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An Open Letter to Joe Hockey

Dear Joe Hockey,

Back in 2012, when you said the age of entitlement was over, I was so relieved. I was relieved that highly-paid politicians like Tony Abbott would no longer think it acceptable to charge tax-payers for personal book tours. I was relieved that filthy rich politicians like Malcolm Turnbull, and like yourself, would put an end to ethically-suspect rental schemes, where your tax-payer funded Canberra housing allowance is paid to your spouses for investment properties they have cleverly put in their names. Which you will no doubt benefit from once again when they sell. I was also relieved to hear that this sense of entitlement would also be finished for the families of rich politicians, when the likes of Tony Abbott would say it was not acceptable to accept a secret scholarship for his daughter’s education. Nor a refund on a non-refundable deposit paid on a rented flat without proper due diligence that any other non-entitled member of the public is in no position to demand. Nor lavish trips to the Melbourne Cup to hob-knob with celebrities which even you can no doubt see is not in the public interest and therefore not an entitlement that should be charged to the tax-payer. Because these are the best examples I have ever seen of a sense of entitlement which is so entrenched and seemingly innate that it’s like an incurable disease that seems to have no end. So again, congratulations on declaring an end to it.

And oh how I wish I could leave this letter here. But I can’t. And you know why I can’t. Because I am mistaken. I am not mistaken that you wish to end the age of entitlement. What is clear is that you do in fact want to end what you call entitlement. The problem is, your definition of the problem of entitlement in our culture, and my definition, are completely different things. From the budget you’ve handed down, and from your recent statements about poor people’s spending habits on petrol (which no one misinterpreted, you really should own your mistakes Joe), it’s clear that you think entitlement is our community’s idea of rights. Rights to quality education. Rights to quality healthcare. Rights to a clean and sustainable environment. Rights to a social safety net when things go wrong. Rights to live in a community where it’s possible to be born poor, but to better our circumstances through hard work, encouragement and support from those around us. All these rights are what you call ‘a sense of entitlement’ aren’t they Joe? And aren’t these rights the things you would ideally like to end? Isn’t your budget, built on a foundation of lies about a non-existent budget-emergency, your campaign to kill the very culture that provides Australians with rights to all of these things that any first-world, educated, well-resourced and fair country like Australia should strive to protect? Isn’t your end of the age of entitlement just code for a user-pays capitalist small-government, tax-free wonder-land?

Well, had I known you meant to end this definition of entitlement, I would never have felt relief. You need a reality check Joe. Rights are not entitlements. And someone like you, with your family background, would surely understand this if you ever cared to think about it, perhaps while you’re enjoying a quiet sit and a cigar. On the profile on your website, you have published this:“Joe Hockey was born in North Sydney, as the youngest of four children. His father was born in Bethlehem of Armenian and Palestinian parentage and his Mum in Chatswood. His family worked hard running a small business on the North Shore, beginning with a deli in Chatswood and later, a real estate agency in Naremburn.” So you like to portray your family story as the classic ‘we pulled ourselves up from the bootstraps’ tale of social mobility. And like so many who have come before you having found riches and success in your careers, you now seem hell bent on destroying mobility for others by burning the ladder of opportunity that you climbed to the top. And that’s what you really meant when you said it is time to end the age of entitlement.

You’ve got it so wrong Joe. Social mobility is not an entitlement. Access to social mobility is a right. And it’s a right Australians will, when they wake up to you, fight to save. You and your rich Liberal Party chums portray the true meaning of entitlement through your little glass tower of privilege where you think it’s ok to simultaneously reap the rewards of tax-payer funded wealth, while destroying the rights of the community by wrecking the public policies designed to keep the playing field level. Shame on you Joe Hockey. Shame on you and your entitled Liberal government.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Rollison

 207 total views,  1 views today

60 comments

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  1. abbienoiraude

    Yes. Just simply yes Victoria. Thank you

  2. Trevor

    Congratulations Victoria, an excellent exposé of much that is wrong on the conservative side of politics.

  3. John Fraser

    <

    It really is a shame that Clive has released the pressure valve on Hockey.

    He still goes to his grave with .. "poor people don't own cars and don't drive very far" … hanging around his political neck.

    Now its up to Clive to stop the Budget and force an election.

  4. Ricardo29

    Victoria, a concise and accurate, and perspicacious expose. Well done. Love it. Wish Joe and his pathetic cronies could read it, and perhaps feel just a little bit embarrassed over it.

  5. Dan Rowden

    Access to social mobility is a right.

    How? Please explain, philosophically, how something becomes a “right”?

  6. Sharon

    Dan Rowden access to social mobility IS a right in Australia. Our country is a first world nation, supposedly a transparent democracy, and social mobility It is one of the fundamental “support those who need help” ideals that Australia has grown on over 200 years. What so many hard working Aussies have been happy to do for each other for so many years is advocate for a social welfare system that helps people get back on their feet. For the most part, ours works well but, as with many things in life, there will always be people who milk it and they need to be weeded out more efficiently. Ripping systems off is nothing new – let’s take politicians and their “entitlements” for example.

    Joe Hockey – $270 PER NIGHT to sleep in HIS OWN HOME! Obviously because it’s not his primary residence or some equally legal yet morally dodgy loop hole he is able to squeeze some extra bucks out of. He and how many other politicians are “entitled” to do that? And WHY should they be allowed to?

    It isn’t the welfare system that is driving this great country into the ground Dan, that helps people up in times of need. What’s straining this country is the ridiculous sums of money our useless, corrupt, morally bereft, scum sucking politicians are paid and allowed to basically steal from the country’s financial coffers. They are nothing but oxygen thieves and their magic carpet rides need to come to a screaming halt!

    Politicians are voted in to help “the people”, not to line their own pockets. Politicians are in a PUBLIC SERVICE position to SERVE THE PUBLIC and should be paid accordingly for the job they do, just like everyone else.

    Aussies being Aussies, I’d bet about 95% of them would rather know their tax dollars are helping support the genuinely needy as opposed to paying the fat salary packages of greedy politicians.

    Many of these men and women are seemingly bereft of conscience, or empathy for the general public, yet think THEY have a right to be paid 2-3 times the average salary, usually to mismanage one of their multi million dollar portfolios, whilst sitting back and voting in favour of stripping hundreds of millions of funding from welfare, education, the medical system, transport ….

    Don’t see anything wrong here?

  7. mark delmege

    Hmm entitlement – now that’s a word that described the Zionists. They have a mythological belief that a certain part of the planet has been willed to them – and to hell with the locals. For most of last century and all of this one they have stolen and killed their way through Palestine never stopping a day and every day demanding more.

    That’s the sort of ‘entitlement’ our Government should have an opinion on.

  8. mark delmege

    oh yeah – a vassal state only has puppets and certainly won’t be raising any issues like that in the Security Council – and ah ah don’t mention (the coverup on) MH17 –

  9. JulieT

    Well said Victoria and Sharon…. you both speak for me.

