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Duncan versus Malcolm

How might Malcolm Turnbull’s life have turned out if he was sexually abused as a child, which caused him to suffer post-traumatic stress, making it difficult for him to get a good education and find a good job, leading him to part-time work on the minimum wage, failed relationships, living with his mother in a housing commission house and alleged drug-use. That’s Duncan Storrar’s life story who, in the space of four days, has managed to expose the callousness of neoliberal ‘trickle-down economics’ (through the callousness of Kelly Toaster-O’Dwyer and Innes you-don’t-pay-tax-and-therefore-you-are-the-scum-of-the-earth Willox), has been called a national hero, has had over $40,000 raised for him through community crowd-funding and is now being attacked by the Right through the depiction of his troubled past by his son, all because he wanted to take his daughters to the movies on the weekend.

I can’t say how Turnbull’s life would have ended up had he walked in Duncan’s shoes. Maybe down-and-out Turnbull, who grew up in Vaucluse, might have managed to overcome the challenges Duncan has experienced, and would have still gone on to become a billionaire Point-Piper PM who allegedly invented the internet. But either way, we can learn a lot from the fate of Duncan versus the fate of Malcolm Turnbull. We can learn that if you’re poor, and you do something the community looks down on, such as take drugs, you’re written off as an evil untouchable. But if you’re rich, and you do something the community looks down on, such as the being the Director of a company putting your money in Panama to evade-tax, you’re still a hero. Of course there is a class war, and Turnbull is using all the resources available to him to smash the under-resourced Duncan to smithereens. The Right paints Duncan as a failure because he doesn’t pay any tax, yet when Turnbull and his rich company executive mates evade millions of dollars of tax using off-shore bank accounts and countless other tax-evasion ‘strategies’, he’s seen as smart and is admired for his cunning.

There is a very simple reason for this inconsistency. The rich are untouchable and revered, a higher-class of being who we should all aspire to be like and never ever criticise if we don’t want to miss out on the trickling-down of their God-like wealth. The poor, the vulnerable and the sick, of which Duncan is all three, are, unfortunately, not given such latitude in the judgement stakes, and are belittled, spat on, written-off and by many, hated and blamed just for being poor. Australians like to think of themselves as a fair nation, and it pains me to say it, but the case of Duncan and the case of Malcolm this week shows that we are anything but.

I personally found one of the most interesting parts of the Duncan story the fact that he voted Liberal in the last election. How many Duncans were responsible for the Abbott government? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions. Trying to work out why people vote against their best interests is a question for another day. It’s always been the case that the Liberals would never win an election without the Duncans of the world helping them along. There are comparatively few people in Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth – the mansions take up a lot of space, but usually only have a few people living in them. This is the electorate, by the way, who benefit most from negative gearing, making an average net-rental loss of $20,248. Duncan earns $16 an hour as a part-time truck driver. The description of part-time isn’t really accurate – apparently he takes work when he can get it. I wonder how often he’s managed to earn $20,248 in a year, if ever. What was it about the Liberal’s election campaign which made him think – yes, they have my interests at heart, they will make my life better? It sounds like he’s learned the hard way that he was wrong about this and that really, Kelly O’Dwyer and Innes Willox and Malcolm Turnbull and anyone who works in the Liberal government and helps fund the Liberal Party don’t just care little for him, but actually resent his very existence. How many other Duncans got a slap-in-the-face from the Abbott government, and in turn, the Turnbull government, and vow never again to make the same mistake? Willox helpfully pointed out to Duncan that every budget has winners and losers. I wonder if the Duncans have noticed when it comes to Liberal budgets, like a perverse Hunger Games, the odds are never in their favour. To put it bluntly, under a Liberal government, the working class always lose.

Duncan has been quoted as saying ‘The only thing that will help my children out of the poverty circle is education’. I hope he’s checked out the education policies of Labor compared to Liberal, to show which party promises to increase funding for education, and which is slashing and burning his daughter’s future. Duncan might not be a perfect father, he might not be revered as the working-class hero the community thought he was. But Duncan has struggled, understandably, through his life and just wants a better go for his children. I think lots of Australians can relate to that.


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  1. MarkH

    The ‘system’ even when working as intended creates so many ‘Duncans’ out there. Multi-generational poverty with empty political promises about getting out of it and woe be tide you don’t, you cop the big stick.

