People are expressing the increasing need to separate themselves and self-identify as situated above certain groups. They feel the need to paint others as lesser. This need is fed by fear driven politics and it is causing a loss of focus and it is causing a lot of pain.
Memes used to be funny. They were quirky, sometimes delightful, sometimes thought provoking and sometimes so funny one would cry from laughing. Now memes are more about social status. Sharing to place oneself in a better class. A class above Jobseekers, Unionist, Muslims, Indigenous and LGBTI people who just want to get married amongst other groups.
Not an hour goes by on social media when I do not scroll by some defamatory post about Muslims (mostly aimed at degrading Muslim women) or how jobseekers are bludgers and should just get a job. Then I scroll by more shares about how unionists are self-serving, dodgy criminals. Then I come across those who belong to the special group who believe they are more Australian than the Indigenous Australians who were here in the first place.
Every day we scroll through the privileged Olympics, but there are no winners. Only losers.
The privileged I am talking about here, are not the Turnbull type of privileged; but so many every day Australians who share derogatory memes about various groups on a daily basis. These people come from all walks of life. They are not necessarily rich and they may be poor. Wealth status is not the issue here.
These people are privileged by default, because they do not belong to the group that they and others scorn, ridicule, shame, shun, ostracise and stigmatise. It is like every share elevates one to being a gold card member of the ‘in-group.’
The problem is that the privileged do not see. They are blinded. They cannot calm their egos enough to bring themselves down to another level to try to understand the life of another. They do not attempt to listen and empathise; they are on autopilot with judgement and ridicule.
Social media has made it so it is so much more important to hold dear to the opinion originally developed, than to attempt to understand an issue enough or look at it through different eyes; to recognise it is causing harm and change that opinion.
If we are complaining we haven’t progressed since Whitlam, it is largely our fault. It is our fault that there are so many people in pain, because every day I see stereotypes and stigmatisation shared around to approve and contribute to the infliction of pain on others.
We pit the oppressed against the oppressed when a meme is shared to give the homeless more than refugees. How does one judge the value of what assistance should be given? What drives us to choose between a person who has seen their entire family raped, tortured, slaughtered and burnt and fled their homeland or give to a person in desperate need of shelter, food, clothing and care? Do they both not deserve love, kindness and generosity?
What fear is within us that makes us share such memes as representations of our thoughts that we play judge and jury and decide who is not worthy of care and assistance? Is kindness such an ugly emotion that we reject it? Is it a fear that others may judge you as being too kind?
No, it is the fear driven politics that has led us to believe that a Government and its citizens cannot be generous enough to help both. It is the fear that if they do, we would somehow be worse off. It is fear driven politics that sees us remain silent on the generous assistance to the wealthy banks and business, whilst we verbally bash the poor.
We glorify a free-market-worker-hating-Government every time we share a meme about the ‘pathetic’ unemployed and how they are bludging and living off our taxes. We kick the worker every time we contemplate how unfair it may be that some greedy workers are getting paid penalty rates and how terrible this is for business and their profits. Pass me a goddamn tissue.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government is the epitome of the greedy bourgeoisie and there are every day citizens working so hard to work with them and for them to shove the worker and those who are jobless down as far as they can be kicked.
We have come to a peculiar space in time where the plebs themselves are standing with the bourgeoisie. For if they do this, then being a pleb, is better than a prole or the “hoi polloi.” The common worker, consumed by politics driven fear is tearing their own class apart.
“Workers United will never be defeated….” Go on…say it….it means something real.
What is the fear that drives us to glorify a Government who insists that the unemployed (human beings in case you have forgotten) should starve for a six months, six weeks and now a month?
Is it a fear that we may lose something if jobseekers are offered assistance from the public purse?
Is it a fear that we may just not have one more submarine to build if a jobseeker can live on real meat instead of noodles? Is it a genuine fear that Gina Rinehart might have less billions and that would somehow hurt us?
Is it the fear that we may confront the uncomfortable truth that our judgements reinforce the message that turning to sexual favours and even suicide is a reality for these individuals who are finding it so hard to survive in a world of not just poverty, but scorn and condemnation?
Above all else, it is the politics driven fear that those living in poverty are stealing something from us. It is the fear that they are getting something for less effort than us. It is the fear reinforced by the LNP message that there will be fewer hospitals, fewer schools and fewer jobs if we treat the unemployed with dignity. It is the politics driven fear that assisting jobseekers will result in less jobs; because that means we could one day be them.
There is no point attempting to provide input of an opposing view. Try to tell someone to be angry at the Government for not creating jobs, instead of blaming the unemployed. It is an interesting exercise. Contrition is not an emotion that we appear to embrace as Australian citizens.
This politics driven fear is also blinding us. We are losing focus. The fear of people from different lands and different religions is so critical we cannot take our eyes off them for a second. It is vital to share, share, share anything we can find, made up or not on the internet. It is critical to continuously reinforce this fear as legitimate and worthy to defend.
