Let’s Talk: Is anyone entitled to a job?

If you watched Q&A last night, then you would no doubt remember all the talk about jobs and employment. While

If you watched Q&A last night, then you would no doubt remember all the talk about jobs and employment.

While most of the talk focused around the future of manufacturing in Australia, it was some comments by panellist Grace Collier that had the audience talking.

The industrial relations expert caused a strong reaction from the audience when she said that “nobody has an entitlement to a job”.

“Society doesn’t owe you a job,” she said.

“The Government can’t get you a job. The Government shouldn’t have to get you a job. There’s no such thing as Government money. There’s your money and my money.”

“Everybody has something that they’re good at … You work out what you’re good at and you try and make a career out of that.”

If you missed it, her comments prompted a response from Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

He said there were less jobs than people in Australia.

When Collier fired back, the audience got rowdy.

“People can start their own businesses,” she said.

“It’s terrible, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be awful to have to start your own business because someone else has to give you a job?

She then challenged Di Natale to start a business and hire some people

“Go on. I dare you,” she said.

So what did the rest of the Q&A panel have to say?

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney argued that nobody had any money to spend in new businesses.

“We are losing our manufacturing industry and there’s been absolutely no plan from this Government to try to reinvigorate manufacturing, to find where we can have a competitive edge in the global economy,” she said.

There was also some disagreement between Labor MP Tim Watts and the executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs John Roskham.

Watts argued that the Federal Government had “nothing” for the manufacturing industry, while Roskham said it desperately unfair for the government to spends tens of thousands of dollars subsidising each job in the car industry.


And, economist Judith Sloan disagreed with the whole panel, stating she believed the Australian labour market had been strong for some time.

What do you think of the segment on Q&A? Do you think Grace Collier was right?

  1. Dee  

    This lady’s comment, “Start you own business” belongs in the same category as Malcolm’s advice to have rich parents. These people are so out of touch. Although I’ve never had Newstart payments, it isn’t hard to imagine how difficult it would be to subsist on these payments without help from family and friends. She also fails to consider that many people just don’t have the brainpower, organisation skills or drive to do this. I wonder how a person can rise to a position such as hers and be so out of touch with reality and so inhumane with it. I despair, I really do!

  2. Ronin  

    Grace Collier is absolutely right. No-one owes us a job and no-one is entitled to a job. And in the new world we live in, starting new businesses and developing multiple streams of income is the only security we have.

    There is, however, an elephant in the room that no-one wants to talk about. Many people do not have the entrepreneurial skills or intellectual capacity to originate or run their own businesses. They are the low-skilled, unskilled or manual labour workers who comprise a significant part of society. What are they to do? A ‘smart’ country requires smart people, and some just ain’t!

    Universal Basic Income? The debate needs to begin.

    • So what do we do take the dum people and put them o a boat

  3. B Halley  

    These comments are usually made by people who have always had employment or are wealthy enough to start their own business. There are people out there who are willing to work but are discriminated against because of age, looks etc. Governments are elected to help provide employment and generally get the country into shape but it seems they are more interested in lining their own pockets than helping people in need. They are about to cut pensions while their pension never ends and if a pensioner gets a little extra by working they reduce their pension but politicians can gain well paid positions such as being board members or public speaking and they are not docked at all so for someone to tell the public the government doesn’t owe them a job I think is a bit rich coming from someone who is getting the benefits of (as she quotes) her money and my money. What do I get for my money because she sure gets plenty from her money.

  4. She was right, no one is entitled, however we are entitled to have a Government create an environment in which effort, enterprise and endeavor are rewarded and that freeloaders are not. With some 420,000 457 visa workers, not counting student 485 visa holders coming into this country to carry out, in many instances, work which our unemployed do not wish to do for various nefarious reasons, the argument that there is not enough work has a few holes in it. Doesn’t take much nous to pick fruit, work the land, use your hands instead of your heads, but in most instances that’s too isolated to contribute to a mollycoddled, narcissistic lifestyle many have become enamored with. Everyone wants the GOOD LIFE from the LUCKY COUNTRY handed to them on a plate.

    • Elke  

      You are so right! When my husband came to Australia in 1954 he did not speak English so they sent him straight away to pick fruit. He learned English quick and smart, moved to Melbourne did a taxi licence and drove taxis while looking for a job in his field which was in textile. Through hard work and many sacrifices he eventually started his own business. I am glad that the economy has improved to be able to pay unemployment benefits, baby bonuses, maternity and paternity leave. I just wish people were a bit more grateful. I grew up in a small German country town where there were not enough jobs for us young people but parents would simply not allow their children to be unemployed. I was only 18 when I had to leave home and work in Switzerland where I was able to find work but being a “foreigner” my work permit had to be renewed every 12 months so there was no job security! To be able to work as secretary when I came to Australia at 22, I had to teach myself shorthand. To have a job is hard work but social benefits are now so high the attitude is “why work if I only get $50 more a week” instead of realising that having a job gives opportunity and knowledge to improve.

  5. John Harrison  

    it symple if Society doesn’t owe you a job then society should not creat a system where you need a job to survive

  6. ian ryrie  

    I did not watch the programme, but agree with Grace Collier, there are to many lazy lard arses who do not want to work.
    Starting you own business is not hard, I did it. I was a production manager & at the age of 50, I decided that I had had enough of it & started up a Dog grooming business. Took 3 months long service & did not look back. not a high income but enough & I enjoyed it.

  7. john brown  

    every day i pass shops with signs about jobs but they don’t get any takers there are just some people who don’t wont to work

  8. Chris Dixon  

    responses are typical of the hand out society. Wail , Wail . Get some suitable qualifications, be prepared to start at the bottom and work hard. This concept is a little hard for the welfare generation. I “retired” in March at 67 thanks to changes to funding but I was still studying and learning.
    I ran my own business in the building services , getting dirty, I have also held senior Head Office roles in the Finance Industry. You learn what to do and then go and do it , not wait for some one to say poor thing there you are!

  9. Cloin Oldham  

    I should imagine these so called experts have NEVER had a factory job. Try doing one before you make comments and decisions.

  10. Wiso  

    Grace Collier is so right !!

    I believe we all have the right to work but no-one gave us the right to expect to start at the top and stay there, and that seems to be the attitude of so many today. Many of the unemployed are that way because they choose to be. If no-one will give you a job then there has to be a reason for it and if you don’t like the handout you are getting from the Government then create your own job. It is not so hard to do. There are so many personal service areas that unskilled people could be good at if they wanted to be, but it seems to be easier just to sit back and expect the Government to solve your problems rather than take some responsibility and start solving your own.

  11. Gail Gordon  

    Everyone needs a job it is the responsibility of politicians to create jobs. Subsistence living is not possible in this country Why?
    WE need cash to pay for fishing licenses driving licenses, gun licenses, rates, water to drink, computers to vote, Governments introduce all these taxes to drain people earnings, then they allow companies to penalise you for paying over the counter, stop paper billing etc.
    We have a big problem in this country and it starts with the politicians we elect they want a plebiscite on marriage equality, What we really need is a plebiscite on politicians pensions if they can’t set laws then they are obsolete. We could save millions by stopping handouts to politicians on retirement. They get paid for turning up! yet they expect the citizens of this country who have worked bloody hard all their lives and paid the taxes that politicians receive. only to have their benefits eroded at every turn, What a joke! lets boycott the next election and see how they like the unemployment. or alternatively we vote for newcomers only until the culture is changed. My god we could even take in foreigners and pay them much less. We would be economically better off if that’s the only consideration!

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