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Oh Do Shut Up! The Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit!

shearers-strike

Unionists Marched Under the Eureka Flag in 1891

To quote Crowded House “They come, they come, to build a wall between us.” Well, this wall already exists between us and it has existed for at least 125 years in Australia. This wall is the wall between the employer and the worker. The very existence of this wall explains why the so-called Lib/Lab Duopoly is Bullshit…..and I do wish that people would really just shut up about it.

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Join the Protest to Re-elect Turnbull

lnp protest2

 

A very wise man once said to me, “There are two types of politicians. Anti-Community and Pro-Community. The Liberals are always Anti-Community. That is why there are always protests against a Coalition Government.

 

 

Turnbull has been ahead in the polls since he obtained the Prime Ministership by default. Anyone who toppled Abbott would be the Nation’s automatic Messiah. He could read the back of a Cornflakes packet and the public would still have been cheering.  How fortunate for Turnbull.

The party did not want Abbott.  The party re-installed a former failed leader, Malcolm Turnbull.  Four Corners painted Turnbull as the good little boy who didn’t make any fuss about Abbott whilst he was the Prime Minister. He just sat back patiently and waited for his crown.  

The fact that Turnbull did not make any fuss about Abbott or vocally opposed Abbott’s policies or rhetoric, clearly shows that Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal National Coalition simply were happy with Abbott’s policies. They just wanted a new face to deliver them and that is what we have now.

We saw the rise of March in March or March Australia during the Abbott years. We also saw massive protests against Campbell Newman’s harsh cuts, job losses, privatisation of public assets and the attack on our civil liberties in Queensland as well as his mantra of selling our assets.  People marched and yelled in protest because they were fighting to protect everything that underpins us as Australians – A Fair Go.

Will you join the Protest to support Turnbull?

This leads me to the central question of this piece.  Turnbull and the Coalition are ahead in the polls, but are his policies really worth fighting for?  Your vote for a Turnbull Government is the ultimate endorsement of your fight for Turnbull and his policies. Would you protest for his policies to save his Prime Ministership? 

If the Coalition’s policies are so important to make this country great, why do Liberal members and Liberal supporters and even swinging voters not get out there and protest to make their voices heard?  Why do they not get out there and really fight for them?

I ask you this: “If you are thinking of voting for the Abbott-Turnbull Coalition Government are you so passionate about their return in the election that you would protest to keep them?”

To look beyond voting for a face and to really understand what that face represents, let’s take a look at what 10,000’s of people protesting for the Abbott-Turnbull policies would sound like…..

Cuts to Medicare

“If you get sick you should pay, user pays is a better way”

“It’s my taxes anyway, Make the poor PAY, PAY, PAY!”

“Cuts to Medicare should come quick. If you can’t afford it, don’t get sick!”

GST Increase

“Increase GST on everything!”

“GST up NOW!”

“Make the poor pay much more.  A GST rise is our winning score!”

NBN FTTN

“Fast Broadband is a joke. Keep the copper that gets choked!”

“44th in the world isn’t last. We don’t need Internet that’s fast!”

“Rural living is a pity. If you want internet move to the city!”

Climate Change Denial 

“Climate Science is a joke. Renewables will send us broke!”

“It was hotter last year! Climate Change is a smear!”

“Coal is good for humanity! Up the Climate Anti!”

Education – Cuts to Gonski

“We don’t need children educated. Gonski should be eradicated!”

“More funding for Elite Private Schools! Funding needy schools is for fools!”

“Education is a privilege, not a right. Down with Gonski, Fight, Fight Fight!”

 

It’s an election year. It’s time to get serious.

Turnbull neo liberalism

It is time to look beyond Turnbull’s smile and his nice suits and the fact that he is not Tony Abbott. In my personal view, what Turnbull stands for – Mass privatisation, harsh neo-liberal policies and radical industrial relations reform, is far worse than what Abbott stood for. By voting for a Liberal or National party member, you are joining the protest above. Through your vote for a Turnbull Government, you are endorsing the destruction of the quality of life we enjoy in Australia.

It’s time to vote with our hearts and use our vote to stamp out the greed and austerity that underpins the destruction of a fair go in Australia by the Abbott-Turnbull Government.

 

If you can chant all of the above and stand shoulder to shoulder and march with those who support Turnbull; by all means, vote for your Turnbull candidate.  If not, put the Liberal and National Coalition candidates last on your ballot.  It is where they put you.

