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The trouble with being privileged is that you cannot fathom what it is like for those who are not

When Linda Reynolds and Christian Porter shed public tears, it was not for a young employee who had allegedly been raped in your workplace by another hand-picked employee, it was not for a friend from years ago who had tragically taken her own life.

Oh no, those tears were solely about the possible political consequences for the Ministers involved.

When Joe Hockey increased the fuel excise, he told us it wouldn’t impact poor people because they “either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far.” Ignore the tolls that cripple those who live in the outer suburbs, ignore the price rises that businesses pass on to cover higher distribution and delivery costs.

Julia Banks told us that she “could live on 40 bucks a day knowing that the government is supporting me with Newstart looking for employment.” I would suggest lawyer and businesswoman Julia, has never drawn up a budget in her life without a sizable bank account, portfolio of assets, and high income to back it up.

Michaelia Cash didn’t whinge when she had “practically nothing” as she spent three years backpacking around the world after finishing university. She knows what it’s like to try to survive on $40 a day whilst holidaying overseas decades ago.

But hey, the poor are getting an extra $3.50 a day. Hawaii here we come!

When Jon Faine was discussing how his children could not break into the property market, Malcolm Turnbull’s response was that Faine should “shell out for them – you should support them… You can provide a bit of intergenerational equity in the Faine family.”

Joe Hockey had an even better plan.

“The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money,” he said. “Then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money.”

Simples.

Whenever the Coalition carries on about ‘mum-and-dad investors’ and self-funded retirees, I wonder if they realise that, for so many Australians, investment is something entirely beyond their means. Too many families struggle to feed and house their children. The idea of investing to provide for a comfortable retirement will never be on their radar.

What the hell are franking credits and how did they become so important?

The government cannot understand why the public want transparency about contracts and grants. The money is theirs to give to whoever they want and if they want to give millions to Foxtel, they will.

When Gladys Berejiklian was questioned about handing out grants to Coalition seats with no consultation, her office had sadly shredded all documents and erased all emails about the matter.

And why should porkbarrelling concern us anyway wondered an incredulous Gladys. Everyone does it. It’s not illegal.

When Indigenous men were accused of child sex abuse, we staged a military style Intervention. When Catholic priests were accused of child sex abuse, Prime Ministers wrote them references.

When Indigenous people have an alcohol problem, we subject them to income management. When politicians have an alcohol problem, they write a book.

The government want to cut taxes again.

But all that means to those who pay no taxes – the young, the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, the disabled – is that there will be less money to provide the services they need.

But hey, why should the vulnerable spoil a political strategy. I’m sure Crosby-Textor have their tax misinformation campaign cocked and ready to fire.

And that’s without mentioning some of the consequences of male privilege… which I am too exhausted to talk about any more.

The notion that we are all treated equally before the law is one that only privileged people could possibly believe.

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27 comments

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  1. Baby Jewels

    There’s no end to the ignorant insults handed out by the human husks that inhabit the Liberal Party.

  2. Williambtm

    An excellent article by Kaye Lee, her analysis of the L/NP mindset is sure to cause its concern among the L/NP Hillsong cultist brigade.
    Both Morrison and Porter have besmirched the rule of law as neither of these 2 are willing to consent to a far-reaching inquiry into the younger years of the Att-General given the misogynous attitudes held by the infamous Christain Porter? I would recommend the highly respected Ms. Rowena Orr QC to head the inquiry and or the investigation into the journey from School debater to the appointment as the current Att-General could prove critical to his role as this nation’s all-powerful lawman.

  3. Arnd

    The notion that we are all treated equally before the law is one that only privileged people could possibly believe.

    Sure. But it is a bit of an old hat, isn’t it? I worked that one out at age fourteen. That was 45 years ago.

    In fact, earlier still, I entertained elaborate phantasies about joining Robin Hood and his Merry Men in the Sherwood Forest (and maybe, hopefully, attracting the attentions of Fair Maiden Marian’s spunky sister, too).

    Much more recently, on one of my more far-ranging internet excursions, I found a reference to:

    La majestueuse égalité des lois interdit aux riches comme aux pauvres de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans la rue et de voler du pain.

    (Voir sur https://citations.ouest-france.fr/citation-anatole-france/majestueuse-egalite-lois-interdit-aux-78970.html#modal-one)

    The majestic equality before the law, that forbids to the poor and the rich alike the sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets and stealing of bread.

