Australia’s Employment Minister has defended a controversial new hotline encouraging bosses to dob in people for rejecting work.
The employer reporting line has divided members of the Coalition, with Liberal MP Bridget Archer arguing it demonises those without a job.
The hotline allows employers to dob in jobseekers for rejecting work, behaving badly in interviews, missing appointments or voluntarily quitting their job.
The scope of reasons is considerably broader than what the government foreshadowed in February, when it announced a phone number for bosses to report welfare recipients who turned down suitable work.
The hotline – dubbed “DobSeeker” – was included in a raft of tighter mutual obligation requirements imposed on jobseekers in return for a $50 fortnightly boost to the unemployment benefit.
Employers need to provide their business name and contact details as well as information to identify the jobseeker, including their name and date of birth, and recount the job they applied for.
Bosses must also report the date when somebody submitted an inappropriate application, declined work or failed to attend an interview.
Bureaucrats then check if the applicant is on welfare.
People busted through the hotline face having their benefits cut off for at least four weeks.
Welfare recipients are also required to apply for more jobs each week and some will be made to either participate in training or work for the dole after being unemployed for six months.
Employment Minister Stuart Robert said it was too early to determine how many people had been dobbed in, given the reporting line had been operating only for a couple of weeks.
But Mr Robert defended the overall aim of the program against criticism it was overly simplistic and unnecessary.
He said the hotline was designed to remind unemployed people of their responsibility to try and find work.
“You just can’t sit on the JobSeeker payment and expect your neighbours to cover that lifestyle,” Mr Robert told Nine on Monday.
“We want to give you every opportunity to train or re-skill, and we want you to turn up. If you’re going to turn up, be intentional about working, that’s the whole point of this.”