Jun 012014

”There is no right to demand from your fellow Australians that just because you don’t want to do a bread delivery or a taxi run or a stint as a farmhand that you should therefore be able to rely on your fellow Australian to subsidise you”.

So says Eric Abetz as he attempts to defend the conservative axing of existing newstart arrangements. Thing is, this is oh-so very typical of the conservative mindset which is, as a matter of course, out of touch with reality at the coal-face for the unemployed. Newstart doesn’t simply exist as a salve to leftist consciences, it exists because it needs to exist as a support mechanism for those of us who, for whatever reason, are unable at any given point in time to be a part of the 9-5 workforce. It’s not a matter of being deliberately unproductive. I can tell you from real and recent experience, being unemployed is THE most soul-destroying event which can befall anyone, of any age. There is nothing innately attractive about sitting at home, completing job application after job application, modifying CV’s to suit particular roles applied for, and wondering how you’ll afford the train fare to get to the next interview. Newstart is supposed to provide those resources, the train & bus fares to get to & from appointments, or the parking fees to attend interviews which are almost inevitably in the city where parking costs a motza. Nevermind about having to pay rent, buy food or pay electricity bills, put fuel in the car to get to interviews, etcetera ad infinitum.

Being unemployed is no picnic, and yet for decades, everytime these right-wing fundamentalist conservative ideologues get back into power, we see & hear the same tired rhetoric. “Don’t be a bludger on your fellow Australian, go be a fruit-picker in Tasmania“, and especially if you’re unemployed in, say, Cairns. Go on, get off your arse, use that Newstart Allowance and get that arse down to Launceston and start knocking up the local apple growers. What’s that? Where will you live when you get there? How should I know, and more to the point, why should I care, just get a fucking job already!!!!

Doesn’t matter about your family and societal support mechanisms, they’re not productive. They’re not making you any money and YOU’RE not paying any taxes!!! YOU BLUDGER!!!!

This is all just so typical and it’s all been done before. Thankfully the current crew of ideological idiots don’t have control of both houses of Parliament, and highly likely won’t after July 1, so these tantrums from the likes of Abetz are merely that. Tantrums filled with conservative rhetoric. They’re frustrated that they don’t have total control and it shows everytime one of them opens their gob. Yes, they possibly will manage to tighten the screws on some of us, and undoubtedly will manage to make the lives of those less fortunate, even more unfortunate. It’s what they do. The single silver lining to the deepening overcast is the fact that we have just 2-and-a-bit years to go, the latter portion of which will be all pork-barrels and handouts as they try to win back the people they’re deliberately disaffecting right now. I salve my own conscience with the knowledge that all of these things run in cycles, and rationality will return to Oz, and a lot sooner than perhaps most expect.



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