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Starved into surplus

I don’t know about you lot, but this year is the first time I’ve had to offer ‘rain cheques’ for Chrissy presents … being on just the aged pension has restricted us to just the essentials this year … like food, clothing (even as I write this, I can feel the soles of my feet touch the floor through my slippers), and shelter … We had to go easy on the wine for Xmas dinner, calling a limit on cost to just over $5 per bottle (Bertoli “Sacred Hill” Sauv’/blanc/plonk) … It’s quite good actually … and you can suck on the cork for some extra depth! And I think my cousin Lucy is going to lose one of her geese to “a fox” sometime in the next week.

But it’s getting pretty crook … I notice there aren’t too many smiles on the young mum’s faces down at the mega shopping mall as they queue with their kiddies for a sit on Chris Cringles lap … the kiddies … not the mums … and I distinctly heard one tattooed, gum-chewing scrubber tell her kid to; “Forget the bling … just ask for a voucher”. All this when we hear the LNP government is going to cheer us up with its MYEFO telling us cheerily of a projected budget surplus … Oh, Happy days! … And over all the bon hominy Christmas muzak pumping out of the speakers in the mall, I could distinctly hear that old lag; Fagin singing his theme song; You gotta pick a pocket or two”:

“In this life
One thing counts
In the bank
Large amounts
I’m afraid these don’t grow on trees
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two
You’ve got to pick a pocket or two.”

So the upshot is that we, the low-life citizen body is going to be starved so they; the sweet-life, can show a number in the black side of the ledger … How sweet it is! Almost as poetic as a thirsting man getting drowned in a flash flood while he digs in the creek-bed for some sustaining water … at least someone gets a smile from it!

Getting a surplus on the books while your nation starves is no big deal … For some of those tyrants in ancient times, that was the usual modus operandi … that and thieving funds from one side of the ledger to make the other side look better … Google: Gaius Verres / Sicily and you can get the gist of how it is done … then as now, except that these moderns have learned from Gaius how to cover your tracks … not less vicious, not less avaricious … just less obvious … subtle is the name of the game in these times … just ask any LNP member of the house who has a property portfolio fatter than George Christiansen’s waistline … and all gotten on “hard-earned” wages. But I hear they are “reviewing” the situation.

Again from Fagin:

“I’m reviewing the situation.
If you want to eat — you’ve got to earn a bob!
Is it such a humiliation
For a robber to perform an honest job?
So a job I’m getting, possibly,
I wonder who my boss’ll be?
I wonder if he’ll take to me …?
What bonuses he’ll make to me …?
I’ll start at eight and finish late,
At normal rate, and all… but wait!
… I think I’d better think it out again.”

And now, if things go right we may get a Labor government in next year, and that means if the MSM doesn’t go all out on a new “Kill Bill” campaign … and going by the ABC breakfast interview … did I say “interview”? … sorry, I meant “inquisition” … this morning (17/12/’18) with Wayne Swan, that is going to be the common theme. I still say that it was a damn shame when a good Hue and Cry roundup followed by a solid horse-whipping of certain culprits went out of fashion … a crying shame.

As a fellow citizen of this wide, brown land … made even browner now through a lack of action on climate change aversion, I don’t need to make a list of the services and shortfalls of unfunded and stretched authorities and schemes this “fiscally responsible government” has scrooged money – from everything from A to Zee – and this is how a LNP government gets its budget balanced … a bit like the tyrant using hanging men as a counterweight balance to weigh his gold. And what’s a life or two lost from lack of essential services when compared to that end of the financial year splurge on more medals and ribbons for the Border Force heroes? Everyone loves a parade.

But I am beginning to feel a growing chasm between the “haves” and the “f#ck-offs” in this world … even with the better-served “lefties”, I can just get the glimmer … if you cock your head just that little to the right and peer, squint-eyed through that social services crack you just fell through up to the tenured positioned “fortunate sons” of that class that never seem to feel the squeeze of “fiscal constraint” … or at least have a line of credit available to them that need not involve a threat of “sixpence to the knee” if payments drop behind!

