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Bludgers

bludger

Photo: news.com.au

As we watch Abbott’s wrecking ball take aim at welfare recipients, this guest post by Derek James provides us with an insight into what these policy changes really mean for our community.

On the penultimate Sunday of 2013, in Sydney one of the Murdoch rags carried the eye catching headline “Bludgers Busted”, a triumphant headline which when viewed from a distance inspired all manner of considerations. Were the federal or state governments finally getting tough on the high flyers, by obliging them to pay their share of tax? Were they forcing corporations to improve their game by imposing restrictions on how much a CEO can bleed out of a company each year, in the wake of the recent Qantas debacle? Or had they decided to end the gravy train that was sustaining all of the ex-politicians in their non-political life, reducing them to the level of ‘ordinary citizens’? Not too much to expect, given Hockey’s now famous declaration that the ‘age of entitlement is over’, but it only required a perfunctory read of that cover page for it to became clear that none of these things were at the heart of the headline.

It was immediately clear that the editor of that Liberal fanzine had wet their pants with delight at the fact that their government was once again putting the boot into the most disadvantaged in the community, the infirm and the mentally ill, through savage changes to the Disability Support Pension. As usual, those over inflated egos that constitute the editorial core of that Murdoch owned conservative herald are quick to apply ‘wholesale smears over segments of the community. In this instance, to underscore and reinforce media engineered pre-conceptions about people who receive fortnightly DSP assistance’, it was a bitter exposition in which their tone and purpose was loud and clear. Their primary objective was to try and gather support for their government, by crafting the illusion that it was acting in the national interest.

Undoubtedly other right wing extremists and even moderate conservatives would have been every bit as delighted by this news; as was their chief propaganda publication, after all they all subscribe to the belief that the working masses and the low paid and poor majority should carry the burden of any fiscal privations imposed by their government, the harsher the better. They all love the minimalist approach to politics, provided that the ‘minimalism’ does not erode their privileges… or stature. Having spent the last six years living on an even field, in which the interests of all Australian’s were at the heart of government, the media has finally succeeded in resurrecting a narrow minded Plutocracy, in which the interests of the wealthy few hold rule over all, they do not want to ruin that by criticising their government and forcing it to engage in fair mindedness or democratic process.

Show me a ‘bully or a thug’ and I will show you a conservative, for they are one and the same, be they the tory politician or their supporter… largely motivated by greed, unthinking, uncaring and myopic. As chief among the government’s supporters, that paper proves this belief time and again, through its corporate and industry profiles and through its political fiction.

It is not a stretch to imagine that if the Abbott government was to introduce a policy of forced euthanasia for anyone over 60 to ease claim’s on the old age pension and further reduce government expenditure, that paper would, in all probability, announce the policy as a ‘Master Stroke’ and sing its praises for the next six months. What is worse is that the majority of people who subscribe to that paper would happily accept the announcement at face value, without challenging the plan or giving consideration to its long term consequences. Many would not even begin to consider the implications, until they were being led by the wrist by one of the business suit wearing Nazi’s into the gas chamber. So long as it is happening elsewhere and to someone else, they would pay it no mind.

On the matter at hand, the shakeup of the DSP, you can only wonder whether the editors and chief journalists in that media stable would be so vocal in advocating for a tougher stance against disability pensioners, if they themselves suddenly became a victim of grievous misfortune and were abandoned by their billionaire boss and other forms of support and had no choice other than to turn to the government for help? Would they be as eager to label it as the preserve of Bludgers, when they are dealing with the fallout of their carefully crafted social smear? Would they be as willing to besmirch the nature of people receiving this assistance while they are jumping through hoops to meet every challenge set by the government to prove their qualification for that pension? Probably not, though a lot would depend on whether they do have a shred of humanity in them and are not just robots.

It is fair to say that as with all areas of government support, there are always people of low ethics, devoid of principles, who will try and in some cases succeed in exploiting the system (just as when the Rudd government introduced its Pink batts stimulus program and all of those failed Liberal businessmen suddenly became [unqualified] ‘insulation installers’, who infiltrated the scheme to its detriment) and such types should be weeded out. However given the processes involved in qualifying for the disability pension, it is difficult to see how people could rort the process – they would need to have secured the support of a compliant GP, an independent specialist and then that of the government appointed commonwealth medical officer. Three independent professionals, all career minded and often hard of nose, who gain no personal benefit from blindly endorsing applications. After all they are obliged to complete a mountain of paperwork to fully explain their decision; this is a burden that they would hardly welcome on top of their regular duties.

