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The Agenda of Stigmatization is alive and well in Budget 2015

One of the main themes I have addressed over previous blog posts in regards to the 2014 Budget is the “Agenda of Stigmatization” by the Liberal National Coalition Government. The Agenda of Stigmatization is alive and kicking in Budget 2015. The targets? Women, single parents and working mothers.

The stigmatization narrative of the Liberal National Government’s Budget 2015 is like a passive aggressive snarl, rather than the brazen punch to the face we received in 2014.

Rorters and Double Dippers

On The Insiders, ABC (17/05/2015) Barry Cassidy interviewed Joe Hockey on a variety of budget related matters. The first area that piqued my interest was the matter of Paid Parental Leave. This policy assists parents, predominantly young women to care for their new born babies for a period prior to returning to work. This was hailed as a major initiative of the Coalition Government. One where they built on Labor’s Paid Parental Leave Policy and had ‘achieved better and greater than Labor ever could, where it comes to women.’ In fact the coalition stated that:

The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme will result in a woman earning the average full-time salary of around $65,000 receiving $32,500 – and they will be around $21,300 better off under the Coalition’s scheme relative to Labor’s scheme.

Tony Abbott also famously stated on 3AW in September, 2013, that

“I don’t think women suffer legal discrimination and I don’t think anyone these days sets out to do the wrong thing but it is very difficult for women to combine work and family if they don’t have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme and that’s going to change very soon under the Coalition.”

So now they don’t have a “fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme” – what has the Coalition got to offer women?

Now the Coalition has back-flipped on this policy; stating the reason for the back-flip was that they have listened to the community. Yes, the community needs reliable, affordable childcare, but not at the detriment of already hard fought for entitlements at work.

The negative narrative of parents, primarily women, being ‘rorters and double dippers’ is meant to stigmatise this group so the public believe that working mothers are getting more than their fair share. The Coalition would like the voting taxpayer to believe that mothers are essentially stealing the nation’s taxes.

The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they reduce or abolish Labor’s Paid Parental Scheme altogether.

Single Parents

Single parents, particularly single mothers are another favourite target group for the Liberal National Government’s agenda of stigmatisation. We have already had in Budget 2014 attacks on FTB reducing family income for up to $6,000 per year and a the abolishment of FTB once a child has turned six. In addition, return to work and education supplements, which have been vital in the past to transition single parents into work will also cease. These changes still need to be passed in the Senate and are now linked as savings, which will fund Childcare, in addition to savings found from those on Newstart under 25 having no income for one month.

When the Prime Minister and Minister for Women was challenged in Question Time about these cuts by Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, the Prime Minister accused Labor of supporting welfare as “pseudo-generosity. This is a prime example of the Coalition’s narrative that they see welfare as a ‘generosity’ to be given or taken away rather than an essential need.

Now we have the “Have A Go” Budget of 2015, where the Coalition ‘Has a Go’ at Single Parents by comparing apples and oranges to convince the public that Single Parents are not only having their cake and eating it too, but eating hard-working people’s cakes as well. The message here is that single parents are greedy bludgers, who get more in hand-outs than a hard working voting taxpayer.

The following table was discussed on The Insiders, ABC Sunday 17 May, 2015. Barry Cassidy queried Joe Hockey as to why it was necessary to compare the two. Hockey’s response was that he thinks it is important to advise tax payers where their money is going. (It is also interesting that the pictures on this graph pegs a single mother with two children against a hard-working single man.)

As you can see the “Age of Entitlement’ Graph demonstrates that a hard-working person working five days per week, is actually worse off than a sole parent with two kids. This is a dynamic display of the ‘Lifters and Leaners” narrative we were accustomed to in 2014 although the actual words are not used in Budget 2015. The subliminal messaging is what is used to be effective here.

However, the graph does not take into account the cost of raising children, which I have added below:

joe single parents 3

As this table now shows, regardless of what the Coalition want you to believe, when you take into account the cost of raising children; a sole parent working part-time is not better off than a hard-working individual working five days per week on $80,000 per year.

As Barry Cassidy put to Joe Hockey “But you may be creating resentment though for no purpose” Of course, Joe Hockey disagreed and responded with “Why anyone would resent helping a single parent?”

After the last 18 months of stigmatizing those on welfare, including single parents; along with the Kevin Andrews’ mantra that married couples are more valued in society; this really speaks volumes of how out of touch Joe Hockey and the Coalition are. Maybe the Treasurer should follow commentary on social media and main stream media to understand what many people think of those on welfare.

Joe Hockey knows and the coalition knows that their negative narrative about those on welfare for the past 18 months has already increased resentment. Taking an under-handed swipe at single parents, whilst butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, is beyond reproach.

The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they make more harsh cuts to welfare and single parents in conjunction with a more Liberal friendly Senate.

The 2015 Budget has given little to no hope for those already doing it tough on welfare. The Budget failed to deliver a vision for our future and has painted an even bleaker future for women. It is essential that the vision we have for the future is to say “NO” to a Coalition Government at the next election and always, always, put Liberal & National last.

“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
―Erving Goffman

 

Originally Published on polyfeministix

 

42 comments

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  1. DanDark

    Great article once again Victoria, Joe can put all the graphs up he likes, I am a single mum raised 6 kids mostly single handed, put a few through UNI, fed them, paid a mortgage, clothed them and cared for their general needs, and have worked out of the house for years in low paying jobs that have flexible hours so I can raise my kids, try getting up at 3 in the morning to go clean a filthy pub with smoke buts in glasses, smashed glasses, food spread around the joint, just the smell is enough to make ya vomit, but I am a bludger according to the fat arse smoking Joe who has done nothing worthwhile his whole low life,,, Geeeezuz give me strength…. 🙂

  2. Trish Corry

    Thanks DanDark. My mum was a cleaner and I helped her clean for years including pubs, so I know the smell you are talking about. Yes, they have no idea. ps. I’m Trish, not Victoria.

  3. deanyz1

    Good article, but once again the grammar nazi in me took over. “The first area that peaked my interest was the matter of Paid Parental Leave. “I think the word you were searching for was “Piqued”. http://blog.dictionary.com/pique-peak-peek/ 😀

  4. DanDark

    oops sorry Trish, I need to take 2 bex and start the day again, and the extra help is a bonus, my little one used to come and help me clean and change the beds in the 10 rooms out the back of the pub later on in the day on school holidays and weekends, she didn’t do a lot but at least she was with me and not in daycare, not that daycare is bad, but we all have a choice and mine is to spend as much time with my kids as I can, because we are only kids for a short time in our life and those years go soooo quick and the next thing they are an adult 🙂

  5. Trish Corry

    Thanks Deanyz1. Edited.

  6. susan

    Please republish this article every week until all the women in Australia have understood the LNP ‘s attitude towards them. I do seriously doubt Hockey’s assumption that he is smarter than the general population because there can’t be many people who would swallow his assertion that having children is a money making exercise.

  7. trishcorry

    Thanks Susan. I hope people do read it. It is a very sneaky act indeed.

  8. Florence nee Fedup

    Most single mums, including the mythical adolescent rarely stay on benefits any longer than they have to. Most are income tax payers before. When able return to be taxpayers. They are not a race apart. Same goes for the ill and unemployed.

  9. PamelaK

    Does that cost of raising children include the out of pocket childcare cost for 2 children, as not everyone has family that can help with child care while you work and the childcare rebate & benefit, does not cover the full cost, on the estimate calculator, 2 children one at school being they are under 6 you are looking at around $9,000 for out of pocket child care expenses. (given childcare cost can vary quite a bit depending on where you live as well.)

  10. Trish Corry

    The statistics are from the cost of living research linked in the article. The figure used is the average cost of raising two children for a low income family. The average would take into account those who pay childcare and those who do not. Yes, you will have some families for whom the cost is less and for some for whom the cost is more. However, the average is the most commonly used figure. The average cost to raise two children overall is $488 per week; taking into account, low, middle and high income families.

  11. iggy648

    We should also look at discretionary disposable income. If we assume that the single age pension is roughly what it takes for basic comfortable survival in Australia, then around $20,000 needs to be subtracted from both to arrive at discretionary disposable income. So single mum with two kids has around $29,700 while the single person has around $40,900. The $29,700 had to do for 3 people, while the single person has $40,900 all to himself. (The age pensioner has $800 all to herself!).

  12. Judith W

    Tax on $80000 is closer to $17,500 not $19147 – Joe’s exaggerating again…!