 

 

It’s Bushfire Season – Let’s Talk About Disaster Relief Funding

Letter to the Editor of The Morning Bulletin submitted 08/10/2015

Bushfire season

Dear Editor

Thank you for your recent stories about how The Morning Bulletin is there when it matters.  I lived in Koongal at the time of the bushfires and it was a harrowing and terrifying time.  I do believe so many of us take for granted the essential services we rely on and one of these essential services is the news and I am very grateful to have a local newspaper in my town reporting on local issues and thank all the journalists, photographers and staff for their hard work.

As we are now in bushfire season, I would like to bring to your attention a critical gap in essential services in our community.  The essential service I am speaking of brings reassurance and stability to those in a time of crisis. This essential service is disaster relief.

During cyclone Yasi, the people of Townsville qualified for Federal Government disaster assistance under the Labor Party.  This is $1000 per adult and $400 for each child.  During the fires in the Blue Mountains, whilst people’s homes were burning; the Abbott Government changed the criteria, so only those who had suffered significant damage to their homes or had injury or death, as a result were eligible. Hence the confusion about payments with Cyclone Marcia.

“Eligibility for payments, available in disasters such as the Tasmanian fires, changed on October 18, 2013 so residents who did not lose their homes but had to relocate for days at a time would not receive assistance.” (Excerpt NSW bushfire victims denied compensation under new rules, SMH 26/10/2013). To reiterate, the Federal Liberal National Government cut this disaster relief as bushfires tore through the Blue Mountains.

The Liberal National Federal Government removed the last three criteria for disaster relief, which applied under a Federal Labor Government. The criteria the Liberal National Federal Government removed were:

  • You have been unable to access your place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • You have been stranded in your principal place of residence for a period of at least 24 hours
  • Your principal place of residence was without a particular utility service (electricity, gas, water, sewerage services or another essential service) for a continuous period of 48 hours.

The changes to the eligibility criteria have a huge impact on who is eligible for disaster relief funding.

The Turnbull Government says it is a more compassionate and understanding Government.  I strongly believe that our community, which is prone to bushfires and floods, should have the security of decent disaster relief funding and the abolished criteria reinstated immediately, before the next disaster hits.

How do you starve a region of jobs? Just vote LNP!

Most Australians want a good quality of life and a good standard of living.  To achieve this, the availability of jobs in any region is essential. The Liberal National Coalition Government always, always claim to be the Party to look up to when it comes to jobs and business.

We see the main stream media support this claim with positive spin after positive spin in favour of the LNP or derogatory headlines and stories about Labor.  I often wonder if there is a statue of Tony Abbott in the foyer of The Australian or a statue of Campbell Newman and Joh Bjelke-Petersen in the foyer of The Courier Mail; where journalists begin their day by bowing to these statues and vowing to serve them through the course of their duties. Then there are those in the voting public who believe what the Liberal National Coalition say about how they understand business and are great for jobs and repeat it without question.

If you are creating a wealth of jobs, jobseekers must be just lazy…right?

When the LNP believe that they indeed are the best party for jobs and business, it then leads to a false dichotomy that those on unemployment must simply be lazy and that they simply don’t try enough.  Obviously the LNP are in charge, so of course there are plenty of jobs to apply for!

Based on this false dichotomy, the LNP’s approach to assisting the unemployed jobs is to starve community programs of funding and punish the hell out of jobseekers by implementing the worst jobseeker support program in Australia’s history “Job Active.”  Commentary on social media welfare sites from program participants, suggests that Job Active agencies are more focused on who they can get to pull out weeds for free under Abbott’s work for the dole program, than any real constructive assistance.

Commentary and anecdotes on social media also point to a system where there is no money to assist jobseekers find real work and assistance for study is not supported (unless it is pointless in-house training).  With the Newman Government’s changes to vocational education over the last three years coupled with the Abbott Government’s punitive Job Active program, Jobseekers living well below the poverty line must pay out of their own pocket up front costs or pay the course off, as there is no HECS or HELP deferral scheme for many vocational education courses. Those on welfare need to weigh up their options between being able to afford food and housing or an education.  As an Australian, I find this absolutely abhorrent and 100% unacceptable and this destroys this our way of life.

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has just delivered their first budget by Treasurer Curtis Pitt and have invested 34 Million to begin the repair of our vocational sector and TAFE, to provide real training options for jobseekers.  I hope that this will be extended to ensure affordable access for everyone who has the right to an education, including those on welfare payments.