That said the Murdoch media are old hands at making assessments of the world at a distance through their spyglass. On this occasion they have labelled these unfortunate Australian’s as Bludgers and apparently based on little more than ‘urban myth’ and with the sole aim of poisoning attitudes toward all recipients of this assistance. It’s easy to make judgements against people from a distance, it’s far more difficult to try and see the world through another person’s eyes and their experience; which means getting up close and personal. That requires ‘empathy’ which is not an attribute found in most conservatives, the Murdoch crowd are no exception.

Beyond their fanfare and full hearted endorsement of their Prime Ministers pernicious pursuit of the weakest members of the community, if their government was serious about cutting waste and improving the bottom line, it would target the ‘real bludgers’. To anyone, even those with only a cursory interest in politics and domestic affairs, it is patently clear that the biggest drains on this countries treasury are the former politicians and the stuffed suits who preside as CEO over the majority of our largest corporations. Instead of engaging in this cynical manoeuvre, designed entirely for public consumption and which is nothing more than Howard era ‘smoke and mirror’ politics, it is the big end sponges that this ‘government’ should be cracking down on.

Anyone who is not a rusted on fan of conservatism can see that the planned ‘shake-up’ of the DSP will create more problems than it fixes. In the execution of their collective rush of blood, this government have decided to move a large body of under 40 years old and generally unemployable, extremely needy Australians out of one area of welfare and onto Newstart (No start). As soon as they are forced onto this other form of government assistance, they will be absorbed into dead end, short term ‘work for the dole arrangements’.

This probably will save the country money over the short term, due entirely to the fact that the No Start allowance is a pittance, not nearly equal to the minimum weekly wage and a far cry from the sum of what a politician would spend on their lunch in a single sitting. That meagre few hundred dollars is expected to last the recipient a fortnight, to cover food, rent and miscellaneous outlays and under the constant threat of annulment, should they fail to meet any of the pre-conditions attached to that assistance.

When these people are pushed into ‘No start’ and forced onto work for the dole ergs, made vassal to the community as cheap ‘short term labour’ it only profit’s the myriad of unprincipled businesses, who masquerade as their benefactor. These so called ‘saviours’ will receive their own government payoffs and industry plaudits, without too much of an outlay. In all probability most of these companies would argue that they are participating in the scheme out of a sense of community, but it helps that they do not have to employ any of these Australian’s on full wages and benefits.

Parallel to the instigation of this modern slavery and given that these unfortunate people are no longer being paid the pension; the volume of ‘welfare dependency’ will drop. As an immediate flow on, the unemployment rate will also drop as these people are now classed as working for welfare and no longer recorded as ‘unemployed’. It all looks good on the balance sheets and gives the illusion that the government is not entirely inept. But beneath the veneer, the reality is that it is nothing other than a parlour trick… a political ruse, executed without a care for the lives that have been impacted by the stroke of the pen.

The long term ramifications will be far more costly to the nation, as many of the affected will fall through the cracks once more and with their social support systems removed, they will turn to all manner of crime against other Australians. Further to this and because these changes have been enacted by that party that caters to the elite with its ill-conceived antics, it will be the wealthier communities that are the target of all future crime waves. Of course the perpetrators will be rounded up and prosecuted to the full extent of the law and likely given a disproportionate sentence, for biting the hand of the ruling class and once again these ‘unfortunate Australian’s’ will be an even greater burden on the taxpayer through their incarceration.

If this Abbott government is serious about putting an end to waste, it would look at curtailing the outlays to former politicians. Australia has long been the most over governed country on the planet, with more leaders than you can poke a stick at, at both the state and federal level.

Even after they ‘retire’ they still want their say on a surplus of issues, dispensing their $500 an hour advice to all who are willing to pay to hear them. This on top of their over inflated superannuation’s, a lump sum that is constantly replenished through their exorbitant pension (which rises every time their former and still ruling political peers get a pay rise, which can be three or four times per year). They get their own office, complete with secretary, a prestigious vehicle complete with chauffeur, as well as a gold travel pass for domestic and international travel (for the rest of their life), and all of it through the sweat of the taxpayer.

On top of this, many among them receive corporate invitations to take up seats on any number of corporate boards (in a figurehead role, complete with benefits, financial or other).

