Know your place

Know your place, you scum. Know your place! I am furious with their…

The Prince, The Crown and The Letter

By Kirsten Tona Once upon a time, there was a Kingdom called Dwanaland,…

That 7.30 Report Interview: Have Over-Reactions in the…

By Denis Bright Jim Chalmers delivered an astute clarification of aspects of his…

Is Peter Dutton on a mission?

The Liberal Party of Australia continues to present its worst face to…

Saint George Battles The Woke Dragons And Other…

Sir Tony delivered a eulogy at Saint George’s funeral… Oh wait, that’s right.…

The Leader of the Opposition says …

When Julia Gillard was Prime Minister, after every government announcement, action, or…

Is Labor really striving for 1.5°C over pre-industrial…

By Keith Antonysen Around 16 months ago, artificial intelligence (AI) was used to…

Ukraine’s Tank Problem

It seems to be a case of little provision for so much…


Let’s talk about privilege and single parents

The Social Discourse and Welfare

Whilst doing my research for my most recent blog post, I analysed a range of opinions throughout social media on the topic of contraception and welfare. Naturally, these threads across various pages gathered the opinions of those not on welfare and those who are. Comments on social media give one an insight into the thoughts of a wide and varied demographic. Often thoughts on social media are contained to a particular thread on a particular topic; so it is always interesting to view the differences of opinion from many on that particular subject. This is particularly evident when it is a newspaper forum, or another general page which attracts a diverse range of people. People will group together on opinion and often there are long debates from those for or against a particular opinion. I love reading the opinions of people on social media, as narrative or discourse, gives us a glimpse of the social psyche.

Social discourse is a key element to social change. Many of the comments from people, as per my last blog post, painted those on welfare in a very negative light. In fact, the ones highlighted were of the very strong view that those on welfare “should not breed”. The Liberal National Coalition (LNP) Government has a very strong discourse on punitive measures aimed to punish people on welfare and sets this standard, through their unfair cuts to welfare and treatment of jobseekers.

Newspapers and media also seem to slant their stories to the negative. There were many comments highlighting that Sunrise had posted the ‘welfare and contraception’ story three different times on their Facebook page. In my local regional newspaper today, there is an prominent article with the headline “Hard-working Australian culture fading away” which has a 20 year old mechanic front and centre telling people to “not cry poor and go out a get a job” and “I don’t believe for a second there’s no work out there”.

This is in spite of the unemployment rate being 6.3% nationally, youth unemployment sitting nationally at 14% nationally and being as high as 29.3% in outback South Australia, 26.7% in south east Tasmania and 21.3% in Cairns. This is also in spite of skills shortages in 2014 identified in specialized and professional fields as external auditor, surveyor, sonographer, phsysiotherapist, midwife, software engineer and construction estimator. The jobs listed as skills shortages are not jobs that would be likely to match young people seeking employment, or unskilled jobseekers. This means that contrary to the social discourse occurring at present, job search is a highly competitive environment and those with little to no skills or experience, or who face any barriers to employment (including sole parenting), will find securing employment very difficult.

This does not even take into account age discrimination or Indigenous unemployment, which sits at 17.2% nationally and the Government’s changes to programs that will greatly affect this group. These changes show blatant changes which target people through race, which are discriminatory as compared to other parts of Australia.

What about Sole Parents?

The blog post I researched most recently discussed the argument that ‘People on welfare should be forced to take contraception.’ Single mothers were certainly a group raised for discussion. In particular, young mothers featured prominently, as did women from certain suburbs in Australia and another prominent single mother group attacked negatively were those ‘assumed to be refugees’ or from an ethnic minority background or non-white people.

Single Parents have only had to seek employment as part of Mutual Obligation since the 2005 – 2006 Howard Budget. This has continued to be evolved by successive ALP Governments since 2007 and remains as a focus for the Abbott Government. There have been calls from ACOSS that the inclusion of single parents in mutual obligation contravenes Human Rights Obligations. I strongly agree with ACOSS, not only for the economic affects outlines, but especially for point 2, which discusses discrimination against women:

The Bill violates the rights of single parents to non-discrimination under Art 2, paragraph 2
of the ICESCR and Art 11(1)(e) of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Since the majority of recipients are
women, they will suffer indirect gender discrimination should the Bill become law. In
addition, sole parent families, identified for special measures due to their greater
vulnerability, will suffer discrimination through the loss of these measures.

As I delved into people’s conversations on social media whilst researching my last blog post, I noticed something quite prominent and thematic with young mothers and their arguments. I was becoming increasingly aware of the amount of young women (single mothers) who felt the need to defend their space in society. These young women felt the need to list every single effort they make to work in paid work, volunteering, job search or furthering their education through study or training. Often, they would write a long list of work and study they were doing at the same time, as well as caring for their child or children.

What this is saying to me, is that young mothers and single others feel the need to ‘reaffirm’ or establish themselves in the eyes of the privileged (those not a single parent) to be deemed worthy or accepted in society. My position is difficult here as I can only view the conversation and not seek clarity or construct any dialogue with these young mothers to further develop understanding; but I feel that these young mothers feel that there are societal pressures that say that being a mother 100% of of the time is not enough as set by the standards of society and in the eyes of those who view them as ‘sole parents.’

One theme that was quite prominent was when young mothers did list the whole range work or study activities they were undertaking as well as motherhood, people congratulated them on their efforts and ‘becoming a productive citizen.’ The comments resonated that being a mother was not being a productive citizen. Raising other little good citizens is being a productive citizen in itself.