It almost makes one feel like breaking into another verse of song:

“What happens when I’m seventy?
Must come a time … seventy.
When you’re old, and it’s cold
And who cares if you live or you die,
Your one consolation’s the money
You may have put by …
I’m reviewing the situation.
I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay!
You’ll be seeing no transformation,
But it’s wrong to be a rogue in ev’ry way.
I don’t want nobody hurt for me,
Or made to do the dirt for me.
This rotten life is not for me.
It’s getting far too hot for me.
There is no in between for me
But who will change the scene for me?
Don’t want no one to rob for me.
But who will find a job for me … I think I’d better think it out again!”

(All words in songs from the musical Oliver).

Yes … I too will have to “review” the situation.


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  1. Joseph Carli

    The only conversation around the checkout tills is “bills, bills, bills”…one is constantly ringing corporations up seeking to extend payments….it’s almost like that old whats-is-name song..: “I’ve rang everywhere, man!:..
    I’ve rang : “Aeg, AMP, Telstra, the Grocer, the man who delivers the mower…SA. Water, Local Council to alter the dates on the bill…I’ve rang the registra of vehicles, the maker of those little cured ham testicles…I’ve rang every where man!! (actually, the testicles thingy is a lie)”…

    But no bullshit…those bills are coming in thick and fast..all this privatisation of utilities has screwed the entire “putting a little away each week” household budgetting to buggery and back!..PLEASE, PLEASE, Labor….re-nationalise those utilities!!

  2. Judith

    I know how you feel Joseph. But I doubt that it’s true. This is the government who told us we’ll meet our emissions targets at a gallop. They’re starving Peter but still paying Paul – my guess it’s dodgy accounting & a lot of fairy dust for people’s eyes.

  3. Peter F

    I believe that the ‘projected’ surplus is just another nasty trick from a coalition which knows it its on the way out, setting the trap for the ALP who will have to face up to the fact that there will not be any surplus. Then the ‘good’ managers will point at the ALP and say “We told you so”.

  4. Egalitarian

    Totally agree with you Joseph.Privatization, Outsourcing and Offshoring is a disgrace.And having to deal with an Australian Company set up in Asia and having to deal with people with very little power and with bad English skills is frustrating beyond belief.

  5. Joseph Carli

    Egalitarian…Those Asian call centres!!…O -M – G……

  6. Egalitarian

    And one last thing they have no jurisdiction in turning off the recorded conversation if you request for it.I’m sure that is illegal.

  7. David Stakes

    MY single pension is only $684 a fortnight. Because my wife who is 58 gets nothing. Expected to jump thru centrelink hoops for jobs. Sorry beyond all that. If she was of pension age we would get $200 a fortnight more. And if I was Single the same an extra $100 per fortnight. How my pension is fair is beyond me, we still have to eat and pay bills. We manage JUST.

  8. Paul Davis

    The leader of the Centre Right Party Bill Shorten said yesterday that 18 months after the CRP takes power, in around six months time, he will launch an inquiry into the level of Newstart. As parliamentary reviews take six plus months i dont think the dolees will see any improvement in their allowance for around two and a half years from now, around July 2021.

    Not that this will bother many except those struggling to find sufficient income to rent a shed within walking distant to the charity food handout place. In fact it is amazing how cheaply one can live if you do without hot water, electricity, motor car, telephone, clean clothes, relationships, children, etc. All you need is a bike to get to Centrelink or public library computer to check for gig work and apart from charities there are the dumpsters behind supermarkets.

  9. Joseph Carli

    David and Paul…The scenarios you describe are sadly much the norm for many people..I had to gasp when i saw those folk cheerfully rummaging in a dumpster for food….THIS!!..in Australia…there needs to be a rough revolution….there really needs to be some arses thouroughly kicked down the road!…It’s just not funny anymore…It’s Christmas and it’s f#ckin’ tragic!

