By Tina Clausen
What makes some think people on Centrelink benefits are more likely to over-spend on non-essential items than other people in society, and more likely to gamble, abuse drugs, alcohol and neglect their children? They are ordinary, normal adults like anyone else and just as capable as the rest of Australia’s people of managing their own finances and budgets without a private company telling them how and where to spend their money.
Is the Cashless Welfare Card suddenly a cure-all for addiction, child neglect or abuse, unemployment, being a single parent, being ill or disabled, being a student, for the very ‘crime’ of being in receipt of a Social Security payment?
Our Government, particularly, seems to want to entrench in the public mind the view that the card will cure unemployment. This despite limited employment options nation-wide (depending on which statistics are being used, only 1 job available for between every 10 to 17 job seekers) and there already being extremely stringent and punitive mutual obligation requirements in place for job-seekers. Managed via the much (and justly) maligned privatised for-profit Job Network Agencies.
I guess if our Government can blame the unemployed for not being able to find a job they don’t have to work on creating more employment opportunities in Australia. This despite most of our manufacturing industries having shut down, large corporations and companies outsourcing work offshore, advanced technology making jobs obsolete, many tens of thousands of work visas given out to bring in ‘cheap’ and at times less skilled overseas workers, mining companies etc slowly automating more and more of their work and so on.
But no, let us keep blaming the unemployed, people with disabilities, single parents, aged pensioners, young people and students by shaming them and calling them bludgers and rorters and whatever else the Murdoch owned mass media suggest in their monthly bash-a-welfare-bludger stories on A Current Affair, Sunrise, Newscorp media, ninemsn etc. All pushing the far-right-wing agenda of making the poor poorer and the rich richer and brain-washing ‘workers’ into believing all their trials and tribulations are the fault of the most vulnerable in society.
The ultra-rich far-right propaganda machine has spent years enticing the working-class into turning on Centrelink beneficiaries while the wealthy elite, huge multinational industries and corporate Australia are laughing all the way to the bank and even more so at our stupidity. Fighting each other makes us blind to where the real rorting is going on. $65 billion in tax cuts for big businesses ring a bell for anyone? How about large corporations paying $0 tax on $50 billion profits?
A social class division based on how, where and from whom we receive our living income based on individual circumstances has sprung up and is tearing apart and destroying our communities. The most vulnerable of our citizens are being subjected to a constant barrage of bullying, harassment and vilification by those who would formerly have been the first to give them a helping hand up.
Australia used to be a great nation, we always supported our battlers and we were sure in our belief we were all equal citizens. No longer is this the case. Now it’s dog eat dog and the spiteful and mean-spirited attacks on our fellow citizens is heartbreaking to behold.
For more information visit the following links:
http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/CashlessDebitCard/Submissions (Out of the 172 submissions the Senate committee received the vast majority were against the card and had major concerns about how it operated and its negative affects on people. Our government chose to ignore those)