It is more important to have conversations on social media that can last days about how the viewpoint of one radical Muslim is the view of all Muslims; than to really engage thoughtfully and productively about how we can lift good Australian people out of poverty.
It is more important to remain silent on humanitarian issues,and use our fear of a religion we don’t understand as an excuse, because if we really stop and think about it; we may realise we are actually being inhumane and that is an ugly truth to face.
What fear is driving us that we are content with leaving other human beings in indefinite detention? Indefinite – without a hope, never to be released – just in case the key word has not hit you yet. Murderers get less.
The irrational politics driven fear that unionists are doing less work than the regular taxpayer for a greater gain, is more important to hold onto, than to stand with unionists who have given us the work-life we enjoy today and that they continuously fight for. This fear culminates and makes us forget that we once stood with pride and dignity and shed tears to remember those workers who were jailed, murdered, maimed, starved and broken just so our labour is recognised as a valuable input in exchange for fair wages and safe conditions. How soon we have forgotten the pain of John Howard’s Work Choices?
Every single time we share memes, or have conversations that reinforce the politics driven fear espoused by the Liberals and the Nationals, and now the more right wing parties; we are condoning the infliction of pain on the vulnerable.
We have a responsibility to stop and take stock that this rhetoric that is being whipped into a frenzy day after day has gone too far. It is time to sit up and take notice, that by doing this, we are hurting the people we talk about helping in other conversations we have
It is time to stop and think about those on the right who say they have the solutions, actually don’t. It is time to really listen to their proposals. Tearing down the worker and punishing those who are unemployed due to Government failure is not a solution. Dividing people by race or religion is not a solution. Clinging to the harmful measures that create more poverty and more divisiveness are not solutions. Why this is not being realised is the real phenomenon.
Choose Populism if you want a Rock Star. Reject it if you want a leader.
Some appear to be genuinely good people. However, politics driven fear is driving some people to throw brimstone and fire at those they want to help, instead of at the Government and other right wing parties who are the central cause of the problem.
It is time to take a stand to honour those and respect those who cannot, to challenge the Turnbull Government and others every time they reinforce the degradation of a vulnerable group.
It is time to stop sharing derogatory memes and start having real conversations about how we can build a nation, and not share our acceptance of helping the Liberals and others on the right tear it down.
It is time to stop dividing and start uniting. It is time for a hand up and to bring back the fair go.
It is time for the mate-ship and camaraderie we apparently as Australians represent.
I miss that. Do you?
Have the Greens divided the nation? Is this what a political party should do? Is this disrespecting the people? Is this against democracy? Is this challenging the right to free speech? People need to start really expressing their views on this now. It should be a topic of conversation around every dinner table.
In an act of defiance today, the Greens turned their backs and walked out on Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech in the Senate. In an email I received from Richard DiNatale tonight, he explained this was because he was called a ‘greasy wog’ at school and told to ‘go home’ and the Greens do not condone racism.
DiNatale has a personal story that so many can relate to. Whatever your individual circumstance, be it racism, or disability, or poverty; so many know the ridicule, the shame and the stigma runs deep and stays forever. For some who can never change who they are, the hurt runs deeper. This is the shame and stigma that Hanson and her followers want to cut deep.
I listened to Pauline Hanson’s speech today and I was truly sickened listening to Hanson’s attack on almost every segment of vulnerable people in our society. The divisiveness, which underpinned her speech, shows that Hanson plans to pit group against group until we all hate each other. Her goal is to make Australians choose between ‘her’ or ‘them.’
Hanson’s speech resonated as someone who thinks they have so much reverent power amongst ‘the right’ and her ambition is to grow into a major political party. Her aim is to take every single conservative vote in Australia, to punish the Liberals who rejected her, ridiculed her and jailed her.
In her speech, she metaphorically strolled by and kicked the teeth in of homeless people, and single mothers and mothers who were single because of domestic violence. She metaphorically sat from above and spat on all those on unemployment; the young, the disadvantaged and the disabled.
Hanson’s speech was about creating fear of the disadvantaged. Her aim is to stigmatise and divide our people.
If you were ever made feel ashamed because of who you are, then Hanson is intent on making you relive that nightmare.
If you were made feel less than human because you were poor, or disabled, or recovering from an addiction then Hanson is here to make you feel less than human again.
If you were ever shunned because you were unemployed, homeless or broken, then Hanson wants you to hate those who are living this now.
This is not about Asians, or Muslims or racism, these groups are merely the start. Over the next six years we will see her use the full gamut of disadvantaged groups to create fear and divisiveness amongst us all.
Over time, Hanson will target individual groups and attack them one by one. People in disadvantaged and minority groups will be ridiculed, shamed, and labelled ‘unAustralian.’ Her mantra will be to hate all things ‘unAustralian.’ Her followers who think it is this ‘hate’ that will make Australia a great country, will actively create unrest.
If Hanson achieves her aim of a nation divided in two, what then?
Do we dare to imagine the civil unrest of the “Hanson’s Australians” attacking the bludging poor in the streets?
