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Not a fair go for all Australians

By Bob Rafto

If Labor was fair dinkum about a fair go for all, they would have announced policy for an increase in Newstart, and an increase in benefits for single mums. By not doing so, Labor indicates that it has neo-con tendencies of putting the boot into the less fortunate.

Unions and government do their best to look after workers but when it comes to the ‘unemployed’ worker, government continually puts the boot in and in a condescending way that they are belittled in the community to the extent that the community is apathetic to the unemployed workers given benefits below the poverty line.

Perhaps if the government increased Newstart, amazing things might happen like a boost to the economy, perhaps leading to more jobs being created.

One would think most of the unemployed would be a natural Labor base, so why is Labor giving them the finger? And that’s almost 1 million unemployed. Is Labor so cocky about the upcoming election it can afford to lose 1 million votes?

What if the LNP announces a substantial increase to Newstart? That would allow them to crow about how nice they are to the unemployed and that Labor cannot be trusted to give a fair go to all Australians.

Would the 1 million unemployed vote for the LNP? My guess is yes. Would it be enough to swing an election? That I don’t know.

Mum is a very endearing word: single mum gets translated as welfare trash. A mum is a mum single or not, both bear the same responsibilities of motherhood, yet the Gillard government saw fit to cut single mums benefits and the few single mums that I met online told me outright that they weren’t voting for Labor. Along with the unemployed workers, Labor is not giving single mums a fair go it is giving them the finger.

Labor is not Labor until it gives the unfortunate a ‘fair go’.

Labor is not Labor until legislation is enacted that prevents multinationals for using foreign loans and intellectual property as tax deductions and to start taxing companies for profits made in Australia.

The multiple billions in tax evasions every year is one reason for all the inequality, once this is reined in there would be more money for health, education and for the less fortunate in our society.

Time Labor became Labor.


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  1. RomeoCharlie29

    Couldn’t agree more. There is so much that is un-Labor about the Shorten Opposition. But then, how could you vote for the mob of stupids running the place now? And I think that’s what Laboris counting on.

  2. Terence Mills

    Let’s not forget that the LNP are going to announce a budget weeks before a federal election and we know that they have billions in expenditure that will be announced to try and secure their re-election in May.

    In total, Morrison’s election war chest will commit expenditure of some $10.3bn over the next four years representing the biggest pre-election splurge in 15 years, two and a half times larger than the desperate Howard government’s surprise cash splash on pensioners and retirees during the 2007 election campaign.

    All of this will diminish forward revenues and will seek to wedge Labor as the handouts will largely be tax cuts which Labor cannot easily reject if they want to gain office.

    It is a typical coalition ploy prior to an election and makes it very difficult for Labor to announce increases in Newstart etc without being having their expenditure labelled as that of “drunken sailors”.

    Mr Rafto, the next few months is going to be an exercise in dirty and devious political gameplay as the coalition try to wedge Labor and retain office.

    It won’t be pretty !

  3. Shaun Newman

    Bob one level I agree 100% but on another level, you must think ahead. If Labor announced that it would double the Newstart allowance the first thing the tories would say is “where is the money coming from” and in that case Labor would be on the back foot and fall for the tories trap. They said that they would increase it for a reason, they obviously have a plan in mind. I hope they are also looking to increase the pension as well because along with Newstart recipients most of us are living below the poverty line as 3.05 million Aussies are currently.

  4. Keitha Granville

    Exactly right Shaun, they are on a hiding to nothing until the government releases a budget just before an election, THEN Labor can start to make commitments.
    And do you really want to trash Labor at this point and risk another term of LNP ??? We won’t survive, unemployed and single mums certainly won’t. Not to mention the planet.

    Suck it up, get them in and THEN start asking for commitments to those less fortunate.

  5. Baby Jewels

    To be honest, I don’t like the Labor party as it currently stands. Siding with the LNP on some horrific leglslation and no offer of an increase in Newstart, just some of the reasons. If they intend changing things after the election, fair enough and I understand their reasoning to a point. But I’d far rather they were an honest party for the people and bit the bullet as far as the Liberals’ infamous wedging is concerned. Be honest from the start and make it clear the reasoning behind every policy. Are they still a party for the worker, are they still a progressive party as opposed to a regressive party like the Liberals? I really don’t know. Bill doesn’t fill me with confidence and I sincerely hope Labor regains my confidence after the election.

  6. Andrew Smith

    Agree with commenters (plus need for increase along with social housing) and when John Howard suggests an increase in NewStart be careful that it maybe to lead Labor into an electoral wedge, that may not be popular (privately) amongst many older voters.

    Why? Australia’s electorate, like elsewhere, and especially in regions, is ageing significantly in comparison with general population and urban electorates, which according to research produces more Conservative voters (while lacking diversity of lower median age vote)

    While the median age of the population is late 30s, the electoral median is now about 50, and increasing quickly due to increased longevity, leading to a potential gerontocracy, like elsewhere e.g. Trump’s US, Brexit UK, Orban’s Hungary, Erdogan’s Turkey etc.

    An old SMH article presents some of these issues well

  7. David Stakes

    Labor know if they are too radical, the LNP and Murdochracy will unleash the mother of all fear campaigns. So at present keeping the powder dry, Until in control of the ship.

  8. Andreas Bimba

    As Australia consistantly has a current account deficit and the wealthy siphon off an ever larger share of national wealth which they mostly save, the quantity of money available to circulate around the economy, which drives consumption and sales, is being continuously depleted. Add to this Australia’s significant population growth means that our federal government MUST INJECT MORE MONEY INTO THE ECONOMY through deficit spending otherwise our already high unemployment, underemployment and inappropriate employment levels will increase further.

    Reducing tax concessions and tax evasion and increasing taxes on the wealthy will also help and the ALP lead the LNP in this area.

    The LNP and ALP are crazy to outbid each other to produce the largest federal government surplus. Chris Bowen for example promises larger surpluses than the LNP.

    Australia’s federal deficit should instead be increased until unemployment is less than 2% (only those moving between jobs) while also keeping ongoing inflation below about 2%. This was government policy more or less in the postwar period up to the early 1970’s – when neoliberalism began to take hold, and was implemented by both Labor and Conservative governments.

    A federally funded and locally administered Job Guarantee Program is the ideal way to counter cyclically implement optimal fiscal policy that maintains full employment levels. If demand for workers by the private sector declines then the unemployed can then find adequately paid appropriate work and training in the JG and conversely if demand for workers increases then they can leave the JG for higher paid work in the private sector. The JG sets a minimum wage and working condition floor that is well above current minimums so exploitative employers will be forced to improve conditions or become insolvent.

    Even the business sector overall gains from such an arrangement through increased sales which becomes more important for them as opportunities for the current wealth producing scams such as real estate and share market speculation, privatisations, deregulation, tax evasion, generous tax concessions (eg. negative gearing, super contributions, capital gains), consumer exploitation (eg. Banks), crony capitalism through favorable legislation (eg. Govt. bailout of banks or gifting of natural resources to mining companies) and so on, reach their limits.

  9. Shaun Newman

    Andrea, not necessarily so, if corporations who avoid paying tax were forced to pay even 17.5% instead of zero the Treasury would have plenty of money to update our aging infrastructure which would create jobs a plenty, which in turn would create even more revenue for the federal Trreasury.

    It angers me to hear politicians say that immigrants should be sent to the regions because our infrastructure in the regions often dates back to WW2 or the great depression in some cases, metropolitan capitals get far more spent on infrastructure than regional areas because they have more voters.

    We need the corporations, most of whom are foreign, to pay their fair share of income tax one way or the other. Workers don’t get a choice and neither should corporations.

  10. Andreas Bimba

    Shaun, all well and good but taxation and increased government spending measures alone cannot produce full employment. We do need ongoing larger federal government deficits as well. If our record levels of personal debt were to be reduced this will also act to suppress consumption and sales further increasing the need for larger federal deficits.

  11. Mark cresswell

    Rob, the alp aren’t in government. Your criticisms are unwarranted and make you look like an lnp stooge

  12. David Bruce

    I would like to see all political parties treated as sporting clubs and registered as Lobby Groups. Add salary caps and performance pay to the mix, and the Australian community may get better value for money.

    Federal politicians would get a retainer income from taxpayer funds, equivalent to Newstart and not means tested. The balance of their salaries. perks and allowances would be funded by their owners/sponsors/fans.

    There is so much more detail for this proposal and I am surprised the Europeans haven’t tried it already! Can you imagine the transfer fees, for example?

  13. Yvonne Robertson

    This is a ‘Greens’ kind of article in that it tries to cut off its nose to spite its own face. It is critical to a fault about the best option currently on the table as a future government. Remember when the Greens refused to support the Rudd government’s comprehensive emissions trading scheme because they didn’t like the direction? And look where we are now as a result! Whatever you think about Labor they are this country’s best option for a fair and decent society.

    Let me also remind you that it is much easier to burn a barn than to build it and with the burning which has been done over the last five years, it will take decades to rebuild let alone catch up to where we need to be. I note that anti Labor types are also fond of mentioning the Gillard government’s cut to single parent entitlements which seems to be all they can remember and from what I gather was little more than the fulfillment of a grandfathered legislative requirement enacted during the Howard years.

    Labor may not be as Left leaning as you might want – certainly not what I might want despite what the LNP and the media say about them. Let’s get them into government and allow them to start rebuilding the social compact almost entirely decimated by the vandals from the LNP. To criticise at this point in the debate is to condemn us all to the possibility of a return of good ole Scomo as Abbott’s latest glove puppet and his incompetent band of relentless thieves.

  14. Matters Not

    Mark Cresswell re:

    the alp aren’t in government

    Spot on! But perhaps it might be useful to look back and see what happened when they were in government. Not the then promises. Not the rhetoric. But the outcomes.

    Take educational funding for public schools as an example.

    In 2009, fewer than 1,500 private schools received more public funding per student than a similar public school.

    By 2016, that number was more than 2,100

    Did Labor promise to even up the funding between the public and private sectors? It did! And the result was a massive fail. That any private school receives more funding than a similar public school is a disgrace. But thems the figures. Much more here. If you can stomach it.

    Why should Labor be believed this time around? Particularly when Shorten’s already made promises to the Catholic Sector without reference to the latest data. NO MORE DEALS! Ought to be Labor’s mantra. (But it won’t be – because that’s Bill’s speciality.)

    Why should we accept second best?

  15. Andreas Bimba

    The LNP, especially Abbott and Hockey’s first budget, turned the Australian ship of state sharply to the right. The ALP promise to change the heading of the ship to a little left of where it is now meaning the ship will still be heading to the right.

    For example Abbott cuts future health spending by say $50 billion and Labor promises to increase health spending by say $5 billion. Net cut $45 billion.

    The duopoly is delivering a good cop, bad cop neoliberal policy platform.

  16. Phil

    No such person as a ‘single’ mum. It’s a term laden to the hilt with prejudice, contempt and distaste – I hate the term for its skilful deciet in letting fathers off the hook. This is paternalism at work.

    There is a father for every child born – well, except for the fabled Jesus of Nazareth.

    How typical of tut-tutting Australian society, and especially the conservative minded fraternity, to treat with contempt the mothers whose male ‘partners’ have ‘evaporated’ into the mists – no longer visible to ingrained media and largely conservative prejudice.

    I’ve never read a media story berating the huge number of Australian fathers who have for whatever reasons abandoned responsibility for the human consequences of their lust, their ill discipline, their ignorance, label it whatever you will but stop ignoring THE MEN

  17. bobrafto

    Mark cresswellDecember 28, 2018 at 4:02 pm
    Rob, the alp aren’t in government. Your criticisms are unwarranted and make you look like an lnp stooge.

    That’s a strange perception, perhaps you need to re-read where I stated that a Newstart increase wasn’t announced at their conference.

    What I set to point out that Labor have an exposed flank that takes in 1 million voters which gives the LNP the opportunity to soak up these voters.

    Also I’ll criticize anyone if I feel criticism is warranted.

  18. Phil Gorman

    Well said Phil. It takes two to tango but too often only one pays the price for their pleasure. That might change if all fathers were legally required to make a full contribution to the maintenance of their offspring. This is entirely feasible as paternity is easily established via DNA.

  19. Matters Not


    No such person as a ‘single’ mum

    Strange as it may seem there are some women who want children but they don’t want their chosen sperm donor to hang around. So while the statement above may be true as a generalisation, it’s not true in all instances.

    There’s any number of independent women these days who really value their independence and can afford to live that lifestyle. (if that’s what you call it.)

  20. Alan Nosworthy

    If the LNP was dragged whimpering and whining to pronounce the pre election policy of raising the rate of Newstart payments, or even that it was on an unity ticket with Labor on the need to investigate the possibility of doing so I doubt that 1,000,000 unemployed workers would swoon at their election booths overjoyed with the belief that this would come to pass.
    This is the mob that gave us the mind and soul numbing innefficiency of outsourcing compliance measures for commercial gain. And the cruel and dangerous work for the dole sites along with the remote gulags of C.D.P. , 25 hours a week unpaid for the forseeable future in return for “alittle bit sugar, a little bit tea” purchased on a plastic card credited to the company store.
    Understanding that the purchase of support and the imperative of “what’s in it for me” are central planks of L.N.P. electoral strategy as firmly held as contempt for the less fortunate and the fear of the hoi polloi aspiring to perks seen as the birthright of the “lifters”of fable. A more idealogically correct artificial sweetener that may be proffered is to lift the rental subsidy substantially. This is, in reality, an indirect subsidy to the currently faltering housing investment market.
    This would provide another way of funnelling public funds from the Social Security budget towards the L.N.P.s natural constituency whilst keeping active the pretence of shouldering the burden of care for the less fortunate.
    Yes, I do expect dark acts of bastardry during the next few months. And not only on those few days that our Lords have elected to sit in chamber for.

  21. ChristopherJ

    Thank you Tim, was searching for a bit of sense here.

    Everyone. Taxes do not pay for anything at the federal level. They don’t need to have money to credit newstart recipients or single mums. The mindset that federal programs need to be ‘funded’ is old thinking. The commentariat at Naked Capitalism understand it. Here, only a few.

    The ongoing belittlement of people on welfare in Australia is shameful. As are the tricks like must use MyGov which are designed to get people off centrelink and onto charities.

    Thank you for continuing to draw attention to this important issue.

  22. helvityni

    Yes, Christopher, the term ‘dole-bludger’ is just about the ugliest word for someone who is looking for a job but can’t find one because there are none….

    In many progressive countries everyone get’s a pension, rich or poor; here people are divided into pensioners (BAD), and self-funded retirees (GOOD)….

    The Anglos believe in shaming and punishing….

  23. wam

    I wonder if baby baubles has the trilogy:
    TO BE HONEST’, a three words, so terribly misused in business and the media.?
    Three words, the rabbott destroyed for use by politicians.
    Now ‘honesty’ shows where the media should focus their attacks to show any honest party the way to opposition.

    As for the vote of the unemployed? Considering no liberal party can be elected without the vote of workers. There is ample proof that workers are able to forego their reality for the belief of fear.

    The most vile 4 letter word in political and social discussion is:
    If people on welfare maximise their ‘profit’ they are dole bludgers and must be caught and punished.
    How many times do you hear “next door has a mob of dole bludgers, home all day party all night?
    How many boomers remember the dole living surfers or hippies living ‘well’ on the dole and some cash work? ‘They’ are easy to stir anti feelings???
    They are all targets because the ‘they’ users condone or encourage or expect or exalt rorting by themselves and their groups. They then judge by their standards.
    ‘They’ allows white people to judge Aborigines as an entity, whilst treating themselves as individuals?
    No we are no longer giving ourselves a fair go and ‘fair; has reverted to ‘blond’ is good.

  24. ChristopherJ

    Thank you, helvityni. Best to you and all other thinking persons trying to make sense of all this. I would rather be doing something else, but too much is happening, eh?

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