    It seems that Anatole France beat me to my precious insight at the turn of the last century, dann it all. Plus, there’s plenty of others, probably going back to antiquity. Diogenes the Cynic, anyone?

    The question becomes one of cause and remedy. 45 years ago, I joi Ed the Socialist Youth, and engrossed myself in the study of the doctrines of one K. Marx – which to this day I consider a lucid and elegant analysis of the causes.

    As to the remedies … – well, living right next door to “real existierender Sozialismus” imprinted on me the need to come up with solutions and cures that are not worse than the evil they are to eliminate.

  4. Arnd

    Oh, and:

    Julia Banks told us that she “could live on 40 bucks a day …

    She did indeed say that!

    But let’s not forget that Labor’s Jenny Macklin beat her to it:

    Federal Families Minister Jenny Macklin, who is paid more than a $6,000 per week, says she could live on the dole of about $35 a day.

    From the same article:

    Thousands of single parents will lose their parenting payments and be moved onto the dole when their youngest child turns eight under changes which came into effect on New Year’s Day.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-01/macklin-says-she-could-live-on-the-dole/4449494

    And that was Julia Gillard’s doing, thank you very much!

  5. Matters Not

    Re:

    The money is theirs to give to whoever they want and if they want to give millions to Foxtel, they will.

    Indeed that’s the case! But too many can’t seem to accept that legal reality, preferring to live in world of fantasy where the money still belongs to taxpayers. Further, it might be argued that effectively this money (Consolidated Revenue) is at the disposal of the Prime Minister who can appoint or sack all Ministers at will, including the Treasurer and also the Attorney-General.

    And the only stumbling block(s) are the Citizens who get their chance every three years or so.

  6. Matters Not

    Re:

    sure Crosby-Textor have their tax misinformation campaign cocked and ready to fire.

    And that’s not all they have access to. West reports:

    When the Coalition quietly changed the regulations to enable access to millions of unlisted mobile phone numbers for ‘political research’, the Liberal Party’s pollster Crosby Textor was quick out of the blocks with an application to access the database,

    … Now, the lobby group closest to Scott Morrison has access to 27 million phone numbers heading into the next Federal election.

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/a-pushy-number-libs-pollster-crosby-textor-granted-access-to-27-million-unlisted-mobiles/

    Lots of citizens don’t realise that there’s Legislation which is debated and then there’s the Regulations which is often not – just tabled. So much for active and informed citizens.

  7. Michael Taylor

    MN, it is what the government does with that information that scares me.

    This is obviously not public knowledge, but it was confided in me that when Howard was PM ASIO was selling such data to collection agencies. Basically, collection agencies would provide ASIO with a list of names of people they were unable to locate. Through tax records, Centrelink data etc ASIO had access to the most recent addresses, phone numbers or place of employment etc of these ‘missing persons’ and this information was being sold to the collection agencies.

    Scary, yes?

  8. Arnd

    But too many can’t seem to accept that legal reality, preferring to live in world of fantasy where the money still belongs to taxpayers.

    But it still does belong to the tax payers. Don’t you, too, drop into this cursed groove, that mindlessly equates constitutional representative democracy with simple populist majoritarianism.

    Here, let me explain (and in view of how there seems to be a hell of a lot of people who can’t read so fast, I promise to type the following veeryy sloowlyy):

    We live in a society.
    So as regulate living in a society, we do need to agree on, and abide by, certain sets of rules.
    In a representative democracy, we elect representatives to discuss, review and enact such rules.
    These rules are then handed to the executive for implementation.

    As pertains to Sports Rorts, and all other such pork barreling exercises, the following applies:

    The legislative makes available a pot of public money to support grass roots sports.
    The legislative generates a set of rules and criteria according to which this public money is to be allocated.
    The legislative charges Sports Australia to administrate the allocation of those monies.
    Sports Australia effects the allocation of those monies, according to the principles it has been given by the legislative.
    Scotty from Marketing and Bridget from behind the Chook Shed take a look at the allocation and decide that they “don’t like it” (https://images.app.goo.gl/bdLBQ61BaqLWS4EA8), and re-allocete the funds so as to …

    Wait, wait, wait … Not so fast!

    Of course, Scotty and Bridget have every right to disapprove of sports funds distribution.

    What they cannot do, is then to simply and unilaterally (megalomaniacally) override this distribution.

    What they can do, like every other private citizen in this country who thinks s/he has better (or merely different) ideas, is to campaign and lobby the legislative to amend the rules handed to Sports Australia, such that the faithful, objective and documented application of those rules results in the distribution of funds in the preferred pattern.

