Voluntarism vs. Compulsion

The more things change …

Almost all jobseekers will be required to work for the dole under tough new federal government rules expanding the scheme.

The government is making it mandatory for jobseekers aged 18 to 49 to work for their welfare payments from July 1, 2015.

Those aged 18 to 30 will be required to work 25 hours per week while people aged 31 to 49 will have to work 15 hours.

Those over 50 will have the option of participating in the program.

The new rules will ensure jobseekers are actively looking for work, assistant employment minister Luke Hartsuyker says.

“It also allows jobseekers to give something back to the taxpayers and community that supports them,” he said on Sunday.

Work for the dole currently applies to jobseekers aged up to 30, who have been out of work for a year, in 18 locations of high unemployment around the country.

They have to work 15 hours per week for six months to receive welfare payments.

The expanded scheme is part of a new employment services model to be announced by Hartsuyker and the employment minister, Eric Abetz, on Monday.

Sadly, there will be no employment counsellors like the magnificent Gorgeous Dunny around to help this time.

GD, thank you as always for sharing your wisdom and compassion with us.

(Image Credit: BUPA))

Voluntary Work is for Free. But it’s Not for Nothing

I still remember when I saw that showcard with that message. A Volunteers group carrying it saw me. It struck me as quite profound, and with their permission, I had a poster made of it.

In the transition to work – whether from school, injury or illness, raising a family, or long-term unemployment – it can be one of the most valuable aides to obtaining paid employment. It addresses so many different needs on so many fronts.

For those not familiar with the job market, there is some doubt about its value. Is it not just a cheap way of getting work done and avoiding paying a fair price for the work? Well, there are various forms of exploitation. Some unscrupulous businesses have been known to give people ‘work trials’ of a week or so and never come up with paid work offers, or even worse, claim that the person taken was unsuitable. In the days when they were staffed properly, both State and Commonwealth Departments of Employment would crack down on such activity.

Some forms of commercial work experience could work. In particular, schools’ work experience programs, when well-coordinated and well supervised, could offer students valuable work experience, references from the temporary employer, and even possibly a job or trainee offer on completion of schooling.

In my work as an Employment Counsellor, however, I had in mind community organisations, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost, most depended heavily on volunteers to function, yet had a critical role in the community. Think Country Fire Services, the State Emergency Services, Lifeline, St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, hospital auxiliaries and aged care facilities, animal shelters, conservation parks – right down to school support groups, sporting clubs and service groups like Rotary and Lions.

Taking on voluntary work can be a winner on so many fronts. Firstly, it can give someone skills that they may not yet have but which can be applied to paid work. Young men (mostly, albeit I have known females in the Citizens Military Forces do similar) can obtain endorsements for driving a truck and/or forklifts and machinery. Those endorsements make them more competitive in going for paid jobs. At the same time it can be a great boost to their morale to work with an older peer group and gain their approval. Confidence and self-belief is critical to finding work.

And there is the pride that comes from doing community work, which is highly valued within the community and appreciated by those directly helped by the volunteers.

I had the most striking example of that when Pauline called to see me at Warrnambool CES. She was a bright, cheerful girl aged 26 years seeking Labour Market Program (LMP) assistance to study for her VCE at TAFE Warrnambool. She aimed at becoming eligible to study for a social studies degree, eventually to help others like her.

Pauline had been my predecessor’s, Robyn’s, client at Portland CES. She explained a little of her history to me, but I asked if I could get Robyn’s case notes before proceeding, and she arranged to meet me a week later.

Although Pauline had given me some background, Robyn’s case notes were startling to read. It was impossible to reconcile the young woman described with the bright young Pauline I had so recently interviewed. Yet Pauline readily confirmed that it was so. For it was a tale of horror.

