Please Put Your Name on This Petition
My name is Ella, and I'm responsible for the coordination of certain aspects of this campaign against ParentsNext. I used to work as a Policy Advisor, I have a bachelor's degree in Social Science, I raise my child by myself, and I am required to take part in the ParentsNext program. When a parent is ready to get back into the workforce, I believe that they should be able to choose whether or not they want to participate in the ParentsNext program. It would be a mistake to assume that parents are not interested in having jobs that pay.
My life changed drastically when my partner abandoned our family when our daughter was only eight months old, and I found myself thrust into the role of a single parent. I was very sick during that time, and I had a child who required medication. All of a sudden, I was forced to move 1,000 kilometers away from both my home and my job in order to live with my mother.
It's a good thing ParentsNext wasn't around in 2014 because they haven't managed to get a hold of me until right before my daughter starts kindergarten. I had been waiting for this time regardless, for a variety of reasons, but primarily so that I would have the financial ability to work (as I did not have the financial ability to pay for childcare).
Since the beginning of this campaign, I've spoken with a great number of women who have been the focus of this program. Each and every woman is perplexed, enraged, terrified, and humiliated. In spite of the politicians' claims that they are "helping mums return to work," the reality is that the unpaid work that these women already do is being undervalued. To make matters even worse, it is being interpreted as "dole bludging."
A great number of single parents are held hostage by the system. They do not receive assistance from the other parent. Because of the many flaws in the child support system, many absent parents are able to avoid contributing any money toward the financial well-being of their child. Surprisingly, the wealthy parents who are not present are the ones who are the most successful at hiding money.
The state leaves single parents to fend for themselves in poverty, but they are trusted and required by law to raise their children to be healthy and well adjusted. The vast majority of parents do this willingly; however, being told that their payments will be reduced "if you don't take your child to story time" is an extremely stressful situation for them. The majority of sole and single parents are currently just surviving.
The majority of the women I've spoken to have reported that the provider of their ParentsNext (job network) has bullied them. These service providers don't have degrees in social welfare, they aren't psychologists, and they don't have any other qualifications that would make them qualified to manage (mostly) women who are frequently traumatized and fleeing violence. These women are required to figuratively and literally beg them for permission to attend medical appointments or court hearings. There are some women who are choosing to remain in abusive relationships because they do not want to deal with the uncertainty that ParentsNext presents.
The government pays the ParentsNext providers for each parent that they "sign up" for the program, pays them a regular amount for each person that they have "on their books," and also pays them a large payment when a parent "finds work." These incentives keep the ParentsNext providers motivated. There is no ongoing monetary assistance provided to women.
To add insult to injury, the providers of ParentsNext are threatening to cut off the women's payments if they do not sign a privacy waiver that they are forcing the women to sign against their will. It is against the law to force a person to sign a waiver of their privacy rights. Providers obtain a parent's signature on this form so that they can exercise parental authority, monitor the parent's health status, and ensure that the parent is present for all of the child's activities. This is an appalling invasion of privacy, and I am seeking guidance from legal professionals regarding the options available to women who are forced to sign a privacy waiver.
Will you stand with me and other families surviving on a single income by signing this petition and sharing it with others?
The new DHS legislation includes a program called ParentsNext, which mandates that mothers of children as young as six months old must engage in activities similar to those of a "job seeker." The program has a retributive bent. If a parent is unable to bring their child to an appointment because of illness or for any other reason that is associated with poverty, then the parent's payments will be canceled. What this means is that the government is denying potentially impoverished women and children access to funds that are urgently required. This is especially troubling when one considers that the government has been touting ParentsNext as a solution to the problem of intergenerational poverty.
The legislation known as ParentsNext is in violation of a number of international Conventions.
The international agreement known as the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) has been violated by the organization ParentsNext. In addition to this, it violates the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. It ought to be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Commission of Australia.
In 1975, Australia became a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which is also known as the ICESCR. This agreement guarantees citizens the right to social security. There is "a strong presumption that retrogressive measures taken in relation to the right to social security are prohibited under the Covenant," according to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
It is made abundantly clear in the ParentsNext Discussion Paper that women are the primary focus of this policy. As a result, the policy is discriminatory toward women because it denies them their entitlement to social security benefits, and it also puts children in jeopardy.
According to the ParentsNext Discussion Paper, "approximately 96 percent of It is expected that participants will be female.
This program does not place an emphasis on fathers in any way.
The focus here is on mothers because they are the members of our society who are least able to afford the time to get job-ready.
Before they have children, women spend an average of 16 hours per week on housework; this number increases to 30 hours per week when their youngest child begins school. On the other hand, the amount of time spent on caring for children increases from 2 hours per week to 51 hours when a baby is born.
It is unfair to treat mothers of young children as if they are unemployed workers when, in reality, they are working longer hours than men in full-time positions but, for the most part, they are not being compensated for their labor.
The Parenting Payment system already imposes a high level of conditionality on recipients of Parenting Payments, which has contributed to an increase in the rate of poverty, especially among single mothers and the children they are raising.
KPI bonuses are rewards that the government gives to providers of ParentsNext for assisting clients in achieving certain outcomes. These payments are in the wrong place, and they will lead to providers pressuring clients to achieve particular outcomes; this strategy has been demonstrated to not work for the agencies that help people transition from welfare to work.
The participation in the program should be entirely voluntary, and the clients ought to be the ones to receive the bonuses. The program ought to offer incentives rather than penalties.
It is strongly recommended by a number of influential organizations (see references below) that mothers of young children, particularly those who are raising their children alone, should not be included in the category of job seekers.
There is no evidence that improving a parent's ability to enter paid employment when they are ready to do so by sending them back to work or engaging them in work training or preparation while their youngest child is under the age of 5 will improve their ability. There is also no evidence that the activities outlined in the ParentsNext National Expansion Discussion Paper will improve barriers to employment such as disadvantage, mental or physical health issues, dealing with domestic violence, or not having completed high school when the recipients are caring for very young children. These barriers include: disadvantage, mental or physical health issues, dealing with domestic violence, and not completing high school.
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