  10. oldfart

    well put Victoria.

  11. Kaye Lee

    The practice of paying off an investment property by claiming accommodation allowance to stay in your own home is obscene. When this has been brought to light (as previously with Malcolm Turnbull), the only defence offered seems to be hey the other guy did it so I can too. There is a rule that members cannot claim overnight expenses if scheduled meetings finish three hours before the last flight. I wonder how strictly this is policed?

    My suggestion is that we buy/build a motel in Canberra where politicians may stay. If they choose to stay elsewhere it is at their own expense. In between parliamentary sittings, rooms could be rented out to the public to get some return on our investment.

    And could we please stop the practice of calling a private jet to come pick you up? This should be a last resort when no commercial flights are available – not the first port of call just because you can. I am sure Qantas would appreciate the business.

    And networking at sporting functions, weddings etc should NOT be paid for by the public. If you want to go schmooze with people pay for it yourself just like the rest of us have to do.

  12. John Fraser

    <

    @Kaye Lee

    What astounds me is the god fearing married M.P.s whose wives have purchased properties in Canberra and then rent them back to their husbands.

    And Joe Hockey is the Treasurer.

    Nice tax lurk and rorting of the taxpayer dollar…. if you can afford it.

    Perhaps I shouldn't get between marriage and making a buck.

  13. Dan Rowden

    Sharon,

    Thanks for the lecture. I agree with everything you said, expect for the bit about social mobility being a “right”. It is not. There is no such “right”. It’s simply a fact, an opportunity, an ability. It’s an opportunity – and social fact – that is being eroded by today’s neo-conservatives with their apparent agenda to destroy the middle class and create a two tier society. Victoria, and all of us, are right to speak out about it because it’s actually pretty damn scary.

    Ross Gittrins wrote an interesting piece along these lines:Abbott and Hockey: Why poor people don’t matter

    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/abbott-and-hockey-why-poor-people-dont-matter-20140819-105nyx.html#ixzz3AsuXRftn

  14. randalstella

    I despise ‘social mobility’.
    All the good people I have met have had no thought of it.
    Most of the insular cruds I have had to deal with seem to think of little else. It colours their every move. The busily superficial are the menace to equity. They have contempt for the social welfare that once could have been assumed as a guarantee for those in need. They vote according to this contempt. They adore cruelty to the powerless. The last Budget was the Government’s tribute to their supporter base.
    This ‘aspirational’ disregard of others, while opportunistically scrabbling for every cent they can rip from the public purse, is the spiritual home of the Liberal Party, the nasty ‘successful’ sibling to an Australian fairness.

  15. rhonda purcell

    joe hockey you are the biggest leaner of all. your parents worked hard and you enjoyed the fruits of their labour. now you want to close all avenues so people like your parents will never get ahead. you had mostly free univesity and then screamed like a stuck pig when changes were made, now you are closing down a university education system that has served all in this country. you got it but now like the entitled brat you are wish to deny everyone else.you cannot allow the peasants to rise above their station.then you married and your very wealthy wife has continued your very entitled mentality. how dare you accuse the most vunerable in our great nation of being leaners when you are the biggest leaner and user of all. your plans to deny the unemployed benifits for six months of the year, while you claim $270 a day to live in your own house( the unemploment benifits a week is less than you claim a day) you stated you do not have an evil heart, well the evidence shows you do have a black and evil heart, which you do not acknowledge to yourself because you believe you are entitled. shame on you joe hockey you are a poor excuse for a human being

  16. Wayne Turner

    Spot on article.These Libs are just selfish greedy projecting hypocrites with no shame.

  17. Terry2

    I see that Tony Abbott has called on the “cross benches” and, by implication, the Greens and Labor to come up with ideas on budget savings (but not revenue for some reason) as he struggles to justify the ill – conceived budget measures that Hockey and Corman came up with.

    Whilst we would normally see that as an abdication of what is properly the elected government’s responsibility it is also a good opportunity for all parties to sit down and develop fair,sensible and viable ideas that will assist in reducing debt and putting us on the road to a budget surplus and, to an extent depoliticizing this whole the all debate.

    Let’s hope that our economists, academics and the informed public also get to contribute to this dialogue AND that the government listens.

  18. dancar79

    Dan Rowden in our culture, our Australian society, we have over many decades made social mobility a right. In just the same way as we have made voting a right for women and then for our indigenous brothers & sisters, where in other cultures it is not. In our culture social mobility is a right, just the same as all of the other social rights that you as an Australian proudly hold closely to your heart. It is something that as a whole the Australian people past and present have fought for and with good reason. And it is a major part of what we mean when we regard Australia as a ‘free society’. Social mobility is not just a right but it is particularly important as a freedom that our people of today are blessed with. Without it Australia would not be a ‘free society’. The lower class would not be free to climb the ladder to middle class society. And the middle class society would not be free to climb to the upper class haven. Yet everybody among us is always at threat of slipping down this ladder and landing in what could otherwise only be a growing pool of lower class poverty. Dan it is important for Australia’s economy now and into the future for us to not only maintain access to that ‘social ladder’ for the poor but to lift their spirits and hopes and to encourage them to try their very best to climb it. For all of us to reach down and provide a helping hand to them as they try to climb. Quite simply the more of those down-trodden brothers & sisters of ours that we can lift to the working class and even the business levels the greater our workforce is in number, the greater our collective educated mind, the greater our advancement as a nation now and into the future. The alternate path which Hockey and his party is taking is to stomp on them, verbally abuse them, publicly humiliate them and kick them toward the ladder. Yet while at the same time moving the ladder further out of their reach. A few might desperately jump as high as they can and if they have both the strength and the ability to grasp onto the bottom of the ladder manage to grab hold of it as it is being raised. The rest will simply continue being kicked and stomped on, with their health and potential being battered physically and emotionally as they scramble to survive off the crumbs that are thrown at them from above. The children they breed will carry that emotional battering through their lives and have no prospect of contributing to Australia’s society out economy. Essentially without upward social mobility and holistic support for those in need the poverty pool of our society will only rapidly grow with the population plus the addition of everybody else (including you and me) who may slip through the cracks. Dan social mobility is a right in our society. Our parents and grandparents made it a right. It is essential.

  19. Dan Rowden

    dancar79,

    Fine, call social mobility a “right” if you want. Philosophically, I think it’s nonsense, but whatever …

    Dan it is important for Australia’s economy now and into the future for us to not only maintain access to that ‘social ladder’ for the poor but to lift their spirits and hopes and to encourage them to try their very best to climb it.

