Teen slammed for ‘rich people’ job rant
A NSW Young Labor activist who wanted to be a classical musician has said she had to "scrounge" for a job in retail at the age of 17.
In a three-minute video released by the NSW Young Labor group on social media, a number of members under the age of 26 maligned the current state of youth employment.
Belinda Thomas, 19, appeared in the clip, saying "entering adulthood isn't easy" - and it's especially "terrifying" for a young woman, "when the whole system is already set up against you".
"The burning desire you've had to succeed your whole life is suddenly met with a crushing roadblock just when you think you've got a new chance," she said.
Thomas, who sought out an income to support herself when she was 17, pointed out she was unable to use her 12 years of training as a classical musician to a find a job - and was instead forced to send "about 10 applications to retail jobs, heard back from two, and only ended up scrounging one by chance".
She was only able to score the role because she "had the exact same name as the interviewer's best friend".
While Thomas' message no doubt resonated with a number of young Aussies - with Australia's youth unemployment rate, at 16.4 per cent, the highest it's been since November 1998 - others were quick to criticise her and the other young people who appeared in the clip.
James Skibinski, from the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance, described the video as cringe-worthy.
"Rich people complaining they can't get a job with a diploma in underwater basket weaving," he said.
Others asked what the Federal Government has to do with "jobs in classical music", dubbing the ad "weird" and calling the people who appeared in it "indoctrinated".
But other social media commenters hit out at the critics, calling Thomas and her fellow Young Labor members "brave" for sharing their stories in "support" of their beliefs.
"At the end of the day, young people have shared deeply traumatic experiences including being raised in poverty and seeking independence from one's parents," one person wrote.
"That is brave to share in support of your beliefs. We should all respect that, regardless of whether we agree with the political persuasions of the young people in this ad.
"Discussing actual stories of hardship told by those who experienced that deserves respect. It is not something we should feel we can pretty cruelly mock, in perhaps the way we'd poke fun at faults in a generic political party ad with hired actors. Be better."
Originally published as Teen slammed for 'rich people' job rant