She had been subject to violent abuse from early childhood to adulthood. Even school offered no respite. She was grossly obese and the subject of taunting and bullying throughout her school years. Her already timid nature meant that school became unbearable. And as if this were not enough, she was interned for schizophrenia several times at Brierly Psychiatric Hospital. (I learned later that she was the victim of sexual abuse while at Brierly.) It was little wonder that she left school the day she turned 15. From that point she rarely ventured outside the house, except as required by the CES and DSS to claim the benefit.

Robyn took on the case after Pauline had been registered unemployed for over 6 years at Portland CES. During that time she had neither applied for any job nor for training assistance. In fact, she had been offered a place on various courses for the unemployed and referrals to Skillshare, but had either declined or had simply not replied.

Without remembering all the history, I’d expect that she’d probably have been cut off benefits from time to time over this non-replying. It was a situation calling out for some intervention. What was her future?

It was so unpredictable whether she would come to the office even under threat that Robyn took the unusual initiative of calling on her at home. At least then Robyn was able to see her and talk with her. Robyn probably called more than once, because the first call would have been entirely regarding getting information about her. It would have been clear that her home, although Pauline’s haven from the world, was not at all joyful.

The brutal father had by then passed on, but living with her mother was barely an improvement for Pauline. Pauline’s mother, too, had long been beaten but she showed no empathy or support for Pauline. Instead of love, it seemed to be a relationship based on getting used to each other.

Robyn would have discussed Pauline’s rights and obligations for claiming Newstart allowance. In essence, she was expected to be making some effort to find work and/or to obtain some skills to make herself employable. Pauline was doing none of that, and the question then was whether the government should be paying her an allowance at all. Robyn would have been caring and considerate enough not to put the point that bluntly, but she would have made it clear to Pauline.

With a person having no employment history, poor formal education, no employment skills and no perceivable dreams or expectations, the starting point, classified as “not work ready”, simplifies it. Voluntary work experience is where it must begin. Robyn had the additional challenges that Pauline had no identifiable peer group, given her unhappy school experience. So she made an interesting recommendation that Pauline work as a volunteer at Lewis Court twice a week.

Lewis Court is an aged care facility at Portland. The clientele are mostly elderly women, and the requirement generally was to offer them some support in providing them with meals and tea, and general companionship – that might be playing dominos or cards with them.

Pauline, not wishing to risk losing her income support, complied with Robyn’s recommendation. She commenced as arranged. The staff, the volunteers and their clients were all quite kindly and patient. Pauline was used to domestic work at home. So, apart from adapting to more people than she had previously known, it was not difficult for her.

She started to enjoy and to look forward to her routine. She told me about the critical turning point in her life.

“One day I served a cup of tea to this elderly lady. As I was about to walk away, she tapped me on the hand and said,

‘Oh, Pauline! Whatever would we do without you?’

“Do you know that by then I was 22 years old, and that was the first time that anyone had said anything good about me? I was overjoyed by the sincere kindness of the lady. I could not stop thinking about it afterwards. I was valued and appreciated as a worker and a human being! I knew that I could do things – after always being told I was worthless.”

Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness can reach out over the abyss of despair. It is a feature of Charles Dickens novels how somebody suffering a grave illness or imprisoned falsely can be given solace from another’s gentle act of kindness or caring.

From that moment she gained belief in herself and what she might do. She tackled her voluntary work with more enthusiasm and joy. She realized she might yet do something with her life. With encouragement from her supervisors and Robyn, she addressed her obesity with a diet and basic exercise program. Over the next two years she did bridging education at Year 10 standard through TAFE at Portland.

By the time I took her case in Warrnambool she was ready to study for her VCE. She intended to complete that over two years before studying for a degree. I was seeing the finished product of Robyn’s outstanding work. Pauline was by now an attractive and cheerful young woman of 26 years who had self-confidence and high expectations.

I approved assistance to take on the VCE over two years. She had by then settled in Warrnambool and commenced her studies. I saw her occasionally as she reported her progress. She remained cheerful and positive, and was able to provide good passes at the end of the year. In the following year, she sought and received my approval for program assistance to complete her VCE. Later in the year, she reported that she was struggling.