I for one second do not take away any single parent’s choice to undertake any activities to better their future for employment etc., The key word there being choice. However, I question the need that there may be mothers who feel they cannot be a mother only, due to the strong social narrative that drives this pressure, which is enabled by the Government view of single parents. Something afforded by privilege to those who have this choice in a partnered relationship. I know many may argue that even women in partnered relationships need to go to work; but if a woman strongly wanted to be at home, they have the choice, through that partnership to adapt their lifestyle, so this can be supported on one wage in many cases. The fact of the matter is single parents do not have this choice even to contemplate, as that second wage is simply not there.

Some of the privileges afforded by those in partnered relationships or single people with no children, who set to condemn single parents are thus:

  • Single parents do not have the option to share the workload.
  • Single parents often have to do more than partnered parents, as all work, child raising and decision making are their sole responsibility
  • Single parents bear the brunt of sole financial responsibility. If they get sick, there is no second wage to fall back on.
  • There are forced expectations by the Government of mutual obligation on single mothers or fathers that is not enforced onto partnered mothers or fathers.
  • There is a great social stigma still towards, particularly single mothers being a purposeful burden on the system
  • Economic burdens, not affording take away, making all food, not affording childcare, or adequate medical care, including dental as compared to middle to upper classes
  • There is a great social stigma about child spacing for single parents “they just pop another one out when the youngest turns six” Child spacing is a privilege afforded to partnered parents.
  • Single parents have more likely high instances of low self-efficacy and low self-esteem than partnered parents
  • Illness is a privilege afforded to those in partnered relationships. A single parent who falls ill still has to maintain all responsibilities
  • There are many labor market constraints for single parents, including transport, available education, flexible work hours. In some cases partnered parents may face these barriers, but they have another partner to work with to reduce these barriers.
  • Often stigma is also with the ex-wife/ex-partner that if the father is raising them, there is something wrong with the mother, but that is rarely questioned about the father
  • Fathers are often perceived as heroes and pitied for abandonment, women are scorned, slut shamed etc.,
  • In most cases the onus of blame is placed on the woman in a relationship breakdown.
  • Single mothers experience stigma with employment, housing, applying for benefits, and community assistance afforded to most partnered couples (racial and disability discrimination acknowledged)
  • Balancing custody and career. Often promotion means more work and more time away from family sole parents, both male and female risk custody if they are not seen to provide enough care an attention to the child/ren through absence to the home. This is intensified if the other parent has another new partner who can does paid work. There is little research if this is more particularly burdensome for single mothers or single fathers. Career and progression is something afforded to parents in a partnered relationship, without the risk of losing custody of their child/ren.

I will break out of the bullet points to direct attention to one that I am most passionate about. I will speak to this for mothers only. I would value input from how single fathers see this in the comments below.

Forced removal of the right to care for children.

Due to the mutual obligations forced upon single mothers by the Government, single parents have no choice but to have another person spend critical and valuable time with their child. They do not have the option that this may be the person they are in an intimate relationship with as a privilege afforded to partnered mothers who desire to return to work and have a stay at home father. Single Mothers are forced to pay strangers to spend critical and valuable time and input in the rearing of their child. Not only does this take away from critical and valuable parenting time, but places an extra financial burden on women as it cuts into money earned from employment.

This also places an additional burden on women fleeing domestic violence relationships and fleeing violent partners. It forces a woman to be engaged in employment (sometimes with no phone contact as enforced by the employer’s rules) and it creates more worry, stress and strain on a woman already experiencing heightened anxiety and concern for the safety of herself and her children.

I find this absolutely abhorrent that this choice is taken away from single parents by force, rather than by choice. It takes away one of the most important and most treasured days of a woman’s life by force.

Single Fathers

Although the majority of single parents are mothers, single fathers make up 12% of single parents in Australia. Single fathers also face particular burdens based on how society positions gender and parenting, based on the notion that only women are the natural nurturers and men are the breadwinners.

  • Single fathers are the loneliest and socially isolated of all types of household situation.
  • Single fathers are deemed incompetent by others, due to the ingrained belief that women are the natural caregivers and nurturers.
  • As per listed above, it is also unfairly assumed that the father is not the best option for care of the child, but must be by default. Society seeks to lay blame on either the mother primarily, and pities the father, but does not ever assume that this may be an amicable solution or what has been decided as a matter of choice between the former partnered parents.
  • Single fathers have generally lower self esteem and depression issues than men in other households
  • Affect on single fathers with balancing work choice, decision making, key provisions for the family, restrictions in childcare availability and shift work for many labouring / trades jobs

Gay and Lesbian single parents – there is more of a story to be told.

There is also appears to be an absence of research on single parents from a breakdown of a same sex relationship. Statistics included for single parents are inclusive of gay and lesbian parents as statistics do not specifically also target sexual preference.

There appears to be an abundance of literature on same sex parenting as a dual couple. However, the absence of literature on gay and lesbian single parents, makes for a gap in understanding the full picture of single parents and their lived experiences.

Government Responses

The Howard Government in 2005-2006 budget papers set forth the foundation for including single parents in mutual obligation. Successive ALP Governments since, have not sought to enable single parents by repealing this legislation, but have sought to tighten this legislation and provide even more restrictions and obstacles for single parents.