    Well, depending on the nature of the aspirations, I guess. I’m inclined to agree wholeheartedly with randalstella’s view of the matter, but I’m also cautious in doing so because I don’t want to misrepresent his meaning. For me it all depends on what our aspirations are – on what our motives are for desiring “social mobility”. Is it all about consumerism and acquisition? Is it all about crass and gross materialism or it is driven by purer and more profound motives? I can understand and support the desire for the opportunity for upward social mobility where that pertains to things like security, freedom, educational opportunities for our progeny. But I’ll have no truck with the notion where it merely pertains to a greater capacity to consume. i.e. where it amounts to nothing more than the propulsion of decadence (in both the conventional and Nietzschean sense of that term).

    My feeling is that we have to re-define what it means to be “middle class” if we’re going to encourage aspiration to such. If we define it purely in economic/financial terms, we have a serious problem in my estimation.

    I’ll try and say more about that point later but right now I’m trying to be the first person in the world to create a truly low-carb deep fry batter that works. And no, there’s nothing decadent about that …

  20. Paul Scahill

    This is an opportunity to ask for assistance from someone to help us get rid of the advertising crap that continues to frequent our screen when we ask for access to the internet. Please HELP. Now for a comment on Hockeys age of entitlement. Providing there is no reduction in the age of entitlement benefits to the “millionaires club” or the politicians handouts then the rest of the people can “suck it up”. The budget needs a rev up the “you know what” as does Joe, Big Ears and the rest of them. I have just been listening to Kate Carnell on the Press Club, Monday night it was Warren Truss, both reporting how people can get off the poor wheel if they would only get a job. There are somewhere in the vicinity of 800,000 who are un-employed. Obviously our so-called prime minister and the rest of the co-allition have never been able to display the jobs available or the quantities. The sooner this mob are ditched the better Australia will be. What is with the “Hitler” haircut of the PM and may we also note the beautiful Kate Carnell. I am sorry that I have to tell them in this manner as I would most assuredly say it to their respective faces.

  21. Sharon

    (comments in here for Dan, Kay Lee, John Fraser and Rhonda Purcell)

    “All it takes for evil to proser is for good men to do nothing”. I can’t remember the exact words, but it’s a quote attributed to Edmund Burke, and so very, very true! And many people don’t know that another quote expressed his feelings jsut as many of us are discussing now “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” Again, so very true, and reinforces what you said Dan about us speaking up and being heard.

    Dan, sorry! Wasn’t meant to be a lecture lol I’m just so frustrated at the government’s attitude right now. Bloody hypocrites and you’re completely right on both points about destroying the middle class to create a two tier society, and how scary it is. We MUST start speaking out more forcefully and make the “decision makers” accountable.

    As for social mobility being a right, no it’s not a mandated right, but let’s face it – it IS one of the fundamental components of a first world country, and sets us apart from third world and developing nations. It’s one of the major aspects of our civilised (unless you are a pollie that is) society that provides security for our citizens in times of need. Maybe right is too strong a term, however, I think that’s borderline. In the big scheme of things though, it’s probably a trivial point.

    I can almost see why they think parts of their budget are workable and necessary, but they seem to be failing to comprehend the enormity of the fallout this budget will cause. Not now, not in three months so much, but a year or more down the track, and the evidence will be clear – very likely we’ll see a sharp rise in crime (car theft, break ins, retail theft), random violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, alcohol and drug addiction will increase …. Why? Because in the majority of cases, ALL of these things are born of frustration, despair, a feeling of social inequity, boredom, jealousy, desperation to provide for their families.

    Look at our crime figures and it’s plainly obvious crime is highest in the lowest socio economic areas and committed by those in the lower socio economic demographic. Anyone who thinks these things won’t escalate when people are put under more financial stress is a bloody fool. And these crimes will start to rise in traditionally “safer” areas too. This will then finally upper the upper class elite as it will impact on them eventually.

    So about 2 years after implementing the changes the government will finally admit the problem, OR whatever new party is voted in will play the blame game, make a lot of fuss and noise about what they are going to do to fix the mess left behind by the LNP, but not actually DO anything about it. They’ll form a few new departments, assign the portfolios to their friends and acquaintances, all in the name of fixing the mess, but it will probably be about 5-7 years before any REAL improvements or rectifications are made.

    I’m certainly no economist, but it seems to me that we’ll end up spending a LOT more on public health, mental health, family intervention, children’s welfare intervention and removal from their families, drug and alcohol counselling and rehabilitation programmes to clean up the mess this is inevitably going to create. Whether the government like to see this point or not, the train wreck this will summarily cause will most likely far outweigh the cost of making moderate changes to the welfare system, but injecting more into health and education now.

    BUT stripping our over paid, under performing politicians of all their “add ons” will still see every one of them able to continue to live more than comfortably without resorting to spousal abuse or petty crime to support their families. Hell, they might even have to take second jobs to afford those investment properties, and pay them off themselves. But Aussies support Aussies and we will all pat them on the back for that.

    Many people who criticise the welfare system also don’t realise that it is TAXABLE income and proportionate to the income, recipients probably pay more tax (when the whole income package and tax breaks of politicians is added up) than the politicians.

    KAYE LEE – YES! Paying off an investment property with taxpayer money … WTH makes THEM entitled to have us pay for their homes, when so many of us can’t afford our own?!! If people start working for the dole for example, will that then give them the right to say “I’ve worked for this country in a voluntary capacity, now I want my home paid for too”? Should our armed forces not be entitled to have their homes gratis, given that they actually put their lives in danger many many times throughout their careers? Shouldn’t we pay overworked nursing staff an “allowance” so when they have only an 8-10 hour break between their 12 hours shifts, they can check into a nice hotel close to their hospital and get a longer sleep than they do in travelling home and back again? I can think of many schemes that would benefit more individuals than the current status quo.

    JOHN FRASER – spot on about the wives renting their homes to their husbands. Ridiculous isn’t it? It’s as transparent as the law that sees single parents set up a PL company and “earn their income” through it but only declaring the lowest “wage” possibly get away with, to lower their child support responsibilities. Or the laws that let someone have property and investments in a spousal name or family trust, to reduce their tax considerably, then go bankrupt but technically they have “no assets” whilst driving a luxury car and living in a waterfront mansion in a blue ribbon suburb of one of our most expensive cities. They are all a load of bs that enable nasty, spineless, greedy individuals to profit at someone els’s expense whilst technically not breaking any laws.

    JOHN FRASER AND DAN thanks for the links. I look forward to reading the articles tonight 🙂

    Oh what a mess this can of worms is going to birth!

    And NOW is when we, the public need to unite in voice to get things changed BEFORE the gate is open and the horse bolts!

    PLEASE people, don’t just talk about doing something, but DO SOMETHING. Write to all your local MPs, write to your local papers, start rallies, join community discussion forums on the net in droves. The momentum will gather, and the government will see that the people are more unhappy than they’ve been in a generation. They will HAVE to do something if the noise keeps up.

    Interestingly, I looked up Edmund Burke to read a bit more about him and I found this quote from an address to the American government in 1774 “Reflect how you are to govern a people who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading up to your eyes in blood, you could only end just where you begun; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found, to — my voice fails me; my inclination indeed carries me no farther — all is confusion beyond it.”

