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Day to Day Politics: Inequality. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.

Thursday 3 August 2017

When the lady with the awful hairdo uttered these villainous words of inequity …

”There is no such thing as society. There are only individuals making there are only individuals making their way” (paraphrased)

… and when the second-rate actor aligned his politics with the Christian Right, the scene was set for what we now call the inequality of neoliberalism.

Neo-liberalism can best be described as a political conservative capitalist theory holding that limiting government interference in the economy is the best way to maximise personal liberty.

In other words, it suggests that allowing the rich to grow richer and the poor to grow poorer is the better economic model.

The effects of neo-liberalism and the resulting inequality in Australia over the past 25 years are only now being questioned.

The Treasurer isn’t entitled to his own facts.

In a piece for Business Insider, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer Andrew Leigh laments that:

Unfortunately, the Abbott and Turnbull Governments have proposed a plethora of policies that would make Australia more unequal. Since 2013, their governments have proposed slowing the rate of pension increases, cutting the income support bonus, and removing consumer protections from the financial advice market.

When Scott Morrison claimed that inequality has “actually got better”. From a twitter troll, the claim might be laughed off. But when the Treasurer of Australia is making up the numbers, it’s nothing to chuckle about.

Since 1975, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has collected data on earnings inequality. Over this period, real wages have grown by 72% for the top tenth, but just 23% for the bottom tenth. Put another way, the top tenth of earners earned twice as much as the bottom tenth in 1975, but by 2014 they earned nearly three times as much. If low-wage earners had enjoyed the same percentage gains as the highest paid, they would be $16,000 a year better off.

Conservatives can’t just brush of inequality as if it doesn’t matter. It is caused by politics and therefore can be treated with politics It is a political choice, not an economic incapability without a cure.

Whilst economics can manifestly bring about a more equitable society it is the underlying effects where the damage can be seen to do the most damage. Equality of opportunity in almost every sphere of society makes for a better one.

It is not just in welfare that inequality exists. Even though the facts of it stare then in the face, conservatives continue to roll out the same old moronic verses from the same old hymnbook.

Take these from Tony Abbott:

… it doesn’t matter how fair our society is, in terms of its political arrangements or its economic arrangements, there are always going to be some people who do it tough because of unfortunate personal choices, or because of what might be described as acts of God.

… the poor will always be with us” and therefore everything from homelessness to dispossession caused by colonisation was a ”lifestyle choice”.

When Joe Hockey produced the 2014 budget that proved to be the most draconian in Australian political history. One that will forever be remembered for its brutishness toward the young. Joe Hockey dismissed all the criticism by saying that it was “political in nature’’ and raised the old class warfare lines. The politics of envy. It was a budget that pursued inequality with a vengeance.

”I would argue that the comments about inequality in Australia are largely misguided, both from an historical perspective, and from the perspective of the budget,” he said

Like climate deniers we now have inequality deniers. Conservatives could choose to do something about it but they wont because the have a vested interest in keeping wages low.

The unemployment payment has not risen since 1994. Shameful to say the least except it is the inequality deniers who govern for those who have, not those who have not. Housing is now almost out of reach for young people.

Penalty Rates are being slashed for low paid workers while the rich and privileged are receiving tax cuts or not paying any.

It’s a political choice to do something about this glaring inequality but the fearsome lovers of capitalism just can’t bring themselves to share anything. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable they say.

A YouGov poll in 2015 found that 64% of Britons believe that capitalism is unfair, that it makes inequality worse. Even in the US it’s as high as 55%, while in Germany a solid 77% are sceptical of capitalism. Meanwhile, a full three-quarters of people in major capitalist economies believe that big businesses are basically corrupt.

Every time the perils of inequality are highlighted conservatives cry the music of denial. Class warfare is the song they sing but a choir of voices across the world sings the lyrics of protest.

As Warren Buffet put it “There’s class warfare alright, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

 Just ask those who carry, on heavy shoulders, the burden of inequality as wages and social security payments are undermined and social expenditure is cut to make way for generous “welfare”

There is hope in this recognition of inequality that is growing and growing. A fight is emerging, one that must be won if we are to attain social equality.

What follows is a transcript of an interview by Lee Sales with Wayne Swan with comments from others.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Over the next year or so you’re going to hear a lot about inequality.