Do we dare to imagine “Hanson’s Australians” attacking young single mothers and calling scum and slutty whores and thieves who steal taxes?
Do we dare to imagine the intensity of racial hatred and racial violence we have never known before?
Do we dare to imagine Hanson’s Australia? The Greens did and they turned their backs.
Did the Greens just divide the Nation? Yes, they did.
The Greens symbolically asked every Australian to divide and either stand with “Hanson’s Australians” or with all Australians.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
In six years time, don’t let there be no-one left to speak for you.
The Greens have divided the Nation.
Today is the day to decide on which side you stand.
With so much of the same old, same old meeps about the Lib-Lab monopoly/duopoly and the clatter of mismatched voices who want something new, but can’t articulate what that is; the question is “have you actually taken the time to notice what Bill Shorten is about?”
Is it possible that for some, the inner voices of cynicism and pessimism developed by participating in the mob culture of screaming against a two party system, automatically disregard even the most progressive and positive reforms from Shorten’s Labor, just because they are a major party?
Is it possible that some are so fixated on the decisions of leaders of the past they did not agree with? Is it possible that due to this, they are not yet ready to notice Labor in 2016 and view them with a clean slate? Turnbull has been afforded this opportunity, but I do not notice this being extended to Shorten.
Is it possible that this is just a rant by someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause? Possibly. That is for the reader to decide.
However, all I can talk about is what I have noticed from my own perspective. So I will outline a few things that really strike me about Bill Shorten and his leadership and the direction he has been taking Labor thus far.
I will do this as counters to two distinct areas of the narrative I have noticed in the context of myth breaking, of “Both Parties are exactly the same” as I see it – “Underpinning Values” and “They are selfish and out of touch and just don’t listen.”
I personally always find this statement extremely confusing. I will begin with the underpinning values of both parties, as I see them.
Liberals – The Liberal’s values are underpinned by individualism. In terms of public social policy, they believe that everyone is born equal and it is up to the individual’s inherent propensity to ‘make it in life. They believe, this in turn this develops the country as a strong and prosperous country. Liberals believe in small Government intervention as they see Government intervention makes individuals lazy and reliant on Government and this weakens society.
Government intervention is usually paternalistic with punitive measurements seen as a guiding hand, that is required to motivate those without an internal propensity for self-development.
They believe in low taxes and favour a user pays system instead of major investment in Government funded services. The Liberals are semi anti socialism of the public sector and favour privatisation and outsourcing of the public sector where they can achieve it.
They believe in the free market and the balance of power in favour of the employer is the best result for the economy. Liberals have a disregard for the value of a person’s labour and believe low wages and low cost to employers create more jobs and are drivers for the economy.
Liberals do not promote Government intervention in high unemployment as a large surplus labour force drives wages down, as opposed to a tight competitive labour force.
The Liberals believe in maintaining the status quo through conservative and nationalist values.
Malcolm Turnbull and his predecessor Tony Abbott, continue to champion their commitment to these values. Abbott being more vocal and committed to these values than Turnbull, who is committed to these values, but remains largely silent on the intent or values which underpin his policies.
Malcolm Turnbull’s reason for going to a double dissolution election, was a policy which has star chamber type elements and strips away the civil rights of the worker, including apprentices. He saw this as so important, so vital to the progress of the nation.
Malcolm Turnbull continues with Tony Abbott’s abhorrent budget cut regime progressed and championed by Turnbull, with all the pomp and ceremony of an entitled King.
Labor – Labor’s values are underpinned by a form of collectivism and solidarity. Their valued are based on democratic socialism, egalitarianism and laborism. Labor recognises that not everyone is born equal and that it is the Government’s duty to intervene and provide assistance to those who need a hand up to achieve equality. They believe in a Welfare State to provide protection and social and economic benefits to the nation’s citizens.
Government intervention is incentive based and with a propensity towards proactive rather than reactive measures. (Such as investment in preventative health measures and needs based education funding).
Labor believe in the socialism of the public sector as opposed to the privatisation of the public sector to provide the best services to the community. They believe the right assistance can develop individuals into strong, productive citizens, able to engage in the community, and break down the hindrances that were preventing them from doing so. Labor’s values consider external factors to the individual’s inherent drive and personality, and do not seek to place blame on the individual, but seek to address these hindrances and strive to provide an egalitarian society.
Labor’s overarching philosophy is Laborism, which values the labour of the working class. Laborists believe in the protection of safe work, rights and wages. They also believe this drives productivity and keeps the economy strong. They strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to work and a fair days work for a fair days pay. They believe in the Fair Go for workers.
Laborism is consistent with Government intervention in job creation projects to bring equal opportunity to everyone through the ability to access secure work, self development and career progression. They strive for low unemployment as this also creates a better standard of living though higher productivity and higher wages.
Labor believes in collective progressive policy which seeks to challenge the norms of the status quo. They are the leaders of every major positive reform contemporary Australia has ever had, such as: Medicare, Superannuation, Collective Bargaining, Fair Work Tribunal, Gonski, NDIS and NBN
Under Bill Shorten’s leadership, his message is clear that he has returned to the true Labor values ingrained in Laborism which distinguishes Labor as a defiant opposition to the conservative alternative.