From the little that the Australian people are told, it seems that most of the former and serving Australian politicians are on a better wicket than the President of the United States, this in a country where the national population is barely the equal of the population of New York City.

When it is to their benefit, our politicians like to remind the electorate that they work for us. We the Australian public are their boss and yet they never defer to the electorate through referendums or other electoral processes to receive clearance to set up their extortionate political lives. In times like now they just tell the working man to pay more tax and everyone else on the lower branches of the fiscal tree to tighten their belts.

People reading this should stop and calculate just how many former politicians are still feeding off the taxpayers, state and federally. We still have seven Prime ministers milking the system, as well as all of the former premiers and other MP’s with their snouts buried deep in the public purse. In many of these cases, the individual has done great things for our country, but this does not earn them the right to put themselves above other Australian’s. As soon as they leave public life for retirement, they should be on the same conditions as everyone else. If they are self-sufficient, through their super and other income, they shouldn’t get the pension, but where they do qualify, what they receive should be the same as everyone else.

It has to be said that this flagrant exploitation of our system is not limited to the politician’s; it is also common among their corporate mates. How often has a major company fallen on hard times through mismanagement or other weaknesses and then gone cap in hand to the government, apportioning blame on external elements and looking to take advantage of the taxpayers, ostensibly in the national interest. How often after the company fails does the taxpayer discover that much of their money has been eaten up in administrative fees and charges, which means it has lined the pocket of an immoral CEO or the board who have exploited his or her ineptitude. More often than not the CEO turns up at another company doing the same poor job again.

In consideration of all these things, this crackdown on recipients of the DSP, this assault on Australia’s most vulnerable by this puppet for the rich, is a sick joke. A joke made worse in the wake of its decision to replace the Commonwealth 737’s (procured by the Howard government on a lease deal that expires next year, at a cost of $600 Million to the taxpayer [minus fuel and running costs presumably?]) with a single much larger plane, fitted out with every kind of advanced communication system imaginable, ostensibly to maintain contact with cabinet while travelling abroad… it could also double as an airborne command centre for when the government’s policies spark trouble. There is also the suggestion that it will be something of a flying five star hotel, equipped with opulent fixtures such as ‘gold taps’ and ‘marble sink tops’. Part of the sales pitch to the public is that this jumbo will carry officials and the press gallery, with the Prime Minister and his entourage on overseas trips.

The decision to upgrade the commonwealth jet at huge cost to the country comes only weeks after the same government announced its intention to replace the fleet of commonwealth cars, Holden commodores, with the far more expensive and bomb proofed BMW’s. Why on earth would he require a bomb proof motor pool? This one announcement alone should have alarm bells ringing for all Australian’s from all walks of life throughout the land… what does this individual and his cronies have planned for our country and its future that they need a bomb proof Commonwealth fleet?

It could be argued that the Australian government’s decision to go after the mentally ill was inspired by their Prime Ministers own achievements, perhaps every time he look’s in the mirror since last September, he is astounded by just how far society will allow a raving psychotic to climb and if he can reach such heights, anyone is capable… but now I think the decision to screw the ill, infirm and poor, is a preconceived plan and just the tip of a nasty big ice berg. The non-affluent majority should consider this and then take steps to stifle this regimes ambition, before it take’s this country places that it doesn’t want to go.

Cheers,
DJ

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26 comments

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  1. Geoff Of Epping

    It’s a great, depressing, anger inducing read Victoria and as always I am totally in sync with you on this.
    It should now be clear that Abbott has only his own and his masters’ interests at heart.
    This raving self entitled “ten pound Pommy” immigrant…..how astounding then that he should have such a harsh and vicious reaction to refugees,….is a money and power hungry nonentity. He’s not interested in the good of this nation nor of it’s inhabitants. he is not interested in anything but his own well being, his own power base and his own wealth accumulation.
    He sees sitting in a bomb proof BMW as a sign of “having arrived” a symbol of his new found status. He is in deep deep love with the trappings of being PM not with the hard work and tough decisions attached to that job.
    He’s as obvious about all this as a wart on your arse and about as appealing.
    Over the last couple of months i have deliberately taken a back seat from writing my comments, thoughts and reactions on these pages and others because I am finding my sense of unease and fear growing, and my sense of anger and murderous intent growing to the point where i can often be abusive and unpleasant to Abbott supporters and those right wing, unthinking fringe dwellers in Western Sydney (™). Today i decided to break my silence because i can no longer remain silent as i watch this great nation go down the toilet of Abbott’s making.

