Earn or Learn plate – detail of ribbon

earn or learn plate - detail of ribbon

In 2014, the Australian Liberal Government released their first federal budget, which contained proposed changes to unemployment benefits. Often repeated in the media during this time was the Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey’s statement ‘earn or learn’. The Liberal Party proposed that unemployed people less than 30 years old should wait for six months before accessing any benefits. Currently working with the St Vincent De Paul Society in the welfare sector of regional Victoria, my mother explained how challenging this would be for the people she seeks to help and their families. Social welfare is problematic as assumptions and judgements of class and lifestyles can be made that are often ignorant of the full situation. In 2014 The Victorian Council of Social Services media release revealed more than ‘one million Victorians are living near or below the poverty line’ (Victorian Council of Social Services, 2014). Each ceramic shape produced as a result of the research has the potential to divide audiences, depending on their political viewpoint or opinions. Therefore, I questioned whether to present a political view or to comment on Joe Hockey’s statement.

The figure in the centre of the plate originates from a drawing. Walking through the streets, moving from one place to another, a homeless man was pushing his possessions in a shopping trolley.

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