Bill Shorten’s made it central to the political strategy that he plans to take to the next election.

Tonight Labor’s former Treasurer, Wayne Swan, tells 7.30, that capitalism, as we know it must change because of inequality.

Political correspondent Andrew Probyn takes a look at how much traction that inequality message might be able to gain.

ANDREW PROBYN POLITICALCORRESPONDENT: Inequality, it’s become the political byword in Western politics. And it’s made rock stars out of white-haired men.

JEREMY CORBYN: Looking to global policies that actually share the wealth. Not glory in the levels of injustice and inequality.

BERNIE SANDERS: There is no justice when so few have so much and so many have so little.

ANDREW PROBYN: Even younger, more photogenic politicians have leapt on the bandwagon.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU: Increasing inequality has made citizens distrust their governments. Distrust their employers. It turns into us versus them.

JEREMY CORBYN: That politics that got out of the box is not going back in any box.

ANDREW PROBYN: In Australia, inequality is well and truly out of its box as a political weapon.

BILL SHORTEN, OPPOSITION LEADER: Inequality kills hope. It feeds that sense that resentment that the deck is stacked against ordinary people, that the fix is in, the deal is done.

ANDREW PROBYN: It’s contested territory.

SCOTT MORRISON, TREASURER: This idea that people and inequality and incomes has been going in the wrong direction. That’s not borne out by the facts. It hasn’t got worse, inequality. It’s actually got better.

ANDREW LAMING, LIBERAL MP: Governments should be focused on alleviating poverty. Inequality staring over the fence and noticing another guy has got a jet ski and you don’t have one. Inequality doesn’t cause suffering or falling out of the education system or poor health.

SAUL ESLAKE, ECONOMIST: You would have had to have had your eyes and ears closed for almost 20 years to believe that inequality hasn’t increased in Australia.

BEN OQUIST, THE AUSTRALIA INSTITUTE: For many people it’s a real lived experience, we’re there seeing their wages not grow. Meanwhile, they’re seeing other parts of the economy or other companies and people doing very well.

JENNIFER WESTACOTT, BUSINESS COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: Anybody who tells Australians that the way to deal with inequality is to weaken the business sector is actually being very dishonest with people.

ANDREW PROBYN: So what do the statistics show? Since 1995, incomes for the top 10 per cent of wage earners have steadily increased. By comparison, incomes for the bottom 10 per cent of earners have only marginally improved.

The gap between the richest 10 per cent and the poorest has increased by 78 per cent over two decades, even with inflation taken into account.

CHRISTINE LAGARDE: Well I hope people will listen now.

ANDREW PROBYN: Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund surprised many economists in 2013 when she warned that inequality was an economic risk. This view is spreading as Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe showed today.

PHILLIP LOWE, RESERVE BANK GOVERNOR: If workers are getting no real wage increase year after year after year that’s insidious and it reduces support for sensible economic policy.

REPORTER: Do you think inequality is rising or getting better in Australia?

PHILLIP LOWE: Well, it’s risen.

BEN OQUIST: Interestingly, the pointy heads have changed their view on the economic orthodoxy. We know that inequality is bad for economic growth.

WAYNE SWAN, FORMER LABOR TREASURER: Rising income and weath inequality is hollowing out the middle class around the developed world. Creating vast armies of working poor and leading to stagnant economies and political polarisation. It is the pre-eminent issue of our time.

ANDREW PROBYN: Former Treasurer Wayne Swan says inequality has redefined the economic rules.

WAYNE SWAN: There’s no question about that. The economic model that has delivered the inequality is trickledown economics, which is basically tax cuts for the rich, deregulation for the powerful and wage suppression for the rest.

ANDREW PROBYN: Are you saying capitalism has to change?

WAYNE SWAN: Unquestionably. Capitalism needs to be saved from itself. That’s what people like the Governor of the Bank of England are saying. It’s what the financial institutions around the world are saying. Capitalism is thoroughly discredited at the moment because it’s produced rampant income and wealth inequality

ANDREW PROBYN: It is quite extraordinary to hear from a former treasurer. Is your thinking different to what it was when you were Treasurer?

WAYNE SWAN: It is somewhat. I’ve talked about inequality all of my political life but what I’ve discovered when I was Treasurer was just the extent to which powerful vested interests would try and drive policy to make outcomes even more unequal.