    That is the due process in a constitutional (that is “rule-bound”) democracy, and under limited – as distinct from absolute, executive power.

    Scotty – yes, the same-self Scotty who has been banging on interminably about the importance of “due process” during the last week or so – has been operating outside and beyond due process – ultra vires – himself for years.

    And he’s been getting away with it. No one seems to notice much. Or care.

  9. DrakeN

    “We live in a society.”

    Not according to the late Lady Margaret Thatcher and her acolytes – one of whom is our clueless Federal Treasurer.

  10. DrakeN

    All very true, Kaye.

    But we, the hoi polloi, will never become privy to the words and actions which happen in the corridors of power, the private offices, private clubs, their ‘rest rooms’, and unminuted moments prior to and following board meetings.

    Mushrooms all are we.

  11. New England Cocky

    “‘The notion that we are all treated equally before the law is one that only privileged people could possibly believe.”

    Has anybody thought to ask First Nations Aboriginal persons about the truth of this above statement? I mean recently, since the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody ….. 30 years ago ….. ?????

  12. Williambtm

    Persons accorded privilege become the enemy of the proletariat.

  13. Kerri

    The LNP is truly the “party of me”.
    Each and everyone of them is out to get whatever they can from the taxpaying peasants.
    Most actually see themselves as a future PM and believe it to be their right.
    Their greed and self absorption disgusts me.
    To see two ministers crying because they got caught is so gobsmacking in it’s egocentricity.
    While the bill for their incompetence is again squeezed from the public purse.
    The accusers have behaved far too nicely and are and have paid for it.
    When the LNP say they are the better money managers they actually mean they are better at lining their own pockets.

  14. David Stakes

    And to top it all Cormann gets the plum OECD job. Hockeys right hand man. A Fox in the Hen house. Put there by the far right no doubt, a closet Nazi. But they wont make the same mistakes as Adolf. Although the Media tactics will be the same.

  15. Matters Not

    DrakeN re society and what Thatcher might’ve been really saying.

    The celebrated philosopher of science Karl Popper argued that societies do not exist. According to him, such collective terms refer to concepts, to theoretical entities that we construct to try to explain what actually exists and occurs rather than to existing things themselves.

    Yep – abstract concepts sometimes described as theoretical entities. You know useful notions like class or freedom, good and evil, love, feminism, success, morality, and chauvinism. More below.

    https://theconversation.com/why-theres-no-such-thing-as-society-should-not-be-regarded-with-moral-revulsion-136008

  16. Florence Howarth

    I am inclined to agree with Thatcher who said we don’t live in an ‘A’ society. We live in a community that is made up of many societies, all important in their own way. Many classes, including one that is ignored. An underclass. Within each society, we have tribes, mobs & families. We in truth are very diverse. Who would have it any other way? I haven’t even got as far as gender or race.

  17. Williambtm

    If that’s the best that the L/NP could put forward to this shambolic international appointment, Mathias Cormann may well applaud the daily USA bombing of Arabic nations and other targeted states… it will continue unheeded from its starting date back in 2001.
    America is famous for its explosive deadly weapons of war as its means of developing economic development.

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that will not build better policies for better lives.

  18. Vikingduk

    Good old hockey, the slovenly slut, willing to change his opinions to suit his lobbying business. Old eleventy was a fan of The Steal that robbed his golfing partner of the presidency. Biden wins and this pox ridden harlot changes its tune. Gladys says the criticism is all just noise, fuck off peasants, the born to rule are in the house. And, jeez Arnd, I’m really pleased that you typed that so slooooowwwwllly, this nomadic couscous herder was able to read it with the help of my aardvark. Any more displays of arrogant smart arseness you would like to share?

    And yes, MT, very scary, who must tear his hair out every time he sees a post from me. Sorry for the extra work, MT, I really do try to keep the fucks to a minimum. Yeah, feeling a little snarky today. Overburdened by these scum suckers in parliament. Another day another pile of shit on the pile.

    But, of course, we have the benefit of an excellent site and excellent writers, all providing thought provoking information. Fuck this, I’m off, like a bucket of prawns in the sun. Prost.

  19. Florence Howarth

    Arnd, it was not Julia doing. It was Howard’s doing. Howard left all those on it when he bought the legislation in. grandfather clause to cover them. Allowing these mothers to get the money until the child turned 16. Meanwhile, all those coming onto the benefit since that date had to go back to work when the child was much younger. 7, I think. This led to two classes of those receiving the benefit. Julia admitted she did the wrong thing in removing the grandfather clause. Personally, she had to choices, remove the clause or raise the age to 16 for all.