His very vocally championing egalitarian values and laborism as progressive solutions. His rejection of the increase to a GST as it would hurt the most vulnerable, his damning rejection of changes to Medicare and tenacious protection of our universal health system, his rejection of the removal of penalty rates and his submission to the Fair Work Commission to protect same. His endless counter attacks on the Government to protect pensioners and families from harmful cuts and to stop the Liberals making the unemployed starve for six months!
His policy for protecting workers from underpayment, from exploitation and ensuring clarity of the term “Internship” to separate this from an essential learning or training activity from one of exploitation of the working class. In addition to policy for mandatory quotas of apprentices in Federally funded projects and investment in upskilling and training in new technologies. There many more examples of this differentiation between Shorten’s Labor and Turnbull’s Liberals, and they can be found here.
Liberals – The Liberals view of “the people” traditionally focuses big business as centric to their policy development. A key focus of economic policy management is built around the rhetoric of welfare bashing of ‘lifters and leaners’ or ‘taxed and taxed nots’ so cuts will be met with little resistance from the public, through the stigmatisation of this group.
As described in the section above, the attacks on families, welfare recipients and workers are a testament to how out of touch the Liberals are with the every day Australian and their families.
Turnbull’s “look at moi” empty verbose rhetoric, where he talks at people and not to them. An example of this is, his common phrase of, “We simply must remember….” in my view is a clear indication of class separation where the ‘people (a forgetful and unintelligent lot) need a gentle paternalistic guiding hand from those who need to remind us of our place.”
Labor – The Labor movement invests in grass roots activism. Under Bill Shorten engaging with the public has been a central focus. Community Cabinets in QLD were introduced by the Labor Government and Shorten’s personal style is community forums, where he openly takes questions from the floor and answers questions in an open public forum.
Shorten has done about 150 public forums in the last 18 months and numerous live Facebook feeds direct to anyone on Facebook who cares to subscribe to his live posts.
As for if Shorten is in touch with the people. I will leave you with his budget reply address for you to decide.
I have had the personal opportunity to attend one of Bill Shorten’s community forums.
In my own experience, he fielded a huge variety of random questions and answered them in detail. He was relaxed and open and quite focused on the night being about the people and their questions and not about us listening to a speech about him or Labor.
I had the opportunity to ask a question. He approached me after the event and asked me to write to him in more detail with my concerns and expressed genuine interest in speaking to me further. I saw him openly engaging with others with genuine interest as well after the event.
He did not have to do that. He did not have to seek me or others out. He had enough people around him to purposely avoid me, if he wanted to. It speaks to his genuineness as a leader. I wish everyone could meet Bill Shorten because until you meet him up close and speak with him, you don’t realise that much of the negative media portrayal and other people’s negative perceptions are so very wrong.
I have not been truly excited about the vision of a Labor leader in a long time, but I truly connect with Shorten’s vision and leadership. In my opinion Shorten is the real deal. His ability to remember names, faces and detail of questions at community forums is phenomenal. You kind of need to see this in action. He is a highly intelligent man with great compassion and a great passion for people and their concerns, which is truly visible at a community forum.
I truly believe he will win the next election outright and will go down as one of our greatest Prime Ministers in our history. I have 100% faith in him and the direction he is taking Labor.
It is such a shame that for many engaged in ‘left politics social media commentary’ disregard the shift in direction under Shorten’s leadership. It is disappointing that those on the ‘left’ who oppose Shorten’s Labor discuss him as if he has evolved from some 1980’s mindset where neo-Liberalism was forging it’s place across the world and judge him on the decisions made by former leaders, which really should be critiqued in the context of that time. It is also frustrating that the progressive policies and Laborist solutions he is putting forward, fall on already made up closed minds and deaf ears.
Whether you think post is just a rant from a someone who is dedicated to the Labor cause, or a genuine attempt to implore people aligned with the left to view Shorten and his modern Labor party with a fresh open mind and really critique his current direction which is ingrained in the values of laborism and truly engaging with the the people. As well as a plea to not to continue to compare and contrast with the decisions and leadership of Hawke, Keating, Rudd or Gillard, which many say they have issues with, then that is up to the reader to decide.
Labor’s policies will not suit everyone, nor are they perfect with no room for improvement. However, it is very, very evident that Bill Shorten making a dedicated effort to meet as many people across as many communities as possible and he is really listening and is open to positive and progressive ideas for change and he has already led substantial policy development as a testament to this shift to the left and laborism.
For those who genuinely and fiercely arguing to topple both of the major parties from power and who are insisting Shorten does not have ‘Leftist’ values – have you really truly taken the time to noticed what Bill Shorten is about?
In her latest sick attempt to grab votes so she can secure a seat in the Senate and claim her holy grail – a bigger pay cheque for herself; Pauline Hanson has stooped to yet another low – attacking female victims of domestic violence.
