Causes of the Depression
Policies to Relieve the Great Depression
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Unemployment and Consequences
‘The Susso’ & ‘The Dole’
13 June, 1932
“We’re on the susso now,
We can’t afford a cow,
We live in a tent,
We pay no rent,
We’re on the susso now.”
This chant to the tune of ‘We’re in the Army Now’, has become a more frequently sung amongst school children, as unemployment rates continue to rise, peaking this month at 28%.
Over 60,000 people are now dependent upon the sustenance payment provided by the Australian government, know as ‘The Susso’. The Welfare payment is available (upon registration) to those in truly dire situations, and who have been unemployed for a sustained period (over 2 weeks), and possess no assets or savings, and is in the form of rations, however there is talk of an introduction of a cash order system.
‘The Dole’ is an alternative to ‘The Susso’ for those who are unable to find work. The State government employ men to work on public infrastructure such as improving rails and roads and digging canals. The conditions however, are very poor. Those involved in the dole scheme can be sent to remote areas and have their below basic wage payments cancelled if they decline any work.
For those in work, times are not necessarily any easier. 17% of the working population earn less than $4 per week. For most, everyday is a struggle.
Good diagrams showing details of payments of sustenance payments in the 1930s
National Archive Research Guide
This guide documents attempts by the federal government to provide work relief for the unemployed, the bureaucratic bungling that stymied those attempts and the role of the Commonwealth Bank in dictating government economic policy. It also documents the social unrest caused by the inequitable and inadequate measures put in place to help Australians survive one of the toughest times in our nation's history.
It links to some original documents which are digitally available if they show the following View digital copy
Particularly about Queensland - Note: Since the passing of the Unemployed Workers Insurance Act in 1922 Queensland was the only Australian State with a scheme to support unemployed workers.
Trove Newspaper 1936: The Susso
Trove Newspaper 1930
UNEMPLOYMENT. SCHEMES FOR ALLEVIATION.
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These might be some topics you could explore:
*** Causes / Impact of the Great Depression
*** Unemployment and the 'Susso'
Labor Party Split
*** Growth of Extremist Political Organisations
Economic Recovery Policy
Domestic Recovery Policy: Public Works, Relief and Wages
*** Foreign Policy and the lead up to WWII
Sport, Entertainment and Cultural Life
Legacy of the Great Depression