    Personally, being on such benefits when my kids were young, IMO education and/or back to work with older children is much better for families. The majority of women did indeed return to the workforce. Maybe Julia should have removed the grandfather clause but put more support in for single parents when working or studying. Sorry Arnd, it is just one lie I can’t ignore.

  20. Keitha Granville

    thank you, you’ve written exactly what most of us with a brain are thinking. But how do we get it through to those who aren’t wealthy and privileged but who still vote LNP because they believe the lies? I am so tired of trying to convince several,pensioner friends of the perils awaiting them if this mob is re-elected, they just don’t believe me !

    As for my wealthy friends, they insist that Labor will reduce them to penury, so to hell with the have-nots right now.

  21. Zathras

    The interesting thing about Gillard’s removal of parenting benefits was the Opposition were so outraged they never bothered to reverse the decision when they came to power and the media simply forgot to remind them.

    I suppose they were too busy keeping their own promise not to make cuts to the ABC, SBS, Health and Education.

    Something else that was mentioned by Hockey after his first budget but ignored at the time was the idea that Franking Credits were “something we will definitely have to look at later”.

  22. Matters Not

    Yes, there’s lots that will have to be looked at later. Try – not including the family home in the asset test as an opener. Then there’s no taxation on drawdowns from super. But perhaps a better starting point would be the massive transfers of wealth that occur each and every year via multinationals which pay zero tax locally. Then there’s those which pay the absolute minimum.

    Worse – even though Murdoch, who pays zero tax, receives considerable dollars from the public purse.

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/revealed-australias-top-40-tax-dodgers-for-2021/

    Why aren’t the names of these companies on every citizens’ lips?

  23. Arnd

    Sorry Arnd, it is just one lie I can’t ignore.

    That’s all fair enough, Florence. But it doesn’t change my wider point, namely that Labor was as instrumental in establishing, and now maintaining and extending, this cursed neo-liberalism in Australia as the LNP. Even if the Labor version was a bit more far-sighted and socially inclusive – and, for that very reason, more insidious!

    I don’t say this lightly: for all practical intents and purposes, I am a Social-Democrat myself. Born and bred, dyed-in-the-wool. Social-democrat! Not even a “democratic socialist”! Just plain old, plodding, pedestrian Social-Democrat. It really pains me to shit on what was once my own nest.

    But it’s full of shit anyway, so it doesn’t make one joy of difference.

  24. wam

    Wow, Kaye, et al what a read!! Your summary matches my rich rabbott Ian’s who bombard me with support for these people and their principles have no regrets about collateral damage. They agree with scummo’s “have a holiday on us” slogan because they know half and airfare will not a holiday make for those who cannot afford the “on costs”.
    Mn after the win in WA, which looks huge, the words from Kaye, might encourage albo and plibwong to read ‘tabled’ bills and oppose??
    Keitha
    Anyone who visited Europe in the 70s and compared countries, knows thatcher, like Whitlam, was a god send but she controlled her vegetables.

  25. Josephus

    Told everyone I could that a relative and I are going on the big demo on the 15 th not to show off but because
    It is important to raise the issue of female subordination, to out oneself, to consciousness raise
    I hoped that one person at least might say to me let’s go together
    No nothing
    Why am I going?
    Because this lot are beyond awful
    I cannot count the ways

  26. Vincent

    Matters Not: I like “there is no alternative” from Baroness Thatcher and when you hear her quip about society the subject of privilege is made clear, then you can reject the premise of questions from others.
    A good article, Tony Abbott’s “lifestyle choice” response is one to go here.

  27. Andrew J. Smith

    Interesting the line ‘Whenever the Coalition carries on about ‘mum-and-dad investors’ and self-funded retirees…’ (who are significant in the prized above median age vote) that makes the government sound equitable and fair but in fact signals their target audience of middle aged and older upper or wealthy middle class who are a minority in society, but presents and reinforces them as mainstream middle class (an identity for all to aspire to e.g. the ‘prosperity gospel’…); but especially follow govt./LNP orders.

    And the issue of secrecy in and round government, new permanent campaigning mode and pollsters like CT Group – Crosby Textor with sub-optimal transparency may have started already, aka the Glencore and coal campaign on Facebook widely reported by media March 2019; who knows and cares in Australia?

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