If you can stomach it – her outlandish claims that women make frivolous claims about domestic violence and women, wasting police resources and tying up the court system can be seen here
To those who think that Pauline Hanson “speaks for me” she “speaks her mind” and “she says things people are not game to say.” No. Just no.
She isn’t trendy or cool or ‘speaks her mind’, she doesn’t represent the ‘views of the people’. She is a puerile, inane, mendaciously lying, antagonistic, self-aggrandizer who flies on the coat-tails of creating hatred and division where-ever she can sniff it out.
In short – she wants to drive you to hate others, just so she gets a bigger pay cheque and give herself an ego boost.
Her entire history is about creating division and hatred for personal gain, not to make this country a better place. She never talks about inclusiveness or harmony, just divisive rhetoric about us and them – the ‘normals’ and the ‘abnormals.’
Ms. Hanson has ridden on the back of negativity and fear mongering of Asians and Indigenous Australians to create groups who can be bracketed as, not fitting in, not like the rest of us, different – ‘abnormal’.
Ms. Hanson’s 1996 Maiden speech to Parliament warned Australians of the damage that Aboriginal people and Asians do to our society. Now the fear and hatred in the 2016 campaign has turned to Muslims and she is milking that cow until it is dry. She is the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set.
If you are still thinking of voting for her then why is her platform in 2016 not about stigmatising and creating division between white Australians and Indigenous People or Asians? It was so important last time she put her hand up that ‘Australia is being swamped by Asians, or Aborigines get too many privileges.” Why not now?
Answer: Because Pauline Hanson knows there are no votes in it. She knows people will be outraged in these days of reconciliation and people know that Asians have not swamped Australia.
However, there are still many people who are fearful of Muslims, do not understand their culture, are not ready to accept them as Australians and underneath that is fear and that fear equals votes where she can get them.
Indeed, there are always pockets of men who feed off ensuring women are kept weak, meek and not heard. There are always pockets of men who think they deserve a bigger space than women in the world; even if an epidemic is so severe that women are the focus first; these types of men simply must insist that the experiences of men must be the primary focus, regardless of the implications for women or the burdens or consequences women suffer.
Pauline has pricked her ears up and she is listening to these men. Even where the system does recognise men are victims and there are men specific programs (many created BY women), and the language is changing to intimate partner violence to be more inclusive.She simply does not like it.
Pauline won’t speak to any of this because she wants people to believe this is a gender issue. She wants people to believe that men are the most hard done by and women are ‘winning’ tax payer funded supports over more deserving men like it is some sick contest.
If the welfare bludger who gets it all versus the hard working tax payer who gets nothing could be an uglier colour – this is what it looks like.
So apparently there must votes in appealing to this group. To get these votes, today’s latest target (bullies have targets) are victims of domestic violence.
Hanson’s allegations that women victims of domestic violence make frivolous claims, is the same divisive, attack dog, them and us mentality of those who seek to stigmatise those on welfare as dole bludgers, cheats, lazy and frauds. Or those who seek to label people of different ethnicities as ‘bludgers and job stealers, murderers and rapists.’
The main aim of Hanson’s breed of politician is to stigmatise a particular group. Today that group comprises of women who are emotionally tortured to the point of self-worthlessness, beaten, threatened, stalked and killed.
Stigma aims to socially discredit a group of people. Stigma seeks to bracket people so they are not ‘normal’ and when people are seen as ‘not normal’ people who think they are ‘normal’ are afraid of the ‘abnormals’.
When people are afraid, opportunistic, egocentric politicians put themselves forth as ‘the protector’ of the ‘normals from the ‘abnormals.’ No one needs protecting from women victims of domestic violence.
No Pauline, you do not need to protect anyone from women victims of domestic violence.
No Pauline, you do not need to plead a case for less tax-payers money going on women’s services.
No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be threatened by your ignorant rhetoric and be bracketed as ‘abnormal.’
No Pauline, just because men experience domestic violence, it does not invalidate the experiences of women and make their claims frivolous.
No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not be shamed into thinking they are ‘wasting the big strong policeman’s time and not speak up.’
No Pauline, women victims of domestic violence will not sink to the depths of silence when so many people around them are trying to lift them up to speak up.
Instead of giving examples of why or when men are not believed, or what services we need for men; Hanson’s ignorant allegation is that women are frivolous in their claims.
This is to give the impression that women are creating a false epidemic with their mendacious lies and this gives no real space for male victims. (Just read the comments following the original article linked above.)
We do not need to shame or silence women, or make them think that they are a burden on the system, so women shrink even more and create a bigger space for men who are victims of domestic violence.
If Pauline Hanson is unable to argue a bigger space for men in domestic violence services, without putting women down, then why does she deserve anyone’s vote?
If you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson up to this point, ask yourself, “How does it benefit our country to start a narrative which is only meant to stigmatise and shame women who are victims of domestic violence and make it harder for them to speak up?”
To appeal to enough people to win votes with this latest outlandish claim; Pauline Hanson will want this message of ‘women victims of domestic violence making frivolous claims’ to get louder and louder and the following to grow bigger and bigger. Just like she did back in the 90’s with Indigenous people and Asians.
Imagine the same aggressive, hateful, divisive rhetoric raising its ugly head as Hanson has done to Asians, Indigenous people, those on welfare and now Muslims; towards victims of domestic violence. Imagine that kind of Australia.
The more aggressive, the more hateful, the more divisive the rhetoric, the more doubts that are created in people’s minds, the more women remain silent because of this narrative and the more perpetrators believe women will not speak up, then the more women will die. Is this what you really want to vote for?
When Pauline Hanson attacks diversity, she doesn’t recognise how other cultures enrich us and teach us and how we can learn respect for customs and traditions. Multiculturalism helps us to stop being insular and selfish and gives us the gift of inclusiveness. Now she wants to widen the gap between women and men. She wants to give the impression that women are getting more in this space than men are. She wants us to position men and women victims to compete. She wants us to think about how unfair that is and how she can help correct that ‘unfairness.’
It would be a safe bet that if people started to be doubtful of cute kitten owners or didn’t understand them, Ms. Hanson would jump on that bandwagon as well to serve her own ego. I don’t believe any nationality, sexuality, gender or religion or anyone who is slightly different than in Pauline Hanson’s world of what is ‘normal’ is safe from being a target, if she thought it meant more votes.
The growth of this type of Nationalist, divisive and hateful politician, can be summed up in the words of Aboriginal Elder and former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Senator Patrick Dodson:
“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.”
On July 2, we will decide the Prime Minister and his Government. This Prime Minister and his MPs and Senators must listen to Mr. Dodson’s words and work hard to build a future where Australians live with certainty, hope and inclusiveness of all Australians and put an end to politicians pitting us against each other.
That future Australia will not be built with any contributions from Pauline Hanson.
…and if you are still thinking of voting for Pauline Hanson: Hang your head in shame.
The Hashtag #MalcolmWasSoPoor has been trending around the Twitter-verse. This is in response to a recent public video from our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull. In a cruel morbidly satirical twist to the election; our obnoxiously wealthy, high end of town associated, Cayman Island investing, Australian Prime Minister has tried to prop himself up as the very battler his own party oppresses.
Turnbull tells the story of his single father – A hotel broker – a life of real battles and struggles. He speaks about this battle and struggle of a hotel broker parent as synonymous with the lives of other single parents – the low paid workers and the welfare dependent.
In his out of touch way, he also tries to draw the implicit comparison that genuinely poor people understand, and that is that ‘sometimes love is all that gets us through.’
Love is all that gets us through when we need to eat hot milk, bread and sugar to fill our tummies and keep us warm; not when we are worrying about what the elite private school we are attending might be serving us for lunch!
It is well known that Turnbull has had a privileged life, attending a school for the wealthy, has had high-flying well known connections to assist him to get ahead in life and is now a multi-millionaire. Australians are not dolts and the viral hash-tag shows that many Australians are beyond belief at this latest grab for votes.
This attempt to identify with those in poverty, would have been more palatable, if he had recognised his privilege, but identified that he has used that privilege to listen to people and work on ways to help them. But he did not.
The release of this video in the midst of an election – an election with class-war as the centrepiece, draws parallels to cultural appropriation in the form of poverty appropriation.
You simply cannot dress yourself up as a poor and disadvantaged person and ‘borrow’ that way of life as if this gives you entitlement to the pain and struggles of these people. It is insulting and denies the credit of the struggle of the poor and disadvantaged that they deserve. Poverty appropriation is a new low in politics.
The disconnect of Turnbull and the Liberal party to the poor and disadvantaged demographic is ingrained within their constitution:
2. d (vi) looking primarily to the encouragement of individual initiative and enterprise as the dynamic force of progress. Which translates to:
This is a stuff and nonsense platitude that does nothing but add another label or ‘laziness’ or ‘bludger’ to the poor and disadvantaged, who are already stigmatised by the empty LNP rhetoric and their harsh policy decisions.
Turnbull doesn’t want us to look at the Duncan Storrar’s of this world and say ‘how can we help as a collective – as a nation? How can we work together to do better to assist people like Duncan lead a better life? What can the Government do about this?’
No, Turnbull wants us to look at people like Duncan and cry:
“Shame! You have not used your own initiative, you are lazy and can do better! The Liberal Party gives you the individual freedom and punitive welfare measures to push you forward and make you work hard and the free market to do this in. It is your fault if you cannot be the best you can be.”
…and this was very loudly backed up by the Liberal Party’s biggest advocates – The Murdoch Press.
There are kids who are the real battlers of today, who do not need to use some type of poverty appropriation to experience it, to empathise with it or identify with it – they live it every day. Here are ten kids poorer than Malcolm:
1. The eight year old boy in regional and rural Australia who is struggling to get a proper education because his family has no access to the internet.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his judgement of rural and regional Australians that he completely misunderstands their communications needs and how a communications infrastructure is essential and affects their prospects for the future.
