Sunday 23 July 2017
Listening to the Prime Minister addressing the Liberal Party’s NSW State Conference on Saturday he constantly referred to conservative ideology that it was a party that supported individuals. He is of course correct. Liberals have always supported individuals who have rather than those who have not. Labor does that.
Incidentally, the main topic for the conference was whether members should have more say in the pre-selection of candidates. A non-issue you would think but fireworks seem set to fly from those who currently have that power.
On the previous night Labor Leader Bill Shorten was giving a ”scene-setter” speech in Melbourne. A speech unapologetically about inequality and its effect on Australians.
The Turnbull government, he charges, is “accelerating inequality” and that “kills hope”.
It bore all the classic Sanders-Corbyn socialist trademarks that those in Britain and America have become used to.
Undoubtedly Australians will be given a stark choice at the next election. Despite the fact that low tax, pro business, pro growth, drip down economic polices are not working that’s what the conservatives will be offering at the next election.
Bill Shorten in comparison is saying “enough of all that”. We are in favor of a strengthened social safety net funded by higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations.
While insisting he is an optimist about everything this week Turnbull could be heard above the Treasurer warning that household budgets could be further strained, meaning borrowers should be ”prudent” about their indebtedness.
When one is as rich as Turnbull it’s easy to be an optimist but his government is sure to get the blame for the coming power increases and the threat of higher mortgage rates. They are likely to produce a large cohort of pessimists that are more likely to support Labor.
Unashamedly, Shorten has become an enthusiast of the distributive manifestos of Bernie Sanders in the US and Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn.
On the one hand Shorten is moving with the times, letting go of past capitalistic assumptions that are no longer working with a promise to address a two-class tax system where the rich are openly avoiding tax like its their birthright.
On the other hand Turnbull plans to give them all a tax break. That’s hard to sell to an electorate that is feeling the heat of cost of living rises and flat wages growth. I know what side of that argument I’d prefer to be on.
So, leading up to the next election you will hear the cries from the right about class warfare. About envy.
What the hell is this class warfare? I would have thought that there was less class distinction in Australia than in most countries. We do however have an attitude known as ”them and us” syndrome. This phrase speaks of the wealthy who are privileged beyond conscience and then, we’ll there’s us.
The battlers with aspirations to also be wealthy (and I am assuming that class pre supposes wealth) but with the common sense to know that not everyone can be.
Although if you are one of them of course (the wealthy) it does afford you a better class of education, of medical treatment and access to the law. In fact it gives you distinct societal advantages. Like tax havens, tax avoidance and superannuation discounts not available to us. Oh and I forgot negative gearing.
In the United States they worship the ”Great American Dream”. That being that in the land of the free anyone can aspire to be rich. And the poor actually believe it.
The constitution tells them so. So the dream is perpetuated on an unsuspecting population who support the wealthy because the dream will happen to them some day. Some say it is thus called because you have to be asleep to dream it. In Australia we are more circumspect.
The term ”Class Warfare” originates from the USA and was a favorite form of attack by Fox News and the Republicans against President Obama and Democrats in general. Like most things that have a basis in the worship of wealth and privilege the right in Australia adopt the same negative position. Fox News also uses the term ”War on wealth” in their efforts to support wealth as a national goal. Everyone should aspire to be rich even if everyone cannot.
Who is waging this so-called war? I don’t see the middle and lower classes up in arms over their treatment. But I do see the wealthy and the super rich getting cranky every time there is a threat to their privilege. Or at the suggestion that they should contribute more to the public coffers.
In fact never in the history of this nation have the rich and the privileged been so openly brazen about their economic self-righteousness. They are ably supported by the Murdoch press who invariably perpetuate and use the phrase ”Class Warfare” in a manner that suggests the lower and middle classes and particularly the Labor Party are at war with the rich. But ask yourself who is doing all the complaining. It’s the wealthiest it’s ”them” not ”us”.
When for the first time Australian mining companies campaigned against a government effectively telling them how much tax they were prepared to pay, the media and the companies said they were playing the class warfare card. Such is the power of wealth that Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest and Clive Palmer got away with it.
The fact that the minerals belong to all of us seemed unimportant to them. They don’t seem to understand the concept of fairness. There is them, and us.
When Wayne Swann, a few years ago,makes a speech encouraging an equitable share of the country’s wealth he was accused of engaging in class warfare. Even newspapers like the Herald Sun who pitch to a common man demographic pander to the class of rich without hesitation. Perhaps it’s because they are owned by one of the world’s wealthiest men. Ironic isn’t it.
Let’s look at the GST for example. It burdens the poor and those with the least capacity to pay. It discriminates against the poor and the pensioners who are living a hand-to-mouth existence and spending the bulk of their income on the necessities of life— clothing, rent, heating, power etc. The middle and lower classes pay more GST than the rich but I don’t see them in open warfare because of it. Goodness once the rich had to pay a luxury tax of 33% on their BMWs. Now it’s 10%.
Media commentary research shows that the Murdoch press is the major contributor to this supposed idea of class warfare. The Financial Review has recently run 10 articles on this theme. The Daily Telegraph 21 and The Australian 77. Add to that a few disgruntled Labor hacks that couldn’t get their own way and you can identify who is leading the chorus. But us, well we seem to be leaderless.
When the wealthiest in the land have for years virtually been practicing tax avoidance the MSM portrays it as an attack on the wealthy. It’s class warfare they shout. However, when the coalition plan to cut the rebate for low-income earners (mainly women) and take away the school expenses subsidies the war becomes a one-sided impasse. Yes the rich are in a class of their own. And their success is judged on the size and value of their assets. A poor measure by any standard.
Even when it’s suggested that equality of education is a noble pursuit, and the right of every child and people like Christopher Pyne see it as class warfare it’s a disgrace. Yes, he once ludicrously described Gonski as such.
It appears to be a very one-sided war. When a person like Pyne suggested that the implementation of Gonski would be practicing class warfare. Its easy to see who is actually practicing it. Them elitist bastards, not us.
When the Labor government tried to reduce the cost of private health insurance and the then Shadow Health Minister Peter Dutton called it class warfare that’s also a disgrace.
Piers Ackerman once described the governments closing of the much rorted Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme as class warfare. So the war it seems is only being waged against those who are wealthy and can afford it.
Poor buggers. I’m tempted to donate 10% of my pension if they are doing it that hard. Gosh where I live you can wait three years for a filling.
So this ”Class War” would appear to be a Clayton’s one at best. Only one side is fighting it. It’s them not us. And it’s very hard to get through to a class who believes that what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable. They want excesses that come with wealth and then they want some more. As for us, we don’t confuse what we want with what we need.
You can be assured of one thing: When the opposition and MSM refer to class warfare they are simply saying ”they are trying to take something from us and it’s not fair”. And remember that the poor will be looked after by the drip down effect of our wealth. My arse it will! It never has before.
My thought for the day.
“It’s very hard to get through to a class who believes that what’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is negotiable”.