    Also interestingly Edmund Burke was known as the father of socialism, and was a political philosopher. I haven’t read much about him, but he seems to have been a pretty wise man.

  22. Sharon

    dancar79 … Spot on! That’s exactly right!

  23. John Fraser

    <

    Terrific post Sharon.

    That John Fraser fellow is pretty good … if I do say so myself.

  24. Sharon

    and h’e’s a pretty bloke too 😉

  25. Anne Byam

    @ Dan …. neither Victoria or Sharon said ” social mobility is a right”. What they both said was “ACCESS to social mobility is a right” … and it is. Automatic leaping up the scale of social ( relating to society or organisation ) mobility ( the ability to move between different levels in society or employment.) … is not a ‘right’ nor entitlement. “ACCESS” is the opportunity, whether sought or given, and is a right.

    In an alleged democratic society, which Australia is ( and is still hanging on to by the skin of its teeth ) … there are indeed RIGHTS. e.g. ( from this article by Victoria. “Rights to live in a community where it’s possible to be born poor, but to better our circumstances through hard work, encouragement and support from those around us. ” ….. The ‘right’ here is the ACCESS to possibilities in order to better themselves.

    A communistic regime does not allow nor give rights. They rule with iron fists, and ALL people are under their power – with no access to any possibilities of their own decisions or making. No encouragement for initiative. Do as you are told – or else.

    A prisoner, locked away for a crime he / she has been found guilty of – has a few rights ( to meals, to healthcare etc ) but does NOT have the right to come and go as they please, to wander freely outside of the prison walls.

    We are not a communistic regime, nor is Australia a prison. We are a free people with rights. And if we work hard, we have the ‘right’ to seek entitlements, but never to just TAKE them. e.g. A person’s hard work climb up the corporate ladder – which is reviewed by his/her superiors on the corporate ladder, and awarded accordingly, becomes his/her entitlement. …. A farmer who puts money into breeding stock, to better the stock – to improve his pasture and property – is ‘entitled’ to have reward for his/her efforts. If that reward is monetary, one often finds the farmer plowing the money back into his land and stock to improve it even further. He has the right to do that on his own property, and is entitled to reap the rewards of hard work. ( and it IS hard work ).

    Have I given you enough reason to even begin to think of believing, Dan ?

    Probably not. You are more interested in the philosophy of ‘rights’ … and a whole heap of other things, to define or pull apart specific words, wording, beliefs – anything you put your philosophical thinking towards.

    But hey – guess what. You have the ‘right’ to follow your studies, and your love of philosophy and philosophical thinking. But entitlement to anything from those studies / pursuits, is only possible if you EARN it.

    Unlike our politicians who believe it is their ‘right’ AND their ‘entitlement’ to take whatever they please, when they please – at the tax-payers expense.

    Last time I looked, that was called stealing.

  26. Anne Byam

    To Victoria ….. an excellent article, so well written and covering so many aspects about the current Government, that trouble us all today.

    Thank you.

    To Kaye …. some great ideas you have put forward. 🙂

  27. tet02

    I cringe every time I hear of another ‘entitlement’, (a polite euphamism for ‘snouts in the public trough’), and when these aren’t enough they resort to shady backdoor deals to further line their nest. Should they (heaven forbid), be caught with their hand in the bikky tin the laws seem to do little more than slap them on the wrist. Well here’s an idea that while not original may make budding corrupt politicians think twice. Should any public servant (be it politican, police or anyone that is paid by the public purse), be caught out, sieze and hold all their assets until they can prove that none of the assets were acquired with ill gotten gains. Works well for drug seizures with hundreds of milions being confiscated every year. Might help with the budget deficit Joe.

  28. alasdair

    Love Kay Lee’s motel in Canberra idea…When Ben Chifley was PM, he of course spent a lot of time in Canberra, although his home was in Bathurst. In Canberra he stayed in a “small modest room” at the Kurrajong Hotel, and would join the other guests in the morning to wash and shave in the communal bathrooms. (Chifley was the Treasurer as well – a combination of jobs thought hard enough even in the late 1940’s.) The gap between Chifley’s modest living, and of that of the plutocratic Abbott/Hockey and their mates, is so wide as to be almost incomprehensible.

  29. BJWard

    Kaye Lee, there was a huge carry-on, many years ago, because federal pollies were using the RAAF’s 34 Squadron (the VIP squadron) aircraft as basically a taxi service. Almost brought down a Coalition government, if my shaky memory doesn’t deceive me. There were supposed to have been measures in place to stop that sort of thing happening in the future. It would seem those measures have been cast aside. As a taxpayer, I would be pleased to see an explanation of what’s going on. After all, the age of entitlement is over, isn’t it?

  30. Sharon

    I love all the comments above! And Kaye Lee, the politician’s hotel is a FANTASTIC idea!
    Alasdair – How interesting – shows Ben Chifley was actually working FOR the people.

  31. stephentardrew

    Terry 2: a budget surplus is a myth with little or no supporting evidence for its efficacy.

    Deficit spending 101 – Part 1

    Terry you will need to read parts 1 ,2 and 3 to get a full understanding of deficit spending and Modern Money Theory

  32. Margaret McMillan

    I know this is a bit off topic, but if I were writing to Hockey I’d want to ask him how his conscience was handling this particular issue: the sending of asylum seekers to an impoverished third world country with a poor human rights record.
    When the Gillard government proposed sending asylum seekers to Malaysia, Hockey stood up in parliament and wept crocodile tears. Vulnerable children (gulp, sob) would never be sent to a third world country where there was no guaranteed protection (more gulping and repressed sobs) Now that the Coalition is planning to send asylum seekers to Cambodia, a country with an appalling human rights record, there is not a peep out of our Joe. What would he say if this were put to him? What could he possibly say? He’s a hypocrite of the first order.

  33. Sharon

    Margaret, that’s just another example of the puppet masters pretending to care to raise the profile on a human rights issue, as cover to get their other issues through without excessive attention. It’s a ploy of all jaded politicians. Say what the people indicate they want to hear, get voted in, change everything then spend the remainder of your term deflecting, blaming and arguing about why you’re doing the right thing long term, but not really achieve anything because you never intended to in the first place. It’s all fluff and superficial political rhetoric purely intended to lull the masses into a false sense of security, before they are ambushed. History shows us that.

  34. Michael Taylor

    Yes, Margaret, he even managed to shed a tear. Crocodile ones, I suspect.

  35. silkworm

    Paul Scahill, try Adblock. You can download it for free, and it is well worth the price!

  36. silkworm

    I understand what Dan Rowden is saying about social mobility becoming an excuse for consumerism, but this is not the case for those trying to rise out of poverty. I support the right of social mobility for the “lower class” to rise into the middle class, but I don’t support as much the upward mobility of the middle class into the upper class. I would like to see the middle class become universal, as this makes for a more egalitarian and peaceful society.

