Thursday, April 29, 2004

Macquarie Bank to fund Mission Australia's research program

Mission Australia is a fundamentalist Christian organisation, with a large finger in the profitable pie of running Work for the Dole programs, through its Mission Employment subsidiary. Not surprisingly then, it is on excellent terms with PM John Howard.

Also not surprising is the news that Macquarie Bank - which has reaped huge profits from privatisation (of utilities, road and elsewise) projects - should now feel like a kicking a stray $250,000 per year over to Mission Australia.

Privatisation is, of course, essentially a means for the regressive taxation, and so further impoverishment, of the already poor.

For Mission Australia boss Patrick McClure though, "privatisation" is the very game his organisation is in:

Governments are increasingly introducing privatisation of services in areas that were traditionally the domain of government or non-profit organisations. This has occurred already in Australia in health, education and employment services. It is a phenomenon that the not for profit sector has to come to terms with. Non-profit organisations can either choose to compete for contracts with for-profit organisations or retreat from service delivery in these fields.

Hence, the usual disclaimers about the grant not affecting research/editorial independence appear superfluous in this case. Mission Australia is already a fully-fledged think-tank of the Right, operating under the pretext of being a charity concerned with social justice.

The topic of Mission Australia's latest research paper, on mature-age unemployment, provides further proof here. Even as it churns thousands of GenX uni graduates through its proven-to-be-useless, or worse, Work for the Dole programs, the organisation focuses on the demographic for which unemployment is least debilitating (financially and otherwise). And which, by coincidence, Mission Australia has no vested interest in pseudo-"servicing" (the mature-age are exempt from WfD). And also which topic, by further remarkable coincidence, the Australian government currently has a bee in its bonnet about.

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