  2. CMMC

    Geoff, “those right wing, unthinking fringe dwellers in Western Sydney” are not really statistically important, this is just the continuation of the “Howard’s Battlers” fantasy.

    They keep talking-up this meme but it rarely translates into political reality, see the electorate of Greenway results:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Division_of_Greenway

  3. Hotspringer

    I am amazed Antonym Abbott hasn’t volunteered the unfortunates for Fukushima clean-up yet.

  4. Howard Miller

    Wow? brave words, VICTORIA and GEOFF, as one who studied the reign of King Little John Howard and his unrelenting attacks on the disabled and less capable members of our community, I would expect his protege, Prince Tiny Tony to carry on the Crusade. There is a pirate patch over the left eye of the current LNP and they are unwilling to admit some our current “Captains of Industry” would, in time of war, face a firing squad for treason. They are constantly in the camp of the enemy of Australian workers with their pants pulled down. In my working life, have seen dozens of viable, profitable manufacturing industries shut down by company executives who support the “Free Trade Policy” of the conservative movement.
    Sadly, I do agree with Joe Hockey and his stand on Coca Cola and SPC because it is long overdue that the Federal Government stopped handing out money to wealthy companies, how about low interest loans that can be paid back or shares in the company that could be sold on the market when the the government needs some cash to help out the next bleeding heart. The LOW INTEREST LOAN is the only carrot dangled in front of Australian Farmers to enable the donkeys to increase their debt, it does say something about government priorities and confidence in the LNP supporters.
    I hope you continue your expose of the shiny pants who are destroying, “The Australian Dream”, and Geoff of Epping, just take care in dark streets when you are on your own.??

  5. Dr Jeff

    Excellent post Derek (thanks Victoria). Sadly I’ve lived the ‘get seriously ill early and move onto DSP life’ and it is no holiday. The problem is that, as with so much, getting ill is much worse if you are poor to start with then if you are rich. I would like, although it might be lengthy, to give an account of my experiences and compare it to a friend who fell ill around the same time.

    I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 42. I had just completed my PhD and was part of that casualised army of academics who did both sessional lecturing and tutoring to try to make ends meet until a better opportunity arose. Indeed, I was diagnosed with cancer in the period between submitting and being awarded my PhD. The point is, this is a very fragile moment in one’s academic career and a very bad time to get ill. After being diagnosed with cancer, and having the tumour removed, I came down with a mysterious nerve pain which was not diagnosed for 5 months. That was 5 months of ,living with unbelievably excruciating pain.

    Anyway, about the same time, my friend also became ill. He left his job voluntarily as his situation was suited to making this decision. I, in contrast, became unemployed out of necessity and, once removed from an academic environment with access to resources such as libraries it is very difficult to get back. Also unlike me, he came from a wealthy background, had moved straight from one of the most privileged schools in Brisbane to the best university in Brisbane. After travelling around the world for a year or so he then settled down into his professional and rewarding job. By the time he fell ill at the same age he had accumulated quite a bit of wealth and had benefitted from a nice inheritance. Unlike me, he did not move onto DSP but relied on his accumulated wealth and his partners income.

    When I fell ill I was the sole income earner in my family with three kids. My father was an abusive drunk and my mother was compliant and distant. I did complete my HSC but my marks were so bad that it was little more than toilet paper. I then got into a desperate relationship which, when it broke up, I myself abused alcohol for a few years and in Paul Keating recession I became long term unemployed. Going nowhere fast and having seen the worst our society can produce I decided in my late 20’s to go off to university. I took one year to complete a bridging course through TAFE and also undertook an aptitude test. I did well in both and managed to get into an arts degree at a good uni. The problem was that although I did well I was always behind those who were ten years younger. Without good employment prospects I did a second, more vocational, degree and then accepted a scholarship to complete my PhD. The whole thing was a struggle as my partner suffers extreme anxiety as a result of her experiences as a child.

    The point is that it was because I was in a vulnerable position that I had to turn to DSP when I was sick in contrast to my friend.