ANDREW PROBYN: The next target of the inequality campaign is going to be those tax cuts to the big end of town. Are these calls and is this fight going to get even louder?

WAYNE SWAN: It certainly is. The Labor Party is going to lead this battle because it needs a whole set of policies for inclusive growth.

JENNIFER WESTACOTT: We have got to remember that if we want people’s incomes to rise. If we want to create jobs, we have to have a strong and competitive business sector.

ANDREW PROBYN: Bill Shorten has set about rebranding existing policies under the inequality banner. And you get the sense the Government has been caught flat-footed. Labor’s policies on housing affordability through curbs on negative gearing and capital gains tax are now framed as inequality issues. So too are ALP policies on tax and superannuation. It’s part grievance politics where identifying irritations is far easier than solving them. But it’s very effective. And Mr Shorten’s next target will be family trusts which some say vastly favor the rich.

BEN OQUIST: Inequality is reshaping economics and it’s reshaping our politics.

ANDREW PROBYN: New lines loom in the inequality war cry.

JEREMY CORBYN: Nothing was given from above by the elites and the powerful. It was only ever gained from below.

My thought for the day

”Invariably when I read about how successful people are. The measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?’’

PS: Further reading to debunk the Treasurer’s accretion that inequality is in decline.

 


31 comments

  1. Ella miller

    The LNP have made an art of blaming the victim. Proof ; Mr. Kennet last night on the DRUM tried to tell us that young people would be able to afford a home if they did not have mobile phones and eat out.This attitude undermines the governments authority to call Australia a civilised society…on so many levels.Shame on them all.

  2. Ross Cornwill

    Yeah Ella but it only was Kennet. We know his views.

  3. Robert REYNOLDS

    Thank you for this interesting article John. To me, economic rationalism is one of the greatest confidence tricks that humanity, particularly in the western world, has allowed itself to be sold in a very long time. It rates up there with religion. In fact those economists who embrace this brand of economics are often referred to as a kind of ‘economic Taliban’, so intractable and obdurate are they in their support for this nefarious and vicious economic system which, if not reversed, will only lead us back towards a quasi Dickensian era.

    There are a plethora of great articles exposing this sham available which support your view John. One of the best short pieces that I have come across recently was by George Monbiot in The Guardian. For anyone interested, this is available at,

    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/apr/15/neoliberalism-ideology-problem-george-monbiot

  4. Kaye Lee

    Re Kennett, his dismissal, interrupting, and rudeness towards Bridie were inexcusable. He didn’t dismiss or interrupt the man who was saying the same thing. I thought Julia Baird was remiss in controlling that.

  5. Don Kelly

    John Maynard Keynes, in his 1936 book, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money”, considers that outstanding faults of the economic society in which we live are its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.

  6. John Lord

    I got to ask him a question some years ago a a breakfast function that had an obvious answer. He put so much spin on it that it could have been a different question.

  7. Peter F

    “JENNIFER WESTACOTT: We have got to remember that if we want people’s incomes to rise. If we want to create jobs, we have to have a strong and competitive business sector.”

    Yes, Jennifer, and I expect you to believe that this is borne out by the fact that we have record company profits and stagnating wages. Please relate these facts to your claim.

  8. Zathras

    Whenever people raise issues like inequality or question fairness, shrill allegations of “Class Warfare” or “Politics of Envy” are always made by the wealthy to make them somehow appear as victims.

    However they seem very quiet whenever homelessness, unemployment, suicide rates and poverty are discussed.

    Governments seem to have become the victims of corporate takeovers with leaders behaving as CEOs using spin to drive up share prices with little concern for the real long-term health of their company or employees.

    There was a time when we could afford to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure but now they all seem to be unaffordable or unneccessary burdens.

    The expression “Tipping Point” has been used for the climate but it may also be relevant elsewhere.

  9. Kronomex

    On a sort of a side note –

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/aug/02/tony-abbott-says-nsw-government-losing-its-nerve-over-sydney-homeless-protest

    The Mad Monk is spouting off about Martin Place. If he’s so fired up about the homeless there why doesn’t HE go down there and get them to leave rather than whining. We all know he’s a thug so it’s right up his alley. While he’s “moving them on” he can tell them to get a job, house, haircut and talk to god.

