial and didn’t seem to give two hoots about hearing about my real experience.

So I saved it for reality, a time when (outside election time) I could possibly be heard. You have given me a great opportunity, Terry James, to do that now.

Here is, at least, part of my story in summary …

I was given a job via a government-sponsored service provider. If I did not take the job, I would lose my benefits. But I wanted to work, desperately. So although the job took 2 hours travel per day I agreed. I was told by another employee on the job that my employment had taken hours away from her and that there had been others before me who had been gotten rid of when the scheme ended.

As I saw it, what the company I was employed with had been doing for a number of years was using vulnerable people on a 6-month government scheme. When the government/service provider scheme ended the company would cut the employee’s hours, then use some excuse to get rid of them.

This happened to me.

Albiet I stayed somewhat longer as I called out my boss on doing such an unfair thing. My experience was thus: The government sponsored/paid for service provider knew what was happening, because they kept getting paid by the government/taxpayer to provide a so-called new employee to the same business which had just dispensed with the last vulnerable employee.

My second experience with government/centrelink sponsored employment services (which was with the same service provider) was … I had gained my own casual job through my own efforts and asked my service provider to find me a second job.

I specifically told them I wanted many more hours, not just an hour or two with the job I had found myself. I believe the service provider ignored that and, instead of trying to find me an extra job for many hours, approached my then current boss to give me an hour or so extra per day, taking me from 8-10 hours per week to 15 – which was my centrelink minimum requirement.

I wanted more work than that. The job was a rotating roster and - with buses the way they are in my area - it meant I couldn’t do another job, I’d told the service provider those facts. They ignored me.  I wanted, needed more work. My job became untenable due to harassment and the limiting of my ability to do other work. When I asked to change my hours so I could fit in another job I had acquired personally,  I was sacked. 

I then changed service providers. I asked the new servicer provider not to contact my new employer, as I’d had such bad experiences previously with service providers sticking their nose in so their company could reap some government benefit.

Again I was ignored.

They hassled my new employer, but he was already giving me over and above hours that I was required to do. Whilst lots of travelling, it’s a job I love. My boss and I weathered the storm of hassles of services providers over the last 6 months, and now thank goodness I can just do my job without service provider intervention.

Just how people continue to deal with government-paid-for private service providers is beyond me … best of luck people …

You should tell your story! Truth surely can only change the government to do right the right thing and stop these greedy service providers using vulnerable people?

Claire Gilmour A sixth generation Tasmania, I live in a rainforest near Rocky Cape with my 2 Shetland sheepdogs and a variety of wildlife. My working life has taken me from IT, small business management, barmaid, deck hand and veterinary nursing to painter/decorator/landscaper and farming, with lots more in between. In 2010 I stood as a candidate for the Greens in the electorate of Braddon. I love rainforests, freshwater creeks, mountains, rainbows, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, open fires, visits from wildlife, witty live theatre, creating something good out of junk, getting my hands dirty in the garden, a challenge, a job well done, delight in people’s eyes and laughter. I respect those who take their responsibilities seriously whilst also being adventurous, if not somewhat bold and courageous in their convictions and appreciate a sense of fun in life. I despise injustice and with personal experiences gained in 50 years of life, including times of struggling with severe depression and poverty, I strive to help and champion the marginalized in any small way I can.

Kym Goodes, Mercury: Turnbull’s second chance … If he has learned anything from the election result, he will have a focus on the most critical players of all, the Australian people. This should be the turning point, where the new Government sees the opportunity in a policy and reform agenda that truly listens to people and shapes a system that works for everyone. In Tasmania the election campaign started with the former Member for Braddon Brett Whiteley talking about jobless people on Newstart being “off their heads” on drugs. It ended with the Coalition’s proposal to take funds out of the welfare system. Tasmanians clearly rejected what was on offer from the Coalition. They didn’t buy the promise of tax cuts for those earning over $80,000 a year, or the cut in the corporate tax rate. This is because these proposals are a million miles from where most Tasmanians live. Fifteen per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty and that rate is higher in the electorates of Bass and Braddon. If you are fortunate enough to have a job in Bass, you can expect to earn an average salary of about $45,000 a year …

• lola moth in Comments: Around ten years ago I was visiting a friend north of Sydney. Although she worked full time she was struggling with the mortgage so rented a room to a friend who was on a disability pension. On day three of my visit at 6:15am there was a knock at the door and two policemen and three Centrelink workers pushed their way into the house with a search warrant stating they believed the pensioner was in a defacto relationship with the home-owner and would be searching the house for evidence. The police were there because the pensioner had a firearms licence and they did not search the premises but stayed for four hours while the three Centrelink staff turned the place upside-down. They went through every drawer, read every personal letter, touched every photograph, piece of jewellery and underwear in that house. Nothing was left without their fingerprints spoiling otherwise cherished possessions. They went through our wallets and photographed the contents. I was so distressed I ended up in the backyard being sick. The pensioner, a lovely gentle man in his forties, sat on the kitchen floor with tears streaming down his face crying” I’m sorry, I’m so sorry” to his landlady. My friend, who had never been on a Centrelink benefit in her life, ended up on stress leave for a week. She said it was the second worst day of her life, the worst being the day her mother died. In the end Centrelink dropped their investigation due to lack of evidence. I have never forgotten that day. I can no longer work now due to ill health so I sold my home and bought the cheapest house I could find. I live on $144.00 a week that I earn in interest until I can get my super in four years time. I will never go to Centrelink to be whipped and cowed by them just because I am unable to work. I would rather live in poverty on my own terms than allow them to go through my underwear again.

• Kim Peart in Comments: … The 1950s was a decade of hope, when there was a Fair Go in Australia, when we were working with the Dutch toward the freedom of the whole island of New Guinea. Then the US told us in 1962 to sacrifice the West Papuans, like so many slaves, to buy peace with Indonesia, which I suspect is the action that changed the moral heart of the nation. It was a cruel act and it made us mean. After 1962, the Fair Go was steadily replaced by competition for wealth, in part driven by automation, leading to the present …