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Can Catholics Still Use The Rhythm Method Or Would That Be Too Off-Beat For Centrelink?

There’s an article in The Australian – from a former Labor Minister so the Liberals can’t blamed for this (yet?) – which suggests that contraception be compulsory for people on welfare. It won’t let me link it directly but you can find it easily enough by searching for Gary Johns, “No Contraception, No Dole”.

It begins:

IF a person’s sole source of income is the taxpayer, the person, as a condition of benefit, must have contraception. No contraception, no benefit.

Of course it does go on to say:

“And so it was that taxpayers were confronted with two cases over Christmas. Both happened to be indigenous, but of course, many non-indigenous cases abound.”

 

Now, I could go on with some of the things in the article which sound just a wee bit racist. (Can one be “a wee bit racist”, or is it like being slightly pregnant?) However, because I’m sure that plenty of other people will do that, I prefer to consider the proposal seriously and look at the practicalities of introducing such a scheme.

A number of questions occur to me.

  1. Would it apply to all welfare recipients and therefore include those on a disability pension?
  2. Would Catholics be exempt from using the contraception methods that are forbidden by the Pope and be allowed to simply use the rhythm method?
  3. Would age pensioners be exempt on the grounds that they were past the childbearing age, or would that be discriminatory?
  4. If you used contraception for, say, five months before getting pregnant, would you be required to repay your benefits?
  5. Would you be responsible for your own contraception or would be supplied to you at interviews with your employment provider?
  6. If you skipped a day on the Pill, would you be obliged to report it to Centrelink?
  7. Would inspectors be required to check that you were actually using the condoms?

I’m sure that there are other questions that need to be answered, but I won’t worry too much because I suspect that this proposal is too wacky, even for our current government.

Although, I have just heard about an aged pensioner who received a text message from Centrelink telling them that they’d have to report every fortnight. One presumes that it’s a mistake. Surely!

Footnote: From Wikipedia on Gary Johns:

“Since his defeat, Johns has drifted from the ALP and has been critical of his old party. Johns told Brett Evans that he might still be a member of the ALP but Evans says that in Johns’ heart he has moved on from the ALP. From 1997 to 2006, he was a senior fellow at the neo-liberal/conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA).”

 

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35 comments

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  1. Linda

    I think we should all swamp centre link offices reporting on all kinds of trivia ….sending empty contraception packages to Minister as evidence of compliance …aged pensioners shoudl drop off their coles dockets etc etc ……get the ex Dlp senator Maddigan on to this contraception compliance issue …

  2. John Fraser

    <

    Regardless of who said it.

    Regardless of which political party they belong to.

    This is fascism.

    ps .. and I do know who said it and which political party he belongs to.

  3. townsvilleblog

    Don’t we just love the rabid right wing of the ALP.

  4. diannaart

    Rossleigh

    Maybe Gary Johns wrote a piece of satire, somehow it was mixed up with his report on why “Abbott Is A Dick” which he intended for the Australian, things got a bit mixed up ……

    Hell, is Johns still a member of the Labor Party?

  5. Margaret McMillan

    The footnote is perhaps the most interesting part of a very interesting article. There’s a direct path to the Coalition there – from the IPA to Abbott to Morrison. And hey presto! It’s policy!

  6. diannaart

    Margaret

    OK I shoulda read the footnote.

  7. deanyz1

    If Joseph and Mary were welfare recipients, how would they go about claiming immaculate conception. Or rather, the virgin birth?

  8. Richard

    Maybe Scott Morrison’s SS Dept. [Social Security Department] are using the Seniors Reporting system to make sure they are still alive & their bodies are not being hidden by greedy relatives still collecting benefit after the death of a parent…

  9. Loz

    These politicians are a bit of a worry.

  10. Carol Taylor

    Clearly now that we have the asylum seekers out of the way (literally) as an object of derision, next on the government’s agenda will be welfare recipients. Watch the government’s msm supporters soften up the audience by multiple stories of spongers, leaners, rorters and other undesirables who currently benefit from your hard earned taxpayer dollars. Stories of downward-envy will abound.

  11. Ricardo29

    I don’t understand the reference to a pensioner being required to report fortnightly. If you receive even a part OAP and earn income from another source you are required to report fortnightly. Earn above a certain amount and your part pension is reduced.

  12. Kaye Lee

    If you are single, with a dependent child or children, the maximum fortnightly Newstart payment is $557.90. Are people seriously suggesting that a single parent is CHOOSING to exist on less than $280 a week?

  13. mars08

    No doubt he’s one of those who strongly opposes the “nanny state” messing with our freedoms….

  14. Erotic Moustache

    Gary Johns?