  37. Anne Byam

    @ Margaret McMillan. I am most likely stating the obvious ? Joe H would say nothing about sending asylum seeks to Camboda. He would fob off the question to Morrison, ( who wouldn’t reply because he has no adequate explanation whatsoever for such a cruel and crude solution to the ‘worrisome subject’ of refugees ) … and Joe H would continue to cry his own sad ?? tears at how ‘difficult it all is’.

    The Coalition are seriously all nuts. Collectively. Not sure who started the virus, but it’s swept through the Coalition with great rapidity.

    My guess is it was the Abbott who first came down with the ‘bug’ and has passed it on to all his senior ministers. They need to be hospitalised at least, if not sectioned.

    Please, don’t let us all catch this virus too …… !!

  38. Anne Byam

    @ silkworm. That is a very interesting comment. You caused me to stop and think about your concepts on a ‘universal’ class of people. Not sure it’s do-able, but is worth consideration. Trouble is, if it all stops at the ‘middle’ class, then they become the upper class … and class distinction continues. Still and all – something to ponder.

  39. Ans

    Sadly this article is very true.

  40. Sharon

    Silkworm and Paul Scahill – AdBlockPlus is great and so is Do Not Track Me. Also have a look at Ghostery.com. I’m LOVING the internet since getting rid of advertising – browsing never looked so good and Facebook with no banner crap down the rhs is awesome! Try them and see 🙂 Don’t thank me, just send cash donations to express your gratitude lol

  41. Dan Rowden

    Sharon,

    Maybe right is too strong a term, however, I think that’s borderline. In the big scheme of things though, it’s probably a trivial point.

    I do feel “right” is too strong a word and I have to disagree that the issue is trivial. I won’t bother trying to make the argument philosophically, because it seems no-one is especially interested in that angle, so I’ll keep it political. I hope I can express what’s in my head regarding it:

    My girlfriend just pointed out to me, in terms more succinct than I probably would have come up with, that when the “Left” starts talking about “rights”, the “Right” immediately starts talking about obligations. She’s quite correct. Any narrative by the Left regarding rights and the assertion of the existence of them, immediately introduces an equivalent narrative about obligations, responsibilities and duties by the Right. Sometimes that correspondent conservative narrative has a kernel of truth to it and therefore a certain amount of persuasive force in the electorate. Access to welfare is a perfect case in point. Mutual obligation being as more precise case in point. There may be aspects of it that we on the Left dislike, but generally speaking the rhetoric of obligation has electoral force.

    Do we really want to hand the opportunity for that correspondent narrative to the conservatives regarding social mobility? I argue not.

    For me that “other side of the coin” narrative already exists with regard to social mobility, as least to some extent, but if will only increase in its force and volume to the degree that claims of rights do so from our camp. Rights and/or privileges generally come with concomitant responsibilities or obligations. We want to claim social mobility as a “right”? Fine then, but just watch conservatives mount the case that folk have a responsibility to embrace that right and opportunity and that anyone that doesn’t do their utmost to “raise themselves up” – expressly without Government help, of course – is failing in their sense of socially mutual obligations. The right and opportunity has been provided to you. Why aren’t you doing whatever you can, including taking that third miserable job, to be socially mobile? I mean, you’re the ones who claimed it as a right, not merely something desirable and beneficial. There are numerous signs of this type of thinking in contemporary Australian society as it is. Claims of “rights” regarding social mobility will only make that kind of thinking more entrenched. To me, such claims and actually highly counter productive.

    I’d much rather we stuck to characterising social mobility as a desirable social dynamic – for those who are inclined that way. Claiming something as a “right” – especially in areas of socio-economics, is merely a trite and politically slick way of elevating a desired state of affairs to something that possesses a quasi-mystical ontological status. When certain types of libertarians claim that they have a natural right to minimise their tax burden, or, further still, that taxation itself is an attack of their basic human rights, or when they claim it as their right to bear arms – any arms – including sub-automatic machine guns and hand-grenades, are they entitled to do so? Do we agree with them? If not, why not? Why can’t they claim things as rights if we can?

    I earnestly believe the Left is setting a trap for itself with the rhetoric of rights and I feel the issue is anything but trivial. Once again, however, other than that issue, I agreed with you.

  42. Sharon

    Sorry this was so long again Dan! I’ve become quite fired up about the unfairness of the status quo. Reading more stories of people in utter and total despair and seeing no way out is heart breaking. They are feeling like this just KNOWING it may happen. Imagine the crisis if it does?
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Dan, I DO see exactly what you’re saying but that would makes things worse if what you say was enforced, and EVERY person was expected to improve their financial/social position in society. That would case riots I think. Not everyone has the same emotional or intellectual capacity, so there would always be a margin of people who didn’t perform. That’s human. It’s the same in every single country., and there’s nothing anyone can do about it until we start inserting motherboards in human heads in an effort to create a race of people who all perform over certain minimum levels.

    Whatever it is called or classified as is kind of a mute point to me because if it’s a right it’s always here, if there’s the option to take it away, only stupidity would reason that to be a sensible option purely because of the repercussions. It’s an undeniable fact that without it our country will be worse off in so many ways – including economic growth, which we all know is crucial to maintain.

    The simple fact is that the government are sailing into dangerous waters with this budget, and the cuts and changes to social welfare for both young and old, able and disabled. The very people in our society who are already at the point where they can’t keep up on a weekly basis as it is.

    I agree with you about taking opportunities and improve themselves. What I’d love to see is mandatory further education for every welfare recipient who has the emotional and intellectual capacity, say between ages 18-55 (still gives them time to utilise their new skills in employment before retirement age). This would be a much more productive option than forcing people into ridiculous “voluntary” work for the dole schemes that aren’t giving the individuals actual skills to improve their employment options or help them better themselves career wise. People will scream “too many ‘qualified’ people in the workforce”. It doesn’t mean that though – education can be as simple as a retail skills course or sales skills, which will help them even in retail sales jobs, and finding their niche (fashion, hospitality, electrical, etc) will lead to options in management for many people who may never have got past being a check out operator in a supermaket without that first course they completed.

    Perhaps you have no comprehension of what single parents in particular, but all recipients of some kind of welfare are facing right now, and I hope you never do because it’s really scary. Many people never imagine themselves in the position where they would need to even THINK about social welfare. And believe me Dan, it’s your worst nightmare come true without any kind of property settlement to help you begin single parenthood.

    8 years ago I was living comfortably in suburbia with two kids and my partner, a cat and a rabbit, Normal Aussie family life. We both worked, and I’d helped raise his two girls from his previous marriage. Then he decided he wanted an Asian gf and was tired of his family. He kept us in an Asian country for 2 years and tormented me financially, emotionally and physically. Finally he let us leave when it suited him to be 100% free of us and we came home.

