How can I help lobby for changes to my Social Security system?
Art & Dole recently undertook a two day intensive lobbying workshop, held in Canberra, with advice from current serving federal MPs. The main advice was as follows:
The best way to help is to first become informed about the issues, and the existing positions of various organizations involved (art & dole, NAVA, and the major political parties such as liberal, labour and the greens). We have a list of the issues we think is important below, and policy positions are found on other political parties’ websites. A list of the most important people to talk to, including staffers and government agencies, will be added here.
Secondly, realise that political parties are interested in what will help them, so think about ideas that you can raise. Word your suggestions as closely as possible to the type of language they use. Our suggestions written for the labour and liberal parties is also coming soon – as guides only, we will ask you to reword them if possible.
Thirdly, think about what particular assets you have. Do you know a MP, or someone who works as a staffer? Do you live in Canberra or Sydney? Are you able to make a trip to any of these places (where people’s offices are)? Letters, appointments – are easy and are your right. The MOST important influence is direct contact (say, at a BBQ), especially with someone responsible for that policy area, their staffer, or those on the inner sanctum. Many people talking to politicians often is better than a few all at once. We have heard from MPs that petitions do little, emails do something (but not much), letters do a little more - but make sure they don’t seem like an anonymous, blanket one.
What are Art & Dole’s recommended changes we’re looking for?
In general – we are not asking for a more lenient system, we are asking for changes that will help artists get off the dole. The PACE scheme in NZ has been successful in this regard.
Specifically, we see the following six issues as important:
1. Fixing Artist’s Fees, Income, and State and Australia Council Grants, as they Relate to Social Security
2. Properly Targeted Artist Jobsearch Requirements
3. Encouraging Artists’ Own Employment Seeking Efforts 4. Properly Targeted Artist Mutual Obligation
5. Professional accreditation for artists using these services, and
6. Policy and Centrelink Training for Artists’ Needs
Beyond this, knowledge of what artists and the arts industry constitutes in the 21st century, and policies that emphasise this, is important to Australian culture generally.
One of the most glaring errors of the current system is that an artist may be actively looking for work, and successfully achieve an employment opportunity, such as to be selected to exhibit their work in a gallery or other venues. The current system then specifically disallows that Arts jobseeker from making work for that opportunity - under current Centrelink rules. To do so would be to stop “full time looking for work, in multiple fields” – even though this opportunity exists and is highly beneficial to their long-term career opportunities.
Stopping Australia’s artists from making their work should be seen as counterproductive as Centrelink stopping any other free, jobseeker initiated skills training or job interview that would otherwise lead to employment.
3:14 am by Intern in Uncategorized
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