  10. Jaquix

    Very disappointed with Labor putting off review of Newstart etc til next year. Could have given people more hope than they did. There will be so much to do when (if) they get into govt They could be working on it now, at least in the broad. Newstart barely unchanged from when I was on it 25 years ago. Wasn’t enough then, woefully impossible now.
    Better off with a Labor government though.
    ReachTel poll out today indicates that Freydenberg could lose his Kooyong
    Vic.seat (blue ribbon Liberal, 11% margin “safe seat”) as showing over 14% swing to Labor!
    If sticks, Kelly ODwyer Higgins next door (9%) and Tim Wilson Goldstein (11%) nearby could go too.
    That would be 3 IPA gone in one fell swoop!
    Many more Victorian Liberals will be a bit worried about that including Greg Hunt.

  11. Joseph Carli

    Jaquix….Yes…I too would like to see more definate commitments on certain policy…but I have to concede that the process leading toward a election these days is like a blind person tapping with a stick to “feel” their way….there is so much division in the electorate that I suspect..and I can only play a subjective hand with this…that the party is treading on thin ice whichever way it goes…Blogs like this one also, I suspect, play an important part in a watch and wait plan..

  12. Phil Gorman

    Us pensioners just have to bide quiet until the April Budget The Lousy Nasty Party will lightly sprinkle us with just enough golden showers to pick up the old fart vote in May.

    If you’re lucky enough to live in a marginal seat there will be pork to make you gag.

    And now I feel a fit of doggerel coming on.

    Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay
    Gone are my friends from the workplace far away
    Gone from the factory, the office and the store
    To casual work and unpaid hours without recourse to law
    I hear their gentle voices calling
    poor old Joe

    I’m coming, I’m coming,
    for my head is bending low
    I hear the gentle voices calling,
    poor old Joe

    Gone are the happy times of an eight hour day
    Gone are opportunities for work and rest and play
    The economy is sovereign , all must bend the knee
    Ruled by wilful ignorance in a corrupt corpocracy
    I hear the plutocratic voices calling
    stuff you Jo

    And now I’m on the pension and all my strength is spent
    My heart’s clapped out, my hands are weak, , my back is getting bent
    My eyes are dim, I’m going deaf, my knees are really crook,
    And only at election time do I get a second look
    I hear the pollies’ voices calling
    poor old Joe

    Where are the hearts once so happy and so free
    The children of democracy who knew equality
    The people were once sovereign for the common good
    Now the homeless steal to live in our neighbourhood
    I hear their husky voices calling
    help me Joe

    Why do I weep, when my heart should feel no pain
    Why fear the future when there’s been so much gain
    It’s my grandkids’ future in a world racked by heat
    A man made hell bereft of life and nothing left to eat
    I hear their starving voices calling
    where were you Joe?

    With apologies to Paul Robeson et al

  13. helvityni

    We throw a lot of money on border protection, whilst leaving job-seekers, oldies, homeless to their struggles…Soon we’ll have the worlds’ best ‘under-water boats’…

    Yet those strugglers have always shouted: Bloody best country in the whole wide world…what other countries have they been to, I sometimes wonder…

    Maybe it’s the adversarial Westminster system we can blame here…you see we always have to blame someone/something, bloody Labor, bloody wogs, asylum seekers…bloody taxes…even the poor vote for the LNP…they feel they have gone up one class/caste…suburb…

  14. Joseph Carli

    Good one Phil…no need to apologise…it stands alone…

    Yes, Helvityni…I also wonder on just who it is the persons that clamour for protection on our borders…from what?..The percentage of people struggling with financial/ personal security WITHIN our borders must be hitting high double figures by now…so just who is it that feels unsafe from “foreigners”?…is it the priveledged class with their property portfolios that don’t want their incomes lowered, or is it the marginal impoverished dominant cultural class who don’t want their perceived cultural position diminished?…

    Is the “branding” through citizenship or birth of being ; “Australian” a marque that distinguishes one from another to such a state that even low envy equal to that of a beggar above a slave is enough to claim pride of place?

  15. whatever

    Newstart Allowance to be renamed Newstarve, a weight-loss program with your welfare in mind.

  16. helvityni

    whatever, very clever…very timely…

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