    After recovering from his illness my friend bought a new car to both improve his prospects and to give him a ‘lift’ (which I’ve never owned in my life). He continued taking holidays with his family so that he didn’t get too down. When well enough he secured a new professional job through his network of friends. I, in contrast, struggle to keep my aging car on the road and really don’t have money for clothes no matter holidays. I barely feed and clothe my family. School excursion, or worse, school camps are an impossibility. My friend, in contrast, sends his children to one of the best private schools in the state. It is only since mixing with wealthier people through university that I’ve really seen how class works.

    My point is, which I hope I’ve communicated, is that all kinds of people can have health catastrophes in life. It is how these catastrophes are lived which is at issue. To land on DSP is, for many, just one misfortune in a litany of misfortunes which goes back to their childhood. I’m now scared, really scared, that I will be cut from DSP. This would cost me around $150 a fortnight which, when you are as vulnerable as I am, $150 is the difference between, and I literally mean this, eating and having a roof over our heads and not. I think Abbott’s strategy is a disgrace and for the media to actively campaign on their is even more disgraceful. Thank you both so much for writing on this issue but I’m afraid it is a fait accompli.

  6. Paul Raymond Scahill

    I am only replying because I am so angry with corporate Australia and the complete idiot, whose name escapes me at the moment, I can not believe that we as a nation sit-by and let these blood-suckers get away with it. We need someone who has the guts to bludgeon these corporate wankers to a life of infantility. Most of them are incapable of making a cup of tea, but are well and truly able to tell lies. (Giant Ones) They are not unlike many of our politicians who can only be described as salesmen(women) who see a bright future as a board member, overseas dignitary, consultant or some other bludger, when their snout-time is over. Yes, let us hope we are able to find someone with the intestinal fortitude who can set the record straight. GOOD LUCK OZ.

  7. diannaart

    Victoria

    Thanks for this – as someone who even hates to admit I am on DSP – your words and stories such as Dr Jeff’s do help.

    Illness, accidents do not discriminate between rich and poor – some may be wealthy enough to endure, but when a regular liveable income is lost, the low income AND middle class are left dependent on the vagaries of each new government. This time we appear to have elected the government from hell.

  8. Kaye Lee

    I can only hope that Labor will see the bleeding obvious. Keeping people in poverty costs a lot of money. Poverty, poor housing, and austerity all add to healthcare costs as well as increased social costs and lost productivity.

    Increase the Newstart allowance. Every cent of that money will be spent so there will truly be a flow on effect for the economy. Also if people can find somewhere affordable to live, and can afford an interview outfit and transport as well as food, they are more likely to be able to find a job.

  9. abbienoiraude

    Thanks to Derek James for speaking out for people like my husband who is on the DSP.
    Your descriptions of who ‘we’ are and how we live was close to the bone. It is very difficult. Why would any one want to ‘rort’ for THIS ‘reward’. Stupid!

    During the Howard years the way he was treated by those non entities who scream “rorts rorts” was appalling and caused him to dip into chronic depression. Because of a not expected and not looked for serious illness he has been a DSP recipient over years of dangerously close to death ill health. Having the likes of Howard and now Abbott telling the wider public that he is a ‘bludger’ and should be ‘working’ causes great schisms in his self esteem. I thought I was going to lose him at one stage. The ‘breaching’ by Vanstone via Centrelink threats was the undoing of his sense of self. Once Rudd became PM the change was palpable and one of being able to concentrate on getting to the best place possible, health wise.

    Now we are back again….holding our breaths and hoping for the storm to pass…meanwhile the ‘friends and relatives’ are back to screaming ‘rorts rorts’ again never ever referring to those tax dodging, money scamming, allowance fooling members of the ‘born to rule’ classes.
    It is exhausting, this see-sawing of the punishing of the least able.
    Spending most of our time swinging between trips to specialists ( never EVER bulk billed so must be budgeted for out of the DSP), GP, allied health professionals and the quiet times when convalescing is a priority the times appear fractious and more dangerous with Abbott/Andrews/Dutton in tow.

    I just wish they would stop it.

