Budget 2014: PM Tony Abbott Avoids Student Protest, But Didn’t Escape Teacher Heckling in Hobart; Tells Unemployed Not to Be Choosy in Selecting Jobs
By Vittorio Hernandez | May 26, 2014 7:43 AM EST
Embattled Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott may have escaped the fury of students angry at the proposed 2014-15 federal budget when he cancelled last week an appearance at the University of Sydney. However, on Friday, he didn't escape the anger of teachers who heckled him upon his arrival at an event in Hobart.
About 70 members of the Australian Education Union posted themselves at the entrance of the Hobart Traffic Management Centre to protest the failure of the Coalition government to commit to the full rollout of the Gonski funding deal of the Labor government. The teachers asked Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman to keep his promise to lobby Canberra for the rest of the funds.
The premier assured the teacher the state government is committed to provide its share of the full six years of the funding, but it is beyond his control to compel the federal government to provide for its share, saying, "I'll let the federal government make decisions that concern their budget circumstances."
Mr Abbott, who came to Hobart to announce $26 million funding for the upgrade of the Brooker Highway, choose not incur further the wrath of the teachers.
He said, quoted by the Examiner, "I respect the sincerity of the people out the front. They obviously want the best for their kids and their community's schools."
However, with jobseekers, Mr Abbott was more combative and told jobseekers on unemployment benefits don't have the right to reject work if it isn't their dream job. Under the proposed budget, thousands of Aussies below 30 will be forced to work for their benefits beginning 2015. There would further be a six months wait to access the welfare benefits.
"People have no right to hold out for the job of their dreams while they are on unemployment benefits," the PM said, adding that they have to accept any job they could reasonably do offered to them.
Labor, however, has warned that the tough unemployment benefits measures could lead the jobless youth to turn to petty crimes or live on the streets as accessing welfare benefits become tougher.
To contact the editor, e-mail: