In what appears to be an attempt to emulate John Howard’s battlers, Scott Morrison tells us that he will be the champion of “quiet Australians”, whatever that might mean.
In a radio interview in 2004, Howard was asked what he thought a ‘battler’ was and replied that:
“… it’s not an exclusive definition, the battler is somebody who finds in life that they have to work hard for everything they get… normally you then look at it in terms of somebody who’s not earning a huge income but somebody who is trying to better themselves, and I’ve always been attracted to people who try to better themselves.”
But a new report from the Grattan Institute shows that, in Scott Morrison’s Australia, hard work is not enough with this generation set to be the first who are less well off than previous generations.
Underemployment, wage stagnation and job insecurity are part of the problem as is slow economic growth.
Another contributing factor is the taxation policy of the Coalition – in particular, tax-free superannuation income in retirement, refundable franking credits, and special tax offsets for seniors – resulting in older Australians contributing a lot less income tax than we once did putting the burden on a smaller percentage of working Australians to underwrite the living standards of retirees.
Negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts have skewed investment towards property making it very difficult for first home buyers to enter the housing market. A lack of supply has made rents grow making saving for a deposit and stamp duty that much harder.
Wealthy retirees fiercely protect their nest eggs so they can leave it to their children further exacerbating inequality and the wealth divide.
This has nothing to do with hard work or people “having a go” – it’s just the rich getting richer.
In a recent Roy Morgan poll, they asked “What do you think is the most important problem facing the World today?”
46% of respondents mentioned some form of environmental concern, more than doubling from the 22% recorded in early 2018, led by the issue of Global warming (34%) and including Pollution/Rubbish, Famine/Food shortages, Water conservation/Murray-Darling water problems.
When asked “What do you think is the most important problem facing Australia today?”, economic issues led by Unemployment, Cost of living, Economic problems, Poverty and the gap between rich and poor, Homelessness/ Lack of housing and Housing affordability were mentioned by almost 34% of Australians, with a further 24% (up from 11% last year) citing environmental issues including Global warming, water conservation and problems with the Murray-Darling, Drought, Pollution and Rubbish.
The government’s favourite themes of Terrorism/War/Security problems and issues surrounding the Energy Crisis, Energy and Power supply, Electricity grid, were mentioned by less than 4% of respondents.
Our inaction on climate change will unfairly place another huge burden on coming generations purely because we are too greedy and selfish to tackle the challenge now.
Morrison has also tried to copy Trump’s “drain the swamp” rhetoric with his constant references to getting outside the “Canberra bubble” when all he is in fact doing is taking the Canberra bubble on the road.
The voice of quiet Australians sinking in poverty, or the pleas of desperate Pacific islanders fighting for survival, or the passion of Indigenous people asking to have some input in addressing the endemic disadvantage they face, will never be heard in Scott Morrison’s bubble where the noise from people like Craig Kelly and Andrew Hastie drown out all other sound.
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