The Abbott Government’s response is hinged on ‘family values’ but defines this family as the predominantly white, dual parent family, with more than likely Christian values. Often classified as “The traditional family.” This is not representative of all families in Australia.

The Abbott Government has injected 20 million to “strengthen relationships and help improve personal and family well-being—it makes social and economic sense.” Because, you know single parents are a burden on society and a factor for social decline.

The Abbott Government has chosen to fund only Christian Chaplains in schools as a pastoral mechanism. Christian Chaplains would only advocate for traditional heterosexual relationships and traditional forms of family through marriage.

There is a lack of investment from the Abbott Government on Domestic Violence and funding for shelters and other programs for both women and men and an absence of understanding of the need for shelters for men who have experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence.

There is an agenda of stigmatisation from the Abbott Government for those on welfare, adding to the layers of stigmatisation experienced by single parents, indigenous, the disabled, immigrants, people from low socioeconomic backgrounds and people in other minority groups.

Where to from here

If this blog post has resonated with others, I would encourage everyone to write to the Government and to both the ALP and the Greens to advocate to have mutual obligation as a forced measure removed from single parents and be implemented as a voluntary measure only, with no penalties.

One of the reasons behind me writing this blog post, was that I get so disheartened from reading harsh and judgemental comments from those in a position of privilege. The other reason was that I really want people to start assessing their own narrative when it comes to passing judgement of others on welfare.

The Abbott Government through their agenda of stigmatisation has really created a strong narrative to enable and encourage others to stigmatise those on welfare. If you oppose the Abbott Government, but contribute to this stigma by adding your voice, you are really supporting the Abbott Government by becoming a part of their agenda. Their agenda for stigma is strong as it paves the way for even more harsh cuts and unfair treatment of the disadvantage as the discourse becomes more widely sociably acceptable.

“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
―Erving Goffman


Originally published on Polyfeministix

 1,106 total views,  10 views today


Login here Register here
  1. Florence nee Fedup

    Good summing up of issues single mothers face. My experience is that most want to get back to work. Only option that leads to better life. It is also true, they need assistance to achieve this aim.

    What most seem to ignore, most do not choose to raise the Children on their own. Not all, in fact, very few are silly adolescents that set out to have a baby. Most children are conceived in a regular relationship. Sadly not all last, and many a mother will find herself deserted, left holding the baby, as they say.

  2. John Fraser


    I'm at a loss to understand why the extreme right stigmatize single woman and then go on to stigmatize refugee families.

    Apparently ….. with a declining population rate … they can't see that they are destroying the very life they say they are defending.

  3. Carol Taylor

    Trish, excellent article. To me the attitude of many conservatives is that somehow if a person is not partnered then they are to be punished. A person to be admired is someone who tolerates an unhappy or even a violent situation – “keeping up appearances”, staying together for the children’s sake. Therefore those who might need for example, emergency accommodation are “at fault”, an attitude a reflection of the attitude of PM Abbott who wrote in his book about his preference to bring back faults-based divorce.

    Another thought which came to me is the attitude of the ultra-conservatives that nothing is worthwhile unless it has an immediately recognisable dollar sign attached – home nurturing, full time mothers are to be admired as long as they are “women of calibre”, however those less fortunate, less well to do must earn their dollars in order to prove their value. Therefore this government would pay tens of thousands of dollars for the wealthy to be stay at home “moms”, pay to make the au pair or live in nanny tax deductable, while simultaneously withdrawing funding for programs aimed at emergency accommodation.

  4. Garth

    @John Fraser…. I think the stigmatisation is mostly political expedience (i’m sure there is some true bigotry in there but mostly it serves their political aims). What I don’t understand is how they really can’t distinguish themselves from other welfare recipients. Both are dependent on the state for their income but one has a true chance of doing something positive for the country. I’ll let you decide which one that might be 🙂

  5. mars08


    … I think the stigmatisation is mostly political expedience (i’m sure there is some true bigotry in there but mostly it serves their political aims)…

    I agree. It’s much the same as the campaign against asylum seekers. I doubt that the vast majority of politicians have an ideological objection to asylum seekers. I doubt that most of them are particularly racist. But they ARE nasty, unsympathetic and mercenary. They will do what they can to win and hold votes. In the case of asylum seekers, they fed the hysteria and responded to the public’s demand for a harsh solution.

    Our politicians will continue to demonise and marginalise small, isolated, powerless, vulnerable groups for as long as they can get away with it. Divide and conquer is the game. You want an NDIS…. well other welfare recipients will have to accept sacrifices. As was the case with refugee children in detention… the sleazy bastards are taking hostages… AGAIN!

  6. abbienoiraude

    A wonderful piece thank you, Trish Cory.

    Have been a full time child raiser and if anyone doesn’t think that is ‘work’ has NO idea! I got a little job for a while and realised just how much easier it was to be away from the minutae of small children’s life/needs/wants/requirements/responsibilities and pressure. Also you got praise for ‘earning a living’. It was pathetic that doing something for the Govt so they could draw in money was more ‘worthwhile’ than caring for my own beloveds. What a farce the whole thing is.

    When will human resources be considered ‘worthwhile’?

    Ended up being a full time child raiser AND a carer for my disabled partner! ( As well as my aged father). Now THAT is friggin’ work.
    The three children all became (through our poverty and health worries) amazingly independent and accomplished people.