2. The ten year old girl who can sing like an angel, who has the potential to be another Dame Joan Sutherland, but is unable to compete beyond the local eisteddfod, as her parents cannot afford singing lessons, let alone the travel for state or national competition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of how a few spare dollars a fortnight can make the future so different for some children, when his party cut Family Payments.
3. The seven year old girl in a regional community who misses her dad so much when he goes away for treatment for weeks at a time, as the regional hospital does not have the services to treat his condition.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding of the crucial role public health plays, particularly in regional communities when his Government cut critical health funding by $80 billion dollars.
4. The six year old boy who sees the shame in his mother’s eyes simultaneously with the judging eyes of the shop assistant as his mother hands over her Basic’s Card and he feels the not yet understood feeling of stigma.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his life experience that he cannot empathise and feel the shame and stigma that income management brings.
5. The nine year old girl with undiagnosed learning problems who will get further and further behind, because the school cannot afford additional remedial support staff to assist her.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his choosing a life dedicated to individualism and the free market over democratic socialism, that he cannot comprehend how an ideology based on individualism hurts those most in need and it is the chain that holds them back when he chose not to ‘Go the Full Gonski – whatever that means.’
6. The three young children who were so hungry their stomachs hurt, because they were unlucky to live in a disaster prone area when a flood hit and they had no access to funding for food after all of theirs was spoilt and destroyed.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in the checking of his privilege when he supported his party to cut Labor’s disaster funding guidelines which excluded so many needy disaster stricken families in desperate need of financial assistance.
7. The eleven year old girl who knows how to grab her four year old brother quickly to find the hiding spot and knows how to keep very, very still and not make a sound as she cries when she hears her mother get thumped and dragged and beaten and her heart races with every blood curdling scream, because Mummy says there is no where for them to go.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his commitment to feminism when the Liberal party cut funding to domestic violence services and Community Legal Centres in Australia and decided to inadequately address funding needs for this sector in the budget.
8. The young person who will suicide next week due to not being able to cope with early onset of psychosis and his family cannot afford $600 to see a private psychologist.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his understanding that all lives matter more than dollars when he made the commitment to discontinue organisations such as the The Early Psychosis Youth Services (EPYS) program.
9. The young teenage girl who will develop serious health problems and die at only age 26, as in making the choice between a paying for a blood test or food, she chose food.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his foresight that destroying and privatising Medicare that this situation will be a young person’s future reality.
10. The thirteen year old boy who is so afraid inside, but must show he is brave as he continually swallows the urge to cry, as he sleeps tucked up inside a stolen sleeping bag in an abandoned industrial building with his new ‘friends’.
#MalcolmWasSoPoor in his comprehension that being a homeless youth is terrifying, lonely and dangerous when the Turnbull-Abbott government cut more than $500 million from homelessness support services.
As a child raised below the poverty line, this latest Turnbull video – an attempt at garnering votes saw me initially remain silent. Regardless of Turnbull’s intention with this video, it has made me feel by ‘borrowing the lived experience of real poverty’ as his own, he has mocked my childhood and my experiences with contempt as he lilts and lulls his inflections with aplomb and tries to romanticise a life of disadvantage as ‘one that is the foundation of success’, as long as you have a ‘good dad.’
As someone who normally enjoys political satire, I have not been able to participate in the #MalcolmWasSoPoor Twitter frenzy and mock Turnbull’s attempt at poverty appropriation. I did not know why, until I worked out how this had actually made me feel.
I can only speak for how I feel and not for others, but this latest political stunt has developed a seething inner child who has screamed so loudly to stand in solidarity with the children of poverty who exist today that I was compelled to pen this post and give them voice through this medium.
To say the least, writing this list has been extremely confrontational, even with my own lived experience. I have used poetic licence to bring these stories into the context of today, but every single example is a built from a real example of someone I have made a connection with throughout my life, except for number 9, which is a hypothetical of the result of a Medicare system under destruction. These stories are not fiction.
Rich or Poor we have the power in this country to make our world better for these children and we can do that with a vote. There are children like these in every electorate, this is their reality. Vote for an end to the conservative agenda permeated with individualism and put the LNP last on July 2. Our voice is our power. Please use it wisely.
Paul Keating was so right about Malcolm Turnbull, wasn’t he? “A bit like a big red bunger on cracker night. You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing”
After all the glasses-twirling hype and the selfie-induced-train-hopping; nothing is exactly what we are getting from an undemocratically elected, Liberal Party appointed Prime Minister who is quickly learning that he can’t please the people and his party. However, he has clearly chosen who he aims to please. Malcolm Turnbull has clearly chosen to please the conservative right wing of his party and not the people of Australia and certainly not our children!
In his interview on 3AW with Neil Mitchell, Turnbull described Labor’s commitment to fund Gonski as, “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that the fair and equitable education of ALL little Australians is “Reckless.” Malcolm Turnbull believes that investing in our children, the very people who will shape this country for our future, is ‘Reckless.”