Sadly, also on social media you read the stories of many jobseekers who are anxious, depressed, frustrated, upset and at times indirectly or directly discussing suicide or ‘not living anymore’ as an option.   This is how they are feeling as jobseekers under the Job Active program.  Some of the comments I have read and the stories collected by the Australian Unemployment Union are absolutely heartbreaking.   

Nothing like a bit of stigma to get those jobseekers moving

To degrade the unemployed even further, in some towns like mine you are given a Basic’s card.  Welfare recipients are given a cashless card and a small amount of cash.  This leaves the jobseeker with very little real money to make purchasing decisions with.  The Basics Card also seeks to stigmatise the jobseeker by giving them their own identifier which allows every shop assistant and member of the public at the checkout know that they are on welfare.  

Couple this with the rhetoric that comes from the agenda of stigmatisation from the Liberal Government such as backbencher Ewen Jones who said: “look there’s your dole, go home, eat Cheezels, get on the Xbox, kiss you goodbye and we will never see you again’?” Add the sensationalisation of welfare recipients on television and so called ‘current affairs shows’; welfare recipients using a basic card, will be seen automatically by some as no good, lazy, bludging welfare thieves. Terminology used by many avid Liberal supporters which places those on welfare in a criminal category. Welfare recipients are not often seen as human beings who desperately want and actively seek work. 

There is absolutely no option for those on welfare to blend in or not stand out as a recipient of welfare. This completely undermines the right to dignity and respect without judgement for so many Australians.  Under the LNP their reasoning is to shame you into finding a job every time you stand at the checkout. The other misunderstanding about the Basic’s card, is that it is available everywhere.   There are only a small number of shops and services which allow purchase with a basics card.  This often forces the jobseeker, living below the poverty line, to spend money at more expensive stores.  In some towns, they have no options at all. This places pressure on their already meagre budget.

So lets see….who should really be punished.  Is it the jobseeker or the Government?  I have completed an analysis of job vacancies in my local area of Central Queensland to find out.

Where have all the jobs gone…Long time passing

The availability of jobs is essential to a productive economy and enables the unemployed to actively apply for employment. Plentiful job vacancies also enable career development for the employed looking for jobs to advance their career.  This opens up lower level jobs for others to apply for. In many cases, highly skilled workers are stuck at the lower end of their professions and not moving on as there are no jobs available to apply for. This puts a constraint on jobseekers seeking entry level jobs. It also puts a constraint on highly skilled jobseekers who also find themselves in the employment queue and now find themselves pulling weeds under work for the dole.

The graph below is job vacancy data for Central Queensland from March, 2012 to January 2015 of the Newman LNP Government and the new Labor Government from Feb 2015 to May 2015. This is where the data availability ceases. There is no data available after May, 2015, but I will be providing follow ups as it comes to hand. (you can click the photo to enlarge). I have completed an analysis on Central Queensland for two reasons.  One is, it is the area I live in and I am very passionate about Central Queensland and the second is to bring some truth to light about how the Newman Govt affected regional areas.  Many believe that due to the Public Service cuts and media around protests, it was mainly Brisbane which had felt the impact. This is not so.

job vacancy growth decline blog

Some Interesting Facts that may get the way of a good LNP Yarn.

Interesting Fact Number 1.

An analysis of job vacancy data for the period of the LNP Newman Government shows a dramatic decline of job vacancies for Central Queensland.  Data available up until May, 2015 shows that in the first four months of the LNP Newman Government, Central Queensland Job vacancies declined by 378 vacancies.  After one year of the Newman Government, there were 1781.7 less job vacancies for Central Queenslanders to apply for. By the end of the Newman Government, there were 2198 less job vacancies advertised in CQ than when the LNP took office.

By comparison, in the first five months of the Palaszczuk Labor Government, Job Vacancies have turned around and job vacancies have increased by 218 jobs for the CQ region in this short time.

Interesting Fact Number 2.

The sharpest decline in job vacancies for any month-to-month period was the period of November to December 2012, which saw a 16% decline in one month for Job Vacancies for CQ jobseekers, under the LNP.

