Actually so annoyed that the media (even the “impartial” ABC!) is playing along with the government’s line that it matters that Albanese said the unemployment rate was 5.4% when it’s “actually” 4%. That 4% figure is so massaged and manipulated that it might as well be completely made-up anyway! To count as unemployed in this country, you can’t have had a SINGLE hour of paid work in the last month – so, did you do a “trial shift” a couple of weeks ago and that boss never called you back? Not unemployed. Did you babysit for your sibling’s kids and they paid you $50 for your time cos they know you’re doing it tough? Not unemployed. And then, even if you haven’t had paid work and want it, you have to be available IMMEDIATELY. “I can start next week but not tomorrow, I have a medical appointment”? Congratulations, you’re not unemployed. “I can start once I find my kid a place in childcare”? Not unemployed. And if you’re so disheartened by the job market (perhaps you’re older or have a disability, and continually find employers are not willing to take you on) that you’ve stopped looking, even for a moment? Congrats, you’re not unemployed either.
I don’t love Albanese but with all of this, what the hell does it matter that he thought the “official” unemployment rate is higher than the Bureau of Stats say? The REAL unemployment rate is much, much higher again. This “gotcha” politics is just so stupid considering the real and pressing issues of high wealth inequality, housing inaffordability, and the prevalence of insecure jobs with shit conditions. And that’s just as far as immediate economic issues go – of course there’s so much else (climate change, ministerial rorts, the horrible abuse of refugees…). Of course there are journalists writing about these as well but could we maybe have more of these as front-page issues and less of “boohoo Albo forgot a number”? Thanks.