No Contraception No Dole – No Deal

Contraception féminine - PiluleFormer federal Labour MP Gary Johns has written a book titled “ No Contraception No Dole ”. This is not a new line for Gary Johns, he wrote a column for The Australian back in December 2014, of the same title.

He recently appeared on A Current Affair to discuss his proposed plan.

“If someone is on an unemployment benefit, they should be looking for work not starting a family. If someone’s on a parenting payment, perhaps because they are a single mum, they should be looking after existing children not having more children. And if someone’s on Youth Allowance, they’re a very young woman, they should be studying not starting a family.”

Firstly – it’s utterly absurd to suggest that when a woman isn’t on hormonal contraception that means, by default, that’s she’s trying to start a family.

He has suggested the Implanon as the contraception for his plan.

But the Implanon comes with a heap of nasty potential side effects. I don’t think I know even one person who’s been on it and reported that it was perfectly fine for them. They’ve experienced significant weight gain, total loss of libido, raging mood swings and intermittent bleeding. Not to mention it’s not exactly the pleasant procedure getting it in and out. Sounds like super fun times if you don’t have the choice.

Actually, having something forcibly embedded under your skin by the government sounds creepy as fuck.

His simple explanation of – “When she comes off the benefit – whether she has a job or a new relationship, new support – she comes off the contraception.”

How exactly will that work? For example, what are the time frames on this? Is it before a woman can apply for a payment? Say a single, working mother loses her job, does that mean before she can receive payments to feed and house her family she must first head to her GP to have it shot into her arm – and if she finds work a few weeks later then she’s welcome to have it immediately ripped out again?

That sounds just dandy, doesn’t it?

The other thing I’d like to know is exactly which benefits does he have in mind for this. Is he specifically targeting Parenting Payments, Newstart and Youth Allowance, or would it include other forms of payments, like the Family tax benefit and Disability Pension?

I wonder what other exemptions would be allowed. Is there an age cut off – for postmenopausal woman? What about lesbians? What about women who are celibate? What about transgendered women?

I’d also like to know would women be out of pocket for the GP appointment, the implantation and the removal of the Implanon?

And finally, how would it be funded? What would it cost? Everyone who’s for this idea can sit back and yammer on about “tax payers dollars” and how unfair it is that their hard earned money is going straight into the pockets of these women who dare to conceive while on welfare, but this proposal would cost money. I imagine quite a lot of it – not just the costs associated with the insertion and removal of the Implanon, but the cost of running the whole mess of paperwork that would inevitably go along with this proposal.

So, would it actually save the country any money in the long run?

I can at least appreciate why Gary Johns felt like he’d need to write book about this proposal, because it’s extremely problematic. It would take an entire book just to address the issues raised by the statement “No Contraception No dole.”

Though you could never resolve these issues. The idea is abhorrent. Regardless of the circumstances, not matter how you dress it up as a prevention for generational welfare it’s still a terrible idea. It is still controlling women’s bodies in such an intimate, invasive and inappropriate way. It comes very close to being forced – or at least coerced – sterilisation, which is a human rights issue.


What are your thoughts on this proposal? 

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Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel has a passion for prams and all things baby. She worked for a big brand of baby carriers and now works in a baby store that specialises in prams, car seats and nursery furniture. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.


  1. I have been warned off taking the pill and also the merina, the rod and the injection because of the severe side effects I get (stroke like migraines, excessive bleeding, severe anxiety)
    What would happen to other people like me?

  2. There are so many things wrong with this idea. First point, sexual discrimination. Why only women on contraceptives? They are making them for men now, and there are always condoms. Second point, there are medical reasons some people can’t be on contraceptives. There are so many side effects…

    I’m not going to go on… It would take me all night. I can understand the point that people receiving new start, or single parenting etc shouldn’t be looking at adding kids… But this whole concept is ridiculous.

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