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When Zealots control Welfare …

There is something wrong with the heart and soul of this nation. There is something troubling about the level of demonisation and targeted punishment that is directed at the most vulnerable members of our society.

There is something that is becoming clearly self-evident: when you allow amateur ideologically driven social engineers control over our welfare system they will promulgate, enforce, and saturate their social security policies with hate.

The evidence is in. The current Coalition Government of Australia more than overtly hates Welfare Recipients. The Cashless Welfare Card. Drug testing. Deliberate impoverishment on Newstart. The punitive JobActive system. RoboDebt.

And who are Welfare Recipients? Given the existence of a certain set of circumstances, or given the non-existence of a certain set of circumstances, Welfare Recipients are you and me, or could be you and me.

The unplanned loss of a job, which could happen to you at any time, and the difficulty in gaining a replacement for it. The trauma of divorce and the loss of assets, and the loss of the ability to cope, for mature aged men and women. The young struggling to gain a start. Homelessness. Sickness. Mental health issues which affect an increasing number of us. Economic recession. Any of those things could happen to you at any time and force you to become reliant on welfare.

Who else is on welfare? Far too many women who have lost everything, who have fled for their lives from the scourge of domestic violence. Far too many men and women whose lives have been ripped apart by the lasting damage of childhood sexual abuse. Far too many human beings whose lives have been turned upside down by unforeseen events.

And how are they treated? As scum, as dregs, as a drain on national resources, as bludgers, as drug addicts, as irresponsible, as incapable, as scammers, as low-lifes.

Well is that what you are? Is that what you will be if life sends you the curve-ball of unemployment for whatever reason?

We now have a situation in this country where hate appears to be the underpinning glue of social policy. Where from the Prime Minister down to the thoughtless braying crowd the expression of hate towards the vulnerable is seen to be good, and right, and just.

Well it is not.

The majority of Welfare Recipients, just like the majority of people in the workplace, just like the majority of people living in your suburb, just like the majority of people sitting next to you at a football match, just like the majority of people next to you on the bus, are decent normal folk just trying to lead a decent normal life.

A small number of people in your workplace, in your suburb, in that footy crowd, on that bus, or on welfare, will seek to take advantage. A small number of people always seek to do that. We’ve all met them, especially in the workplace.

Yet, from the Prime Minister down, we are fed a daily diet of hate towards Welfare Recipients, towards that one group of disadvantaged Australian citizens. We are told that people on welfare are different to anybody else, we are told that they are advantage seekers who need to be controlled, managed, corralled, and punished. Well they are not different to anybody else, they are you and me, or they could be you and me.

The conservative media takes delight in singling out isolated cases of welfare recipients who seek advantage, and then by imputation the media brands the majority of the rest of the decent folk on welfare as dole-bludgers, addicts, and societal thieves. Such media blood sport is sickening. That people watch, believe, and repeat such obvious untruths is worrying, because it speaks of the ease with which hate is being promulgated in our society.

We have now hit a ridiculous point in our national life. On the one hand we have a zealot, yes a zealot of a Prime Minister who publicly parades his religious love of fellow man for electoral advantage, but who promulgates policies of social injustice towards the disadvantaged.

And on the other hand we now have religious organisations and other community groups having to deplete their scant resources to repair the growing damage caused by our Prime Minister’s proudly proclaimed policies. The homelessness, the suicides, the despair, the poverty, the unfairness – all of those things are happening to decent disadvantaged folk in our society as a direct consequence of the policies of this current government.

There is something wrong with the heart and soul of this nation if we allow the current situation to continue. There is something wrong with our brutal national policies towards the disadvantaged. A very hateful and cruel streak runs through those who are in charge of our welfare system.

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  1. Perkin Warbeck

    But it’s not new! Harp on something long enough, particularly if you are in Government, and it becomes received wisdom.
    Sadly, it still works.
    If there IS a God – which I seriously doubt – he takes the piss out of prayer all the time. Let’s hear it for God!

  2. New England Cocky


    This policy of drug testing government payment recipients is yet another unthinking ideological swipe at Australian voters by self-serving politicians.

    Presently there are totally inadequate facilities for drug rehabilitation in NSW and Australia. It can take over 3 months to get one of the few available places and woe betide you if you do NOT respond within the required time limit after notification!

    Meanwhile, there is no indication that the undeserving wealthy and corporate recipients of government largesse will be required to do any drug testing, even though drug usage in the corporate sector is notorious and a very valuable market.

  3. Wayne Turner

    Great and true article. This country is morally bankrupt and has been for a long time.From many of it’s citizens to the MSM,and of course this horrid excuse for a government.