In comparison, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has achieved the highest increase of job vacancies for any month-to-month period for the CQ Region, over the last three years.  For the period from February to March 2015, Job Vacancies in Central Queensland saw a sharp increase of 16%This is the highest job vacancy increase for any month-to-month period, since March 2012.  In a few short months, the Labor Government has achieved what the Newman Government could not achieve in their entire period in office. That is, “to understand business and create jobs”  This is an absolute positive and speaks volumes of the quality of MPs within the Palaszczuk Government.  The graph below shows only job classifications with an increase of 20 job vacancies or more. This is not an exhaustive list.

increase Labor feb march

Interesting Fact Number 3

During the period of the LNP Campbell Newman Government, job vacancies in Central Queensland declined by 56%. To put this in real terms, that is 2198 job vacancies not open for Central Queenslanders to apply for under the LNP.  The graph below demonstrates the top 15 job classifications which experienced a decline in job vacancies over the period of the Newman LNP Government.  The only job classification which experienced an increase in job vacancies under the Newman Government were: Farmers and Farm manager (0.9 increase); Carers and Aides (9.2) Education Professionals (12.2 increase) and Medical Practitioners and Nurses (12.8 increase)  These figures are raw numbers, not percentages.  If we look at the success of the Newman Government for Central Queensland, their achievement is basically an increase of 35 job vacancies across four job classifications, and a decline in all other job vacancies for their entire period in Government.

job vacancy decline newman

 

Interesting Fact Number 4

In the first four months of the Newman Govt, job vacancies in Central Queensland fell by 10%.  In the first four months of the Palaszczuk Govt Jobs vacancies in central QLD increased by 13%

Are Jobseekers as Lazy as the LNP Claim them to be and should they be punished?

The term LNP has been used interchangeably throughout this post, meaning the Liberal National Coalition State and Federal. The LNP use a synthesis of blame and stigma to take the focus off their failings.  The LNP repeat the misguided rhetoric that they are ‘good for jobs’ without question and place blame on everyone else, including the unemployed.  As the data analysis of Job Vacancies for one area in Queensland show, the Abbott Government’s punitive approach is completely uncalled for.  The harsh welfare measures implemented do nothing but feed into the Abbott Government’s agenda of Stigmatisation of those on welfare.  Why? Because there are no better votes for the LNP those those created out of hate, disgust and fear.

My Conclusion?  If you want to starve a region of jobs.  Want to punish the unemployed unnecessarily. – Just vote for a Liberal National Government!

Stay tuned for more analysis drilled down on specific classifications and other nerd-filled data excitement!

Tony Abbott – The Warring Galah from Warringah

If there is one thing about Tony Abbott he loves a good fight.  He reminisces proudly of his boxing days and of his ‘sledging’ days of his youth; citing this as his only ability as a cricketer. “I couldn’t bat, I couldn’t bowl, I couldn’t field, but I could sledge….”  

He has a long history of attacking the Rudd & Gillard Governments as opposition leader.  He has forever ingrained in history a record of attacking Julia Gillard as a person and as a woman to the point Gillard felt compelled to give her famous misogyny speech.

For this inherent trait of his ability to attack, degrade, sledge and harm he is hailed as a great leader by those who are loyal to the destructive cause, I will refer to for the purpose of this article as, “The Liberal National Coalition Government.”

Born in England, it is obvious that his heart and head rest snugly within the bosom of the Motherland. Since becoming Prime Minister he has made a number of ‘Captain’s Calls.‘ He has brought back the outdated practice of awarding Knights and Dames and he has awarded Prince Philip a Knighthood (probably one of the most bizarre moments in our history).  

Abbott also ‘ignoramus-splained‘ Sydney to English Prime Minister David Cameron, by describing the history of Sydney as “nothing but bush” before British invasion and called pre-colonisation civilisation “extraordinarily basic and raw”.  

In addition, leading up to his Prime Minister-ship he has left behind an “England-Loving” rhetoric permeated within his speeches:

“Contemporary Australia has well and truly – and rightly – left behind the old cult of forgetfulness about our indigenous heritage. Alas, there is a new version of the great Australian silence – this time about the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation are unimaginable” (Tony Abbott, 2013 on promising to repeal S18c of the Racial Discrimination Act.)

And

“This is what the poet Tennyson meant when he described England as “a land of just and old renown, a land of settled government where freedom broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent”. At least in the English speaking tradition, liberalism and conservatism, love of freedom and respect for due process, have been easy allies.” (Tony Abbott 2013 on his thoughts on Freedom when he becomes Prime Minister)

It could be argued that as he touched down on our shores from England all those years ago, he looked down his nose at the uncouth Aussie yokels playing around the streets and his English brain interpreted “Ava-go-ya-mug” in quite a literal sense. From that day forth, he has made ‘ava-go-ya-mug’ his main aim.  Not to put in an effort as the Australian colloquialism suggests, but his literal interpretation to “Have a Go”.  From this day forth he has been shadow-boxing, and sledging and ‘having a go’ at almost anyone and anything.  However, he is quite resourceful. He cannot physically do this all on his own; so he has lit little fires all over the place, to ensure Australians are at war with each other. Let’s recap on this short 19 month history of squawking and leading through divide, conquer and stigmatisation.

