To Joe Hockey.
The news that a young homeless couple were found dead in their car was news that you would, in an indirect way, find offensive.
It was not their death that offended you, but a certain reaction to it.
But first to the young couple:
Police say the 27-year-old man and 24-year-old woman, both from Ballarat and believed to have been living in the car, were using a butane gas heater to keep the chill away when they died.
Most decent people – upon hearing of these tragic deaths – would have in all likelihood been deeply saddened. The life situation of this poor young couple was also tragic. As too it is with thousands of young Australians living like this. Jobless. Homeless. Penniless. Desperate.
It is a sad reality that some jobless, homeless, penniless people die. Thankfully, the numbers are small. The welfare system in Australia has always provided something for those desperate people; a fortnightly dole payment which could ensure they at least could have access to the most basic of human needs; food, shelter, medications and clothing.
But now back to you.
You were offended that Wendy Harmer (of ‘The Hoopla’ fame) tweeted that this incident (the deaths in Ballarat) may not be the last as your budget starts to bite. You fired back, with this ignorant, pathetic response:
Really, which planet do you live on?
So it is your opinion that Wendy doesn’t think before she tweets. Well I think she does. She obviously thinks more about the social horrors that your budget will cause than you yourself have given a moment’s thought to.
If you cannot fathom that people with no money for food or shelter may die of hunger or exposure then you live on a different planet to the one I do, Wendy does, or anybody I could care to name.
There is something else you don’t seem to understand: desperate people do desperate things. Sleeping in a car is a measure of desperation. As is by need going without food or medication.
None of this bothers you. If it does then I’m yet to see, read or hear any indication of such. Yet you’re offended over a tweet though: a tweet that spells out the bleeding obvious.
It’s not as though Wendy’s claim is any revelation. Since the budget was handed down (and even before it was handed down) to a shell-shocked nation the media has been filled with the predictions this horror budget will cause. People could die. People could also turn to crime if their survival depends on it. You can read such predictions on news.com.au. Or here on theage.com.au. Or here from the chronical.com.au. Or on dozens of other sites, if you care to look, as I have.
And don’t just stop at the articles: have a look at reader’s comments. They have been predicting the same social destruction echoed by Wendy.
If you had been alert to what people were saying then I can assume that you would have been offended long before Wendy’s tweet. I can’t find any indication that you’ve been aware of not only how people feel, but of the tragic fate that awaits many of them. I’m guessing that you haven’t listened to anyone, except of course, the highly paid bureaucrats that are paid to tell you what you want to hear.
That you should only now stop to listen, and in response spew forth the shock and horror of being offended at the cold hard truth, is behaviour I find difficult to comprehend.
If the ‘age of entitlement’ is over – as you have been constantly trumpeting in an effort to justify your cruel budget – then I guess it means that people are no longer entitled to secure and basic needs. I find that truly offensive. Repulsively so.
Mr Hockey, brace yourself. Your days of being offended have only just begun.