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Quiet Australians will never permeate the Morrison bubble

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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  1. New England Cocky

    “What do you think is the most important problem facing the World today?”

    At a society level;

    1) the maldistribution of wealth resulting from too many tax deductions, rebates and allowances to both the undeserving wealthy and corporates, leading to the poor cost-subsidising the rich.

    2) specifically skewing the investment focus away from productive manufacturing that would employ the Australian voters in favour of unproductive real estate that produces few real benefits across the population.

    3) Lack of decentralisation of government jobs to urban regional communities that create about 3.5 new private sector jobs and provide a financial spine to generate a drought proof local economy and short term local boom conditions.

    At a world level;

    2) obviously global warming closely followed by plastic pollution and subsequent biomagnification into the human food chain.

    3). The dominance of small minded neo-libeal economic policies creating a self-serving elite justifying their existence by blaming others of their own lack of investment in productive enterprises, or upgrading exiting enterprises to modern standards.

  2. Terence Mills

    Apologies for going off-point but I note that George Pell’s appeal result will be announced tomorrow (Wednesday) and several senior jurists have suggested that he will be acquitted on the basis that the conviction is unsafe and that the jury could not have arrived at this conviction based on the criminal standard of ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.

    The original verdict, as you will recall, was the subject of a strict suppression order on reporting as Pell faced a second trial in relation to separate alleged historical offences so the result of the first trial was suppressed temporarily so information from it would be less likely to influence the jury in the second.

    The suppression order was then lifted after the Department of Public Prosecutions dropped the second set of charges – known as the Ballarat swimming pool charges – after it was determined by the judge that key evidence was inadmissible and could not be used, significantly weakening the prosecution’s case.

    So, if Pell is acquitted of the first charges he will not now face the second charges and presumably, goes free.

  3. Andrew Smith

    Messaging maybe meaningless to those of us here due to jumbled logic. However, to the upper median voting age demographic and younger whom are struggling, especially regions, the key words e.g. ‘battler’ etc. stick and resonate with the aggrieved.

    A US/Oz journo one knew spoke of Howard’s cleverness with language using the same when in the US means ‘loser’, which Libs would agree with.

    Catering to ageing monocultural demographics is a constant, but what if voting was voluntary, young would be shafted.

  4. andy56

    the problems i see are slightly different to what others have jumped to.
    1/ climate change. Its coming with a rush and we are not embracing the opportunity to transform our economy.
    2/ the age of DEMAND economics is coming to a close. Everyone has a car, a fridge, a heater, an AC system, a big screen. These markets are saturated
    3/ We still treat the unemployed and underemployed as leaches.
    4/ permanent full employment is now a dream for a lot of people. Permanent casual/ parttime is the norm. Piecemeal work is the new form of slavery
    5/ australia would be screwed without our resources.
    6/Australia is underpopulated. PLANNING should be a compulsory subject at school. Good planning means preparing for the influx.
    7/ Climate change means 20million extra people will make a run for australia, good luck keeping them out.
    8/ A strong government investing in the economy makes for a strong economy. Leaving it to the market is an abrogation of responsibility. We need to invest $30-40B in new technology like ammonia fuel cells and ammonia generation from renewables. Waiting for the disfunctional market is allowing what happened to solar cells happen here. The technology went over seas for the chinese to make into a big industry. Again, the market FCKED UP

  5. Ian Joyner

    Scott Morrison says he wants public servants to have a laser-like focus on the quiet people they never see and never hear from.
    That is people that don’t exist.
    Morrison’s Quiet Australians – as much fiction as John Howard’s Battlers.

  6. wam

    The quiet Australian is the poorly paid men and women workers whose votes keep the lnp into government. They do not talk at work but are influenced by those who do.
    For the gen X there are some powerful negatives,:
    accents of union leaders
    hearing the names whitlam and gillard
    the media’s constant pro lnp slogans
    Sadly honest evidence to the contrary is rarely heard. Even then it usually has a ‘fake’ tag.

    Albo has a long way to go to make the quiet people aware of his voice?

  7. Rhonda

    Perhaps it’s those quite folk who can’t get through to Centrelink

  8. Rhonda

    I’m wrong there. He doesn’t care about the silenced

  9. Kaye Lee

    I think we quiet Australians should arm ourselves with bubble blowers and unleash them every time we see a Coalition politician giving a presser. I rather like the idea of bubbles floating past FauxMo as he does his earnest impersonation of someone who gives a shit.

  10. johno

    Aussie battler, quiet aussie, I wonder what will be the next stupid cliche the polies dream up.

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