    For the past 5 years I have struggled to raise my kids almost alone. I have them 365 days a year because their dad lives overseas and it’s easier for him to go to Bali and Singapore a couple of times a year than spend time with his children or give me a more realistic proportion of the cost of raising them. I didn’t get the family home or a property settlement in our split (he was very clever), but what I did get was two children, $500 and a container of belongings and such bad depression and anxiety that my GP said it was like a mild form of PTSD. I couldn’t function sometimes for weeks. Couldn’t go grocery shopping, couldn’t plan meals, couldn’t organise my head enough to keep a day running smoothly. I was an absolute and total mess. I had no family close by for support and no money to seek the psychiatrist I desperately needed. It’s very difficult for me to share something so raw and private, but maybe if I do someone else will share their story, and someone else … The more people who do this, the more people will understand the enormity of the situation and the more likely less drastic changes will be made so suddenly.

    Again Dan, my story is just one of thousands, and I have read so many over the past few weeks I am absolutely livid and terribly sad. Not to mention scared for what might come in the wake of these proposed changes – some having lost as much as $300 a fortnight almost overnight. Even if some of the other proposed changes aren’t implemented, just going through months of angst is psychologically damaging for many people. I didn’t bludge my way through the welfare system and I certainly never imagined myself having to rely on it to help raise the children I had with their dad on my own. Without the support for which I and my children are so grateful, I don’t know how we would have survived while I was so incapable or working. We could very easily have ended up on the street, a damaged mother and two damaged children, just like so many others are destined to in the near future.

    It’s inhumane and cruel

    The proposed changes to the entire system aren’t going to make things better and that’s what will make people finally offload their lethargy and start standing up. Those who don’t completely crumble first. Some of the stories I’ve been reading lately have me at the point of despair – single mums, and some single dads, who were “just” managing are completely frightened. I read one woman’s post about how she was feeling last week and she said something like “It’s just so hard already and now it’s getting so much worse. I just don’t want to be here anymore”. She sounds fairly young, and she has young children. Until you’ve walked in those shoes you really can’t understand the precarious emotional pace it sends you to.

    In essence, this current budget can be likened to a company takeover – for years the company has run a certain way, staff knew their responsibilities and obligations, the way the “system” worked and needed to be attended to to keep in running smoothly and keep everyone happy. the company is sold and the new management come in and completely change everything, 100% overnight. Chaos reigns. No one feels secure. No one can keep up with all the changes. People start dropping the ball. Mistakes are made and both management and staff are feeling hostile. Confidence and staff morale plummet, productivity drops, absences rise, and on it goes. There’s no worse MO for taking over a company and flipping it’s entire structure on it’s head, rather than implementing changes gradually so that everyone keeps up and feels confident doing so. Now you have everyone rowing in the same direction for the common good of both management and staff.

    A government can’t do that and NOT expect more problems than it appears to be solving initially. And it’s not just the parents, carers, pensioners it’s affecting. Many of these people have kids, and the crippling financial position they live in has knock-on affects that go unseen. Besides not being able to keep their families fed adequately or a parent only eating once a day so the kids are fed, or not keeping up with their rent or mortgage, there are psychological and social cruelties from living like this. Single parents often can’t even afford to socialise – they can’t go everywhere and not contribute like others do, nor can they afford to entertain even in the simplest way at home. So their children face a certain amount of social isolation, which slows their own social development and detrimentally affects their ability to form and maintain friendships and relationships the rest of their lives, From social interaction they learn crucial skills such as patience, sharing, confidence building, trust, conflict resolution and negotiation – these are ALL crucial for success in adult life, professionally, socially and in relationships built on love and trust. Social isolation also breeds an often underlying feeling of despair and that one is “not as good as everyone else” that has been ingrained subliminally since childhood. So the cycle perpetuates with the next generation.

    And not paying Youth Allowance for 6 months? WTH? Unless the child’s parents are able to support them what can they do? We are in a semi rural area and my son applied for 89 jobs in the first three months we were here, of his own volition because he just wants work. Any work will do for now because he understands it’s easier to get a better job once you HAVE a job. He’s also studying his Cert IV in Fitness to become a personal trainer but he won’t be experienced enough to be self employed for a couple of years, and he hasn’t been able to find a job in a gym despite being a qualified fitness instructor. He’d completed year 12 but has a learning disability, so he struggled. He opted to go into Hospitality at TAFE but they accepted him to the course knowing there was no spare places in the kitchens and said he could complete the theory components, but would have to wait for a kitchen spot to complete his practical work. Again WTH? He was despairing more each month that he was missing so much and felt he was just wasting him time because there was no guarantee anyone would leave and free up a place int he kitchen for him. So he withdrew from the course to do something else.

    He was one of those kids that had no behavioural problems, was kind and gentle, cooperative, all of that, but school was a struggle. He doesn’t drink or smoke or go out night after night, so he’s not wasting the opportunity that our welfare system is allowing him to take. He enrolled and got into a fitness instructor (cert 3 in fitness) course and excelled at it! It’s an accelerated learning program and uses all different learning methods which is a bonus for many people. He lives at home but I can’t financially support him because I’ve been genuinely unable to work for so long. His Youth Allowance is only $277/fortnight and he is paying off his course fees of $6500 with that money – in an attempt to improve his future employment and earning capacity and not end up on the welfare roundabout.

    This is just ONE story, but there are many kids in that position and to take that pittance away and force them to either take a crappy job and be stuck in “nowheresville” indefinitely or all their lives is just cruel. Without this opportunity my son may have been destined for a lifetime of low paying or physical labour jobs. That’s fine for those who are fulfilled doing that, but not everyone is. It takes all kinds to run a world 🙂 Now my son has so many options available now that he wouldn’t have before – he can work in resorts or hotels, on cruise ships, in fitness, he can work for a gym or be self employed … All of these things he can do here or overseas if he wants to travel and work. Purely because his future earning potential is so much better than it was 12 months ago, he knows that one day he’ll be able to provide a decent life for any future family he may have. Working two or three jobs wouldn’t give him or a future family any quality of life.

    This is the kind of opportunity that we can’t take away from people who might otherwise fall through the cracks, without the support to keep them going while they get to the next level.

    So yes, we could debate whether it’s a right or not for days I guess. We are more damned if welfare is reduced severely or completely taken away from people so to do so would be stupid.

  43. randalstella

    Sharon,
    Thank you for your conscientious posts.
    On Edmund Burke. You include 2 alleged quotes.
    First: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”: he did not say.
    The second: ” When bad men combine, the good must associate, else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle”: he did say.
    The latter stresses his sense for organisation. He became a Party animal, for a time an MP.

    He was an eloquent C18th moralist.
    He assumed enough moral pronouncement would make all the difference – whereas it merely helps. It is merely indispensable. It will not remove entrenched malignancy, such as the slave trade he fought. However wretched, the other side can use moralisms as well.