    It’s hard not to empathise with those who seek alternative ways of coping with such effects of alienation. No, drug taking is ever ok. My heart goes to his family…not out of sympathy, but empathy. I live this kind of life myself. Not drug use…but unemployment and income support reliance. I’m not envious of anyones success, but I’m growing radicalised about the reduction of the means to build peoples capacity to actually participate in society. That ANY attempt to successfully take advantage educational or employment opportunities is squandered by governments of all levels cutting funding everywhere to services that support such efforts.

    Until people realise…as Duncan obviously has painfully….that the likes Turnbull et al aren’t going to meet their fears and paranoia, in fact CAN’T deliver on their promises we will see more and more of the kinds of politicians like him fill our parliaments.

    We are more than our economic value as employees.

  2. Jaquix

    Duncan has unwittingly brought up the old values of fairness and a fair go, and stand by your mates and shone a very bright light on it. The spectacularly successful crowdfunding proves that this is alive and well in Australia, and just needs the opportunity to show up. I would like to know the percentage of Liberal voters who contributed. I bet Kelly O’Dwyer didnt. I hope someone with his interests at heart offers to help Duncan and his family deal with the windfall. Fantastic news that Duncan recognises that education is the key to his daughters’ future, and it should point him towards voting for the political party which recognises this. The one he voted for last time is cutting funding and would prefer to only fund private schools. I wish Duncan all the very best and thank him for putting into words what so many of us think.

  3. kerri

    As I have said before, to all you folk who voted in this godawful government.
    OK you screwed up! Big time! But we can forgive you.

  4. Jaquix

    I read this morning about “trickle down economics” being known in the US many years ago as the “horse and sparrow” system – that if you feed a horse lots of oats, eventually some of it will end up on the road for the sparrow to eat”. 99% of the measures in the latest budget are horse and sparrow. And the sparrows are going to have to wait 20 years or more to get any more oaten road droppings than they get now. The language shows how old the saying is, so we can assume that “trickke down” was judged a failure nearly 100 years ago. Probably 80% of Australians are sparrows, 20% are horses. Time for the sparrows to stand up, vote the Ruling Horses out of their fur lined stables, and share the oats more equitably.

  5. John Lord

    I’d like to have a beer with Duncan.

  6. Sandra Hill

    Trickle down economics has never shown to work. When you give a rich person money it is put away in ‘investments’ and usually goes overseas. When you give a poor person money it goes straight into the local economy – supermarket, newsagent, school, service station. The poor people keep small towns and communities going and that is never recognised. Their taxes go back to the government whereas a rich person has many ways of minimising their own taxes.

    Hmmmm, maybe that is why they want more poor people – it makes it easier if they do all the heavy lifting.

  7. Roscoe

    kerri, I am 67 and voted LNP all my life but after Abbott and his mates, I will never, ever vote for them again. I have never known in all my voting days such a despicable bunch of people to be in government, and when I think of what they will are doing to my children’s and their children’s future it makes me worry each day as to what will become of them

  8. flohri1754

    Such a concise writer you are, Victoria! Another impressive work that really seems to sum up the whole first week of this current election. Actually, it might sum up the whole of the next two months …..

  9. RichardU

    Duncan’s case is a strong one which deserves circulation. But it does not do his cause well to exaggerate the situation of Malcolm Turnbull. Facts are emerging which suggest his “culpability” is not great. At least not this time.

  10. Stephen Bowler

    I got to the point where I could no longer stomach the shear nasty comments made on facebook about this guy – it was sickening to say the least and they are still at this morning.

    I can only hope that this is their guilt coming out but I fear that in fact its more a cass of I’m all right jack don’t rock the boat,

  11. Keitha Granville

    Any bets on how fast Centrelink will jump on Duncan for the crowdfunding that’s being raised for him ? I hope he sticks it in a box under his bed – or better still, a trust fund in the Cayman Islands.

  12. Wayne Turner

    Yeap,how sad that he voted against himself by voting Liberal. We forgive you Duncan,and the Duncan’s of Australia,just as long as you don’t do it again.

    Put the Liberal party last instead,it’s where they put you.

  13. Trish Corry

    Brilliantly written as usual. Great work Victoria.

  14. Shaun Newman

    Victoria, I just love your work the LNP have had 6 months to attack this travesty of justice but have steered a wide berth because there are companies in this story who generously donate to the Liberal Party. I post everything both you and Kaye write to my facebook page, and Trish Corry writes some great stuff too. We need a Labor government to at least close these loop holes but they also have far too many deductions and perhaps a mandatory tax rate of 15% should apply to businesses across the board? What do you think Victoria?