    Of course this demonizing is being done,for a number of reasons egs: This mob profiting off the less well off,by the links to the companies involved.Plus,to the “distract” the gullible heartless ignorant masses,from the COALition’s continued failures from lack of job creation,to them killing the economy.

    Poor fellow my country 🙁

  4. Ill fares the land

    I am afraid Morriosn’s vile policies are entirely consistent with his faith. His faith dictates to him that those who fail, fail because of their inadequacies and failings and those who succeed, e.g., him, succeed because their brilliance an “hard work” merit success. It is a perverted, but normal moral superiority position that people will tak and have long taken.

    But it is a morally superior messager that is an easy sell. The rich and powerful believe it anyway – that is how they justify their lack of benevolence. They proclaim that helping the poor only entrenches their poverty and disadvantage and that is morally equivalent, remembering we are talking about thoise who see themselves as morally superior, to punishing the poor and disadvantaged to “help them out of their disadvantage”.

    Of course, the Morrisons of the world never dare to look at how they rose to the top by foul means rather than their “talent” (e.g., how deviously Morrison stabbed Turnbull in the back; how his preselection rival when he first sought to get into the Parliament, Michael Towke, was irreparably damaged by allegations of “branch stacking” – later shown to be false, but the blame could only be sheeted back to Morrison, whose minders appeared to have done his dirty work, as if that isn’t familiar). In fact, Morrison’s CV suggests he is anything but a man of high ability and integrity. It is staggering how deluded Morrison is about himself and how quickly he has built up his own cult of followers who are equally deluded. Like Trump, Morrison’s default setting is to lie and make grand, sweeping and false accusations about his oponents and when those lies go unchallenged, his tactics are effectively affirmed.

    In the end, we have to take the blame for tolerating a deceiptful, lying, traiterous and backstabbing religious zealot as PM. But this is the world – heading as we are to a politicial apocalypse where rabid conservatives continue to take charge and use their powers to punish dissent and “reward” subservience.

  5. whatever

    The current crop of LNP spiteful dimwits (who keep getting voted in by spiteful senile idiots) are just re-hashing the “Fightback” campaign of John Hewson in the 1990’s.!_(policy)

  6. John O"Callaghan

    Exellent article and yes, most of the world including our own patch down below here is being run by bloody psychopaths………………..

  7. Andrew J Smith

    Me thinks it’s not coincidental to promote a cultural non issue, especially to regions, but not to the LNP base.

    This is being used to cleave ageing socially conservative voters from Labor; tactic used by Howard and honed by Crosby Textor.

    Observed elsewhere how Conservatives can ignore urban ‘elites’ while stitching up the regions.

  8. Cool Pete

    Back when Botty was embarrassing us in Kirribilli, he said that ScoMo would be “a tough welfare cop on the beat.” Well, that’s not what we want. We want to ensure the integrity of the system, but we can do that without punitive measures.

  9. Michael Taylor

    Bloody brilliant, Keith.

  10. Carol Taylor

    I believe that Morrison is using his religion as a cover, that it’s ultimately all about the money. $12,000 for an Indue Card, Indue (Larry Anthony, President of the National Party and lobbyist, former deputy chair of Indue) with (suspected) loads of cash being recycled back to the LNP. No wonder they’re so insistent on a nationwide rollout of the Indue Card. And that’s what the drug testing is ultimately all about, as those who fail the drugs test are to be put on income management aka the Indue for a period of 2 years. Now how can you have nationwide drugs testing without a nationwide signup of supermarkets and other stores to the Indue? Step next is a nationwide Indue Card for everyone on Newstart. Why?? Follow the money trail.

  11. David Bruce

    Would the fact that the founder of ScuMo’s church was a pedophile be relevant?

  12. LOVO

    Min, why stop there, mayhap, as the “step next” ‘they’ could roll out ‘the card’ for those of us that have a job.

  13. Dan

    Also bear in mind the GST is another means of taking from the average person. Big business execs can claim all their GST purchases back on tax returns, pensioners and employess cannot.

  14. ChristopherJ

    too right Carol. Childcare, aged care, disability support; all models of privatising service delivery so that mates can establish companies to profit from the huge amounts spent by the government in these areas.

    So the Indue card went to a mate. There’s probably Dutton and others setting up drug testing businesses as we speak.

    I think those on NewStart will test positive about 1 per cent or less of the time. Proving it’s a non-issue as many have observed here.

