Now, I know we’ve all seen the A Current Affair reports on “stoner dole bludgers” who live at the beach, surf all day and roll in their piles of taxpayer-funded cash all night.
But no one takes that seriously right?
Apparently they do, because a lot of stories have been written about Laurina being on the dole. Like it’s something she should be ashamed of. Except it’s not.
Stories like this. Post continues after video…
We have a welfare system because our society has decided that we want to help Australians in need. And that means when someone doesn’t have a job or savings they can apply for government assistance. So they don’t become homeless, so they can get back on their feet, so they can afford to buy food.
But even with income support, plenty of people are still struggling. According to the Australian Council of Social Service in 2014, 40 per cent of people on some form of income support were living below the poverty line.
When you separate out the payments, 55 per cent of people on Newstart (the dole), live below the line, and so do almost 51 per cent of people on Youth Allowance (studying) and 48 per cent of parenting payment recipients.
For a single adult, living below the poverty line means you’re earning less than around $400 a week.
Being on welfare payments isn’t easy or fun. It’s a hard slog. You have to be super-organised, and willing to constantly share every aspect of your life with strangers so you can afford to pay your bills (or at least some of your bills).
For people on unemployment payments there are a series of hoops to be jumped through like career coaching and a minimum number of job applications to do each week.