…..and today, let’s take a look through the round window shall we………..

Stay at Home Mothers vs. Working Mothers.

Mothers have had to endure this war of work or stay at home, since mothers participated in the exchange of real money for their labour.  (I know, it is astounding for some that the labour of mothers can actually have monetary value when they do so much for free!)  In 2013, Abbott had put SAHM’s on a pedestal, promising them better incentives than the existing Labor Policy through the coalition’s Paid Parental Leave scheme.  He described the PPL as “A pro-child, pro-family, pro-growth policy.”  He also cited the PPL as the panacea for the discrimination that women do not experience in Australia.

“I don’t think women suffer legal discrimination and I don’t think anyone these days sets out to do the wrong thing but it is very difficult for women to combine work and family if they don’t have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme and that’s going to change very soon under the Coalition.” (Tony Abbott, 3AW September, 2013).

Abbott has now dumped the PPL and favours working women, rather than stay at home women. Pitting these warring mothers against each other of who is the most deserving of Government support.

The Unemployed vs. The Ignorant

The Abbott Government has had an absolute field day with their agenda of stigmatisation of the unemployed. From implying they are lay-a-bout drug taking bludgers who must be tested, to proudly advocating that these lazy good for nothing loafers should #Starve4AMonth (previously known as #Starve4SixMonths).  This has created a public derogatory rhetoric from the ignorant who are convinced by this agenda of stigmatisation. Online we see a war where Jobseekers try to defend themselves from the barrage of insults fuelled by the Abbott Government’s narrative and policy agenda.

The Bigots vs. Muslims / The Bigots vs. The Left

The Abbott Government’s ‘War on Terror’ narrative and policy decisions have created quite a visual and vocal war between bigots and Muslims and bigots and the Left, with the Patriot movements now calling to ‘crush the left’ as well as vilify Muslims.  The leaders of these movements have even taken to supplying followers with free distance education into ‘Who the enemy is – The Left‘ and About the Left (Please watch these videos so you are enlightened by the absolute misunderstanding and confusion of political ideology as used in Australia, a general embarrassing stab at the underlying sociological constructs of the Left and some other weird conspiracy tidbits including the misuse of the Freemason’s symbol and a fat snowman-like capitalist). 

Muslim women have been attacked in public and there has been a rise of the far right movements such as Reclaim Australia, United Patriots Australia etc. These groups are egged on by the silence from the Government against the rise of these movements.  There have been violent clashes in the streets and more are to come.

The Government is purposely ignorant if it does not see how their narrative on national security inflames these movements.  The theme of the Abbott Government is Nationalism purported through ‘secret border security measures’ participating in abhorrent and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and now the argument to cancel dual citizenship at the whim of a Minister’s discretion. Why should these movements not believe they are above the law when the Government believes they are too?  

These movement are extreme movements.  They now are widening their ‘target group’ from Muslims expanding to include anyone associated with ‘the Left’.  This is a serious concern as not only are their arguments against Muslims very unsound; their attacks on people associated with the left (as you can see from videos posted above) are also fraught with extreme confusion of even the most basic political ideology. The next step will be to broaden the attack on more groups of people.  We have already seen beginnings of this with Indigenous people being attacked and derided.  Yes, we have seen this all before, somewhere around the time of the fall of the Weimar republic; yet Abbott appears to be enjoying this war as it gives voice to his Nationalism rhetoric of fear and disharmony. 

First Australians vs. People who arrived later

Despite being the self-proclaimed “Minister for Indigenous People” Abbott has also lit fires through his discourse relating to Aboriginal people.  He has cut funding to Aboriginal legal aid and other Indigenous organisations and proposing a ‘special Work for the Dole scheme 50 hours a fortnight, five days a week, 12 months of the year for remote Aboriginal communities. He supports the closure of remote Indigenous settlements and has infamously stated that ‘living in a remote community is a lifestyle choice.’  Through his actions and discourse, the conversation between Australians is not a positive one.  It is one where a war rages between Indigenous people, those who stand with Indigenous people and against those who believe through Abbott’s narrative that ‘Australia simply cannot afford the Nation’s First People’ and that Indigenous people are a burden to the taxpayer.