It was not the difficulty of the course that was the problem. Her mental health issues, combined with a physical disability, had led to some time off. She struggled to keep up, but persevered.

At the end of the year, I was pleased to record that she had passed. But it had taken a very determined effort from her. She was pleased at achieving that goal, but the experience convinced her that undertaking tertiary studies would be too much for her with her health limitations. She qualified easily for Disability Support Pension. She had made up her mind to live within her limitations. She would do voluntary community work through a church group. Time off because of her disabilities would not then be an issue.

So the end result was a little less than we had hoped for. But when you look at the total history of the girl, you have to say it was still a positive outcome. From an obese, bullied recluse, she had become a warm, lively woman with a cheerful positive outlook. I am sure she would have been able to give the benefit of her experience to others in need.

Twenty years on, I’d still see her occasionally in my post-retirement work as a taxi driver. She retained her cheerful disposition and remained warmly friendly towards me. Her physical disabilities occasionally limited her, but she had long learned to live with them and to work her life around them. It was good to see so much joy taken from a life that had started with so little hope.

Compulsion was always a difficult concept for counsellors. Some took the view that progress in counselling could only be made if the client was there willingly, and that threats could stand in the way of frankness and genuine progress. There is merit in that argument, but the practicalities were that since others paid for our services, they were entitled to some say on where we took the interview. Inevitably, in country areas we would get called on to assist in helping to clear the registry of very long-term unemployed.

Those who had been claiming unemployment benefits for over six years were subject to reviews. It could take a number of directions from referral to another benefit such as disability support pension, to a reconsideration of how some were classified. Some remained registered even though they often had seasonal or part-time work. So in a sense they were not necessarily claiming benefits all that time, nor were they unable or unwilling to obtain work.

So counsellors went through the recalling process often to clarify our records of where people fitted in the unemployed spectrum.

Of course, there were bound to be some who were not making any effort either to obtain work or to improve their employability. And this helped create the dilemma for counsellors. I resolved it in my own way. Strictly speaking, I could not breach anyone for failure to comply with activity test requirements. The most I could do was report the incident to the CES for a staff member to take action. I used a carrot and stick approach.

I could not take any action other than to pass on my no-result to the CES. However, the facts were six years on unemployment benefits. Sooner or later, given the political crackdown, someone would ask, why should we continue to pay benefits to someone not making any effort to change the situation?

Why not instead use the situation to your advantage? We had all sorts of Labor Market Programs for which you qualified. Take advantage of one of these, get paid for doing so, and you would have skills to get work and go off benefits – a win-win for all of us.

On the other hand, turn your back on all that and you lose whatever public sympathy there might be for your position on benefits. They’ll get you. The politics of the situation demand it.

Neil was such a case. He was in his late thirties. In addition to being registered unemployed for over six years, he had skills in demand. He was a trade qualified fitter. Neil had moved from the city to Dunkeld some years before. Although it was only a small community, it was quite close to Penshurst, where an agricultural engineering company prospered. Dunkeld was also not much further from the city of Hamilton, where there was also demand for fitters.

When interviewing Neil, it became pretty clear that he had become disillusioned with factory work and moved to Dunkeld for a change in lifestyle. He had, in the jargon of the day, ‘dropped out’. I made it clear that, morally, I could not dispute that decision. It was more a question of whether the taxpayer should pay for it.

Under the laws as they were, we could not reasonably pay unemployment benefits to a fitter when employers in the vicinity could not fill such positions. His life choice was one thing, but he needed to look at other employment or self-employment options.

One the other hand, there was a range of Labour Market Program (LMP) assistance available to him as a long-term unemployed. Apart from wage subsidy employment and job training and placement programs, there was full training assistance to get a qualification or ticket, which might enable work. There were also opportunities for self-employment under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).

