Here’s why the backlash over ScoMo’s JobSeeker extension goes far beyond the $100 rate reduction

The Federal Government will reportedly extend JobSeeker payments until March at a reduced rate, but people aren’t happy with how the media are covering the event.

Today, The Australian reported that the federal cabinet’s expenditure review committee agreed on extending the JobSeeker COVID-19 supplement past December 31: the date that it was due to end.

While the supplement is currently capped at $250 per fortnight, the rate is expected to taper off to $150 a fortnight until March, with a final decision expected to be made by cabinet on Monday night.

JobSeeker Extension March
Photo: Sky News Australia via YouTube

Discussing the eligibility of JobSeeker, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said that JobSeekers must remember their “mutual obligations”: the soft-focus way of reminding unemployed Australians to ‘get a job’.

“It is important that jobseekers are aware of their mutual obligations. These are important conditions to help support and encour­age job seekers to find new employment opportunities and get a job. The Morrison government strongly believes that the best form of welfare is a job,” she said.

However, while The Australian reported that Scott Morrison was offering a “Jobseeker lifeline”, Twitter has quickly called out the newspaper’s coverage of what is, essentially, Morrison slashing necessary welfare payments in the middle of the worst recession Australia has seen in nearly 100 years.

People also aren’t happy that JobSeeker will be slashed so close to Christmas, given that the Coalition government are yet to create a permanent payment solution, such as raising Newstart. Despite months of rallying from Labor, the Greens, and multiple other activist groups to raise the Newstart rate permanently, ScoMo still seems adamant to cut costs at every corner.

The backlash over The Australian’s coverage comes after Kevin Rudd’s petition calling for a Royal Commission into Australia’s Murdoch media monopoly, which has received 500,000 signatures. Rudd presented the petition to Federal Parliament yesterday.