(Investigator 38, 1994 September

The Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) does not enlist clairvoyants to find jobs for the unemployed. Nor do "Job Clubs" use paranormal methods such as clairvoyance, astrology, numerology, crystal ball gazing, prayer, palmistry, tarot cards, etc, to find work for members.

Rather, the CES-endorsed Job Clubs teach scientifically validated job seeking behaviours.

The above was confirmed via a telephone inquiry to the CES. However, a letter received no response:

1994 July 27

The Manager
Commonwealth Employment Service
Port Adelaide 5015

Dear Sir,

Does the CES assist job seekers financially to find work through help from a clairvoyant?

I telephoned some clairvoyants, astrologers and tarot card readers. I told them that 80 job applications to employers via a Job Club had failed and asked whether their paranormal powers could reveal the specific employer who will hire me. Several expressed certainty that this could be done with one or two consultations. Several others claimed ability to predict when a job will be found but said they would be unable to name the specific future employer.

Many large-circulation, reputable magazines include regular segments by clairvoyants, astrologers, numerologists, etc. Would reputable editors of major magazines endorse fraud and deceit if the alleged powers of these people are non existent?

Please inform me whether or not the CES ever uses clairvoyants to reduce unemployment and the reason for the policy.

At  about $35 per visit it might be more cost effective than running Job Clubs if it works! Some clairvoyants also offer discounts to the unemployed.

Yours sincerely,


Asked (in a separate inquiry) why Job Clubs don't consult psychics to direct individual members to specific employers who will employ them Jane Beare – Job Club leader – responded:  "Who says such people are reliable anyway?"

Ms Beare, 30, works for ALLSTAFF which is contracted to the CES to run Job Clubs.

She added: "The Government doesn't recognize anything like that. The Police Department doesn't consult such people. If there's anything in it why is there still unsolved crime?"

Australia has over 200 Job Club locations where groups of about 8 to 12 unemployed meet daily for a three-week job search program. They identify their skills, prepare professional job specific resumes and job cards, write job application letters and contact potential employers by phone, letters or canvassing.


Although not taking clairvoyants seriously Jane Beare is less skeptical about ghosts. Her statements describing her ghostly encounters included:

"For three nights in a row the TV turned itself off."

"Things fall off shelves. I find tins in different places in the kitchen to where I put them."

"There was something there. I could feel it."

"A rolling pin, held in a wooden block, rolled onto the floor. It was real scary."

"I heard footsteps down the hallway but there was no one home but me."

"Sometimes  I have the feeling somebody is watching me."

"At one stage the alarm went off seven or eight times in four weeks. The cops came round. It's not wrong but keeps going off. It costs $50 each time the cops come."

"I think these things happen mostly when the weather is windy or stormy."

"My next door neighbour says a man died in the house when it was built."

In the Yellow Pages for Adelaide and surrounding areas at least 24 persons advertise their paranormal skills under Astrology and/or Clairvoyance. Many of them claim to have several skills resulting in the following breakdown:

Astrology 17
Runes 2
Tarot 8
Psychometry 1
Numerology 6
Tea Reading 1
Palmist(ry) 6
Aura Reading 1
Clairvoyant 3
Oracle Iching Divination 1
Psychic 2
Guardian Angels 1

 With "Oracle Iching Divination" the offer includes "100% accuracy or guaranteed refund", and a Palmist claims to be "Extremely Accurate For Most People".

However, the CES does not regard any of these skills as being useful aids to the unemployed in their job-searching at least not useful enough to assist financially.


The Australian Psychics Association, founded in 1983, has about 200 professional members and 700 associate members. Another 6,500 people are on the mailing list.

The President of the Association, Simon Turnbull, 44, reads Tarot cards.

Professional psychics may join if three clients supply letters confirming that a reading was correct.