  10. TechinBris

    How does one stand before others, and declare they will be rejoicing at the prospects of inflicting hardship and suffering on others in your Community, all on your belief that you are more deserving than others, in what is the Commonwealth of Australia.
    Go on, stick out so all can see! If you want such a land, where people’s only worth is as a resource to be exploited and not to be cared for, wear it on the front of your house because you show how proud you are not to care for anyone else, with a big LNP sign. (Why do I reckon most won’t be brave enough?) Closet Fascists, we all know a few of them.
    Personally, I want to fly a National Flag upside down. I see tax as my contribution to our Commonwealth’s well being that looks after all. Only waste of it I see, is supporting Multinational Corporate Scum who are the least in need, or are they not successful Businesses, but only sustaining their Market Dominance at the Taxpayers expense? Nice manoeuvrings there if that is the case. No wonder the Media is going gangbuster to keep that hidden.
    Those who avoid it or utilise shifty methods to avoid it, have already declared what they think of our Commonwealth and the people who it is. Trouble is, it is these very people who are demanding the Tax windfall has to go to them and this Federal Government is working to make that a reality by taking it from those that have little to give to those with lots, but some are in for a surprise, when they find out they are a victims and not recipient of the diversions of wealth as they thought they would be. Listen to the moaning and gnashing of teeth when they find out the wealth doesn’t go to them.
    When you hear it from these Australian’s, walk away from them in disgust. You don’t deserve to have to suffer such selfish petulant Children. But remember to help those in need that are hurt by these Thugs. It could be you that will need that help soon enough, as there will never be enough to sedate the need for the next wealth hit to be bigger and better and we all have to provide it on demand.

  11. John Fraser

    <

    Not getting any answers from Mal Brough after he wrote a "work for dole" piece for Murdoch's Queensland Courier Mail.

    One would think that an elected official would be quick to answer :

    Mal Brough what did you do when you were unemployed ?

    Mal Brough who paid for your election campaign ?

    Mal Brough what was your involvement with James Ashby ?

    Mal Brough what do you have to say to Justice Rares decision, that was very critical of you ?

    Apparently its only job seekers who have to answer questions going back 3 generations.

  12. Pingback: Bludgers | lmrh5

  13. SmeeHere

    This is just too heartbreaking for words. We desperately need either Labor to become Labor again or have a new political party

  14. Dianne Brelsford

    Perhaps this is the abbott’s answer to forming the land army to carry out the planting of trees for his direct action policy. My sympathies and best wishes go to those who have need of the DSP – I personally know how much information is required to qualify for the payment and how hard it is to manage any sort of lifestyle when items such as wheelchairs/shower chairs and the myriad of other essential medication and “stuff” has to be paid for out of the meagre amount paid. It doesn’t leave much in the budget to buy such “luxuries” as food and shelter. Those without family who can help out when times are desperate can quickly spiral down into depression which makes everything twice as bad.

    In my opinion every politician should be required to spend at least one month living on the inadequate pension or benefit, having to provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves and family, if they have one. Then go out to look for work using whatever is left of their payment for fares, etc. Maybe there would be a little more compassion for others.

  15. Stephen Tardrew

    Great article Victoria. Spent may years working in the welfare sector and have seen the pain and hardship caused by brutal indifference. How do people come to hate there fellow human beings. This type of disdain for the poor, and disabled is a pox on society. It is heartbreaking when welfare workers have to look into the eyes of those in need and say there is nothing more we can do. To do this to those who have experienced many years of marginalization and suffering is devastating. Real people with real lives are no more than statistics to be shuffled into no mans land with loss of hope and purposeful identity. Really we just wont those pesky poor people to go away. There such an annoyance.

  16. sam

    All too predictable unfortunately.

    What else do you put in the right wing media to distract people as you screw the country.

    I remember a conference in Newcastle Australia in 2003 hosted by COFFEE ‘center of full employment and equity’ There are plenty of working programmes for real ‘full’ employment in Australia that would do more to solve the problem of under/unemployment better than labelling people ‘bludgers’. Then goverment at the time / (Amanda Vanstone was minister) did not seem interested. And why would they. It’s against their ideology.

    Its just another mechanism for political manipulation. Got to direct the average persons ‘anger’ at something so get your media to run a campaign of slander on some of the most vulnerable people in society. The media machine was full with ‘Down with Labour’ and now its ramping up the ‘Down with the Unemployed’ rhetoric. Its all ideological attacks.

  17. rick

    I’m on the DSP, I’ve been on it since Howard forced people to do something to get away from unemployment by sending them to employment agencies that put a lot of pressure and made a lot of threats to breach. I was breached twice for not applying for jobs I was not qualified for. After going through some sort of psychotic event where I thought I was back in primary school because of the treatment at the employment company whom I could not leave Centerlink put me on sickness benefits and then my doctor put me on the DSP . Now I have Howards apprentice telling me he’s going to review my pension and I get anxious all over again. As far as I am concerned Abbott has no human emotions and should be in a loony bin not running or ruining this country or its culture.

