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Image courtesy of abc.net.au

Image from abc.net.au

I was stunned by the first sentence in this “Herald-Sun” article, “Welfare payments outnumber residents in rural Victoria”:

“WELFARE payments outnumber residents in some rural postcodes.”


Now my understanding of English suggests to me that this means that there must be a lot of ficticious people claiming welfare. Which suggested to me that this was an expose on some systematic scam of the system.

However, on reading the article, I realised that it was simply a misunderstanding on my part. I failed to realise that once you were receiving welfare, you were no longer considered a “resident” by “The Herald-Sun”. Which is pretty rough, considering that people were going on about how the majority of Australians pay no net tax just a few weeks ago, and middle class welfare which means that most Australians aren’t therefore residents, so I guess that must be why we need so many 457 Visas…

But I’m pleased to know that there’s nothing particularly shifty about all these people receiving welfare. Well, if one ignores the fact that everyone on welfare is a lazy, leaner who should realise that the age of entitlement is over and get out and dig their own mine like that hard-working Gina lady did.

Unfortunately, for the Abbott government, it’s not just the age of entitlement that’s over. I suspect that they’ve reached the point in their relationship where reconciliation with the electorate is not just hard, but impossible for the simple reason that they’ve announced a change in policy so many times that nobody believes them if they say something’s not negotiable. And even if they stick to their guns on anything now, then it just makes them appear pig-headed.

It’s a pretty long list of things they’ve jettisoned after telling us that they were absolutely vital or a fundamental part of their election platform: Getting the Budget back in surplus in their first term, getting the Budget back in surplus in their first decade, getting the Budget back in surplus in this century, The Medicare $7 copayment, The Medicare $5 copayment, the six months wait for the dole, Paid Parental Leave, Pensions being tied to the CPI rather than wages, the debt ceiling, the promise of no excuses, but I’ll give them “no surprises” because I expected that somehow they would be able to keep their promise of repealing taxes worth billions, making no cuts to various organisations and no tax increases, so the fact that they were lying through their teeth was no surprise to anyone who put all their pre-election statements together.

There’s nothing wrong with being open to negotiation and having a preparedness to listen to reason, but it doesn’t work when you only do it after you’ve run out of all other options. Then you just look weak and pathetic. To use a ridiculous analogy it’s like announcing to your child that there is no way you’ll approve of their marriage, let alone help pay for it, only to a few weeks later, tell them that you’d like their input about what you should wear to the wedding. It sounds too much like grovelling to attract anything but amusement, and if there’s one thing a politician rarely ever recovers from, it’s looking ridiculous. You may get away with being a bully in politics, but you can’t get away with trying to be a bully if you just end up saying, “I demand that you do what I say and you don’t then I’m going to ask you again really nicely and say please this time.”

Turnbull’s announcement that he’s put suggestions for changing Australia’s media ownership laws on the PM’s desk (or as Turnbull refers to them, “The final nail in your coffin, mate, because this gives Rupert a reason to make me PM”) must make those hoping that Turnbull to challenge just a little concerned that he won’t be the shining knight he pretends to be, once he’s PM. After all, as Opposition Leader, while he was prepared to negotiate with Rudd over the ETS – which, lest we forget, was Liberal policy at the time – he certainly didn’t move his party to the middle in any noticable way. It’s just indicative of how absurd Abbott has made the Liberals that we’re prepared to forget what a mess Turnbull made of his time as Opposition Leader. Gees, even Alexander Downer is starting to look good.

Speaking of ex-politicians, did anyone else catch the irony in Amanda Vanstone’s column today?

“The second aspect is the now common Australian tendency to take offence whenever possible. The process is: claim offence has been taken, claim it was either intended or that a reasonable person would expect offence to be taken, and then seek some sort of redress. Assuming the position of victim allows you to attack the speaker as being nasty, evil, out of touch.”


I won’t bring up Joe Hockey at this point because the column was basically pointing out that Abbott’s “lifestyle choices” comment was factually accurate.

Of course, the Liberals love that defence. Unfortunately there are many times in life when being “factually accurate” may betray a certain insensitivity to the situation.

For example: “It’s really inconvenient that your partner died just now because I was about to go on holiday and I’m sort of obliged to be at the funeral because you’re my sister.”