  15. Don A Kelly

    I would like to have a beer with Duncan and John Lord…….My shout.

  16. Michael Staindl

    A beautifully incisive piece of writing and so helpful to my understanding. I’m recommending to anyone I can in my social networks. Thank you Victoria.

  17. Saddened

    I doubt if they will even read this or the comments made hereunder. The Wealthy don’t feel they should bother with ordinary Australians like the Duncan’s. Maybe this time at the voting box they will wish they had listened because there are thousands of Duncan’s out there. So all you Duncan’s out there let’s show these rich politicians that having millions don’t get you a vote and without votes you don’t get elected.

  18. Deanna Jones

    Thank you for writing with compassion.

  19. josie

    Well done Victoria Rollison. Cheers everyone. Australia wake up.

  20. Lawriejay

    “Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well- warmed, and well-fed.”

    ― Herman Melville

  21. Kronomex

    Malcolm as PM makes, including super, etc, somewhere around $500,000 (not including the $200 odd million he has stashed overseas) while Duncan earns roughly 25 times less. Guess who Malcolm would not deign to have as a mate let alone speak to?

  22. kerri

    thanks for your honesty in admitting that and welcome to the free (thinking) world.
    To tar all wealthy people with the same brush is as simplistic as the LNP tarring people like Duncan as no hopers because they didn’t get born to wealthy parents.
    There are many wealthy people equally offended by the actions of this self serving abusive government.
    Yes the wealthy who have abused the system or paid the pollies to let them abuse the system are greedy, uncaring bloodsuckers, (I am reminded of Gina’s comment that the workers “love staying in the Dongas” [cargo containers by their correct moniker]) but there are many who do not share the right wing belief in trickle down or piss on the poor economics. This election may well see that the right wing have pushed many people too far. For mine I will never understand the voting preferences of people like Duncan, the elderly, the disabled, teachers, doctors, welfare recipients, DV victims, need I go on? Nor do I understand why same people subscribe to Foxtel? At least the Internet and good sites like The AIMN are working hard to make people wake up to the lies and con job so many were suckered into under Abbott and the ever lazy Turnbull.
    There is a movie called The Walmart Effect, not sure if you can see it on youtube, which should be compulsory viewing for all Australians. It dissects the toxic structure of the Walton family’s Walmart chain of department stores and the horrendous way they treat their staff which could easily be compared to Bangladeshi piece workers. It is the model of society this government is aiming for.

  23. ChaosTheory

    Re “Horse and Sparrow”. Can we have carnivorous sparrows, to eat the horses?

  24. Carol Taylor

    This is what Tim Dunlop (writer at The Drum and long term blogger on had to say on his FB page:

    “Jesus f*cking Christ. In which the political class (Murdoch media subclass) teach us all the valuable lesson: involve yourself in the political discussion in a way in which we don’t approve and we will destroy you. We will dig into your past. We will find your vulnerable spots (even if they are mundane issues shared by a substantial proportion of the population). We will present you in the worst light possible. We will be relentless. You will be sorry you ever said anything. You will be an example to anyone else who would dare displease us.

    All this for daring to ask a reasonable question of a politician on a TV show.

    This is the precise logic of standover merchants. Of organised crime. Of terrorism.”

    Which we have seen numerous times in the past of any person who has dared receive recognition for an opinion contrary to that which The Australian wishes to espouse or who has in some way set to endanger, even innocently, or perhaps that should read ‘especially innocently’ that stance or opinion.

  25. Kaye Lee


    Dirt files are the LNP way….

    In 2010, Brian Loughnane suggested James McGrath for the job of running the LNP’s federal campaign in Queensland.

    In 2011 the then 38 year old campaign director was revealed as the architect behind a scheme to pay disgruntled former Labor staffer and candidate Robert Hough for dirt on government MPs.

    The LNP dirt file detailed a minister’s epilepsy and childhood adoption, claims about some politicians’ sexuality, sex lives, drinking habits and health matters, and included details of the schools of the children of government MPs.

    Senior LNP figures including president Bruce McIver and aspiring premier Campbell Newman denied knowing about the dirt files until The Courier-Mail raised the matter.

    They said LNP campaign director James McGrath and state director Michael O’Dwyer had been “strongly reprimanded” for commissioning the $3075 research but would not be sacked.

    Far from being sacked, McGrath is now a Senator and O’Dwyer has just been reappointed State Director in Queensland after having stood down in 2012.

