When I hear Joe Hockey say, with trembling lip, that he refuses to saddle his children with the nation’s debt, my hypocrisy radar maxes out.
For starters, Joe Hockey’s children will never have to struggle. His wife is a very wealthy woman and they have substantial investments.
Secondly, this talk of our children being saddled with our debt is an obvious advertising strategy that the Coalition has adopted. Whenever children are mentioned we get protective so it is a deliberate attempt to play on the heartstrings of families.
The trouble is that this statement bears no scrutiny.
If we are really concerned about our children we would be taking urgent action on climate change. Putting that off for our kids to have to deal with sometime in the future is criminal neglect.
We would also be striving to make our society an even better one than the one we inherited. We grew up with free education and universal health care. We should not be going backwards in these most crucial areas. Will our contribution to our children’s future be to say sorry, you may not enjoy the benefits that we did?
We fought for workplace entitlements like minimum wages and penalty rates. Are we to say to our kids that your labour is worth less?
We have told our young people that they must “earn or learn”. I am sure that every kid, and every family, would prefer that situation, but all I see is another three word slogan. There is no plan for jobs. Rather than increasing apprenticeships, they are closing trade training centres and increasing 457 visas. They are making university education unaffordable – their justification being that no-one has to pay up front. So apparently it is alright to saddle our children with huge personal debt, just as long as Tony and Joe can say look, no deficit.
With no old school tie network of daddy’s friends to give you a job, it can be very hard for young people with no experience to enter the workforce. The soul destroying exercise of applying for countless jobs and being rejected every time can be heartbreaking. Is it any wonder that some just give up looking or turn to substance abuse as their sense of self worth takes a hammering?
What is to become of these kids as we cut off any support to them for 6 months of the year? Why are we abandoning them when they are just starting out on life’s road and need our help most?
We have evolved into a nation where someone’s worth is measured by their wealth, where there are no excuses tolerated. If you aren’t wealthy you just aren’t trying. What chance do our kids have to enter this merry-go-round?
A national snapshot of rental affordability in Australia has found there are minuscule and in some cases, zero, levels of affordable housing for people on low incomes, with welfare advocates saying some people will be forced to go without food to afford their accommodation.
The report, prepared by Anglicare Australia, found single Australians on government payments are “seriously disadvantaged” in the housing market, with less than 1 per cent of properties examined deemed suitable.
Single people with no children living on the minimum wage were slightly better off, with 4 per cent of listed properties found suitable, according to the study.
The study defined a “suitable” rental as one that took up less than 30 per cent of the household’s income.
It also found that couples with two children on the minimum wage had access to 12 per cent of properties surveyed, while just 1.4 per cent of properties were suitable for couples with two children on Newstart.
On the snapshot day, just 3.6 per cent of properties were found suitable for age pensioners.
Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the lack of affordable housing damaged the lives of millions of ordinary Australians.
“Limited supply does more than just drive up the price of housing. It forces those on lower incomes to spend more on rent than they can afford; compels them to forgo food and other necessities and drives them further away from social and economic participation.”
A coalition of peak housing bodies – including Homelessness Australia and the Community Housing Federation of Australia called on Kevin Andrews to make affordable housing a priority. His response was that it is a state issue, and the federal government was “encouraging and supporting” states to streamline their planning and development processes, and review taxes and charges levied at home construction and purchases.
In other words, he couldn’t give a damn that his government’s negative gearing policy has made it impossible for many young people to enter the housing market.
A quarter of Australian properties are being bought for investment rather than to live in.
Over the last four years the number of investment property loans in Australia has grown by 37% compared to an increase of only 4% in the number of owner occupied loans, new data from Roy Morgan Research shows.
The growth in investment property loans over the last four years has come predominantly from the 35 to 64 age groups which account for 78% of the increase.
The study, which surveyed 45,455 Australians, showed while the proportion of over-50’s with an owner-occupied home loan has increased, the proportion of under-35’s with owner-occupied home loans decreased.
Roy Morgan communications director Norman Morris believes government policy is having an impact on loan types.
“Younger Australians may continue to find it difficult to enter the property market either for investment or owner-occupied because for both types they are competing with more cashed-up older property buyers.”
There are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless. That means that on any given night, 1 in 200 people in Australia have nowhere to sleep. While Malcolm Turnbull joins the CEO sleepout in his comfortable warm swag, his government cut $44 million from funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. This money was to be spent on capital works building shelters for homeless people and providing affordable housing for women and children.
There has been an upsurge of photos of Coalition MPs with charity groups with politicians exhorting us to donate more. Someone needs to remind this government that the money they are spending is ours and I would much prefer to be looking after the vulnerable in our society and around the world than subsidising corporate greed and supporting armaments manufacturers.
Recent articles by Kaye Lee: