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Only the rich and privileged deserve empathy

It almost feels like there is a deliberate strategy to firmly let the hoi polloi know that the privileged run to a different set of rules.

Our advertiser in chief has dismissed calls for an increase in Newstart as “unfunded empathy”. This is wrong on so many levels.

We seem able to fund our empathy for wealthy retirees to the tune of $6 billion a year (and growing) through excess franking credit refunds.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

Can ProMo ever really understand what it feels like to be unable to feed your child?

When he fiercely protects property tax concessions, can he understand what it feels like to be unable to afford rent let alone enjoy the benefits of a property portfolio?

Sure, getting someone a job would be preferable, but how do people even look for work when they don’t have a home?

Increasing Newstart isn’t some sort of “feel sorry for you” gift. It is an investment in assisting people to be able to look for work. It is an investment in the children. It would provide a stimulus as every cent that is invested will be spent back into the economy which might actually go some way towards creating new jobs.

Welfare recipients are painted as liars and cheats with the Robodebt debacle. Your hard-earned money is funding their indolent lifestyle, says HaveaGoMo. They are wasting it all on booze and drugs so we will quarantine their income on cashless welfare cards and do random drug tests which, if they fail, will see them lose their benefits.

Unlike politicians for whom we must have great empathy when they suffer addiction issues or have a battle with the bottle due to family breakdowns caused by their own rooting around. Who can forget the pictures of Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce pissed as farts whilst voting on how to run the nation.

Not only is drinking endemic amongst our parliamentarians, we pay for them to quaff the finest wines, not only at their endless lavish dinners but whilst they are actually at work. And we provide drivers for them because, as Barnaby pointed out in defence of Bronwyn Bishop’s use of limousines to attend the theatre and opera, they are often “obliged” to drink and we surely don’t want them going DUI.

When politicians rort expenses, we are told it’s all within entitlements. When they gift jobs to their mates, it’s all ok because Labor does it too.

In response to allegations that Angus Taylor has tried to use his position to influence decisions from which he would personally benefit, and that he failed to disclose his financial interest, he argues that any attempt to force the disclosure of “minority, non-controlling interests held at three levels down in a family company structure” would be a major change to the current practice which he insists he has diligently adhered to.

It’s the Stuart Robert defence. Make your elderly parents (or your brother) the directors of your company and continue to receive government contracts and grants.

Continually, we see different rules applied for individuals.

Union fraudsters Michael Williamson and Kathy Jackson are allowed to transfer their assets to their partners and then declare themselves bankrupt to avoid repaying the money they stole.

Williamson divorced his wife so the assets she received in the settlement were quarantined. After his release from jail in March, he is back living with his ex-wife in a waterfront house bought and renovated using stolen union funds.

Kathy Jackson has avoided her court case by arguing that she should be given legal aid and her partner’s assets, which now include Kathy’s house, should not be considered. He, of course, is far too broke to help pay for her defence, having only been paid an annual salary of $435,000 including whilst he was on extended sick leave to help Kathy with her case – help he can apparently no longer offer now that he is unemployed.

Yet John Setka has been portrayed as the worst example of a union thug and mercilessly pursued. Whilst he has made mistakes, they have not been for personal gain. He has fought to protect the safety and rights of construction workers.

When we come to corporate malfeasance, such as that from Clive Palmer and George Calombaris or 7/11 and Woolworths, promises to repay the stolen money are accepted. It was a mistake. Or it’s not my responsibility. A few bank executives resign. No problemo. Pay a little fine and promise not to do it again.

Crown casinos can fast-track special visas for rich people to come and gamble (or launder their ill-gotten gains). Refugees fleeing war and persecution, don’t even try it.

And all the while, we hoi polloi look on at a world that we will never be part of – a world where deals are done and circumventing the rules is considered smart rather than an offence, a world where the accumulation and protection of personal wealth is the most important thing – the world of I’m alright Jack and bugger the rest of you.

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  1. New England Cocky

    The union, united, will never be defeated!

    Why does the ALP fail to broadcast these examples of corruption by bosses and their lackies?

  2. Aortic

    Well said again Kaye, love your work. It has taken me some time to reply as I have been traumatised and almost in tears at the thought of Barnaby Joyce having to struggle by on 211 thousand odd dollars per year. Forget the people on Newstart, who according to the PM whose best way out of their proclaimed poverty is to get a job, poor Barnaby whose weekly income only starts with 4, battles away trying as he says to provide for his dual families. One would hope the PM would do the right thing and restore him to at least the front bench with a commensurate increase in salary. Failing this perhaps advocate a blind eye to an increase in ” expenses” to assist the poor soul in his traumatic circumstance. If all else fails a crowdfunding exercise could help the poor fella out. At the extreme end of the spectrum, move the whole Parliament to Tamworth, thus saving him time and money. As you may have gathered I am incensed at this outrage.

  3. Kaye Lee

    Aortic, I know how you feel. I remember this story too…..

    “Key Liberal fundraisers sounded out major donors to the party about chipping in to buy a house for Senator Arthur Sinodinos after the collapse of a potentially lucrative money-making venture.”

    Poor Arthur.

    I often look at quotes when I am angry or despairing and Mahatma Gandhi is a favoured source

    “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

  4. Baby Jewels

    This is pretty much what I posted on Scomo’s Facebook page this morning.

  5. johnyperth

    The Medivac bill is human and so calleds christian thing to do.
    Morrison wants to repel it!!
    Raising Newstart to around $ 70:00 per week is the human and so called christen to do!
    But Morrison is trying to stop it!!
    But Morrison tells us that he’s a christian!?
    It looks like Morrison doesn’t preach the so called christian theory!?
    This tells me so called christianity is nothing but an invisible rubber mask where people like to hide behind!
    $3 Billion to pay for this rise for Newstart and, we are told that the economy is going “very good!”
    If the economy is “going so good,” then $ 3 Billion is nothing!?
    Or, once again as we all know the economy is in worse shape since Abbott was elected!!??
    If Morrison doesn’t live up the christian way of life, and, raise the Newstart by $ 75:00 per week then where does this put other christians!?
    I’m an atheist, but, I have more values than Morrison has even though he’s a so called christian!!
    So, where do’s christianity fit in with this!?
    I would like to know!!

  6. Kaye Lee

    Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

  7. Winifred Jeavons

    It seems that there are 2 christianities. The one that believers died for as they believed it to be a nobler way. The same one that goes to great lengths to help the needy and oppressed, who rescue orphans and rehabilitate drunks and murderers ( yes I have seen this ). Then there is the sanitised. , very proper official version that reminds that ” the poor are always with us . ” ( said 2000 years ago before state welfare was not more than bread and circuses ) and tbat we should obey the government of the land ( when the alternative to a brutal dictator tended to be a painful slow death on a large piece of timber ). The official version was once the national default so when others walked away the conservatives stayed and voted for any pious hypocrite who ostentatiously flaunted their piety

  8. PeterF

    don’t forget that we did have the opportunity to elect a Government which had some idea of the problem, but $60M of advertising altered all of that. As Joh might have said: “The chooks did not understand’.

  9. Florence Howarth

    Funded empathy is easy for some to find for our betters. Somehow they are more worthy, hardworking, having a go than us. If only more of us shared their aspirations, the world would be perfect in their eyes.

  10. andy56

    Scott Morrison is not a christian. I repeat, Scott Morrison is not a christian. He is a liar. We have been hoodwinked. If the organised religions wont call him out, a plague on them too. Its time religion started to live up to its name and call out such nasty policies as UNCHRISTIAN. unfunded empathy, my arse. This is pure blind ideology with absolutely NO EMPATHY. what do we call people with no empathy? NARCISSISTS

  11. wam

    loved the first sentence? Why would a liberal say she could live on newstart? Is she empathising with the newstart image of a slow 21 year old boy(girls married by then) living with mummy and daddy. All food and board plus access to the family shopping vehicle, leaving the allowance as pocket money? Everyone knows a dole bludger with that pedigree.

    Setka will be used to attack unions and elected officials. The exact opposite of Angus Taylor, another elected official who resigned in 2018, to support dutton, and now should be investigated over grants of millions of dollars,. is vigorously protected.

    Some of the rabbottians actually have often shared posts that show empathy with Setka???
    A man killed himself after being ordered to make family support payments that amounted to twice his income, a death some are blaming on a family-court bias against men.​ This refers to a Canadian incident by anything will do:
    This was a poll taken after an ex-serviceman protested on the bridge and stopped traffic.
    “By the end of Saturday, May 14th, about 32,000 people had voted on the poll with 2 out of 3 people saying the father’s extreme protest was justified.”

    The government who sets the artificial intelligence dogs onto humans and accepts the collateral damage can only exist because the voters do not have any empathy with those not visibly suffering and do not see those that suffer. Sympathy is not in the vocabulary.So who gives a rast’s arse about empathy????

    The rich and privileged deserve condemnation but get envy, deserve condemnation but get respect, deserve investigation but get absolution.

  12. Michael Taylor

    Loved the first sentence

    Me too, wam.

    One thing I’ll say about Kaye is that her first and last sentences pack a real punch.

    The rest aren’t too bad, either.

  13. Barry Thompson.

    Well said Kaye Lee.

  14. Mama

    I was divorced abusively overseas. We are all Australian but were temporarily overseas for a petrol company expat position of my ex’s. Australia doesn’t like to step on the feet of other jurisdictions – whether the decisions were fair or not. I got no assets. I got no maintenance payments. I’m told reopening the case of asset division in Australia would get me at least 50% but it would likely cost close to a million and require a barrister to convince the courts to even reopen a finished case from another jurisdiction. I’m feeding myself, my child and the family dog on $300 per week. I do not drink at all. I don’t do drugs. I don’t smoke. Whatever else they don’t want me to do (eat avocado), I will happily do if they can just double the payment. I’ll take grocery stamps. I’ll take rent stamps. What I can’t do is give my child a decent chance on this amount.

  15. Kaye Lee

    “The federal government has resurrected the “dole bludger” stereotype as it pushes back against a growing chorus of calls to increase the Newstart unemployment benefit.

    Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has released figures showing a majority have had payments suspended because the recipients missed appointments.

    Nearly four in five of 744,884 Jobactive participants had payments suspended at least once in the 12 months to the end of June.
    Payments can be suspended if people miss or turn up late to appointments with their service provider, or behave badly during the meeting.

    One in 12 job-seekers racked up 10 or more suspensions in the year, and one person had payments suspended 52 times.
    Senator Cash said the figures showed the penalty and demerit system was working as intended”

    I have no words….

  16. Paul Davis

    “Nearly four in five of 744,884 Jobactive participants had payments suspended at least once in the 12 months to the end of June.”

    The commercial TV breakfast shows were trumpeting that 78% of Newstarvers were suspended for lack of jobsearching. The words dole bludger were either spoken by the wellfed talking heads or on bottom screen banners.

    Wow. I couldn’t believe this figure until her shrillness Michaela Screech quoted official figures….. now a minister wouldn’t fib would she….

    Why i am stunned is because for the last 20yrs of my working life from 1992 to 2014 retiring at 67, i worked as an employment consultant in every outsourced work return program from JobStart, ESRA, LEAP, Job Network, DEN, DES, etc, i did every role in that time from consultant, job placer, employer marketer, jobsearch trainer, post placement supporter, site manager, program manager, regional manager, etc etc. I worked for NFPs including charity and community businesses and private companies. In 20 years, i lodged maybe five breach notices which meant a jobseeker had to be reengaged by Centrelink to restart their benefit. OK what i am saying is that we really tried hard to help our customers into sustainable jobs. We spent money on accredited courses, licences, tickets, work clothes, fares, fuel cards, and we had genuine success and grateful customers. I know a lot of people currently working in the present arrangements and am not really surprised how the emphasis has changed to rigid compliance. Providers registered as RTOs enrolling jobseekers into non certified and other courses to keep as much money inhouse….. yep good business model. When i retired, the company was more interested in serial en masse Work For the Dole placements due to the combination of quick cashflow and punitive handling of not so willing participants.

    Job Network between 1998 and 2005 was a provider free for all with numerous businesses and individuals reaping enormous ‘profits’ for doing very little. I resigned in disgust from one organisation which was audited and asked to repay $9m though they ended up repaying around 4m but lost most of their outlets in some states…

  17. Anarchy rules

    ” unfunded empathy ” it seems the budget and the economy are now doing so badly that empathy is a luxury we can no longer afford . With a Tory party in power which is heavily weighted down with self professed Christians it seems they have missed the message of the new testament completely.

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