Source: The Australian, Friday, November 8, 1994, p.1


Home but not alone-the families out of work

 
By TOM DUSEVIC and FIONA CARRUTHERS 
 
   YOUNG people living with 
jobless sole parents were twice 
as likely to be unemployed as 
youths living in traditional 
families, a study says. 
 
   The report Focus on Families: 
Education and Employment, 
prepared by the Australian Bureau 
of Statistics and issued yesterday, 
shows that people living in 
nuclear families are more 
successful in obtaining 
employment and education. 
 
   The study also pinpoints those 
people who are the most 
disadvantaged in getting work 
and formal qualifications. 
 
Single parents and their chil- 
dren, rural families, indigenous 
Australians and families with 
parents born in non-English- 
speaking countries were at 
highest risk. 
 
   The ABS found the 
unemployment rate for young 
people (aged 15 to 24) living 
with both parents was 20 per 
cent, compared with 36 per cent 
for those with no employed 
parent in the household, and 43 
per cent with a sole, unemployed 
parent. 
 
   "The employment 
circumstances of parents have an 
effect on the economic and social 
well-being of their children," the 
report says. 
 
   "Not only does paid work 
increase the amount of 
discretionary income available to 
families, but also the capacity of 
children to participate in 
employment in future years." 
 
   Dependent children in one- 
parent families were less likely 
to have a working parent than 
children in traditional 
arrangements. Almost two in 
three children aged 14 and under 
in sole-parent families lived with 
a parent who was either 
unemployed or not in the job 
hunt. 
 
   The Lalor family from 
Claymore, in Sydney's south- 
west, has three unemployed mem- 
bers. Ms Isabell Lalor, 57, has 
watched two of her children, 
Adrian, 19, and Mary, 21, try to 
find work for the past few years. 
 
   While Adrian scored well 
enough at school to enter a 
university and Mary has 
completed a string of short 
courses in computers, office 
management and childcare, 
neither can secure a full-time job. 
 
   "Mary has done all the courses, 
she's been looking for work 
since she left school when she 
was 18," said Ms Lalor, who did 
not work while the 
 
Continued-Page 2 
Kate Legge-Page 15 
 
 Home but not alone jobless families 
 
children were growing up and is 
now on the disability pension. 
 
   "We live in housing 
commission. I would say the 
children have always been 
disadvantaged, but they did go to 
good schools. The kids can't 
understand why they cannot find 
a job, they go to so many 
interviews without success that 
they just get sick of it." 
 
   The family survives on aid and 
budgetary advice from the 
Anglican Home Mission Society. 
 
Mary said she had never 
considered the issue of whether 
her jobless status was linked to 
family life. 
 
   "I have difficulty finding a job 
because they always demand so 
many qualifications. There are 
people who have been studying 
for 12 months going for bar 
jobs," she said. 
 
   The ABS notes there is 
considerable variation within so- 
called "couple families" and goes 
on to say that "the support that 
spouses are able to provide each 
other and the potential for two 
partners or parents to enter into 
paid work may have a positive 
effect on the education and 
employment experiences of 
couples and children in these 
families". 
 
   Young people living with both 
parents were more likely to 
receive help to look for work 
from their parents than those 
living with one parent. 
 
   "Parents who are not working 
are less able to offer the support 
of recent labour market 
experience to their children who 
are looking for work," the study 
says.


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