    He believed so much in moral suasion and its gradualism; and thus gained by the C20th a reputation as a reactionary, a partial assessment though it be. His opposition to action involved his concerns about the indiscriminate mob mentality and its reactions. But it also greatly limited his thought inequitably on the realities of power.

  44. Sharon

    randalstella – I hadn’t read much about him. Regardless of whatever else he did, I just think those quotes are pertinent to the discussion Victoria kicked off. Actually I have read many times though about “his” most famous quote and it seems apparently no one has ever been able to attribute it 100% to him nor prove he didn’t say it. Yes? Doesn’t matter who said it first though because the words are still powerful regardless.

  45. Dan Rowden

    Sharon,

    Yeah, that was kind of long, but I suspect also a touch cathartic 🙂 Your story is an incredibly unfortunate one, but, as you say, not unique. Not sure how to offer my sympathies without sounding patronising, but they are genuine. Not sure, also, what I said to cause you to say this:

    Perhaps you have no comprehension of what single parents in particular, but all recipients of some kind of welfare are facing right now, and I hope you never do because it’s really scary. Many people never imagine themselves in the position where they would need to even THINK about social welfare. And believe me Dan, it’s your worst nightmare come true without any kind of property settlement to help you begin single parenthood.

    Just for the sake of understanding: I am intimately familiar with welfare and what it means. I grew up poor. Very poor. My father died when I was 15. My mother was a lifelong epileptic and invalid. Ours was the sort of poverty that folk are unable to transcend. I spent most of my teen years beset with familial responsibility. Though I grew up in the halcyon days of free tertiary education, that was never going to be available to me. I left school in Grade 11. I’ve known many periods of eating little more than rice and noodles. I have lived for some years now on the DSP. After an unexpected stroke at 50 I have zero prospect of ever not being welfare dependent.

    Single mothers? My girlfriend is a single mother with a profoundly disabled (Down and Autism) boy. She survives on the Carers pension and some child support from the ex. Her disabled boy in 15. Until the last year or so she was unable to attract much of any assistance from Government (respite etc), and even now what she gets is tokenistic. It’s ironic that the more disabled the child the less help you seem to be able to get. Until I came along she had not been able to go out at night, socially, for ten years straight. Not once. Anyway, I’m not going to say anymore on that out of respect for her privacy. Suffice it to say my comprehension of what single mothers and/or welfare recipients go through is thorough and intimate. Just so you know for future reference. 🙂

    Once again, I am sympathetic to all you’ve said. I do believe that our “rights rhetoric” carries dangers we’re not recognising, but I won’t pursue it as I’ve made my case, kinda.

    Thanks for the substantive response and all the best to you.

  46. randalstella

    Sharon,
    As far research can tell, he did not say it.
    Of course both ‘quotes’ are relevant to the article. That’s why I commented.
    The comparison between the ‘quotes’ is relevant because it shows the real one as his concern for organisation.
    The problem for Burke is his contradiction between organising care for causes of the disadvantaged and victimised, and his resistance against them acting together for themselves.
    But he was pretty right about the mob mentality. Even the moralising mob.

    Thank you for your more than worthy contributions.

  47. Sharon

    Wow, Dan,see? Your family story is even more sad and difficult than mine. Apologies for thinking you didn’t understand the other side. And if I hadn’t told you my story you wouldn’t probably have told me yours, or your girlfriend’s which is equally difficult and struggle filled. My heart goes out to her and her little man too. I think the stigma and shame attached to welfare that I was talking about before has a lot to do with people NOT sharing their stories, so then many people feel they are alone in their unique struggles and try to cope alone.

    Regarding our earlier discussion – I would argue that in our society, your mum had a RIGHT to being helped where possible. Again, a single parent dropped in the deep end through no fault of her own. She must be a very strong person! But I don’t care if I’m wrong about it being a right. You can have victory on that 😉 By “right” I mean people shouldn’t have to endure the indignity of being made to beg for help, but it should be there and everyone should have the underlying security of knowing in times of urgent and immediate need there IS some help.

    Besides, our country doesn’t have enough jobs to accommodate 100% employment either, unless we start paying the unskilled population to work as bathroom attendants and road sweepers like third world countries do. So how do those there are no jobs for meant to live?

    I just want to see people be given a break and be treated with dignity and understanding, not shaming and blaming, or being forced further into poverty.

    The inequity of a system that punishes the undeserving, yet handsomely rewards the very people who demonise them and rip the support system apart, has to be addressed and changes made as a matter of urgency. $270 a night to stay in their own homes? That’s just ludicrous!

    His “allowance” per night is only $7 less than the fortnightly Youth Allowance. I would really hope most taxpayers would rather see a kid have something to live on for two weeks rather than knowing their money is helping Hockey and his wife pay off their investment property at a rate of knots, when they already have their other family home and investment property/ies. I’d like to see people from EVERY “class” start protesting and complaining about these issues. That’s just absolute GREED and miking the system in a disgraceful way, amplified by his arrogance that there is nothing wrong with that system and he’s “entitled” to it because every other politician does it too. Just because your neighbour does something that’s technically legal yet morally wrong doesn’t mean it’s ok for you to do it too.

    If he had ANY gumption, he would have said “You know what? It’s a rort and we should scrap it to show the public that we are serious about doing right by Australia”. Put your money where your mouth is Joe!

    The man is a disgrace and a hypocrite in more than one way.

  48. Albert M White

    What a neat synopsis of Comrade Joe and his not so merry men, who seek to pillage what generations of responsible Australians have created through hard work and diligence. Choosing to ignore the social benefits he derived from having a free education, and secure safety net, frequently won at enormous personal expense to many, he now turns, like a mad dog, on his fellow Australians to demand the least able finance the extravagant life-style of captains of industry, and the very rich who “choose” not to pay tax. It is sad that people like Joe are the “best” we can find to represent us out of a population of 23 million. Joe and his mob care not a whit for citizens or environment and when they are mere tarnished memories of political history, they will be withering in sinecures with corporations, whose fortunes they helped consolidate, by stealing from the poor and ensuring anyone who might dare protest this crime be labelled a “terrorist”. Obviously there’s no point in appealing to politicians’ moral conscience, as Joe personifies, their genetic make-up does not include such inclusions.

  49. Sharon

    Randalstella actually, what you said about Edmund Burke has made me decide to do a bit of reading about him over the weekend. Thanks 🙂 I mentioned him also because there’s so much online voice about the two primary points in Victoria’s letter, but not much actual decisive action being taken by the general public from what I’ve seen. Don’t shoot me down if I’m wrong, but it isn’t something I’ve actively looked into. And thanks for your replies. I do love the fact that online forums give us perspectives that we may not get from our immediate social circles so may not have considered adequately before stating our own opinions. I know – I’ve done it myself! And it’s a good way for everyone to be heard.