Australian Skeptics Incorporated was founded in 1980 and its magazine the Skeptic has 1,500 subscribers. The national president is Barry Williams. In The Australian Magazine he was quoted as advising against basing major decisions: "on the totally unsubstantiated guesses of people who claim they are psychic." (1994 August 6-7)

A Current Affair (Channel 9 Adelaide) featured a "psychic test" in 1992. This consisted of guessing what was on four cards:

The result featured on Current Affair of August 4. Replies received numbered 8,500. 

The best four participants each scored 2 correct.

Simon Turnbull was among the 8,500 participants but his score was zero!

The test had been a fair and scientific search for clairvoyance but no clairvoyance was discovered!

There are such things as "mass preference factors".  Many people have a bias to the letter "A" or the number "3" or the number "7".  If an ESP (Extra Sensory Perception) test included such preferred symbols among the correct answers there would be a seeming confirmation of ESP. The test on channel 9, however, avoided this error.


The Job Club concept was developed by American behavioural psychologist Dr Nathan Azrin in the 1970s and introduced into Australia in 1987.

Members learn effective job hunting methods and are encouraged to use them.

Telephone techniques are rehearsed and managers' names obtained by phone prior to sending in the resumes and job cards. Practice interviews are video recorded and answers to specific likely questions prepared. Each day includes a search through newspaper job ads and a trip to the Employment Office and every job possibility followed up.

"Cold canvassing" involves unannounced visits to potential employers. This may result in a talk with a manager, in a job, or in receiving a job application form to fill out. Failing these, a resume and job card are left for the manager with the request to keep them on file for when vacancies arise.

The Job Club leader gives instructions after which members engage in activity – phone calls, writing, reading classified ads, etc. Each receives separate assistance with his particular job search problems. The leader gives encouragement and praise for everything done correctly. However, the leader is not an amateur psychiatrist and so when serious emotional barriers are suspected a member may be referred to a psychologist. At the Club the emphasis is on activity.

Job Clubs apply "operant behaviour modification" of psychology professor Burhuss F Skinner (1904-1990) who wrote Science and Human Behaviour (1953).

Skinner promoted "Behaviourism" in which behaviour is studied objectively and empirically as reactions to stimuli. Behaviourism deals with what is observable instead of with processes in the mind. Skinner's research often involved "shaping" an animal's behaviour in a "Skinner box" by rewarding it with food pellets.


In Adelaide clairvoyants, tarot card interpreters, palm readers, numerologists, etc, are listed under "Astrology" in the Yellow Pages.

Six such people were contacted by phone. The question I asked was:  "I've contacted 80 employers without success. Surely there is somebody in Adelaide who will give me work. Would you, using your skills, be able to direct me to the employer who wants me?"

Two said they can’t be that precise. Two others said they could reveal when work will be found but could not name the employer. One suggested that TELECOM required typists who did above 30 words per minute. This was followed up but came to nothing.

Only one of the six stated she could direct me to an employer who will employ me. Upon closer questioning, however, she refused to give a 100% money-back guarantee. Several spoke of a Mr Henderson, a psychic in the Adelaide Hills, who definitely could perform what I required. This, however, was not followed up.

Five of the six offered half-hour to one-hour sessions for $35 or $40 with $5 off for the unemployed. Clairvoyant Margaret Goddard, however, has 19 years experience and charges $45 for a half-hour and $75 for one hour.

Job Clubs have a known average success rate of placing members into jobs of about 70%. The success rate of psychics is unknown.


Jane Beare joined ALLSTAFF last November. She previously worked for TELECOM for 9 years, sold insurance for 8 months and then was unemployed for 6 months.  "I know what unemployment is like," she said.

Ms Beare studies part time for Associate of Management. She enjoys jogging and proudly showed a stack of certificates the best being for 12 kilometers in 47 minutes. During one lunch period she arm-wrestled a male Job Club participant for 10 minutes!

The most thought-provoking statement of any member in Jane's July Job Club was: "I can get a job any time I want. I'm only here because I don't want to work at present."

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