Migrant picking apples at New Zealand farm
In an apparent play of words, Liberal Senator and Employment Minister Eric Abetz told unemployed Australians not to be picky with employment offers until they get their dream jobs. Rather, he advised them to pick fruits in Tasmania as his was of defending the embattled proposed federal budget.
The much-hated budget introduces changes to Newstart by forcing young Aussies below 30 years old to wait for six months before they would receive unemployment benefits.
He repeated what Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated over the weekend as the Coalition struggles to make Australians accept the budget with its harsh cuts and taxes that are a break from the party's campaign promises.
Abetz used his own experience as a youth to convince the young jobless Aussies not to shun manual work. The senator shared that while a university student, he delivered bread, drove a taxi and worked on a chicken farm.
He lamented that while there are many job opportunities in his home state of Tasmania to pick fruits, 90 per cent of these jobs have to be filled in by foreign workers.
"If people can come from overseas to pick the fruit in Tasmania one wonders why potentially unemployed Tasmanians couldn't do the same task," The Age quoted the senator who also suggested jobless youth to work on a dairy farm.
He added, "There is no right to demand from your fellow Australians that just because you don't want to do a bread delivery or a taxi run or a stint as a farmhard that you should therefore be able to rely on your fellow Australian to subsidise you."
Abetz's admonition is actually a generally sound principle and laudable for encouraging the youth not to be ashamed of any type of decent work, but the Coalition government may find it hard for Australians to take their word since it has been perceived to have broken its election vow.
Moreover, many Aussies too are miffed on discovering that academic scholarships, which are one of the roads for young people to improve their lives as well as secure better employment opportunities, are now suspected of being "political largesse" like the $60,000 scholarship awarded to Frances Abbott by the Whitehouse Institute of Design.