    This Australian I’m alright attitude was not there in the 70s, it has emerged as living and making a good life for oneself has become more and more precarious in Australia. That and the lie that welfare recipients are taking some of those rare ‘taxpayer dollars’, which constitute the form, but not the substance, of the Australian govt’s spending pool. This redirects our anger toward the takers, the leaners…

    More and more newstarters are in my age group, over 50; iirc we are the biggest group. Employed or not, we face big headwinds, particularly if you’ve been a manual laborer all your life. In the current employment climate noone wants us and we have to wait till we’re nearly 70 to get on the aged benefit. Disability benefit? Forget it, they make it too hard, you need to be a quadriplegic.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, try doing 20 ‘fresh’ applications to employers in Cairns each month. No wonder so many turn to gigs like uber, lawn mowing, taxis, or retraining (costs) as a driver or a traffic person. Cleaning hotels and planes is also pretty popular among the over 50s in my neck of the woods.

    We are in deep, deep shite and I cannot see anything on the political spectrum which is going to turn this around and make us a fair and happy place to live again. Smart ones are getting out of the joint

  15. tt

    Ya i paid huge amount of taxes for 25 years….3 weeks of centrelink and i just quit…..85% of welfare goes to private companys…..for every 1$ i got 3$ went to keeping me off it(job network members) and i couldnt really handle the hypocracy….the hole system takes your sole and is hatred corpratised …..

    yes im now “homeless” another hate tag from the elits to dehumanize members of society

  16. Zathras

    The Conservatives have always had it in for “the undeserving poor”. Not everybody is born into wealth or has the same opportunities in life’s lottery so some are destined to be Factory Fodder – modern day serfs.

    Even some of the well-known businessmen and Liberal Party Boosters – such as Gerry Hardly-Normal – say that giving money to the poor is simply wasteful. He happily refers to them as “no-hopers”. We’re essentially a country ruled by old school ties and backroom deals by a group of elites. The rest are only expected to work hard, consume, be silent and die.

    Now that refugee-bashing has cooled down they just drag out the old scapegoats – Unions and welfare recipients – and it’s easier to blame and punish them for all our problems than find real solutions.

    To criticise the system reminds me of a South American priest who once said “When I help the poor and hungry they call me a Saint. When I ask why there are so many poor and hungry they call me a Communist”.

  17. Paul Davis

    Yes Zathras and so it has been for a long time. “Compassionate Conservatism” as it has been most recently described is just another label for “tough love” that old favourite of the righteous, the insulated wealthy, the ruling class. We saw it in the state and church run orphanages where the meagre rations and thin blankets were dispensed with floggings and cruelty to the undeserving bastards and neglected kids. We saw it in the missions in the rural areas where the parsimonious zealots preached the glad tidings of the christ while stealing and abusing native children. We saw how the Lying Rodent resurrected the idea of the undeserving poor naming an alleged employment and training program Work For The Dole. And this gang of shysters, led by a phony christian pretending to be a harmless daggy dad Elmer Fudd is in reality an Elmer Gantry, a false prophet, a racketeer with the morals of a carnival barker, who continues to demonise the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless, the unemployed, the refugee fleeing tyranny. And 51% of Strayans love and applaud him.

  18. Random

    Excellent article Keith.

    Apparently there are in excess of 700,000 people like you or me who are currently unemployed. Imagine if this significant cohort all raised their voices in unison and protested against these punitive policy measures? That kind of backlash would surely cause the government some embarrassment, and make it rethink its decisions?

    But, if you or me ever have the need to access Social Security: after you’ve exhausted yourself complying with Centrelink’s convoluted application process and been ignored or hung up on by their ‘customer service’ after hours on the phone, you could still be at risk of having your details doxed to the media if you speak up, or an exorbitant debt could be generated at any time. The PM has also made it clear that any rebellion against drug testing will be swiftly met with the extreme punishment of withholding your meagre funds.

    Imagine instead feeling so overwhelmed and distressed, not only by these hurdles but also by feeling that you are so reviled as to have no allies, that you would rather take your own life than rebel.

    Aside from the ‘money for mates’ in the eventual outcome of ‘necessary’ policy adoption, all this hate and persecution has one very insidious purpose.

  19. John L

    Don’t call the rich scum ” elites”! Elite means something, or used to – the best, the most worthy, those who got to the top because they deserved it, by ability, worthiness, humanity The bulk of those with wealth and power are none of these things – getting to the top of your particular pile by corruption, inhumanity and general shitfluckery, does not entitle you to be referred to as “elite”! Very few of those so referred to, are.
    Rant over, as you were.

  20. Fred

    This hardline ideology is incredibly stupid also as its a sure way bring on a recession.

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