Men vs. Women

Yes, there is a war raging between men and women.  This war is not a general war, but it is specific to the issue of domestic violence.  Tony Abbott has given so many women a glimpse of hope that finally, yes finally in Australia women fleeing in terror from their partners will have some decent support and the expectation of a safe environment.  However, the glimpse was nothing more than that. This quickly turned into lip service as Abbott has continuously shut down debate and pulled funding from domestic violence and preventative services.  This has in turn seen a war rage between men and women as more and more women are voicing their stories and protesting online. Some men are quite indignant that they suffer domestic violence in the same manner and at the same prevalence or even more than women.  Male victims too are feeling ignored and not supported and the victims, both men and women are fighting each other instead of the Government.

Tony Abbott fuels this war by giving a glimmer of  hope and then taking it away. He has fuelled this war by not investing in research, not investing in preventative services, not ensuring positive debate is heard from both men and women and not investing in safe and supportive services for victims of domestic violence; which has left so many who were given a voice for just one moment, screaming out for help. 

It’s Time for the Warring Galah of Warringah to F….fly away
These are just a few examples of how the Warring Galah of Warringah is squawking his message of divisiveness and disharmony to the nation.  These are just a few examples of how he uses sledging to stigmatise minorities and how he uses policy and narrative to appeal to the emotions of those driven by fear and to entrench a Nationalistic psyche in the war on terrorism; and those who fear using their tax dollars to assist even the most desperate groups of people in society. 

These are just a few examples of how the Warring Galah of Warringah starts wars between Australians. Gough Whitlam used the phrase ‘It’s Time’ after a long period of stagnant conservatism within Australia. Yet, here we are just 19 months post election and we can see it is once again Time.  

It’s Time to bring back the Fair Go. It’s Time to bring back the hand up. Its Time to bring back togetherness and standing up for a mate. It’s Time for tolerance and friendship and It’s Time for uniting Australians as one and most of all It’s time for leadership with heart.

The LNP’s new talent – How to disable people with a disability.


abbott disabilityKevin Andrews has announced that anyone seeking to access the disability support pension, will now be required to see an independent doctor prescribed by the Government, and recommendations from family doctors will no longer be allowed to assess people for the disability pension.

The LNP has effectively taken away the right of choice for people with a disability.  All Australians expect a fair go, a right to choose. However, this is now no longer the case if you have a disability. Someone will make this choice for you. For those with a disability who do not need an advocate; who can make their own decisions.  For those who need an advocate, this is taking away the right to choose, through denying the choices that the advocate can make on their behalf.  This is a blatantly disabling people with a disability, rather than enabling them.

This also strikes me as so raw and so insensitive not even a week after the passing of Stella Young. Stella Young, if anything, taught us that we should treat all people with disabilities as human beings. Taking away someone’s right to choose does not treat a person as a full human being. Kevin Andrews (as all neo-liberals do) is purely focused on money and not the welfare of the person, nor is he focused on client outcomes for a person seeking the disability pension.  Scott Morrison inheriting this portfolio, will contribute a ‘show no mercy’ approach to this situation.

In plain Australian English: The LNP does not give a stuff about people with a disability and how they should be treated.

One of the most concerning risks is that if the correct outcome for a person with a disability is not achieved, this will result in that person being moved to Newstart.  This person will then receive less money and will further exclude a person with a disability from accessing social inclusion activities, transport and even better choice of housing to name a few.  Once again, the underlying message of the Government for welfare recipients is “they are liars and cheats and we must stop them.”

Through this agenda of stigmatization and segregation of welfare recipients, the LNP Government aims to use this stigma and marginalization, so major cuts to welfare and even full closure of some services will result in little resistance from voters.   Everything about the LNP is underpinned by cuts, cuts and more cuts, as demonstrated even more today with cuts to housing advocacy and homeless programs, programs for the blind, deaf and acquired brain injury also losing critical funding.

Lisa Gunder’s article, Immoral and un-Australian: the discursive exclusion of welfare recipients, discusses the narrative / agenda set by political leaders since Howard.  The focus on the welfare agenda in the Howard era, when Abbott was Minister for Employment; set to recontextualise ‘have a go’ and ‘the protestant work ethic’ (as part of our national identity) within the welfare discourse.  In an analysis of Australian identity, the ‘Australian way of life’ features strong connections with hard work the middle class and a protestant work ethic.  From Howard to Abbott, they have used this ‘accepted view of our way of life’ strongly within speeches and narratives about welfare; to change how Australians see those who are truly disadvantaged. 