    And now after all that our daughter has had to flee an abusive relationship with our 2 year old grandson. Moving from a wealthy male who added financial abuse to his list of cruelty ( thus leaving her with no money at all) to come to us ( on DSP/Carers) is sobering and was not done easily….but home is here, with us, no matter our circumstances. She and the little one must be safe, no matter what.

    It is all coming back to me, the full kit and caboodle of raising a caring, intelligent, empathetic and joyful human.

    It is hard bloody work.

    Of course she is looking for employment and failing that will continue her education…but can only do so because we are here. I can’t imagine what it is like for those women who are not welcomed back home or have no one, especially under this Govt.

    BTW the statistics say that the majority of ‘sole mums’ are in their 30’s having had to leave failing, abusive, untenable relationships. It is Conservative propaganda to say they are usually ‘teens’.

    The way that others meddle with impunity in judging others lives without knowing circumstances, and then condemn the innocent children to poverty, difficulty and struggle is immoral. Children of sole parents need that one parent more than ever on several levels! Why continue this archaic and damning attitude perpetuated by religious control freaks?

  7. king1394

    The problems are equally great where there is a large family that breaks up. Death, abandonment, disability, mental illness and even imprisonment can leave a family with changed circumstances, including having only one functional parent. Sole parents may have any number of children, at a range of levels of independence.

    So many questions could be considered by the decision makers who require limited criteria to cover every circumstance. Such as: Should a 14 year old be in charge of maybe another 3 every evening between school end and the parent’s time to get home. What about holiday care? What to do about young teenagers who no longer accept OOSH and holiday care most of which is aimed at under-12s. (Society loves to complain about kids running wild, and not being properly supervised.) Only a few people can get jobs that free them for after school, weekends and school holiday times yet there is little formal childcare that serves these times. What about shift workers – what formal childcare is available?
    For a little while there seemed to be a philosophy that care of children was the primary task and work was to be seen as an optional extra. That families should have a basic level of income to allow all children to have opportunities. Bob Hawke made the claim that no child would live in poverty and was panned for this vision – but having been a sole parent to 5 children in the early 90s, I know that there was a lot more help for sole parent families then. All my children grew up to be quite well educated and are now contributing members of society, and that was substantially because I was able to parent them properly with the Sole Parent Pension to support me till my youngest was 16, and a decent payment for each child.

  8. Nicole

    Thank you!

  9. gordonwa

    Hi Trish, thanks for this timely article. You wrote: “There is a lack of investment from the Abbott Government on Domestic Violence and funding for shelters and other programs for both women and men and an absence of understanding of the need for shelters for men who have experienced domestic violence or intimate partner violence.”

    The only women’s refuge that has directly benefited from Tony Abbott is the Manly Women’s refuge in his electorate. Abbott himself gave $146,000 from the pollie pedal directly to this refuge which does not accept children but seems to be aimed at “professional” women. At some stage Marge Abbott was a patron of this refuge, and may still be so. I’m surprised that the MSM has accepted this unusual donation at face value and have not seen fit to investigate it further. Is it only women of merit and high calibre who are supported by the LNP? Is Abbott only happy to support ‘deserving’ Women’s refuges through charitable donations rather than Government funding?

    I do not begrudge any refuge receiving adequate funding and I and my partner donate to Women’s refuges but it seems unusual that Abbott selected one refuge out of many to donate other people’s charitable funds raised via pollie pedal.

  10. DanDark

    abbienoiraude said “Have been a full time child raiser and if anyone doesn’t think that is ‘work’ has NO idea!”

    I have raised 6 kids mostly single, over 36 years, they have all turned out pretty good considering all things,
    I am sane still….well sort of 🙂 and it is hard work, you are multi tasking 24/7..
    I own a small house, with a small mortgage, I work part time, I pay taxes,
    I am downsizing these days, I only have a 20 and 9 year old at home now…
    My older kids are successful in their careers, I have one at Uni doing bio medical engineering who I financially help from week to week

    But according to Tones and CO what I do and have done for many years of my life is to be demonized and my children too

    Thanks for this article Victoria, it gives people who are voiceless some sort of recognition for the most thankless job a woman will ever do, being a mother…

  11. Damo451

    Great article Trish , as a male single parent i can relate to what you posted.
    I do wonder though ,how you reconcile being a proud ALP member after Gillard screwed 100,000 sole-parents and reduced their welfare payments by between $ 65 – 135 per week on January 1st 2013.
    Shorten and Gillard had 2 attacks on sole-parents who were grandfathered under Howard , the first throwing us onto Newstart when the youngest child turned 12 ( legfislation was passed ) and brought forward to 8 a year later ( legislation was passed.
    Oh and dont forget Gillard and co completely ignoring the calls for a raise in the Newstart allowance.
    The ALP are almost as big a bastards as the LNP ,they are just more sly and cunning about it.
    Please don’t insult those of us sole -parents who struggle with all of the above on a daily basis by ignoring what the pondscum ,that is the Labor party ,did to us as well.
    The lesser of 2 evils is nonetheless evil !!

  12. DanDark

    oops sorry Trish I had the wrong name in my last comment…Thanks again for great article 🙂
    Damo451 has made some good points, but we need too look to the future and not harp on about the past, it wont help us..