  13. townsvilleblog

    Trish, what has always amazed me with the subject of single mothers is that the LNP always paint this situation as a slut who is basically a baby factory (this does occur) however with the amount of marriage breakdown in Australia there must be a huge number of mothers who suddenly find themselves in this category through no fault of their own, even the wealthy women can be in this situation. The LNP are a collection of people who lack empathy or compassion for their fellow Australians, surely the public have had a gutful of this rubbish by now?

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    I am fed up with those, including most in this government starting with “my tax money is being spent on them” or words to that effect.

    They seem to have no comprehension that they also benefit from the taxes they pay.

    Money spent on welfare is only small part of government expenditure.

    Most welfare recipients have been taxpayers for most of their lives. They even pay taxes while on benefits. They are not a race apart.

    All have received education from the society they live in. All have access to health. Yes, rely on the police and law to keep them safe. All drive on roads. Turn on electricity from the grid provided by governments. Use public transport. Some use highly skilled workers in their businesses.

    All demand state of art, expensive security and defence forces.

    Most, at some time in life, need government help to survive.

    At the end of the day, if one wants a civil society, it costs.

    It is not about them and us. It is about us.

  15. Trish Corry

    Great comment Florence

  16. Kaye Lee

    Judith W,

    The $17,547 payable on taxable income of $80,000 does not include the 2% medicare levy which would take it to Joe’s figure.

  17. stephentardrew

    Trish stigmatize is much too bland for this mob. They actually want us to hate our fellow citizens with vehemence and raw anger so they can ride on the coat tails of hate and greed. They do not want to stigmatize they want to vilify. This is an age old strategy of conservatives world wide. Get the old limbic system riled up then ride it all the way to an election. Now what did they do to Julia?

    They love to hate for in hating they can convince people to vote against their best interests.

    Drive a purely emotional agenda and watch reason and rationality disappear in a puff of dystopian hubris.

    The doyens of religion and love are skilled masters of hate, discrimination and prejudice.

    As for marginalised and poor women they are just an easy target.

  18. Trish Corry

    Completely agree Stephen. However, if someone from the left drives a completely emotional agenda and uses terms like ‘hate’ and ‘vilify’ we get mocked and crucified, regardless of the truth.

    I choose stigma for two reasons. One is the purpose balance to appeal to a wider readership and two – I have a huge respect for Erving Goffman’s work on Stigma in society and it informs my perspective. For one to be vilified and hated, stigma has to exist as an underlying construct.

  19. Harquebus

    The government should butt out completely. Subsidies only ever distort markets.

  20. Trish Corry

    Harquebus Unless you believe Libertarianism to be the load of tripe that it is.

  21. matters Not

    Harquebus is also taking the piss.

    Hopefully.

    Otherwise, …

  22. Trish Corry

    Sounded like a good old libertarian advocate to me; so 10 points for good acting if he is not serious.

  23. Trish Corry

    Guess the post has made it’s way to the dark side of Facebook somewhere. Third troll post in a row. I’m not going to argue back, your comments can just hang there and speak for the sort of person you are. People can judge for themselves.

  24. DanDark

    Jimmy Jammy was on the Larry Pickering thread, has moved over to other threads now because he was being ignored there, he is here to derail threads and talk gutter talk, he is one screwed up unit …that’s why I havnt commented tonight, the trolls are alive..

  25. Trish Corry

    Yeh, as I said in my last post. I’m not buying into it. Its obvious troll behaviour. People get a bit bored with it, to be honest. It doesn’t really get people to bite back much anymore,(as more people can pick it now), which is what they are after.

  26. DanDark

    yep Trish… they are also attention seekers tooooooo so best to just ignore them, that’s what they HATE the most to be totally ignored 🙂

  27. Trish Corry

    Good to hear you are so passionate Jammy. What do you do, besides troll social media to get your preferred Govt over the line?

  28. Trish Corry

    Ok so if you don’t do anything constructive, why bother bleating about the Govt? Being a champion in your own lunch box doesn’t make anything you say worthwhile to listen to then, does it?

  29. Harquebus

    I am serious. Subsidies increase prices. If a business can’t operate without subsidies then, it is not a viable business and should close shop. Is child care a business or a community service? If a service then, business should butt out.

