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Staying alive

When my children were young, and referred to anything that happened before they were born, they used to talk about “in the olden days”.

I grew up reading fairy stories, myths and legends – King Arthur and his knights of the round table – with distressed damsels being rescued by white knights in shining armour, and princesses on white horses with tall, pointy hats, trailing a veil – so these were the pictures my imagination conjured up by the ‘olden days’ reference.

But the real olden days were the times before money was invented as a universal medium of exchange of goods and services. When the rulers of the land had absolute power over the majority of the people.

Were they good times?

For most people – no, they were not.

Many governments around the world are currently fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through social distancing, mass testing for infection, hand sanitising and public mask-wearing.

For this to be effective, many types of work cannot continue to be carried out and many people are facing drastically reduced – or total loss of – incomes.


Few, if any, countries had fully prepared plans for dealing with a pandemic – certainly the Australian government had none – so decisions are being made blindly, on an ad hoc basis.

Without much clear forward-thinking, the Coalition government urged banks to come to an arrangement for deferred payment of mortgages and landlords to desist from evicting tenants unable to pay the rent.

The effectiveness of these suggestions depended on more concrete enforcement action by state and territory governments, and completely ignored the issue of the applicable time frame.

Understandably, most policies were being predicated on the assumption that, sooner or later, we would have a vaccine, but when and how effective it might be was unknown.

Not much has changed in that regard.

Financial institutions and landlords need more certainty than is provided by this situation, and it is becoming evident that, in the very near future, mortgagees will be receiving demands for payment, on the threat of foreclosure, while tenants will similarly be receiving ‘pay up or get out’ messages from landlords.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall when the National Cabinet discussed financial arrangements, leading to the massive program the government finally introduced.

I would bet my bottom dollar that the plan was agreed to but not initiated by Morrison and Frydenberg.

After all – all the policies of the Coalition government have been based on reversing and crtiticising the policies initiated by the ALP when in power – just as Trump has been beavering away undoing every socially responsible policy introduced by Obama.

Because the policies offered by the Coalition, are developed by people, few, if any, of whom have ever been severely deprived, they are blind to the effects they will have on the people most adversely affected.

For years there have been demands from many areas that Newstart was totally inadequate, for many people and many reasons.

To the relief of many, the initial payment approved by government, for the unemployed who were not entitled to other categories of payment, was an improvement on Newstart – but had the threat hanging over it that it might later be reduced.

What the Coalition government does not seem able to comprehend is the scale and extent of the problem it faces.

Prior to the pandemic, wage levels for many – but not for CEO’s salaries and bonuses! – had been stagnant, if not going backwards, for years. So people had been unable to save, had, in fact, accumulated often massive levels of debt in a climate where the number of those unemployed was massively greater than the numbers of available jobs.

The people who were best supported in this situation were those employed by the out-sourced employment agencies.

Employees of these agencies were often eligible for bonuses if they placed an applicant in a job, and a further bonus it the person remained in that employment for a specified period.

The person who benefitted most was a shareholder in the company which was required to help those unemployed.

Attempts are now being made by government to cut more ground from under the feet of those who have already lost working conditions which unions fought hard to gain for them.

Australia is a wealthy country – but much of that wealth is squirrelled away in tax havens, allowing the account holders to use their money to make money, which is never subject to tax in Australia. The gap widens, day after day.

We need a variant of the universal basic income (UBI) to ensure that the increased number for whom no jobs exist can avoid becoming a homeless underclass. through no choice of their own!

The government could encourage a recovery which creates jobs, starting in those states which are reasonably clear of COVID-19 – WA, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, with Queensland and SA champing on their heels.

Those jobs must be linked to dealing with the other existential crisis – global warming.

And taxation MUST return to being progressive.

OK – I know. I expect miracles – and not the kind Morrison looks for!

The vast majority of those supposedly planning for our future are all receiving regular incomes, living in a secure situation with solid plans for the future.

Until and unless they consult more effectively with those organisations which know at first hand the misery and hopelessness of those who are out of work, unlikely to find work in the near future, desperate for their families’ welfare and suffering enormous stress, Australia will remain a basket case with an ideologically biassed government which is blind to its failings.


I end as always – 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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  1. New England Cocky

    Rosemary, the events you describe could reasonably be considered a present Liarbral Nazional$ Australian government policy to ensure that all Australians are reduced to poverty as a step towards the ”new feudalism”. It happened before in Germany between 1039 and 1945 when the German middle classes were ruined by government policies favouring heavy industries and gross over-development of public infrastructure. A good policy until the banks wanted to be repaid the loan monies so government stripped the middle classes of wealth to protect the heavy manufacturers.

    Look at the American Dream and recognise that the inter-generational poverty is really the American Nightmare with an elite few having all the benefits that exploiting lax corporate taxation rules can produce. Corporations require cheap labour to maximise profits for the bosses and must pass as many expenses as possible onto others rather than pay themselves. This results in an impoverished work force of citizens denied professional services because professional practitioners follow the same ”Greed is Good” philosophy.

    This policy has been a long time coming. It was identified by Sydney University economists in the mid 1970s and has slowly been implemented across the world as Thatcherism, Reganomics and now Scummo’s No Policy Hillsong Prayers Approach.

  2. RomeoCharlie29

    Correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can see, none of our governing parliamentarians, national or state/territory, have taken a cut in salaries and as some media are reporting, most company executives are continuing to receive generous salaries and bonuses despite diminishing profits, or, in some cases, such as Australia Post, increasing profits. The rorts and abuses in the job finding industry and others benefitting from Jobkeeper are shameful. Scummo, Friedanegg and their mates cannot be blind to these iniquities and inequities, so it confirms that their policies of impoverishment of workers is deliberate. When polls seem (?) to indicate Scummo retains a high, though sinking, relative approval rating, I wonder what it will take for the Australian people to realise this government does not have their best interests at heart.

    Btw MN, did you mean Germany during the war years or were you referring to the pre-war era?

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