  13. Keitha Granville

    There has never been proper recognition of the value of being a parent – either mother or father, it doesn’t matter – it’s all about getting back into the workforce. Why isn’t being a parent being “in the workforce “?
    It should be possible for any parent, single or partnered, to make the choice to stay at home with the children. There is so much focus on childcare and workplace child friendliness – what about moving this focus back onto letting mums (or dads, I’m not being sexist) be a stay at home parent. Yes, there is a need to tailor lifestyle and expectations to fit with a smaller income, as long as it’s adequate. Income splitting for tax purposes would be a good start for couples, improved parenting payments would help everyone, singles and couples.
    Child rearing is the most important “job” anyone can ever do. It’s about time it was recognised as such. It shoudn’t be a cash cow – a way to get out of ever working, a free ride on the taxpayer for life – but it ought to be possible to manage children and a job, or not , as you choose. With all those stay at home parents doing all the volunteering jobs so desperately needed in the community, (which should be recognised and counted as valuable work) there’d be a heap more paid work for young unemployeds, more tax being paid and therfore more available to help those staying at home to raise the children of the future. What goes around comes around.

  14. Trish Corry

    Hi Damo. Yes, I am a proud member of Labor. However, that does not mean I agree with absolutely everything 100%. It doesn’t mean that I am surprised and confused how somethings have been adopted in the previous Govt. I certainly did not agree with everything Keating did either. It also doesn’t mean I can’t use my voice to try to enact change. On the contrary, being a member means I can use my voice. If you note in my blog, I don’t give love to either party for what has occurred since 2005 with the changes. I also encourage everyone to write to the Government, ALP and Greens to advocate for these changes to have mutual obligation removed. Prior to having a blog, I was quite vocal in comments around the traps with much the same arguments, particularly forced removal of the choice to care for the child. This is my particular bug bear that really gets me wild. A comment was made on my own blog polyfeministix, that it is important to place the child at the centre of the policy debate, and then we may get somewhere. My letters will be pushing that point. With the election more than halfway here, and the ALP having lost power, it is more important than ever for people to push the changes they want to see the new ALP Government bring.

  15. Trish Corry

    No worries Dan. Yes, unity or bust. We need to get rid of the LNP!

  16. Trish Corry

    Hi Gordon. That is interesting info. Thanks for that.

  17. Trish Corry

    I have very strong concerns for children at risk at home as outside school hours care does not accommodate for children after 12 years of age. This needs to change and fast. People talk about kids ‘running wild’ but my main concern is break-ins and kids being alone in the home. They are vulnerable.

  18. Damo451

    DanDark ,its not the past to me.
    My family is still suffering the consequences of those decisions today.
    My child came to live with me as a toddler straight out of hospital while in his mothers care.
    After 9 years of 2 seperate ,concurrent long and drawn out court cases ,in 2 seperate jurisdictions ,trying to maintain that custody and then get on with the job of raising my child .Gillard and co hit me with that.
    So instead of being able to focus on a young kid who still had plenty of issues to deal with ,for finacial reasons when court was finally over , it was straight into the workforce again without a minute to catch my breath.
    Given that Shitbag is the head of the ALP now ,i find it an even more loathsome party than before.
    To top it off , i see that red-headed git poncing about overseas ,now bludging of my hard earned taxes ,harping ,fuming more bloody like it !!

  19. Lee

    “BTW the statistics say that the majority of ‘sole mums’ are in their 30’s having had to leave failing, abusive, untenable relationships.”

    The Minister for Women and fine, upstanding Christian wants to bring back fault-based divorce. Because in the middle of this stress every single parent needs a drawn out, antagonistic, muck raking court case to get rid of the spouse.

  20. Trish Corry

    Hear Hear Keitha – A lot of really valuable points there indeed.

  21. Damo451

    Sorry Trish ,but as long as my backside points to the ground ,i will never vote Labor again ,i am even more committed to that with Shorten at the helm ,or even the stench of him in the party.
    As long as the Greens are the only party of conscience and morals they will continue to get my vote.
    That or a good independant.

  22. Trish Corry

    Thanks Lee. I will certainly be looking into that one.

  23. Trish Corry

    That is your prerogative. We need to vote for those we feel represent us and the community best. I think people should vote for who they please but I love it when they do it with conviction. I loathe apathy. The Greens do represent this area well and Rachel Siewert does a lot of great work in welfare.

  24. Kaye Lee

    ” Often, they would write a long list of work and study they were doing at the same time, as well as caring for their child or children.

    What this is saying to me, is that young mothers and single others feel the need to ‘reaffirm’ or establish themselves in the eyes of the privileged (those not a single parent) to be deemed worthy or accepted in society.”

    I am a partnered parent and I can say that we too go through similar issues. I think many couples have the argument where one has been at work all day and the other has been looking after babies and housework all day about who is tiredest, who’s job is harder etc. Someone suggested to me I should write down everything I did so my husband would appreciate me. As if I had the time to do that and if he needed a list to appreciate me then it wasn’t worth it.

    My sister-in-law asked me if I felt undervalued by society during my period of at-home mum and I told her I couldn’t give a shit what society thought of me, I was too busy seeing to what had to be done.

    Single parenting is something I haven’t had to face though many friends and family have, but the need to “reaffirm themselves to be deemed worthy” is something all people, single married parent or not, need to realise is unnecessary. Every family copes the best they can with the situation they are in and that is not for anyone else to judge.