    From 1997 to 2006, he was a senior fellow at the neo-liberal/conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Within the IPA, he was head of the Non-Government Organisations unit. From 2006-2009 Johns worked with a consultancy firm, ACIL Tasman. In 2009 he was appointed Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Australian Catholic University’s Public Policy Institute.

    End of story.

  15. Damo451

    Kaye Lee , as a single-parent ( male ) i can tell you that the figure is $530 approx a week when you take into account FTB A + B as well.
    While it may sound a lot better ,when you take out the average rent ,$ 300 p/w rent ,electricity ,gas ,fuel ,car insurance , car rego …….oh yeah, and food for 1 adult and 1 fast growing teenager well its not great , but i am grateful for the safety net i had
    Fortunately ,and i do mean i am fortunate , i have dual qualifications that i am now able to utilize now my son is settled in high school.
    I have just re-entered the workforce full time again and have the ability to earn pretty decent money , which should grow quite nicely over the years.
    However ,not all people ,have been ,or can be ,as lucky as i am , and given the statistics floating around for job availability vs job seekers ,it is blatantly obvious that there will always be people in receipt of welfare.
    This suits politicians and employers alike ,as it helps keep inflation low by keeping a lid on wages.
    So having a politician ,whose only DUAL qualifications are ,Bucket mouth and employment at the Ponds institute ,tell those on welfare how they should live is ,well ,BULLSHIT !!
    I wonder if its possible for the REAL welfare bludgers ,politicians ,to be sterilized.
    After all , the last thing we need are these parasites breeding ,THEIR welfare system is unsustainable.

  16. Itsazoosue

    Eugenics anyone?

    I agree with John Fraser. This is fascism.

  17. Keith Woolsey

    “every sperm is sacred” mmmmm was that the catholics or Monty Python?

  18. john

    Eugenics ? yes. Social engineering ? yes . To even debate this is scandalous yet maybe a large proportion of this present population are just closet NAZI`s waiting for an opportunity to express their ` racist ` superiority ? Who invaded this land ? Racists. Who still rules and how ? no surprises here, this nation called Australia is racist by definition and racist by its fruits, surely a rotten tree.

  19. BJWard

    @ Ricardo29, if your non-Age Pension income is from another Commonwealth source, it’s already linked. I just received notice of a rise in my DFRDB retired pay. I expect that within a day or two, my wife and I will get letters advisong that our part Age Pension payments will be reduced proportionately.

  20. corvus boreus

    Gary Johns was a nominated and elected representative in the federal Labor party.
    He served as a Labor member of parliament from 1987-1996 and was appointed to cabinet positions.
    Margaret Thatcher never represented the (UK)Labour party.
    That Mr Johns has revealed himself to be a proponent of ‘social darwinism'(with apologies to Charles) and possibly a racist eugenicist, does not alter the fact that he was endorsed and utilised as a Labor parliamentarian for 3 electoral terms.
    Denial of this fact will not help refute his absurd opinions, and squanders the opportunity to examine how such a rabidly reactionary creature, who jumped straight from politics into far-right ‘think-tanking’ and ‘consultancy’, ever managed to gain representation within a supposedly socially progressive party.

  21. Kaye Lee

    One may also ask why Joe Bullock would be on the Labor Senate ticket in front of Louise Pratt.

    “It is a blow to progressive voters that I would be replaced in the Senate by someone who I have known for many years to be deeply homophobic, to be anti-choice and, has recently emerged, disloyal to the very party he bas been elected to represent,” she said.

    In a speech that went public the day before the WA Senate rerun, Mr Bullock described Labor party members as “mad” and said he did not always vote for the party.

  22. Möbius Ecko

    Carol @ 6:08 pm. Just what Howard did in his supposed big shake up of the welfare system with Bromwyn Bishop at the helm.

    The system in place, with its cross checking of computer records across departments, is quite efficient. In 2011 Centrelink fraud prosecutions had a conviction rate of 99.3%. As Howard found out the millions spent on policing and catching welfare cheats is at a point that to spend more gives a diminishing return and is economically inefficient, in other words wasteful, which is why after a lot of fanfare about cracking down on welfare, along with the flood of rorter stories from government and the MSM, he quietly abandoned his policy.

    No system is perfect so there will be determined and resourceful cheats who will get away with it, but is it worth spending hundreds of millions to catch the less than 1% who do cheat? And that’s what we are talking about here, a very small percentage, though that depends on how the fraud is defined.