The other most prominent issue that Gunder raises, is that in Howard and Abbott’s speeches, they highlight the success of the ‘in-group’ (non-welfare recipients) and mitigate the achievements of the out-group (welfare recipients).  In simple terms, they purposely avoid highlighting achievements of welfare recipients and focus on the negative.  This sets in place an agenda for stigmatization.

It is through this narrative, that has been used and built on since the Howard years, which sets the tone for stigmatization and paves the way for further cuts and punitive measures for welfare recipients.   If you reflect on the timeline, the progression of this negative narrative has extended from the unemployed, to the single parent, aged pensioners and veterans and now the Government believes its narrative has been accepted sufficiently by the ‘in-group’, that harsh and punitive measures for those on a disability will be accepted by the ‘in-group’ or mainstream Australia. In simple terms, the Abbott Government sees punishing people with a disability as a ‘vote winner.’  As Australians, we should strongly see this as a failure to our national identity.

It is simply not good enough for the ALP and Greens and any other party who opposes these measures and this narrative to simply say ‘it is not OK.’  A narrative has been built since Howard’s arrival at the podium in 1996; that has gradually been listened to and accepted by Australians that “it is fine to punish the ‘out-group (aka welfare recipients).'”   

As ‘punitive measures and harsh treatment’ are now the norm within welfare; the ALP and Greens need to create a very strong narrative and create a new discourse which places welfare recipients at the heart of the “A Fair Go” and speak loudly and strongly of not only achievements, but of compassion and humanity and how and why we should unequivocally provide assistance for those in need’.  

It is essential for the progress of Australia to remain silent on any narrative punishing those on welfare and the disadvantaged and to reject and refuse to create a welfare out-group through stigmatization.  

We must move forward and change the narrative completely to build up the strength of our people, through true mateship, kindness and a fair go.   Only then, will we all have freedom of ability, freedom of choice, true inclusiveness and a greater participation in work and society by all.

Gunders, L 2012, ‘Immoral and un-Australian: the discursive exclusion of welfare recipients’, Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-13

Libs Are Rockin’ In The House Tonight!!!!!! Yes!! Great week everyone! Let’s celebrate this!

Well what a week it has been for the Liberal and National Party Voters of Australia.  I know so many of you were really truly excited during the election to read the Liberal Party’s Pamphlet  “Plan for Real Action”  or “Real Solutions” I know my local member must still be in election mode, she is still using slogans like “Open for Business” and “Shorten’s Shambles” as recently as this week. Anyway….. let’s celebrate the achievements of this week against the “Plan for Live  Real Action” (Sorry for that slip, Turtle Man)

Lets see how the Coalition Shaped up this Week

Backflipping on Education

(Real Solutions P. 40) We will deliver better schools, encourage better teachers, better teaching and give principals, communities and parents a greater say over schoolsWe will put parents, principals and school communities, not unaccountable bureaucrats, in charge of determining how their school will be run to improve performance

Kudos Mr. Pyne, for the first move towards wiping your hands of ‘Governmental Responsibility’ Back flipping on Gonski, because it seems only the “Principals of Calibre” will know how to spend money wisely. The Commonwealth has implied that, if there is a reduction in funding … that reduction may well only come out of public schools http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/gonski-public-schools-targeted-for-cuts-says-adrian-piccoli-20131129-2yg3k.html#ixzz2m1VV82pa

Here, Jane Caro explains what “Shorten’s Shambles” means in dollar terms, as the Liberals appear to have extreme difficulty in applying any clarity or reasoning behind their childish nicknames  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-26/caro-gonski-funding/5117260

GST for Online Purchases

(Real Solutions P. 18) We have a plan for Australia – a plan to lower taxes….We pledge to the families of Australia that we will never make lives harder

(….Except if you shop online to save money, only big corporations are allowed to save money, not the peasant people) http://www.smh.com.au/business/open-letter-to-state-treasurers-you-should-all-be-sacked-20131129-2yf7u.html

Maybe the promise that “we won’t change the GST” left wriggle room to mean “we won’t change the GST, but it’s the states’ tax so if they want to change it, we won’t stand in their way”. That spreads the political pain (Michael Pascoe)  

http://www.smh.com.au/business/states-must-unite-for-gst-reform-20130920-2u3zl.html

Closure of yet another vital service

(Real Solutions P. 38) “That is why the coalition is so determined to deliver a strong, prosperous economy, because it allows us to invest in more government services, like NDIS, Health, Aged Care and Education. 