  25. Dandark

    Damo said ‘My family is still suffering the consequences of those decisions today’
    So is mine Damo, so is mine…after Julia and Co made those decisions I wrote to her in disgust
    and told her in no uncertain terms the damage this will cause to thousands of single parents and children
    since those decisions by Labor life has been hard I agree
    how the kids and I have survived is unbelievable to me most days
    but it is in the past and I try to focus on the present and future
    and how to survive financially and stay sane for another year with this Toxic Gov….

  26. Anomander

    The neocons, in conjunction with the media have been complicit in framing the message that only those who are working are valid contributors to society. The repeated narrative is all about money – those who make the most money are the most valuable. How they got that money is seemingly irrelevant – it is money that is the prime determinant of value.

    This is because in their view the economy is first and foremost, and all other considerations -humanistic, personal, societal, are secondary to the need to create and accumulate money.

    Contrast this against us ‘lefties’ who believe society and people should come first and the economy is there to serve society. Greater inclusion, education and opportunities feed the economy

    The narrative is a simplistic one that allows our psyche to effectively ‘dehumanise’ the less fortunate – to see them merely as raw numbers, not contributing to the economy but instead acting as a sponge on those making money.

    The only way to overcome the message is to create a compelling alternate narrative – placing people at the forefront. To make everyone see that those on welfare are people too, to tell their stories on a personal level, rather than as a set of statistics.

  27. Garth

    @anomander…the irony though is that progressive policies see both society and the economy thrive. The neocons just can’t see that by focusing on the economy, to the exclusion and expense of all else, you end up stuffing everything. Look at the damage they are doing to the economy (along with people and society) now. They just can’t see it. God knows what further damage they are going to wreak over the next 2 years. It’s like watching a car crash in slow motion but we are stuck in the back seat being taken along for the ride.

  28. Damo451

    All in all Trish ,despite what i have said negatively on your article ,i do appreciate you writing it ,as it draws more attention to the issues.
    I forgot to say , that due to some good luck and hard work ,as of this year any changes should have minimal effect on me and mine.
    However ,i will always vote against a government that attacks the poor and vulnerable and add my voice to others who oppose them.
    Especially as i become more informed here on economic matters and just how uneccessary these attacks are through this site and others.

  29. danDark

    Damo, Julia did some good things, but her attitude towards NewStart and single parents helped bring her down, we had Macklin saying she could live on 30 bucks a day, and was condemned for it, yes as you say, they put single parents on a payment that has not had a raise since the conception of it 20 years ago.
    The last term of school I just couldn’t afford to keep a nine year old and my son going at Uni, it came down to the most needy and I wasn’t going to let 3 years of a uni course that has cost me a lot of money for my son go down the tube..just to get the 9 year old to school every week was 40 bucks in petrol because schools in the bush are limited…
    So the 9 year old stayed home and I home schooled her, soooooo when you talk about her flitting to other side of the world making mega bucks cos she chose not to have children and has all day and all night to look after herself yes it pisses me off, Whether I vote for Labor next election is entirely up to Labor and how they treat the not so wealthy and parents of kids in this country….
    I want out of the country just like Julia has….

  30. DanDark

    Ps.. Because I own my own home, I don’t get housing assistance, I pay land rates, water rates, if something breaks I have to fix it, General up keep of a home, power bills, gas bottles arnt cheap in the sticks, if the neighbour wants a fence replaced it has to be paid for, but I own a home and am proud as a single mother, but if this gov get their way, we are stuffed yep….I don’t receive any maintenance from the kids father, so me and 3 kids surviving on the money I earn, it’s not easy, but hey that’s a life 🙂
    I don’t want a hand out, just a hand up when life gets tough on occasions…

  31. nettythe1st

    I became a single Mum in my 30s after a marriage breakup. The father left the country. Working full time, one of my greatest concerns was stretching 4 weeks annual leave over a year’s worth of school holidays. The child care fees for 2 children were crippling (even with subsidies).
    I have single parent friends on Newstart. They are impoverished.

  32. townsvilleblog

    It matters little what classification we fit if we are on low incomes or pensions the LNP are taking every opportunity at local, state and federal level to remove any assistance to us, while refusing to call on those who are loaded with money to make a fair contribution to our local, state or federal community. Its not a fair go and we should be on the streets protesting, however the MSM, are not keeping us informed and it has fallen to organizations such as AIM to do so, for which I am personally very grateful.

  33. Damo451

    But hang on DanDark ,arent you having multiple kids to multiple fathers with a can of Jim Beam and a ciggie in one hand while using the other to throw around that all that welfare money up in the air and watching it float down into big piles on the floor ?
    I’m shocked .

  34. DanDark

    Oh Damo toooo funny rofl,,, I wish mate I wish, I have never drunk, you can’t raise kids rolling on the floor with a can of Jimmy, and you can’t pay a mortgage with a ciggie hanging out of your gob, soooo bad me,
    I don’t fit into that stereotype, never have 🙂 because it’s a sterotype and I won’t play that game 🙂

  35. stephentardrew


    When actions meet beliefs actions speak louder than words. They can’t hide behind conterfactuals in the hope that they really don’t believe what they actually do. It is a nonsense. They know exactly what they are doing regardless of subjective justifications they are spread naked by the facts. Not a very pleasant metaphor that.

    This is one of the core problems.

    My friends on the other side are, in fact the enemy of the people.

    So much deflection and obfuscation when real harm is being done by a real government of real people who are responsible for their actions.

    They do believe in what they are doing otherwise they wold not do it.

    Tolerance is a double edged sword and I know which edge conservatives willingly use.