  26. Dieter Seidel

    That is why the Turnbulls, Dwyers, Willcoxes of this world do not want the Storrars of this world to be educated, because of the limited education they have had, they keep voting for the bastards. The saying goes: only the dumbest of calfs, providing veal, will select the butcher for themselfs

  27. guest

    You are right, Kaye. The Murdoch press is full of vinegar and bile. Anything to bucket anyone they can.They use people to further their own diabolical ideology. Did they pay Duncan’s son $200 000 for the slap-down ‘story’?

  28. Steeleye

    ‘Horse and sparrow’, ‘trickle down’, ‘supply-side’ …. Why can’t we dispense with all these silly and misleading euphemisms and give this brand of economics its accurate title:
    ‘Hoover up’

  29. Aaron Shaw

    Brilliant? On the testimony of one family member. It is indicative of our nations predilection for controversy and fanfare that the AIM, previously respected by myself, has resorted to the same cheap, reactive journalism that it supposedly derides.
    It may well end up true but who knows really?
    Who is your target audience really AIM?
    I could read this shit in the Herald Sun.

  30. Kyran

    By way of apology, my surname is O’Dwyer. There is no ‘K’ or Y’ in the gealic alphabet, so I’m pretty well phucked.
    “The original form of the O’Dwyer name in the Irish language is O’Duibhir (descendant of Duibhir). The meaning of this ancestral name is believed to have meant ‘black and dun-coloured’.
    It gets better. The family crest is;
    “A hand couped at the wrist and erect grasping a sword all proper.”
    But it get’s even betterer. The Motto is;
    “Virtus sola nobilitas – virtue alone enobles.”
    Which is more noble? Duncan, or Kelly? If we wish to look at backstory’s, lets not be blind in retrospect?
    Thank you Ms Rollison. Take care

  31. keerti

    Aaron did you only look at the pictures? If that is all then you missed out. And of course as looking at the pictures and sometimes reading the headlines is all that many people do, we will continue to have governments that kick you in the teeth just as soon as you have bent over far enough!

  32. Steele

    I have alays been a Labor supporter but never again, not after seeing all the idiots giving this loser $1000’s and he doesn’t deserve it and actual people who do deserve it get nothing. this Duncan is a piece of work, he wants a Tax cut but pays no tax, taxpayers pay for his house and kids. He even named his kids after marijuana strains and his son hates his guts, says a lot about the man. I do think it’s funny so many people donated money, last count about $58,000 and I wonder how much Duncan will recieve, the organiser of the fund need only give him a toaster and the difference between the price of the toaster and the $6000 target, he can keep the rest legally.

  33. Michael Taylor

    Steele, he is donating the money to a women’s refuge shelter. How do you feel about that?

  34. scarlet johnson

    oh the deserving and the undeserving – how much did Malcolm ‘Truffles’ Turnbull deserve the $8000 tax cut he gave himself and his rich mates? good on Duncan anyway if he gets a bit of something. No skin off my or anyone elses nose. Malcolms tax cuts on the other hand come at the expense of education healthcare and all the other social services that the poorest and most needy depend on. Oh well he deserves it more than us right?

  35. Shogan

    Mr Storrar proved that having a disability and a low education doesn’t mean you are not intelligent & Kelly O’Dwyer proved intelligence is definitely not a prerequisite to be a Liberal politician.

    As for “Innes you-don’t-pay-tax-and-therefore-you-are-the-scum-of-the-earth Willox”

    As Duncan said, “I pay tax every time I go shopping, I pay tax every time I put fuel in the car” and that is just a couple of ways we all pay tax.

    One thing people like Innes always forget is, if you’re full of shite, you need a good sphincter otherwise you end up putting something out in public that shows the real you!!

  36. jimhaz

    [this Duncan is a piece of work, he wants a Tax cut but pays no tax, taxpayers pay for his house and kids]

    While I don’t care either way about Duncan, the core question still remains. It is the same question 80% people would have.

    Under what basis does the LNP have policy to give tax cuts to those who do not need them, but no tax cuts to those who do? Where is the fairness in such a situation, would it not have been more just to not give any cuts at all?

    The fact is of course it would have been better to give no cuts whatsoever.

  37. Michael

    Once again the ignorant parasites go on the attack. Journalist are absolute scum. Reporting without responsibility
    No wonder people rise up as they are continually downtrodden by people with power.

    Journos always looking for the next story to crawl up their editors arse and make a statement at the expense of others.

    Self-centered wannabees. Ok im done.

    Ps. Dont be an arsehole your whole life

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