At that point, all I wanted to do was plant the ideas and make him aware of all the support available. My key argument was that Neil should look at making a decision about his future now, while there was so much support around. It may not be there indefinitely. An election was due in two years.

A change in government may lead to a change in attitude to long-term unemployed. There is no guarantee of indefinite support. Use the system rather than allowing it to use you.

I arranged a follow up interview a few weeks later. It was pleasing to discover he’d given the matter a lot of thought. He definitely did not contemplate returning to fitting. I could have placed him in work immediately, but there seemed no point if he had moved on. Instead, he had discussed NEIS with his partner and felt that was the way to go. I believe he and his partner had already moved towards a cottage industry of sorts.

From memory, it was something like repairs to home appliances and tool sharpening. The benefit of NEIS was that he had a guarantee of a year’s income support, plus it was not means-tested. Often a problem with attempts like this was that earnings had to be declared, and then your benefit was reduced. If he could live on the benefit and pocket any earnings he made, he had a chance of building up some capital.

From that point, all I needed to do was help him with the NEIS applications and refer his case to the person coordinating NEIS placements. He was accepted readily enough. Part of it involved doing a training course in running your own business and working out a business plan.

I did hear later from the CES Manager and the NEIS agent that he did well, and that he spoke very highly of my helpfulness. I was pleased at that. My aim had been to bring him rationally to the decision that change needed to start with him. Attached to that was that it was better to move while support favoured you, rather than wait until threats occurred.

It’s a balancing act. The theory of counseling is correct. You must have the person at least willing to listen or participate. I did not feel much compunction about getting the client in for a compulsory interview. It was what the CES had assigned me to do. They wanted to reduce the number of very long-term unemployed on their lists.

The trick was, having got the person there, to convince them that I was on his/her side about an issue needing to be resolved. The LMP programs and my offer of follow-up vocational or other advice or support were keys to convincing them that it was not threatening.

I had to rely heavily on my marketing/selling skills and my empathy. That is, my ability to put myself in the position of Neil or whoever was my client. If I succeeded in that, in then became easier to map out an agreement leading to a beneficial outcome.

569 thoughts on “Voluntarism vs. Compulsion

  1. The radical proposal, revealed exclusively in today’s The Australian, is ­contained in mining magnate Mr Forrest’s blueprint for indigenous welfare and employment, which he has delivered to the Abbott government

    Wow how generous of Forrest. Big business are really setting us up for e reduction in welfare and wages, so they can fill their pockets Reminds me of the business lobby with their mantra of “tax reform” in 1998 in preparation for the GST. .

  2. Big business are really setting us up for a reduction in welfare and wages, so they can fill their pockets

    GST “reform” is the same. Business recommends upping it, but they do not pay it. Their customers do. They don’t seem to make the connection that their customers’ ability to spend is their business’ life’s blood.

    I wouldn’t worry about Twiggy’s recommendations that welfare money not be spent on alcohol. The Liquour barons will squeal loud enough for that one to be put far away on a distant, flickering back-burner.

  3. Government by brainfart –

    No modelling to prove Abbott’s dole plan works

    A Department of Employment official has admitted the Abbott government has not done any modelling to estimate how many job seekers will find employment within three months after completing its multibillion-dollar work-for-the-dole program.

    That is despite the government’s own data showing work-for-the-dole programs are the least effective way to help people find jobs.


  4. Someone should tell Michaelia Cash about this –

    Skills shortages at an “historic low”

    The Government’s planned relaxing of 457 visa rules so that employers can hire an unlimited number of foreign workers under a temporary working visa, potentially opening the system to widespread rorting, is looking even more egregious following the release today of the Department of Employment’s preliminary skills shortages report, which reveals that the number of occupations suffering skills shortages is at an “historic low”


  5. BB

    The question that might be getting asked both here and in Indonesia, going on these press reports, is that in all this reported spying, did they actually GET anything on any of these leaders (and would “they”play this card, and in whose interests) in certain maritime matters. There were conflicting signals from different spokesmen at the time.