(…Except if it is education on drug and alcohol prevention, we don’t mean that type of community prevention and education) The Alcohol and Other Drugs  Council has now ceased due to Tony Abbott’s cuts) http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/alcohol-and-other-drugs-council-of-australia-in-administration-after-tony-abbott-cuts-20131126-2y836.html

…That’s when good Neighbours (don’t) become good Friends

(Real Solutions P. 24) We will develop stronger people to people relationships and foster mind-set and and skills set needed to make the most of Asia’s ongoing economic transformation.

Now I know it will be hard to believe, Abbott apologists, but the Jakarta Post is not owned by those left wing trollsters at the ABC. But hey, at least your hero is popular. Front page and everything!

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australias-reputation-in-indonesia-hits-new-low-20131123-2y2k2.html

Now Now, before you scream “It was Rudd the Dud” this one is worth a read… http://theaimn.com/2013/11/30/indonesia-remains-important-for-australia-under-abbott-or-why-indonesians-dont-like-him/

I think it is time to raise your glasses again. This time to the fact that the coalition will ensure that 40 percent of year 12 students will preferably learn an Asian language (Real Solutions P.41) . This is needed desperately, especially for our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop as China says,

‘Australia’s irresponsible statements on the East Sea air defence identification zone are completely mistaken; China cannot accept them,” the statement said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-27/china-rejects-australian-criticism-of-new-air-zone/5120920

NBN Update

(Real Solutions P. 32) We will roll out super-fast broadband using whichever is the most effective and cost efficient technology and we will use existing infrastructure where we can.

Raise your glasses Liberal and National Voters because tonight you can celebrate your wonderful party talking about the NBN longer, because it is going to take oh so much longer…

The Coalition’s national broadband network model will prove inadequate for many businesses, is poorly planned and is unlikely to be completed on time, according to NBN Co’s internal analysis for the incoming Abbott government.

http://www.afr.com/p/technology/deadline_doubts_for_coalition_nbn_YhOEFqv0zeFtIpITWLjz8H

Small Business

(Real Solutions P. 26) We have an economic plan for Australia – A plan to help small business grow and create stronger jobs growth. 

(…..But we don’t mean those small rural and regional businesses….the ones with really bad internet that stifles their day to day operations and competitiveness)

The FTTH NBN isn’t needed by small businesses in regional communities. Saving money on big Labor waste used to help businesses such as this, must make you overjoyed that you voted for your local Liberal or National candidate.

http://www.themorningbulletin.com.au/news/net-glitch-stymies-business-bouldercombe-adsl/2099649/

Employment 

(Real Solutions P. 33) We will generate one million jobs over the next five years and two million jobs over the next decade)

(…..except you pesky people who work in Car Manufacturing….you will just have to find new jobs. We think you will find it consoling that the coalition is so committed to education and training)

Up to 200,000 direct and indirect jobs are in the balance as the Government sends mixed signals about whether it will meet requests to provide continued co-investment in the industry.  http://workinglife.org.au/2013/11/26/car-industry-cant-wait/

(More) Asset Sales 

(Real Solutions P. 38) We will deliver better Government services by working in close co-operation with the State and Territory governments.

(Except Government services that could be lucrative asset sales…we don’t mean those Government services)

Mr Hockey has offered his state and territory counterparts potentially billions of dollars in tax incentives if they sell off public assets and put the money into new job-creating infrastructure.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/recycling-public-assets-vital-for-future-growth-joe-hockey/story-fn59niix-1226770406737

Enjoy your weekend!

That was the week that was 24-30 November 2013. Anyway enjoy your week end coalition voters. Absolutely amazing effort this week. Don’t drink too much, you need to stand proud and all that…Cheers. See you next week.

Think Before you Vote.  Join a political party like the ALP or Greens or other left wing/progressive parties. Get Active. Get Engaged. Discuss issues with family and friends. Share information on Social Media. Join Get Up! Read a wide range of news media. Work hard to prevent right wing Governments like the Liberal-National Coalition destroying our great country, embarrassing us on the world stage and instilling great hardship on our loved ones, friends and neighbours and on our communities. You CAN make a difference!

Trish Corry

trishcorry

trishcorry

I love to discuss Australian Politics. My key areas of interest are Welfare, Disadvantage, emotions in the workplace, organisational behaviour, stigma, leadership, women, unionism. I am pro-worker and anti-conservativism/Liberalism. I am a proud member of the Australian Labor Party and you will find my blog posts written from a Laborist / Progressive Slant.

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