  30. Lindsay Stafford

    Trish, (and others)
    George Orwell explained the process so clearly. So much of public discourse is pervaded by newspeak, including unfortunately, this article and many of the comments. “Welfare” is a word that I do not like being used by us on the left. It has been distorted by the right such that the very word carries stigma. “Social Security”, at this point, is a better option because it does allude to a society (which is anathema to the right)

  31. corvus boreus

    Trish Corry,
    Jammy was led here by the old Pickering thread. Apparently he is a fan of the porn cartoonist and serial conman.
    He has been spouting love of killing and relish of approaching apocalypse, as well as some anti-science crap and other provocative drivel.
    Very bored troll or seriously deranged creep.
    .

  32. trishcorry

    Yeh I know Corvus. I just told him being a champion in his own lunchbox makes his commentary irrelevant. However, It is an interesting social phenomenon to observe that Liberal Leaners are still obsessed with Gillard and Rudd. I am sure there must be an underlying construct to be investigated, which would have the same linkage to the Liberals also living in the dark ages. My guess is it is like an anti-progressive construct which must underpin this behaviour. A good question is – what are the antecedents of anti-progressiveness? Any psychologists or sociologists on board?

  33. Harquebus

    We have been improving ever since humans were first able to kill from a distance. From rocks to ICBMs with thousands of extinctions in between. Jus’ sayin’. We have killed, consumed, over-exploited, poisoned or destroyed just about everything we have come into contact with. The very things we need to sustain us.

  34. DanDark

    Jimmy Jam and his cohorts are the reason I am getting myself and my 9 year old daughter out of the country, what hope have we got and what future do young girls have in this country….. they have no future with men filled with such hate for women, Jimmy Jam isn’t the only one,,, We have the biggest woman hater running the country….. yep if I was concerned about my daughters safety in this country before Jimmy Jam I am now………

  35. John Citizen

    My post is about and article that Grahame Richardson posted on The Australian last Monday morning. It appeared at the top of the Opinions list. That evening it disappeared from that list and can now only be found if you drill down a bit to Richardson’s articles. It was made up of two main parts: Stuff about the double-dipping; and comments about Shorten’s budget-reply speech.
    I include it here the first part in full, as what is alleged is very serious stuff indeed.
    ———————–
    Budget 2015: How double dipping didn’t score for our male ministers
    Graham Richardson
    Political Columnist
    Sydney

    Generally speaking I write Friday’s column around midday on Thursday. By meeting my obligations for a reasonable deadline, I missed two important stories. While I was actually putting pen to paper (yes, I am a troglodyte and I hand-write every column) the government’s efforts to sell its new paid parental leave scheme were falling in a ruined heap.

    Later that evening Bill Shorten gave his reply to Joe Hockey’s budget. He demonstrated a ­capacity to come up with fresh ideas and even made a major ­concession. What he failed to do was to convince anyone he had learned from the dismal efforts of his two predecessors at the helm of his great party.

    The award for the biggest cock-up undoubtedly goes to the government, so I’ll start there. The emergence of Scott Morrison as the great salesman for this budget worked really well until last Thursday. By dinner time on that day the redeemer was in need of redemption. I regard Scott as a friend so it gives me no joy to record that he came out of this exercise looking like a real mug. Morrison was skewered by his own rhetoric. The genesis of his acute embarrassment lay in the manner in which this policy was hatched.

    It is only one year since the last budget, when Tony Abbott’s signature policy was put front and centre. From the rooftops the budget promised the most generous paid parental leave scheme in the world. Without any means testing, women could claim in the first version $150,000 a year, reduced to $75,000 after the predictable negative voter reaction.

    As I mentioned last Friday, with the government, upper-class welfare is not only alive and well, it is thriving. Around Christmas time the obvious, inevitable announcement came; prime ministerial pride and stubbornness were finally defeated. As the unfairness of the 2014 budget was writ large in every opinion poll, the policy was ditched.

    The Prime Minister showed us that he may a slow learner, but he can nonetheless learn. This budget contained a policy reversal that will live long in the annals of the extraordinary. We went from doling out lashings of largesse to women having babies, to actually reducing their entitlements. It was in trying to justify the huge backflip that the government sowed the seeds of this drama.

    The exclusively male group who made this decision did so in a back room, choking on testosterone rather than cigar smoke. They convinced themselves that they could make the backflip virtuous by labelling all those rightly using the commonwealth scheme to top up the private one from which they benefited, as double dippers.