  6. Just heard Shorten in 774. He met with Twiggy yesterday, will meet again next week to discuss his brainfart……..ah well, so much for hoping he’d tell billionaires where to go.

  7. I have to hope that Shorten is meeting with Twiggy so he can get a good idea of the true horror of what is being proposed. I have to hope that once he has that understanding he – and the rest of the Labor team – will really go on the attack. But somehow I have my doubts.

  8. Gravel,
    You are being rather harsh on Shorten I think. Doing an abbott and chucking word grenades from afar is a pointless exercise, but having sensible discussions with Twiggy is more likely to get better outcomes….I have no doubt Shorten won’t be offering flowery words and praise where it isn’t due but will offer persuasive arguments.

  9. Just heard Shorten in 774. He met with Twiggy yesterday, will meet again next week to discuss his brainfart

    ….I hope he goes to “sup with a long spoon!”

  10. The more I see of the prime idiot the more I despise him – I am sick of being inflicted with his sermonising, his lies and his lip-smacking bullshit pressers.

  11. Yes, I think I have jumped too soon, just spent a sleepless night trying to work around ways Razz and I can get around this ‘no cash’ thing. What happens when we go to our local footy, they don’t have machines to process these ‘cards’, if indeed it is deemed okay for us to ‘spend’ our money that way. There will be a lot of things, like the odd coffee at a cafe, or take away lunch, neither of which we do much. Today we have to go to Sale for a medical appointment, meeting with Mum and Sis for lunch at chinese, will we be able to ‘spend’ on this very rare treat? So many one off things. And what happens if we have a few dollars left over by next pay day, does that get taken away?

    Sorry everyone, I don’t see how this would work, but I guess I’m a bit thick on these sorts of things. Life certainly won’t be worth living, what if they think we shouldn’t be on the internet!!!! I am speaking my nightmares here, I hope you understand, and don’t be too hard on me.

  12. Crikey Whitey was hospitalised last year so I used her tickets to Hamer Hall. She was looking forward to visiting Melbourne this year when her health improved. I hope she wasn’t in fear or pain.

  13. Typical of the Liberal party to attract such horrible people.



    (you might have to do the google trick for the Australian link)

    Upper house candidate for Western Victoria Aaron Lane. He is utterly disgusting. While he might be caught out and disendorsed, there’s no end to the supply of sexist racist homophobic monsters in the Liberals (especially the Young Liberals).

  14. I can report that the leafy suburbs that are the natural breeding ground of the Kooyong Colt are aghast at the range of measures like ‘work for the dole’, ‘apply for 40 jobs a week’ and making ‘regular reassessments of DSP recipients’.

    We all know someone who will be adversely affected – although the rusted-on Liberals have gone into hiding

  15. Gravel,
    The only people who wouldn’t understand your concerns are those who thought up the scheme and have never, ever had to walk in the poor or disabled shoes.

    Having said that, may I pass on a little bit of wisdom my dear old mother passed to me and which has saved my sanity over the years. In a nutshell she impressed upon me to refrain from jumping hurdles before I got to them because (a) the hurdle/wall or whatever may be full of holes and be easily got over and (b) the hurdles may collapse before I get to them.

    I think she was telling me not to dwell too much on obstacles in the distance but to enjoy what I have when I have it. In other words, worry about today and leave tomorrow’s worries for tomorrow. We can’t change the future but we can make the present more comfortable.

  16. Janice

    Yes, I normally do that, it was just last night it got into my head and I couldn’t get rid of it. I usually just take most things day by day. A lot of my frustration is with the MSM who avoid talking about a lot of this totally unfair stuff, or excuse it. There are millions out there that don’t know what is happening. Anyways, catch you all tonight for the raffle, we’ve got a big day ahead of us.