    They are responsible for their actions and you cannot glibly turn them into people who just do it for the votes.

    What sort of twisted reasoning is that?

  36. mars08


    “…They are responsible for their actions and you cannot glibly turn them into people who just do it for the votes…”

    Of course they are responsible for their actions and I have no doubt that they believe what they DO.

    But I think that the stated (or implied) reasons for their actions aren’t necessarily their real motivations. These politicians produce a simplistic narrative of good and bad…. and then offer their policies and actions as serving the side of good. The reason they create the narrative is entirely self-serving. They have an agenda, and they must manufacture consent in the electorate. It doesn’t matter to them if their morality tale is based on facts… all that matters is that they grab (and hold) the voters while they progress their agenda.

    I don’t want to “glibly turn them into people who just do it for the votes”… They are unprincipled and uncaring. And they are cynically doing what it takes to keep themselves in power so they can pursue their goals.

  37. stephentardrew


    Yep that is the problem in a nutshell.

    “They believe what they do” no matter how illogical and paradoxical just be consistently bad.

  38. Damo451

    Thanks for that DanDark.
    I hope admin wont mind me lowering the Tone ( pardon the pun ) a bit just to test the LNP media monitoring waters.

    Tony Abbott ,you are the sort of lying sack of shit that i wipe off my shoes after stepping in. you have no balls and box like a girl with a fairy wand.
    Christopher Pyne ,when are you going to come out of the closet and attend your first Sydney Mardi Gras you nasty little grub.
    Scott Moraless ,you are also something to be wiped of my shoe after i stepped in it, rotten little coward who can only intimidate the weak and the vulnerable.
    Joe Hockey ,a nasty lying dumbass fool who cant understand simple maths or use a calculator. This fool has a photo of himself under the word ‘ bumbling ‘ in the dictionary.
    Now all you grubs from the LNP govt ,but in particular the above mentioned ,get of our welfare system and get out and get a bloody job ,you incompetent pack of nasty ,lazy ,parasite ,bludgers. And i want to see 40 fkn applications a fortnight , and NOT signed by your mates !!
    Oh and stop that long held Tory tradition of crossdressing ,yes you know i’m talking to you Christopher .
    Monitor that you scabs.
    Yours sincerely

  39. nettythe1st

    Here here1

  40. Pam Livingston

    What a great read.

    I was in a dv relationship for several years. Forced back into the work force, I paid my mother in law a considerable amount of money to care for my children during the week. When I finally had the courage to leave her abusive son, she filed for custody of my children, claiming she’d been their primary carer so they were more attached to her than me. Of these children, the two eldest were from my first marriage where we tragically lost their dad. She got custody of them too, claiming all four children should be kept together. Six months later, she kicked those children out of her home and has had no contact with them since. 12 months since this started, I’m still fighting to get my kids back. Funny thing is, the father doesn’t want them at all! Just his mother. I am a single mother. Currently not working. Fighting the battle of my life for the sake of my children. Don’t tar all single parents with the same brush. I would give anything to be able to gain employment and have my employ be ok with me taking two days of a month to attend court! But the real world doesn’t work like that!

  41. Faerielights

    I am always pleased to see positive articles on single parenting, especially those regarding single motherhood. I myself am a single mother to my beautiful now 14 year old son who I have raised on my own since he was 2. Additionally i am a narcoleptic a condition that severely limits my ability to find paid employment despite 2 degrees and and honours degree. And while your article has highlighted a large number of obstacles faced by single parents I would love to see you address an additional one or two (if you don’t mind the input). One aspect of single parenting that is often overlooked by society and ignored by governments is the contribution to the nation’s GDP that arises from unpaid care work, and though not the exclusive domain of single parents we certainly carry our share through not only doing our very best to raise healthy, balanced and loved children who will be an assets to our future society but also by our contributions (which in light of mutual obligation are now diminishing contributions) to the community and society in which we raise our children. It was once in part our contributions of both time and product that saw a school canteen always have available volunteers, a school fund raiser that stocked in part from the goods we baked and donated etc…..we as single parents (for the most part) have always carried more than our load in light of the rhetoric surrounding the importance of raising children. I would also bring to point the billions of dollars that is owed in child support in this country, where is the outrage surrounding that issue and not only the outrage but the unfairness that sees the family tax benefit payment based on the amount of child support a parent should receive, NOT what actually is received. We as single parents do not live the ‘high life’ on child support it helps pay the rent, provide food, school uniforms and so on. And, although there are far more points I would like to touch on I will leave off with rebutting the popular paradigm that single mothers deliberately have children for welfare. Well, I was 32 when I had my son and I then took another 2 years to realise what a moron I had married and decided that my son would be better served in a single parent household rather than growing up thinking that the relationship between his father and myself was an indicator of what constituted a “healthy” relationship. Nor did I realise that pregnancy and child birth would result in an accelerated decline in the narcolepsy that has now resulted in me being no longer able to drive a car or stay awake for any longer than 3 hours at a time…….oh yeah, this is the easy ride…..but, I would do it all again for my boy.

  42. Maria

    Thank you for this article, I am a single parent, my kids are turning 8 very soon, so I am going to suffer, no more support for my kids and me, I am not young anymore 50plus I have a health problem, no one to help me here.

