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Those who stand for a parliamentary seat in Canberra seem to fall into roughly 3 categories; The party apparatchiks, the earnest believers in helping the community and those who think their destiny is to become Prime Minister.

Unsurprisingly, this last group is remarkable large, even though close examination reveals a much lower level of talent and a much higher lust for power than might be desirable in a supreme leader.

What far too many of those who are eventually elected seem to lack, is an understanding of what life is like for the substantial number of wage earners – particularly those in the gig or casual economy.

The sheer cruelty which has been exerted in the last decade or more towards many groups – refugees, backpackers, casual workers, many immigrants and visa holders – is, for me, breath-taking.

To deny certain groups of people a living wage in a country like Australia, with its rich resources, is unforgivable. Even more so when global corporations are invited to plunder those resources while arranging their tax affairs to contribute little if anything to our economy.

Our national politicians are among the best paid in the world and resist vigorously any suggestions that their allowances and superannuation are too generous. Yet they make decisions on policies like Robo-debt, the Indue cashless basics card and, in recent weeks, who does/does not get assistance when unemployed because of the Covid-19 crisis – which show a total absence of understanding of the damage they are doing.

Let’s just pause a moment and consider some of these flawed policies.

Robo-debt did not just use a totally flawed algorithm, which anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics could spot a mile off. IT WAS ILLEGAL!

And has the government rushed to remedy the situation for those who were wrongly charged or over-charged? Don’t rush to answer this effectively rhetorical question unless you have recently seen a flight of pigs.

For every Indue card issued, the supplier receives a reasonably substantial administrative fee – money which would go back into the economy if it went instead to welfare recipients.

In the world of live entertainment, but not including sport, theatres, their staff, performers, backstage staff, roadies for touring groups, etc, are largely only in receipt of payment for specific performances. If the venue cannot be used, the performance is not being delivered through the internet, or other forms of broadcasting, none of the people involved get an income. Yet they are almost all excluded from most of the schemes the governments has adopted to assist those with regular employment.

And – just to add to the joys of spring, where, once upon a time, Social Security and the Commonwealth Employment Service were staffed by trained public servants, now, their successors are less well equipped, with much of Centrelink’s services being privatised (and de-humanised for the benefit of shareholders!), while those seeking work or disability support are now dealing with private agencies where staff are often poorly trained and ill-equipped to deal with specialist health and other areas.

And if you have dealt with Centrelink in recent times, how long has it taken for you to actually make contact with someone who was able to help you efficiently and sympathetically? (Pigs, anyone?)

My personal observation, in light of recent publicity on welfare issues, including Aged Care, is that no social service should ever be privatised. Corporation Law requires the directors of an incorporated body to give priority to looking after shareholders interests. Until and unless this law is amended to demand appropriate standards of care for clients of the services provided by the corporation, things will not improve.

How much has so far been achieved in this regard by the banking Royal Commission? (Another porcine rhetorical interjection.)

Now – not only are many people now working from home, if they still have a job, staying home unless it is essential that they go out, maintaining social distance, or even in self- isolation if they might be incubating the virus, the whole fabric of society has been torn apart.

And to expect that, the moment the green light is given, everyone will be back on the job, the wheels of industry will be turning smoothly, everything will be back to normal at the flick of a switch and we all wake up from the nightmare – well! Excuse me! Are you totally bonkers?

Properly designed and with appropriate tax laws, a Universal Basic Income would have been an ideal start for handling the present crisis. Everyone would at least have a basic income without any waiting period. The claims that it would discourage people from finding work might have some foundation, but when, for a long time now, there have not been enough jobs to meet demand, it can surely be ignored?

Earlier today I published on the AIMN an article entitled ‘Planning for the future must start NOW’.

And it must!

We do not know how many months must pass before we start to return to anything approaching normal.

It certainly will not be business as usual, we will have learned a lot about ourselves, our government and what we need to do as a priority and that knowledge must be put to good use.

For the planet to survive, we MUST act on climate change.

So – NO! Scott Morrison. We will NOT be snapping back.

We will be in a position to improve our future.

WE MUST USE IT!

I end as always (except that I forgot last time!) – this is my 2020 New Year Resolution:
“I will do everything in my power to enable Australia to be restored to responsible government.”

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9 comments

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  1. Win Jeavons

    Absolutely agree! We who are old sometimes have a better perspective, having seen and experienced so much. I remember my mother , a secondary teacher , telling me of the impact of the ‘ Spanish ‘flu. And I remember WW2 , living on a Pacific Island where there were nearly as many foreign soldiers as locals. Inflation hit the prices of such foods as you could buy, and we mostly ate what we could grow. As we had 2 cows that was not bad.
    I think we need to share such memories, so the young can see that it is the good times that were unusual, not the struggles . Because I think there will no easy times in the foreseeable future, with climate impacts on top of the virus.

  2. king1394

    Why do our leaders not realise that the virus is what will be snapping back. We need planning that considers how we are to live with COVID-19 for many years to come, and not just rely on the hope of a vaccine that will solve all problems

  3. Carol Taylor

    We were already facing a Recession before the bushfires and Coronavirus came along – years of wage suppression, inflated house/rent prices, insecure casual workforce. And suddenly LNP business supporters were wondering where all the customers had gone. You don’t have to ask the small business owner, they’ll tell you..nobody has got any money. Morrison’s ‘snap back’ presumably means snapping back to the same conditions which were already sending the country broke. Anyone who studies history knows that civilisations rise and fall on the back of the working middle class. From Morrison’s statements which amounted to ‘don’t get used to the largesse kiddies’, he means to send Australia back to where he was comfortable, suppression of the working classes and heading to a prolonged Recession.

  4. Ray Tinkler

    Carol, couldn’t agree more.

  5. Phil Pryor

    Fearful times now, and people here express outlooks well; As for P M material (who wants to be a Piltdown Man?) take Dopey Dutton, or is it Peter Duckwit-Futton, he, in relation to P M material, is as a short masturbatory squirt compared to a fifty years happy marriage.., well short. and the superstitious idiot of a pentecostal penultimate penile implant is no different. There is little good material in parliament because it is full of ego driven swollen, inflated, exaggerated fantasy fraud and fluff, career enrichment focussed and deficient. Unless this nation develops a system of participation, whereby all talent may contribute without career length to attract bribery, corruption, lobbying, patrons, donors, crooks, we are STUFFED and bound for mediocrity and backwardness. We need talent and co-operation…

  6. Neil Hogan

    I couldn’t agree more with both Rosemary and Carol…I wrote an article about a Universal Basic Income almost 3 years ago that was published here and almost 3 weeks ago after the announcement of the first stimulus package and how it would be paid out I posted it again on my Facebook page and several others as well as Twitter with the following heading…

    “Imagine how much easier this current situation would be if we had a Universal Basic Income system in place.”

    There would have been no queues at Centrelink offices, no danger from lack of social distancing in queues, no panic of will I or won’t I be eligible for the stimulus package and no surge of people trying to access the Centrelink website.

    A universal basic income would be good for everybody

  7. New England Cocky

    Yes RosemaryJ36, I agree: “So – NO! Scott Morrison. We will NOT be snapping back. We will be in a position to improve our future.”

    @Neil Hogan: The UBI was trailed and the results researched over a five year period in a Canadian city, stopped only by a Conservative Harper misgovernment. The data was very positive when finally analysed. Basically, the UBI more than paid for itself in savings for the Canadian Health Service created by LESS attendance by persons on UBI.

    Obviously security of income improves overall health of UBI recipients rather than Newstart getting them stressed out wondering where the next meal for their kids will materialise after the landlord and electricity suppliers have taken the pittance.

  8. TuffGuy

    I have always maintained that certain functions should ALWAYS be kept in the hands and control of government. All social services and all public utilities. The day governments began selling off public utilities was the downfall of society as we know it. Just have a look at life now with massive utility bills that are, quite frankly, out of control. Private companies can only operate by making profit and profit should never be made from the basic necessities of life. Now all the public utilities are all sold off they are starting on the social services. You just cannot allow anyone to be making a profit from health and welfare. It is not just the cost that goes up but the level of care disappears too.
    The only acceptable snapback is for the government to cease selling off government services, buy back what has been sold, shutdown all tax dodges and make everyone pay their fair share of tax (re all lifters and no leaners) and institute a UBI

  9. Vikingduk

    Several weeks ago, saw a stray news article saying the filthy shitstains that comprise our government have reimbursed, I think it was, $50 million to robodebt victims and that were possibly settling a class action that will amount to more millions being reimbursed. Don’t you enjoy being ruled by this superbly competent, caring pack of scum suckers.

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