  10. Harquebus

    The only person who has appeared on theDRUM recently and had any clue about anything was Antony Loewenstein and his message was quickly cut off. Those that appeared last night were just more members of the unthinking herd.

    I have dozens of links regarding neoliberalism and inequality but, John Lord has summed it up good enough.
    Anuvagoodwun John. Wot’s goin’ on?

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” — John Kenneth Galbraith

  11. helvityni

    Re; thought for the day

    ”Invariably when I read about how successful people are. The measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?’’

    I have found Australia to be a very materialistic society.

    Kronomex, Abbott ought to know by now that there are no jobs, not even for people with neat haircuts.

    Kaye Lee, nice private school girls like Julia just want to be ,well, NICE…

  12. wam

    A sad and scary read today, Lord. Sad because so many can but believe the slogans, the morning shows 15 second grabs. the murdoch headlines and the far right posts from england and america.
    Scary because:
    the explanations needed to counter are too long and too complex for the electorate.
    labor will not arm their grass roots with anti-slogan slogans
    the trumballites and rabbottians have no fear of collateral damage and therefore can manufacture circumstances to ‘encourage’ support from the pragmatic parties in the senate, slimey X, dixxxbransimkims, hinch, eno nation and corey’s conservative

    ps the ABC used to be generally fair in its political reporting which in lnp terms means ‘left wing’ but now, to my watching, their reporting is at best almost fair but most often anti-labor.
    good one helvityni I thought the Lord’s thought was in the eye of the beholder.

  13. Michael Taylor

    Wasn’t it Tony Abbott who once said that homelessness was a lifestyle choice?

  14. Johno

    ”Invariably when I read about how successful people are. The measure is always the value of their assets. Why is this so?’’

    It may be so with some but it is an extremely shallow view of success. More’s the pity.

  15. Michael Taylor

    While on the subject of homelessness …

    Victoria Square in Adelaide has always been a place where Aborigines congregate. Yes, some of them would drink there. Victoria Square is also the main tram stop in the city, so it’s a rather busy spot. Goodness knows, we can’t have all those office workers confronted with a sea of black faces first thing in the morning.

    Channel 7 ran a poll where the question was something like this: “Do you think Aborigines should be allowed to congregate in Victoria Square?”

    The “No” response had an overwhelming victory.

    I wonder what the responses would have been if the question went something like this: “Does it concern you that there are so many homeless amongst the dispossessed First Australians?”

  16. Andreas Bimba

    When powerful sections of the corporate world implemented that big media campaign against Labor’s proposed mining tax and propagandised and lobbied against putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions, it was obvious who is in the driving seat politically in Australia.

    Labor was swept from office and an even more intense dose of neoliberalism than what Labor was implementing was then forced upon us by the truly appalling conservatives.

    Labor may talk about tackling inequality and they are certainly preferable to the conservatives but I don’t hear any talk about ensuring full employment or amending our free trade agreements to allow some vital parts of our manufacturing industry to exist. Labor also supports expansion of coal mining and hasn’t quite grasped the critical danger of global warming and the urgent need to transition to a environmentally sustainable economy.

    Realistically the present day Labor Party is to the right and is more neoliberal than Malcolm Fraser’s conservative government of the 1970’s and our appalling corporate sector is significantly more powerful and greedy now than it was then. Politics and the media have degenerated badly. The Australian population has in general accepted most of the neoliberal lies. In the area of fiscal policy and ensuring full employment, the Greens also fall short.

    Full employment can be attained and economists like Professor Bill Mitchell from Newcastle University have PROVEN THE CASE. The East Asian tigers practice aggressive trade protection even with free trade agreements in place, it is called playing to win and WE ARE LOSING. Japan for example has extremely low unemployment, low inflation, relatively high living standards, low levels of inequality and a dynamic economy. Many nations now meet all their electricity generation needs using clean energy and are well on the way to phasing out fossil fuel usage.

    There may be much happiness when Bill Shorten wins the next election, compared to the conservatives they will look wonderful but the corporate barons won’t be particularly concerned as they know the party will continue.

    Only with a very large grass roots driven progressive reform movement like that harnessed by Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn is it even remotely possible to match the power of the corporate barons and to start to unwind the 30 to 40 years of destruction caused by the neoliberal ideology. Australia does not yet have a large grass roots progressive movement.