    Double dipping is clearly a pejorative term. So a group of senior ministers thought they could con the nation into believing that tens of thousands of Australian families had acted improperly.

    The truth was that the Liberals voted for the scheme when Labor introduced it. That Kevin Andrews as social services minister was quite happy with it was to be ignored. The fact that the scheme was only ever meant as a supplement to existing private schemes was to be distorted.

    Morrison knew all this when he said the scheme was a rort. He may be a good salesman but he forgot the golden rule. If you exaggerate or tell porkies, Australia works you out pretty quickly. Morrison is to blame for taking the rhetoric way too far.

    He is not to blame for the damning silence of his mates Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. While they sat around the table and hatched this plot, they somehow neglected to tell the others at the table that they too had double dipped.

    ALP senator Sam Dastyari was angry. He and his wife had accessed the scheme twice. He was a “double, double dipper”. Having been branded as some sort of quasi-criminal, he knew that the Finance Minister had a young child so he asked the $64 million question. Cormann was caught.

    This prompted Frydenberg to make his big admission. Just how they could have kept the government in the dark while endorsing this cut says more about them than it does about their families. Morrison was exposed at that point.

    He then compounded his original mistake by claiming that while he had called the scheme a rort he had never called its participants rorters. If you ask the first 100 people you meet in the shopping centre of every suburb, village or city whether or not those who take part in a rort are rorters, every single one of them would answer in the affirmative.

    The man who could sell air-conditioners to the Inuit had faltered. Unlike his boss, Morrison will learn from this. He will learn to keep his rhetoric in check and to check his mates out carefully.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/budget-2015-how-double-dipping-didnt-score-for-our-male-ministers/story-fnfenwor-1227358117773

  36. TanyaKata

    I am a single mum raising seven children. two are at uni and all are ambitious and will all be taxpayers of the future, one already pays taxes. I had a part time job for five years and had almost become financially independent but when Abbott came into power and cut govt jobs I lost mine. I find it ironical that he cut my job and pushed me back on welfare now he wants to cut my welfare and push me into the pit. The thing is I haven’t finished raising my future taxpayers. I need them to look up and forward and never look back at the poverty they come from but how can I do that if I am totally crushed. I do not have disposable income I do not smoke drink do drugs. I struggle to cover basics, I don’t get it?

  37. Trish Corry

    Thank you for sharing your story. You must be a very strong woman to raise so many on your own. I was a single parent for ten months and it was the hardest period of my life. Not only financially, but the burden of all the decision making being mine alone was very confronting. I don’t understand it either. That is why I am a member of a political party (Labor) and I actively campaign and speak up at meetings to fight for a better Australia. The Liberals attitude towards social security is punitive and damaging. Labor has the right intent, but some areas still need improving. I would love to use a part of your comment in a future blog, if that is OK with you. ” I had a part time job for five years and had almost become financially independent but when Abbott came into power and cut govt jobs I lost mine. I find it ironical that he cut my job and pushed me back on welfare now he wants to cut my welfare and push me into the pit. ” It got me right in the heart. To me it is a very powerful statement. Up to you, and I will state it was from a comment and not take ownership of it. I will respect your decision either way.

  38. Trish Corry

    I find it ironic that you mention Australia as the wealthiest country on earth. Do we measure success as a whole, or by the parts? Australia is more than the sum of its parts. If we isolate some of the parts, there are people in abject poverty. I know you keep commenting about stuff which is completely irrelevant to this article; but essentially to bring it back to the purpose of this thread; this is what we are talking about here. Australia “Liberals” Neo-Liberals and Libertarianism are based on the ethical viewpoint of egoism; meaning the view the world through the self-centered lens. Labor is built from the ethical viewpoint of Utilitarianism and justice-view, with a view to equality. The greatest good for the greatest number of people and using the justice view to legislate to assist to bring up to rise above poverty and suffering. The Abbott Government’s agenda of stigmatisation has one purpose – to stigmatise those in need – to normalise this view, to create barely a whisper of resistance for further cuts. If this is left to continue, it is a country we should be deeply concerned about living in.

  39. TanyaKata

    Thanks Trish for your supportive words, I am fine with you using my comment..

  40. Trish Corry

    Thanks Tanya

  41. Harquebus

    My original plan was to stand up and help protect our rights and environment. Now, if I survive, it is to help pick up the pieces.

    Tanya.
    You have not done us any favors by having seven kids.

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