    Can we have our usual lucky dip tonight, might be too tired to put in request when we get home.

  17. Kirksdale

    Also what a surprise NOT to see the Liberal Party tweet twit is not only but also…..

    a series of tweets by Institute of Public Affairs research fellow Aaron Lane

  18. Interesting talk on Radio National about Feminism…I believe I may have mentioned this little anecdote a long time ago, but in light f the discussion it may be amusing to repeat it…:
    I was working on a reno on this house and the painter there was a woman…after getting to know her, she told me of another job she had in the district where another contractor resented having a woman working in the building game…He used to bump her ladder when walking past or kick her paint roller handle when it was in the tray..that sort of thing..just to be a bastard…anyway, he was one of those blokes who had his own little set of smoko gear, which he took to and used on every job..it included his own tea-pot and mug and associated accoutrements…well, after putting up with his smart-arsedness for so long, she, one day at knock off after all the others had gone.. urinated in his tea-pot…swished it around a couple of times and then emptied it out…next day she whispered what she had done to the apprentice and told him not to tell the boss…knowing full well….She finished her part of the job before smoko and left…at smoko, just as the contractor was washing down his smoko with a good mouthful of tea, the apprentice spoke up and said..”She pissed in your tea-pot, you know…” …..PPFFFFFSSS!!!!

  19. Bushfire Bill,

    Crikey Whitey bought a relocatable home at Brighton Caravan Park only a couple of years ago and it looks as though there was miss-representation regarding the permanency of her considerable purchase.

    I remember her being so happy & proud that at long last she had a place she could call her own. She even invited her PB friends to stay with her if they came to Adelaide for a visit.

    Looks as though, not long after buying the home, she and other tenants were told to get out. Goodness knows what stress that would have placed her under, having to relocate again and probably losing most of the money she spent in good faith, purchasing that caravan Park home.


  20. There were several regulars of the Seacliff Hotel front bar who made their home at that caravan park…though in those days there was not the “permanency clause”…so theoretically you could only stay three months…but they would just move you to another site within the park….I do remember one old booser from the front bar didn’t turn up for a week for his usual and they inquired and found him deceased in his van…..Tuffin..I think his name was…Hmmm..there was a family of “Tuffins” used to live in a rough corrugated iron shanty in the old Linwood Quarry grounds when I was a wee nipper…masses of kids…terribly poor.

  21. Interesting place, that caravan park…you used to come into it between two huge Norfolk Pine trees named “Patty and Charlie”…The place was managed for more years than can be reckoned on an abacus by nuggedy Fred Wynn and his harridan wife; Erica. Jesus!..they were a couple….we, as teenagers would congregate there every summer to make friendships with the young lasses from Broken Hill and other places north who used to come there for the summer….the endless summer…Fred and Erica saw themselves as some sort of “guardians of female chastity” and did their level best to foil all attempts at juvenile fumbling behind the bushes…he used to patrol the grounds to flush out any kissing culprits!…never was there a more futile reconnaissance pursued.
    Erica would shout from the front door-step if she saw any “shenanigans” going on over on the lawns and would sometimes rush to turn on the sprinklers to chase them away!
    Fred would run “picture evenings” as part of the entertainment policy…it may have touched on a hundred degrees faren’ that day, but out would come the blankets at night and the girls would flash “come hither ” eyes to us salivating youths on the wall…I’m sure they drew straws earlier…oh well, it was pretty bloody innocent after all that.

  22. gigilene

    The ancestors of the standing cat are alive and well in Europe to this day.

  23. kk

    Truly amazing. I know meerkats do so quite comfortably but my cat usually leans against the glass door when on two paws …

  24. What has happened to PNCAU. ?…I can only get an old page when I go to it off my favourites list..is it on holidays or has it shut down?