  17. wam

    ‘wonder’ you are too generous. The rabbott explained the Aborigines, like those in Victoria Square, with his ‘lifestyle choice’.
    As for ‘black faces’, who here didn’t see ‘black’ till the Africans were allowed into Australia?

  18. Johno

    MT, could the question go like this.. Does it concern you that white society has turned what was once a vibrant open red gum woodland providing for the indigenous inhabitants into a sea of concrete, bitumen and steel.

  19. Robert REYNOLDS

    At the international level we all know the role played by Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, and American President Ronald Reagan in promoting this most aggressive form of capitalism. This was all ably supported by free market economists such as Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

    http://generationliberty.ipa.org.au/7-free-market-economists-you-need-to-know/

    The influence of the Russian born novelist Ayn Rand also cannot be overlooked.

    Then, here in Australia we must never forget the role played by the working class traitors Bob Hawke and Paul Keating in introducing the economic and social poison of neo-liberalism into Australia. I had been a card carrying member of the Australian Labor Party for about 16 years before they decided to take the party toward the right. I resigned from the party in the early 1980’s because I could no longer stomach what they were doing to it and the country.

    It is sad that we do not still have a party like The Communist Party of Australia which was led by Comrade Laurie Aarons. That party had some very dynamic members such as Jack Mundey.

    http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/humanitarian/display/104752-jack-mundey

    A party such as this is needed in Australia now more than ever.

  20. guest

    Further to the Kennett performance, it was noticeable that he was going to take over. He interrupted Bridie Jabour, demanding that she give solutions to the housing problem, despite her protestations. When he offered a “solution” all he said was: Grow the economy. No details, just the Coalition mantra. And we know it means that we feed the well-fed even more.

  21. helvityni

    Rob R, do you still have some Reds under your bed; today the Coalition is happy to share their bed with Redheads. Communism is almost attractive compared to that… 🙂

  22. Keitha Granville

    if young people didn’t have mobile phones . . . . .

    Yesterday as I was trying to find something on Centrelink it occurred to me that if you don’t have a mobile phone or an internet connection you have no chance of contacting Centrelink other than in person. Stand in line, wait for possibly an hour or more to speak to a person, or use the onsite computers.

    It is the same for many other government services these days. The have nots are unable to participate in their own lives because they can’t afford the necessary tools to do so.

    Raise the minimum wage, raise those on welfare out of poverty – THAT is the way to improve the lives of everyone.

  23. OldWomBat

    Abbott may quote from his favourite book that the poor will always be with us, but he conveniently leaves out the accompanying directive. The complete reference is from Deuteronomy 15:11

    “For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'”

  24. Terry2

    On the Drum last night Kennett demanded of journalist Bridie Jabour that she provide solutions to the crisis in housing prices but when she tried to point to the incentives given to investors, through negative gearing and concessional capital gains tax, as one of the market distorting factors he shouted her down and said to Julia Baird ‘I knew I shouldn’t have come on this show‘.

    Baird should have pulled him into line, as you noted Kaye and allowed Jabour to finish her observations and sentences but clearly Kennett didn’t want to hear anything that was likely to question conservative values.

  25. Robert REYNOLDS

    Hi helvityni,

    No helvityni, I am sad to have to say that the only Red that ever gets under my bed these days is me. And that happens with less and less frequency due to aching joints, a condition brought about by indulging in too many birthdays!

    On a more serious note, helvityni I should say that I would never support the kind of “Communism” that Stalin oversaw or is now said to operate in countries like China or North Korea. I have a very, very close friend who comes from China and I often joke to her that what China needs is a ‘Communist Revolution’. Mao would be rolling in his grave if he could come back and see what has happened to his revolution. My friend, who lived in China through the (insane) Cultural Revolution, maintains that Mao was (about) 80% bad and 20% good. She has convinced me that that seems to be a fair assessment.

    I remember back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that there were movements in Europe, especially in Italy where the Communist Party under the leadership of Enrico Berlinguer, and in Czechoslovakia, where the Communist Party leader Alexander Dubček, were leading genuine reform movements that showed much promise at the time. Speaking of reformers in the socialist world, we must not forget the great Chilean leader Salvador Allende who was brutally murdered in a military coup shortly after he was elected to power in 1973. This coup was inspired by the war criminals Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.