  43. JW

    Single mum here, with two kids. Raising them on my own away from family so as to get a job and an education. What I find difficult is that the government will give support for single parents to do a TAFE course, but not a university degree. Keeping us in our place of society. I would just love the opportunity that others have where they don’t need to work on top of their degree to support their family.

  44. JW

    As a single parent, I am just finishing off a PhD. It isn’t just the fact that I have had to work twice as hard as anyone else or be ten times better than every other student, just to pass. It is the disgusting discrimination that I have experienced whilst doing this PhD. It is even more noticable now that I am coming to the end. It is in my face, every time I meet someone. I am bound by the government laws for employment so I regularly see people at Centrelink where I’m told that I’m clearly smarter than everyone else so I don’t need their help, but I still need to fulfil their criteria. Then I go to the university where I am treated as less because I’m the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder. Back to employment services (yep, obviously the top of the socioeconomic ladder)…uni (hmmm…gutter trash).
    If you are doing a PhD, you aren’t entitled to Austudy. I was lucky enough to have a scholarship which was for one person (not a family). I also had a top up scholarship which also wasn’t enough for my family. So I had to work. By working, the institute that I did my PhD at claimed I was too privileged and wasnt entitled to a top up scholarship. So working was even MORE important! The institute claimed that I was lucky because I got to work 18hrs per week on top of a phd and family. It absolutely disgusts me. All of it. Taking money from people who already don’t have enough to support their family. Expecting them to be so much better than Joe Bloggs the average student. I have limited patience for these people now. And far less respect for people who are graduating. They are nothing compared to what a single parent must do to just be normal.

  45. Trish Corry

    I hear every word you are saying. I’m married with 4 children and working and I threw my PhD in about 2 years ago. I simply could not do everything I had to do as a wife and a mother and work in a senior management role. I had no support at home and none at work and as a distance student, barely none from my Uni. I was also working 2 jobs Senior Manager in Community Sector, then Public sector and lecturing part time. In addition I had a blind father to care for part time and then mum got COPD and was on oxygen 24 hours with neither lung functional. I also lost both parents in this time. I was in a word – exhausted.

    I intend to complete my PhD as I truly do believe it will be a valuable contribution to theory, policy and practice and I aim to commence again in mid 2016. My PhD in a nutshell is a qualitative study to seek to understand how disabled and disadvantaged workers and jobseekers navigate between home, work and learning. I seek to understand the emotional affect experienced by individuals as they navigate between the three spheres; in particular accumulative negative affect.

    Congratulations on your efforts. If you can stick with it, stick with it! I hear you loud and clear! Changes certainly need to be made to assist women in particular complete the highest level of university. I had completed my data collection and was analysing. So close, but yet so far away. Please keep me updated for when you finish and I will raise a glass or two in your honour. Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m very glad you did. It is a topic very close to my heart.

  46. JW

    I am a single mother who had the best scholarship in Australia. A brilliant publication record. Yet I will struggle to get a job, graduate and publish because of the discriminatory actions of others, discriminatory policies in research institutes and the university. I was given the least opportunities for professional development relative to others, yet I was the most experienced in the lab. The ownership of intellectual property is no longer a student’s if they work in the same lab as the PhD project. The lab head abused this and claimed he owned everything I did. So I wasn’t even given the rights of other students because of my family financial committments. And women on maternity leave also tried to abuse this.
    This is just the top of the rubbish that a single parent deals with when people at work know of your family situation. When the resources aren’t there to give people a “fair go”.

  47. Florence nee Fedup

    A little off topic but Hockey’s comment about housing affordability yesterday sums up the logic of this government and their actions,.

    They really do have no idea of how this society operates and how the majority lives.

    Hockey’s lecture to those who want to buy their own home, starts off with getting a good paying job, then get a bank loan.

    Is that what he really believes, That we choose not to all have high paying jobs. Seems so.

    They take the same mentality into how they deal with the less well off, including single parents. I suspect they believe it is the parents fault they are single. That all they need to do is get new partner, all will be well.

    The clowns are not to be found at the bottom, but at the top I am afraid.

  48. Lee

    “Is that what he really believes, That we choose not to all have high paying jobs. Seems so.”

    I am stunned that people actually vote for idiots like Joe Hockey, and that someone actually chooses to be married to him and have his idiot DNA passed on to her own children.

  49. darrel nay

    I wonder if Hockey is an idiot or rather, is he just another corrupt voice from Canberra?


  50. Florence nee Fedup

    Why not both?

  51. noel

    Well you did ask whats the opinion of a single father ..yes” all those bullet points “and its women who judge the other parent caring nothing for the fact the children are safe and well .. My children girls are prolific and talented dancers I take them for 6 years now soon they turn 10 and 11 as always the mums accept the rules file past me with pride as they go to care and encourage their own children before the dance concert . At that moment that twice a year my pride and joy is blunted with a heavy heart I am omitted left outside barred because of my gender all the while knowing my children feel left out and lonely too with no one to assist them in preparation dress and encouragement as all the others are .. if i do say I have cared for them for 7 years solo its met with gender derision . Happily after the event the mums file past me again as i wait like a stranger and ask where are my children are from the outside . Breaks my heart hurts my daughters too its a very undescent thing to not consider I am no different to the other mothers..I adore my daughters .

  52. Lorel Webber

    Too many errors In the article. Please hire some of us sub par human beings(single mums) to proof read 4 you…?

  53. Michael Taylor

    Lorel, I’m sure that for every error you seem to have found there are a hundred good points. Did you notice them?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: