I hear that opposition leader Tony Abbott if elected is going to pay young people a bonus if they stay in their job for more than a year or was it two? The only problem is that the flexible employment and casualisation of the workforce introduced by recent governments to make the economy supposedly more "efficient" has made job security out of reach for up to 20% of Australian workers and the unemployed. The real problem for young people is not a lack of motivation or laziness but simply that there aren't enough jobs or apprenticeships to go around. Its a case of 100 dogs chasing 80 bones if the government leaves it to the private sector to employ everyone that needs a job.
Ever since the OECD pressured the Australian government to deliberately create unemployment in the mid seventies using the oil shock as the cover story, Australians have been denied the full employment that existed for 30 years as bipartisan government policy under leaders such as Ben Chifley and Bob Menzies. As private industry contracts during cycles of boom and bust, workers are shed and their skills are lost after a decade or more of unemployment. Yet earlier if workers were surplus to private enterprise needs there was always a healthy public sector where workers could be employed and stay experienced, keep their skills up to date on the job and young people could be trained as apprentices. Then when the private sector boomed these workers could be redirected to that sector as needed. Whereas now we don't even try to train young people on the job because its cheaper to import trained workers from overseas.
Last year the Greens promised they would help create 10,000 new jobs in the proposed green economy but I am still waiting to hear from them whether they guarantee those jobs would go to the long term unemployed or would Australia just import better trained workers from overseas for these positions. Unemployed people are not competing on a level playing field when they must compete against more experienced, better trained workers from other countries while the government abandons its responsibility to its own unemployed/underemployed citizens. Australia could have a more sustainable economy if we trained unemployed Australians on the job in the public sector instead of importing the trained workers needed during periods of private sector expansion. The pressure to constantly expand our population through skilled immigration programs would be correspondingly reduced.
see also http://e1.newcastle.edu.au/coffee/pubs/briefs/dogs/dogs_and_bones.cfm