OPINION: Up to parents to break cycle of welfare dependency
I'M writing this column not out of judgement for those who are on welfare, but as a plea.
Putting aside the politics of the Cashless Debit Card, putting aside the stigma attached to being on welfare payments long-term and acknowledging how very hard it is to break the cycle of dependency and poverty, I have a very real request to make.
If you can, if you are able, get up and make your best effort to find a job.
If that means moving, so be it.
If that means doing training or improving your education, that's what needs to be done.
If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your children.
I make this plea because whatever your child witnesses, they will do.
My parents worked hard and I saw that growing up and it was instilled in me.
While some children do manage to break the cycle of welfare dependency, many do not.
I write this as someone who despaired to hear this week of a person dressing up as Superman in an effort to be turned away from work.
This is pathetic. It is not good enough.
Yes, entrenched disadvantage is real.
It is complex and not everything can be resolved just by urging people to find work or trying to make their access to welfare more difficult.
But in an age where personal responsibility is almost dead, I want those who could work but choose instead to make excuses and remain on the public dime to make the effort.
To apply for jobs they don't want.
To strive to have the skills for the jobs they do want.
This is the legacy you are leaving for your children.
Research demonstrates a clear correlation between parents receiving welfare payments for significant periods of time and their children also receiving payments.
And in this day and age, there is no shortage of agencies whose sole purpose is to train people and get them into work.
For years I have advocated for ways in which to break the cycle.
I believe fundamentally changing how we view education, not just as a way of gaining knowledge but as a pathway into a job, needs to happen sooner rather than later.
I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and I loved it - but there really was no job, no profession that lent itself to that degree.
I'm not saying education isn't worthwhile or we should stop people from completing such degrees.
There needs to be more options that prepare people for the workforce.
Working in a pub while I studied taught me more about hard work and being prepared to do the hard yards than my degree ever did.
The one thing I have never said was the obvious: parents need to set the example for their children.
Too often we hear "there's no work".
"I don't want to move."
"I don't have the skills for that position."
The only person who can make the decision to change your life and break the cycle is you.
And you'll be changing your child's life as well.