An out-of-work graphic designer who was labeled a ‘dole bludger’ by Ben Fordham has hit the radio host back in an extraordinary spray – demanding more money for Aussies on benefits.
On Friday, 2GB breakfast host Fordham unleashed “dole bludgers” as he shared the stories of everyday Aussies angry about recent increases in JobSeeker’s payments.
He called out Jez Heywood, 47, chairman of the Australian unemployed union, who had previously said he was “angry and annoyed” that benefits were not being raised high enough.
“Jez says you have to weigh every financial decision you make. Why don’t you weigh in to get a job? Any job? Because we’re here to tell you there’s half a million available right now,’ Mr Fordham said angrily.
The comments prompted an angry response from Mr Heywood on Twitter.
He doubled down on Friday night when he called the radio host a “bully” and challenged him to a face-to-face talk in the studio – all while demanding higher Social Security benefits for Aussies on benefits.
Jez Heywood (pictured) has challenged Ben Fordham to face-to-face at 2GB’s studios
“Ben Fordham is a coward and a bully who has been pot-shotting welfare recipients from the safety of his cozy radio studio for years,” Mr Heywood told Daily Mail Australia.
“This well-paid weakling benefits from demonizing the most vulnerable in our society who struggle to survive on $49.50 a day, less than half the poverty line.
“If Ben wants to shoot his mouth off further, I defy him to have me in his studio where he can look me straight in the eye and tell me what he thinks to my face. However, I doubt he has the guts to do that.’
The unemployed took aim at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and also called for social benefits to go further.
“Albanians’ budget was a disastrous failure from someone who promised ‘Nobody Left Behind,'” Mr. Heywood raged.
“He has ignored the pleas of the AUWU, ACOSS, his own backbenchers and even his own report from the Economic Integration Advisory Committee, which recommended substantially increasing the number of job seekers.
“People are desperate. People have to make unnecessary sacrifices, choose between food, heating and medicine, in order to survive. People live in tents.
“We are one of the richest countries in the world with the worst benefits in the OECD.
‘Nevertheless, the Albanian is continuing with the phase three tax cuts. And the AUKUS deal. Rich people and the military-industrial complex are clearly more important to Albanians than the most vulnerable Australians.’
Earlier in the day, Mr Heywood hit back at those calling him a mad bludger by sharing a screenshot of his search records.
“For all the idiots telling me to get a job who clearly don’t know how reciprocal obligations work, please: 11 applications in the last two weeks,” he wrote.
Ben Fordham (pictured) called out the out-of-work graphic designer on Friday
The budget saw JobSeeker and Youth Allowance both increase by $40 every fortnight from September (pictured, queues outside Centrelink in Brisbane)
The row came after treasurer Jim Chalmers this week announced a series of measures in favor of people on welfare.
The budget saw JobSeeker and Youth Allowance both increase by $40 every two weeks starting in September.
The ability to qualify for a higher rate from JobSeeker will also be reduced from 60 to 55, due to an increase in the number of older Australians on the payment.
The plans have sparked fierce debate and Mr Fordham weighed in on the controversy on Friday.
“When it comes to helping these people, they barely get a crumb. All help went to people who already received help. And this is what the workers are saying to us,” he said.
‘People are angry. They want to support people who can’t work or people in between jobs. But they can’t handle the never ending handouts to people who choose to sit at home and we know there are some. More than some.’
Jez Heywood (pictured) also lashed out at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese when Daily Mail Australia approached him
Mr Fordham then called out Mr Heywood for doing a newspaper interview criticizing the JobSeeker pay rises.
‘There’s a guy called Jez who’s popped up in the Australian paper. He is a 47-year-old unemployed graphic designer. He hasn’t had a job in six years,” he said.
And Jez says he’s not impressed with the increase in government job seekers. He wants more. He says and I quote: ‘I am angry, annoyed. This is nothing, nothing at all’.
In an initial response on social media, Mr Heywood said: ‘Hey Ben Fordham, you f***ing gronk, don’t just take a cowardly swipe from the comfort of your studio, give me a call and let’s chat’. Mr Heywood tweeted.
“Let me go to your show, coward.”
Mr Heywood, who has been unemployed since 2017 and has limited job opportunities due to health concerns, said the extra $2.85 a day was so small that it makes ‘no difference’.
“I’m angry, annoyed – this is nothing, absolutely nothing,” Mr Heywood told The Australian.
“The government commissioned a study that said significant increases were needed and they ignored it.”
Ben Fordham (pictured with his wife Jodie) let loose on “dole bludgers” on his 2GB show, sharing the stories of everyday Aussies angry at JobSeeker’s pay increases