    A 2011 paper: Welfare fraud in Australia: Dimensions and issues
    Welfare fraud becomes harder
    A good and brief PowerPoint in PDF: Welfare Fraud, Welfare Fiction

    And then I read this. The government’s cuts to the ABS, specifically the area that tracks and cross checks welfare payments and fraud, has allowed more cheats to get away with fraud. Please don’t tell me they intend to spend millions more in another area, which of course gets more publicity for Morrison, whilst cutting from those areas that run in the background but are proven efficient? Of course they are. It’s the same as Morrison spending a obscene $3.3 billion to stop the boats with almost unlimited resources behind him. The same will now happen in the Social Services area, with the massive spending increase being blamed on Labor’s budget emergency.

    But then again with this government I don’t think this has anything to do with genuine reform and welfare money recovery, but everything to do with their ideology and with political opportunism at a time they’re in the doldrums. Their other policies threaten to put more people on welfare and they respond by taking away that welfare by disguising it as a crackdown on cheats.

  23. corvus boreus

    I think the other part of the reason for putting a heartless head-kicker(S Morrison) in charge of the social welfare portfolio is not just to vilify and punish those who receive welfare, but also to implement a campaign to systematically demonise, demoralise and decimate(or worse) those who facilitate its provision.
    Expect, in addition to the usual dialogue of ‘dole bludgers’, ‘welfare queens’ and ‘disability scammers’, an increase in volume and intensity of rhetoric about ‘bureaucratic fat-cats’, ‘pen-pushers’ and ‘militant unionists’ within the public service who secure our social safety net.

  24. John Fraser

    <

    "One may also ask why Joe Bullock " ……

    Its always pleasing to see that W.A. can still lag behind Queensland.

    If Gary Grey (Special Minister of State) had been a more astute politician Australia would not now have to contend with Abbott.

    Abbott would be going down the same path that Slipper went down.

    Looking across the board at W.A. politicians one can hear banjo's playing in the background.

    I should point out that W.A. is mostly desert type ground so that just leaves one very good Green representative.

  25. Anomander

    Does this also apply to former MPs receiving a parliamentary pension?

    Perhaps welfare recipients could send their used contraceptive devices to the minister responsible as proof of compliance?

  26. Manfred

    C B. I Know, I Know Gary Johns was a Labor Parliamentarian. I’m talking about his essence. What he represents now. He almost plays on the fact that he was once a Labor Parliamentarian. That’s why I say he’s as Labor as Margaret Thatcher because she definitely wasnt Labor . Daa

  27. John

    Apart from the disturbing argument for eugenics, one wonders why and for how long , the Labor Party have been selecting candidates that have a very right wing Liberal ideology. Ones political ideology does not simply change over night. You go to be a social revolutionary and wake up a jack booted fascist? I really don’t think so.
    There is something amiss when someone of his ilk was a Labor member of parliament supposedly standing up for the the ‘little guy’.

  28. Sonja

    Stuff this cruel world and everyone in it

  29. Lee

    Why is everyone getting so wound up about Gary Johns? All the Catholics in the LNP are never going to force welfare recipients to use contraception.

  30. Sonja

    Suicide the only option,… Do you get your payments cut if you fall pregnant ,,,to a rapist?

  31. Matters Not

    No it’s not Sonja. You should ring 1300 2246 36 and talk to someone who will help.

    You will feel better if you do.

  32. Lee

    Gary Johns’ values have not been aligned with the ALP for several years now. He is clearly a conservative. Yet the MSM is hellbent on portraying him as an ex-Labor minister, with no reference to his working for the IPA. It’s so obviously an attempt by the MSM to turn welfare recipients away from the ALP because things aren’t looking so good for the Liberal Party at the next election. Expect to see more of it as we get closer to the election and don’t fall for it.

  33. corvus boreus

    Sonja,
    I do not think they can cut payments for becoming pregnant.
    I urge you to ring the rape crisis line(1800 424 017 in NSW) and speak to them. They may be able to help you in a number of ways.
    Please do not squander your precious life because of the despicable actions of some sub-human scum.

  34. paul walter

    Gary Johns.. what a piece of work!

    Here is a true representation of the sort of white collar individual who has destroyed NSW Labor and poisoned the rest, a hard-boiled, prejudiced conservative misanthrope.

  35. diannaart

    Johns is no longer in the Labor party – he has been thoroughly outed as a FRWNJ stooge.

    As Kaye Lee noted we do need to concern ourselves with the likes of Joe Bullock. I doubt he is the only right-winger in the Labor ‘village’, there remains a powerful conservative group still directing Labor – how else to explain refugee policies, inadequate support into mitigating climate change – even imitating their Liberal mates by failing to invest and support renewable technology and much more.

    Yes, Gary Johns wrote something really stupid. To those who wish to continue voting Labor I suggest you check out the bona fides of the incumbent Labor ministers.

    Or vote for parties or independents who actually give a damn about Australia, the future and all of us.

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