    I live in hope that reformers of the caliber of these former Communist Party leaders will again come onto the world stage. They are needed now more than ever. I think that the thing that will bring about the revitalization of the left will be economic rationalism. As Marx indicated, capitalism contains the seeds of its own destruction.

    Of course we now have people like Bernie Sanders in the U.S. and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and this certainly represents a good start. We have quite a few progressive economists too, who are all too ready to expose neo-liberalism for the confidence trick that it is. These people include Yanis Varoufakis, Steve Keen, Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, just to name a few.

    I am often criticized for being too loquacious, helvityni, so I will leave it there.

    Have a great day!

  26. Robert REYNOLDS

    Terry2, although I did not see The Drum last night, I rarely take anything that Jeff Kennett says seriously. To me he is an absolute boofhead who is worthy of little more than contempt and derision.

  27. jimhaz

    LNP governments have been refusing to allow wage rises that are above inflation for public servants for some years. Many of the rises have been slightly below inflation. I’d also be prepared to guess that Border Force was, in part, created to lower wages. As we see in Qld ALP govs are little different.

    I’ve long held the view that it is the public service that is a major driver of wage increases for the upper low and middle income class of worker. Trickle down only works for upper income earners as they are most engaged with the high income group who are getting wealthier – which is probably why pollies support it so often as it certainly helps to increase their salaries.

    Ie that PS wage increases ends up forcing private business to up wages in order to be on a more equal footing in order to fill jobs with better candidates. There is some flow on to low wage industries.

    The fall of unions, high immigration and blatant misuse of 457 style visa programs take all power away from workers.

    Striking is the only way to improve wages nowadays and unions should really be doing so much more of it. In the modern world of excessive self-interest, you have to create hurt for govs and business owners before they will do the right thing.

  28. diannaart

    Jimhaz

    …you have to create hurt for govs and business owners before they will do the right thing…

    Same as it ever was. Except maybe more difficult than it was last century – unions could call strikes without jumping an array of bureaucratic hoops, yet, still better than in feudal times. Let’s not forget we had a PM who knighted a prince.

    Ironic that neo-liberalism calls for virtually zero regulations for corporations (with trickle-across to government) and increasing regulations for public organisations.

  29. Zathras

    Despite her rabid opposition to The Welfare State, far right pinup queen Ayn Rand (mentioned above) spent the last 8 years of her life living off social welfare and Medicare benefits – despite having a personal estate in excess of $500,000 (about $1.2million today).

    It just goes to show how even the most ardent preachers of individuality and personal responsibility can still be parasites falling back onto socialist benefits when the opportunity arises.

    For some, too much is never enough.

  30. Kevin Arnold

    When I grew up there were three classes. The working class, the middle class and the upper class. It was simple if you remembered where you come from. Most working class voted labour. The middle class,which included academics, thought that by voting conservative they could identify with the upper class. Hence the domination of conservative governments over the 75 years that I have been alive. Now that the middle class has almost been wiped out they are shaking their heads and wondering what went on. Now they are realising that the conditions that they enjoyed only came from the working class not from the upper class. The upper class never did, and never will, let anything trickle down. I am reading more radical thoughts from the educated than I ever did from right-wing trades unions. The chickens have come home to rest. Any system, especially Capitalism, can only work from the bottom up. Improve the lot of the workers and the middle class will return. Then maybe they will have learned their lesson.

  31. wam

    11 march 2015
    Yesterday, Mr Abbott backed a plan in Western Australia to close more than 100 remote communities and move more than 1,000 people, saying “what we can’t do is endlessly subsidise lifestyle choices”.

    But Indigenous leader Noel Pearson told the ABC remote Indigenous communities deserved an “extensive” explanation and not “off-the-cuff” comments.”I think it’s a very disappointing and hopeless statement by the Prime Minister, quite frankly,” he told The World Today.

    Chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council Warren Mundine said it was not as “simple” as the Prime Minister had described.

    “These people are actually living on their homelands and it affects a lot of things, it affects their cultural activities, it affects their native title, it affects a number of areas,” he told Radio National.

    “It’s not as simple as… if someone from Sydney decides to have a treechange and go and live in the bush. It’s about their life, it’s about their very essence, it’s about their very culture.

    The rabbott is a racist arse, Few of the Aboriginal people and none of the ‘caucasians’ I know, who voted for him are any better.

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