  50. Sharon

    Well said Albert! I’d buy you a beer for that!

  51. Anne Byam

    Sharon … more power to you for sharing much of your life struggles with the rest of us. I can empathise, and I sympathise as well, but you have come through to another side – and from your writings …. i.e. the way you write, you are gifted. That is wonderful.

    ***

    Dan …. My comments to you – and your partner, who is the person who has previously suffered the most ( from the way you wrote ) are in the same vein … sincerely complimentary.

    I wish you the very very best that life can offer — you deserve it.

  52. Anne Byam

    Dan…. When I wrote the last comment, I had not read of your own familiarity with welfare and what it meant in your younger days. Which simply means I had not read the entire email thoroughly enough. …. Mea culpa. I mentioned your partner, only because it seems to be an ongoing situation for her, but I realise now it is also for you – having to be dependent on the DSP because of your current situation.

    More power to you …. and I wish you the very best.

    —–

    I realise I have spoken about this on here before…

    There is no social mobility as being a ‘right’. Access to it, however IS a right. ( we’ve been over it before ). “Access” can mean quite a few things. Take just one – ‘access’ to what lies on the other side of a doorway – perhaps there is a pointer beside the door, to a desk where jobs are on offer – or super great sales of goods are being shown ( trying to be positive here ). The door is open, thus enabling access – into the other room, outside, wherever.

    The person who believes social mobility is a ‘right’ does not move from where he/she sits. Just stares at the door, and takes no steps whatsoever to avail themselves of any opportunity – to just maybe find the possibility of a better way of life, with hard work – the reaping of rewards ( a pay cheque to begin with ! ), or cheaper goods that he/she needs – like food, new linen, 2nd hand clothing in good repair etc. if still in an inequitable position in life. I have not said anything that is news to you – or to anyone.

    However, I felt I should put it this way.

    The kind of thinking that has a person sit on their backside and do nothing to help themselves, if it is based on laziness and a belief that society will look after them, is up the creek. A different matter is if a person is incapacitated, disabled, in grief, is in diagnosed depression – and countless other possibilities … then the thinking is understandable … they have little or no choice, especially if this Government gets it’s way – it will be so very much more difficult – for them – for everyone.

    No choice is something that belongs in communist states / nations. And this heinous Government is trying to make as many ‘no choices’ as possible, particularly for the disadvantaged, carers, poor and jobless.

    This Government it seems, is trying to force people into situations that are are simply not viable by any stretch of the imagination. Have they done it to instil fear ? or to challenge ? Have they done it to impart a sense of ‘power over all’ ? Are they slamming all the doors that are open, that show ‘access’ …. ? WE, ultimately, have to decide.

    I agree with a couple of your statements, Dan. You said you “earnestly believe the Left is setting a trap for itself with the rhetoric of rights and I feel the issue is anything but trivial.” Agreed.

    “Claims of “rights” regarding social mobility will only make that kind of thinking more entrenched. To me, such claims and actually highly counter productive. “ They are indeed counter-productive. Agreed.

    And no – I am not swinging to the other side. ( Heaven forbid ). …. I just see the urging of people to take their rights, without trying to improve their lives – when they are hale, hearty and well enough to do so, is not a good thing – and the Labor party should back off with the commentaries on that. They need to approach things in a different way. Use a bit of lateral thinking ? Belabouring the points on “social rights”, only gives this extreme right and fascist thinking Government more to have a go at, more fuel to add to their proposed bonfire they want to set, to life in Australia – and thus re-enforce their own draconian ideals and wishes.

    Their mantra could well be : Let’s REALLY weaken the people.

    Let’s hope the Senate sees through the lot …. ALL of it.

    Hands up here anyone who would like to be a Senator, with THIS burden on their shoulders ?

  53. Sharon

    Anne it wouldn’t be easy that’s for sure!
    Somewhere in between this all or nothing attitude our governments swing back and forth between, there has to be a happy medium, that strikes as much of a balance in both sides of the camp as possible. We are supposed to be a smart race, so surely there’s enough people in Australia to do that?
    and thank you for your kind words. I don’t share my story for sympathy though, and I would like to make that perfectly clear. If I become the victim then he has truly won. I just want to show both men and women that there is no shame in life not taking the path you had mapped out for yourself, and a detour can be a good thing in many ways. But it is possible to get back onto the path you originally wanted to be on, and you might even find a better one a bit further along 🙂 Everyone needs hope don’t they!

  54. Anne Byam

    Sharon …. it did not cross my mind whatsoever, that you were illiciting sympathy. But I do repeat ” I empathise, and sympathise as well “. My empathy comes from knowledge of hardships. With 3 little children, nothing that I could call my own, no job ( advised by my lawyers to extract the most out of my former husband ) – due to an horrendous matrimonial battle in court ( in the days before Family Law Court was introduced – and it was at that time a ‘blame game’ that ruled ) …. and not knowing where our next meal was coming from.

    My parents were there – thank God … to help us. The only way we made it through that awful time, was due to them.

    My sympathy comes from the same source … I am sympathetic to your past troubles, and that you had to go through it at all. Scratch the surface of many many people, and we will always find some form of hardship, bad experience etc. that they’ve been through. Then again, it can be the making of us . …. those who take it on board, face it square on, give it all the a big heave ho … and move on, little by little….. Takes time, and patience. But it can be done – as I believe you know.

    Good fortune to you forever.

  55. Sharon

    Anne, there you go – yet another story of struggle as you’ve shown in telling your story, thank you. You poor love! I hope things improved for you and your children before too long.

    Yes, everyone has their own struggle and we don’t know as we walk past each person on the street what they are dealing with at that moment or what got them to this point. I remind myself of that almost daily.

    Thank you again, for your kind words to both myself and Dan, and for participating in the conversation 🙂

    Goodnight, enjoy your Friday and have a lovely weekend.

  56. Anne Byam

    Sharon …. a bit late with my thanks … but I appreciate your comments and thoughtfulness very much.

    After all that uproar in my earlier life, things settled down slowly – life became semi-normal ( although I still struggled to make ends meet for quite a while ) …. and now I can proudly say – as my children are all very much adults – that they all hold very responsible positions, one with many degrees who holds a high position in a Victorian Government Department … one who holds a very good job in the Victorian public transport sector ( a private company ), and one who soon will finish his first 1 year deployment in Antarctica – which has been a phenomenal experience for him. He wants to return when it’s allowed ( after 1 year back on the mainland ). Many do return to that brilliant wilderness, which is unlike any other on this planet.

    So – things often work out for the best after many many challenges – don’t they.

    Always a good feeling to participate in these conversations and debates. And I wish you a great weekend too. 🙂

  57. Heather Donaldson

    It is wrong to force people to forage for foodscraps for their family. It is wrong to deprive people of shelter and winter warmth. It is wrong to force people to choose between stealing to survive, starvation or suicide.
    This budget is WRONG and good people everywhere must stop it.

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