PROBLEMS: Scott Morrison’s plan to have jobseekers work for farmers raises more questions than answers. Picture: Alex EllinghausenOpinion. It is, by definition, a personal thing. It’s built by experience, grafted through our ongoing engagements in the communities in which we live and often dished out at opportune times to inflate or deflate the egos of others.
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We tend to gravitate towards those who share our opinions and can often feel threatened by those who oppose them, especially when the dissenter is not nervous about confronting the disparity between us.

Ultimately, opinion is the heart of our perception of ourselves, of others, and of the world. As we gravitate and repel others based on our perceptions, we create, perhaps unthinkingly, schools of thought.

A few of us are adaptable to changing views and ideas and will allow ourselves to have our opinions changed or influenced by others, by evidence, by our own ongoing experiences.

Some of us hold steadfastly to our opinions and become entrenched in our ideals.

This entrenched thought becomes problematic when it stops forward motion. When our perceptions and biases prevent us from adapting to changing need.

When groups of people who share opinion find their ideas challenged by a changing world with changing needs, they can either choose to dig in or to adapt.

One subject that keeps arising almost cyclically in the media stream is the concept of a “dole bludger.”The concept itself isn’t up for debate: it’s reported as a given.

Social media is rife with keyboard warriors battling out on digital battlefields over the treatment of people receiving welfare.

These trolls are usually self-described as never having had any trouble finding work and mistakenly assume that as a result, no-one else should either.

Nothing seems more personal than having to pay taxes to the government when another person receives benefits from that tax pool.

Newstart allowance has been frozen for 24 years. I was 13 years old when they last raised the benefit. Cost of living has gone up quite considerably since then and the allowance rate puts recipients UNDER the poverty line – they are hardly livingit up on free moneyin lush comfort.

The latest attack from the government came in the form of an order to pick fruit or lose benefits for a month. Prime MinisterScott Morrisonhas launched a new scheme to urge jobseekers to accept work on farms on pain of benefits loss.

At first glance, it may seem like a good idea. The farming industry needs labourers, communities have people who aren’t working, put them together and what have you got? Bibbidi-bobbido-boo.

Unfortunately, in the real world, this is seriously oversimplifying a complex issue. And not even the farming community is happy about it (which begs the question, who did the government consultwith when planning this new scheme … but that’s another story).

Public perception of people experiencing unemployment are consistently characterised as lazy, bludging, layabouts who contribute nothing to society and are a drain on everyone.

Newstart allowance was less than 2.1 per cent of the 2018 federal budget.

Ironically, the Newstart allowance wasless than 2.1 per centof the 2018 federal budget and it must be remembered that not everyone on Newstart is experiencing unemployment. Aged care costs 13.67 per cent, families with children cost 7.53 per cent. But let’s demonise a group of people who are already vulnerable and regularly tell them – from our own government leaders no less – that they are a burden to society and need to pull their head in.

As National Farmers’ Federation presidentFiona Simsonsaid, this latest scheme is a carrot and stick push to fill farm work that’s shallow and oversimplifying a deeply complex issue.

She acknowledges agricultural work is often short-term and seasonal,and will not offer meaningful long-term employment for people looking for work. However, what it will create is the illusion of a drop in unemployment as statistically, employment rates will rise on a seasonal scale. And this looks good on paper.

The reality is that people who are unemployed aren’t looking for a Band-Aid fix. Employers aren’t looking for people who don’t want the work they have to offer but are required to take it.

We need a long-term solution to employment in this country, not an illusion hidden in statistics that fuel the dole-bludger perception and make the rich politicians feel better about themselves.

Zoë Wundenberg is a careers writer, counsellor and coach atimpressability成都夜总会招聘.au