Yep, I think it’s time to stick a fork in them and turn down the barbecue. They’re done!




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  1. Rev

    Not done until they really are dead, buried and cremated 🙂

  2. CMMC

    I recall Minister Vanstone taking offence almost every time an ABC journalist asked her a question.

    She would usually threaten to take up the matter with ABC management.

  3. stephentardrew

    A trail of noxious gas leading all the way back to Pig Iron (more of the pig less of the iron) Menzies

  4. Florence nee Fedup

    Many of those small country town will suffer, if unemployed are denied benefits.

  5. paul walter

    Why cant we talk about Eleventy? QA wouldn’t talk about Eleventy and Fairfax, so Media Watch had to talk about it.

    Still much fun with him on other things, as he reckoned we were all going to live to a hundred ‘n ‘leventy by 2050 and therefore wouldn’t need the pension because we all already bought our houses back at the beginning of the century out of our supa, all this while a Grattan Institute economist gleefully shredded him on just about everything else he said.

  6. mikestasse

    The age of entitlement IS over……. because growth is finished. It’s over for us, and more importantly, it’s alao over for them. The real issues is working out how we don’t end up their serfs, because they will happily remain entitled for as long as they can.

    bring on the revolution…

  7. lizzieconnor

    Today I found two youtube clips that now have me thinking that the chaotic situation we’re in is not really our ‘government’s’ fault – it’s the global capitalist system’s fault.


    If you don’t believe me, just check out:

    – a brilliant (shortish) animation of a brilliant talk by David Harvey, ‘The Crises of Capitalism’,


    – a much longer but (I think) absolutely compelling talk by Wolfgang Streeck, ‘Has Capitalism Seen its Day?’.

  8. crypt0

    Turnbull’s suggestions for changing Australia’s media ownership laws should be a reminder for all (thinking) voters …
    No matter who is the jockey, it’s still the same old LNP horse.
    And the bulk of those IPA/tea party neo cons will still be there, beavering away.
    Just filling in time until Scott Morrison’s time is upon us.

  9. paul walter

    It occurs to me that Turnbull has finally made THE mistake, in crawling after Murdoch. It makes him look like a spolt boy and another Abbott, willing to sell his soul for the PM ship.
    People will ask, ” Where is his concern for the public interest?”

  10. abbienoiraude

    I have read and re read the two paragraghs re welfare payments out number…blah blah and I still don’t understand. Is it English or have I begun my decline into dementia Ross?

  11. Bronte ALLAN

    Nothing wrong with your comprehension “abbienoiraude”, it is just another glaring example of how the Murdoch press, especially the Herald Sun & the Daily telegraph, “write” columns of pro government propaganda in the guise of so-called “news stories”! Anything to follow the conservative/flat earth/tea party/right wing establishment (the Liberals etc), & to keep on hammering any-way they can to present the Labor mob, workers, people in low paid jobs, & ALL the persons on government welfare as bludgers, Union supporters, & people “they” think do not deserve ANY Government “hand out”, disguised as Welfare payments etc etc. Bastards!

  12. abbienoiraude

    Phew @Bronte ALLAN Thanks for clearing that up.
    Bastards indeed!!

  13. CommonA


    I can understand your confusion on the “WELFARE payments outnumber residents in some rural postcodes.” But I think I can shed some light on it… you see in the “highest” example: Cann River, where 169 residents receive 204 different payments… some of the residents are “relying on multiple forms of welfare”… ie one person, more than one payment.

    In order to back up my understanding, if we used your logic… 204 welfare recipients / 373 people = only 54%, but later in the article it states “In Bealiba, Nowa Nowa, St Arnaud North and East, Dunolly and Barmah, more than 75 per cent of people received Centrelink payments.” but our Cann River was meant to be the “highest” (ie at least more than 75%), which would indicate that your assertion of the herald-sun not counting welfare recipients as residents seems false.

    Also wikipedia states: “At the 2011 census, Cann River had a population of 169 people.”… it seems not much has changed…. of course it is possible the two figures were from different sources – but one would hope not, that would be poor reporting indeed.

    Should I be expecting some actual research or correction???

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