  18. Darryl Snow

    What is going on with the apostrophes here? If in doubt, leave them out – Apostrophe Man 2010

  19. olddavey

    As someone with a severely disabled relative I must say that I get pissed off by the small percentage of those who claim the DSP when there is really nothing wrong with them.
    I know of two in their 50s who do this along with their partners claiming the care allowance and other benefits.
    It adds up to around $35k pa tax free per couple.
    It would be nice to see this kind of abuse weeded out but it will never happen. It will be all too hard.

  20. strobedriver

    The issue underlying the welfare ‘reform’ is that consecutive governments in Australia have sought to move the Australian system toward the Americanisation of welfare – the Gillard government moving sole-parents’ onto Newstart shows that our governments are in many ways tarred by the same brush – and this needs to be fought against for historical reasons, as well as contemporary ones. Anyone doubting this should simply Google Sen Tomlinson of Wisconsin and see how he solved the ‘problems’ of welfare in his state in the USA. The LNP/Coalition in Australia are, and have been, ruthless with the health/welfare budgets and this is because they fundamentally do not understand that keeping a population (and their children) well eventually contributes to a better and robust society in which all benefit. On an historical note ‘welfare’ came about due to the Industrial Revolution and the promises that living in an urban/city environment brought which Industrialists encouraged the agri-populace to share in. Finally after years of horrendous treatment of the poor, the elite realized that if you don’t provide healthcare for the workers then you don’t have any workers — and if you don’t have any workers then you don’t have a profit. Simple but true equation unless burdened by whether the poor should be cared for and that all children (and their parents’) need to be cared for by the State.

  21. mars08

    For far too long we have seen this sort of needless cruelty by our so-called leaders.

    These days, whenever I hear some bobble-head (usually a politician) banging on about the wonders of “mateship” and “a fair go”…. I get the urge to scream like a banshee. F@c%7#& Hypocrites!!!

  22. Don

    I to must admit that I am also on DSP, having worked all my life in low paid jobs and the sole income earner. The hoops I had to jump through to get the DSP just about drove me to suicide, you can have all the medical proof to prove your disability, and yet get knocked back. It is no bed of roses living from on fortnight to the next, worrying whether you will have enough for food, medications or a roof over your head. Utilities have become a luxury, I laugh when they say for the sick and elderly to stay cool in heat waves, we have an air conditioner, turn it on to keep cool something else has to be sacrificed, as there is not enough spare change, so keeping cool is a luxury. Transport, public transport is out, so rely on a car, rego has to be budgeted for, lucky we can pay every 3 months, ah but then comes the fuel, $30 a fortnight is the limit to our spend, that has to make do for shopping, doctors and hospital appointments. Another lucky point is our city council allows 2 hours free parking in their car parks, with a permit as hospitals now charge to park on grounds. I didn’t choose to become disabled, and yet after working and paying taxes since I was 15 counts for nothing, I am now classified as a bludger.
    Let me ask Tony where and what jobs has he ever worked for in the private sector, oh that’s right a 6 month desk job and then quit, ever since he has been paid by the public purse the tax payer, the same as anyone on welfare. Big difference though his tax payers welfare payments are not under attack, why not they come from the same pool of tax payer funds as anyone who has lost their jobs, fallen I’ll or has reached retirement, what makes them less deserving than him being paid, the ones who have lost their jobs are a result of policies made by government, just look at the figures since he has come into power, and set to get worse.

  23. julian

    Here’s the thing, in Australia we are essentially still under a colonial government, the lack of a Bill of Rights and Parliamentary Privilege ensure that this will continue (the Constitution is not legally enforcable, so, we have no legally protected rights, the pollies can’t be toiuched). Four things would shift the political landscape forever in this country – a Bill of Rights, enshrined in law; no more Parliamentary Privilege; no more donations to political parties; no more preferences, so one person – one vote, and a vote of no confidence on the ballot paper that actually counts.

  24. aussiedrew

    Thank you so very much for a splendid article !

  25. bjkelly1958

    A tremendous article. How I would love for it to be published in many MSM newspapers and magazines, but I dream. I am certainly going to share it.

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