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“…We are facing a “growing employment crisis”, or so they tell us, in which “millions are condemned to life below the poverty line through no fault of their own”.

That’s the world according to the welfare peddlers who, not for the first time, are struggling to tell the truth. The number of Australian registered as unemployed last month was 713,000 and falling. How many of them are blameless for their own predicament? Who can say?

Hyperbole, victimology and B-grade prose is what we’ve come to expect from the welfare sector. Far more troubling is its refusal to ­acknowledge the damage its poisonous product is doing to the vulnerable people it is allegedly supposed to help.

To put it in a language the Left may understand, the science is in on this one. Welfare is the new tobacco; it can have short-term therapeutic benefits (much underestimated, incidentally, in the case of cigarettes) but its long-term ­effects are pernicious.

It eats away at self-esteem, damages physical and spiritual health, and becomes an addiction that some find ­impossible to kick. Welfare’s secondary effects ­damage the educational prospects of children and boosts the likelihood that they will become recipients themselves.

The first duty of any provider of welfare therefore should be to wean their customers off it. So it comes as a shock to discover that the Australian Council of ­Social Service — the peak body for ­do-gooders — wants to make this poisonous substance easier to obtain.

In a joint communique with the ACTU and a bunch of other self-interested groups, including the oxymoronically named Australian Unemployed Workers Union, ACOSS criticises the government’s “punitive” policy, claiming it has “led to the criminalisation of poor Australians”.

Abolish work for the dole, they demand. Increase the jobless benefit! Abolish mandatory ­income management! Loosen eligibility requirements for Disability Support Pension!

Their naivety might have been forgivable in the days when welfare was commonly seen as ­benign. Today it seems as reckless as screening a TV ad featuring a bloke on a horse inviting you to join him in Marlboro country…”  Christian Porter’s aim is to empower through dignity of work