  25. 2gravel, you are not the only one having nightmares about the various punitive proposals on dealing with us indigent lot of ‘leaners’. And having an adult offspring with mental illness who can get into quite a tizz with it all doesn’t help either.

    I’m another who would love to be picked for Mr Bandt’s proposed committee on “Wealth Management”, because I’m sick and tired of being told that because I, and others like me, are not able to find work I’m a third class citizen.

    Goodness it’s making me snarlingly angry this morning!

  26. Aww…you can’t see it’s head in that “still”….it’s probably a dead cat that is being held up by it’s ears or something..with it’s front legs limp before the rigor’ sets in…..I’m not going to look!

  27. Speaking of archeology/history SBS had this on very early this morning. ‘East to West’ – Early civilisation in the Middle East and it’s effect later in the West.

    Beautifully filmed :

  28. Could someone who is a FB friend of Crikey Whitey please send me a screenshot of her obituary? Or, if you don’t have my email address, let me know here and I will be in touch asap.

  29. jaycee

    Definitely alive and tail flicking. Apparently it is in a basement room and found it could keep an eye on the dog out on the lawn this way.

  30. How to become a priest … No wonder Abbott failed.

    What does the training involve and how long is it for?

    In Rome, the training lasts for seven years.

    A large aspect of the training is the academic studies. The first two years consist of studying philosophy. The following three years involve studying theology. The final two years are for the licence.

    As well as the academic studies, there are three other areas of formation: spiritual, pastoral and human.


  31. The Conversation Hour on ABC 774 would have been fun

    Mark Latham on the Convo Hour with Faine on @774melbourne:. Clive Palmer is a one man Whoopie Cushion #springst #auspol

  32. Scorpio,

    As I was not – unfortunately – a FB friend I cannot access Crikey Whitey’s page.

    If you can take a screenshot of her SIL’s post and email it to me, I’d very much appreciate it.

    (Hint – in case you aren’t sure how – there should be a key labelled “Print Scrn” on your keyboard. Hit it, then open a word doc and select “copy” from the menu – and a pic of your screen should appear.)

  33. ” As well as the academic studies, there are three other areas of formation: spiritual, pastoral and human.”
    Spiritual….: Bundy and coke!
    Pastoral…: Rough-Red straight from the vineyard!
    Human…..: “Down the hatch!”

  34. It has been a long time since I bought a copy of the Australian Women’s Weekly. The political leanings and agenda of the current editor turned me away ages ago. Helen McCabe is a former NewsCorpse employee: leopards don’t change their spots. I stopped buying the Weekly not long after she became editor, I couldn’t stand her blatant Ruddism, the snarky anti-Julia Gillard stance she adopted, the Daily Telegraph-style trash (leopards, spots again) she introduced to the magazine and her adoration of all things Abbott. So her latest stuff-up comes as no surprise. Oddly, the story comes from her former home, the Daily Smelly.

    Women’s Weekly boss Helen McCabe comes under fire for Baden-Clay mistress interview

    AUSTRALIAN Women’s Weekly boss Helen McCabe has come under fire from women readers calling for a boycott of the latest issue of the magazine featuring a paid interview with Gerard Baden-Clay’s mistress Toni McHugh.

    Incensed readers took to Twitter and the Weekly’s Facebook page yesterday to register their disgust that the iconic magazine — trusted and loved by four generations of Australian women — would celebrate and offer financial inducement to the woman who had an affair with convicted murderer Gerard Baden-Clay while he was plotting his wife’s murder.

    Across eight pages of the magazine, a professionally styled and made-up McHugh — evoking film star glamour as she lies on a plush rug — talks about how she bombarded married real estate agent Baden-Clay with phone messages begging him to restart the long-running affair he ended at his wife’s insistence. He obliged, telling his mistress to “leave things to me now”. The following month, in April 2012, his wife Allison was murdered, likely suffocated by her husband


  35. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-01/motoring-enthusiast-party-stands-by-senator-ricky-muir/5640862




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