Malcolm Turnbull believes that your child does not deserve a fair go!
Any leader who undermines the very essence of our shared Australian value of – “The Fair Go” is reckless. It is reckless toward us as individuals and it is reckless toward us as a collective. Turnbull’s rejection of Gonski funding is not just reckless, it is irresponsible and regressive.
To play on a phrase Julia Gillard famously used….If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what Reckless looks like, he just needs a mirror. That’s what he needs.
The Abbott-Turnbull Govt has been the most reckless Government of my lifetime. That is why we need to talk about the:
Education changes people’s lives. The Gonski Reforms are an opportunity for fairness and equality in education. It is an opportunity to provide equal access to pathways of future success for all of our children. The Gonski reforms will pull some sectors of our society out of generational disadvantage. The Gonski reforms enable our country to be competitive and improving our economy. Giving a Gonski is giving our children, your children, a chance to be competitive in the jobs of the future. Committing to Gonski could mean enabling the pathway for a future Prime Minister. Refusing to commit to Gonski is keeping the door shut to a Prime Minister that could have been.
The Prime Minister of Australia willingly choosing to uphold disadvantage over fairness and equality for all is beyond reckless, it is downright destructive.
This little gem drummed up by the ‘let’s stigmatise poor people’ rabble of the Abbott-Turnbull Government, decided that in the era of high unemployment created by decisions by their own party, that young people who could not find a job are not entitled to social security payments. Deciding that young unemployed people should have no money for basics such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene products or medicine is very reckless indeed. (Labor, Greens and some cross-benchers opposed this and a new policy is in progress for jobseekers to starve for one month instead.)
I’m just going to leave this here because I’d rather watch Jason Clare explain how reckless Turnbull has been with the NBN, rather than write about it.
Wasting millions and millions and millions of dollars on a political witch hunt, presided over by a judge with a history that spans decades of very close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia, is one of the most reckless acts against the working class this country has ever seen. The reckless attack on workers to bring back a reckless star chamber style ABCC is abhorrent. No Mother or Father ever wants the young man in this video to be his or her child! Shame. Shame. Shame.
The cuts to health and the continuous push towards a user pays system are reckless to the extreme. The situation the Abbott-Turnbull Government is pushing for, is where your wealth decides whether you are in pain, undiagnosed with a serious or terminal illness, or possibly even die. This type of class division of access to health will lead to a broken country. No human life is less valuable than another life based on the amount of money someone has in the bank.
Both John Howard in 2005 and Tony Abbott in 2014 said that the Liberal Government was the best friend the workers have ever had. Pretending to be a friend to the worker, is not just reckless, it is deceitful. A Government who makes it easier to employ foreign workers instead of Australian workers is not a best friend to the worker. A Government who does that is made up of a pack of self-righteous, out of touch lazy gits and by taking a generous wage, are the real leaners on society. MP’s are not elected by the people to do backroom deals to push Australians out of work. How reckless is it to make changes to employment rules that result in Australians being replaced with foreign workers and then laugh about it. Really? How reckless is that to everything the people in this country value?
The push from the Abbott- Turnbull Government to make life more difficult for families by cutting family payments and attacking penalty rates is indeed reckless. Some parents rely on weekend shift work to help the family get through the week. Sometimes this is the only work mum or dad can get to work in with their primary duty of caring for children. To attack the penalty rates of some of the poorest people in the country in conjunction with cuts to family payments and abolishing the School Kids Bonus is yet another step closer to the Abbott-Turnbull led class divide trotted out by the Liberals and Nationals time and time again. Class divide is indeed one of the most reckless things a Government can do.
The approach and treatment of Asylum Seekers under the Abbott-Turnbull regime is abhorrent, shameful, disgusting and damaging. The Abbott-Turnbull Government’s commitment to the secrecy provisions of their policy is beyond reckless. I do not believe a word exists for how damaging this extreme practice is. The treatment of Asylum Seekers is in the name of all Australians, not just in the Government’s name. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups have the right to investigate the treatment of people seeking asylum in our name. Asylum seekers have the absolute right to advocacy, medical treatment and legal representation. The cloak and dagger approach has only lasted so long. As reported yesterday, Border Force admitted that at least 23 boats have been turned back and this is a regular occurrence. To say the boats have stopped is a bald-faced lie. With the Government casting its invisibility cloak over people seeking asylum, the public have no idea if people are still drowning or the number of deaths at sea. As Harry Potter Fans will appreciate, the Government has the invisibility cloak and with Dutton’s face as the stone and Turnbull’s twirling glasses as the wand, the Government really could be the Masters of Death.
The Cashless Welfare card is the symbolic mechanism that brings the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s agenda of stigmatisation of the poor to life. This draconian, punitive measure ensures that those who are unemployed are branded as such at the checkout. The Government harps on about how they understand innovation, but then deny the unemployed the ability to purchase cheap goods off buy and sell sites on Facebook and at the local market. The cashless welfare card denies an unemployed mother the ability to give their school child that $3.00 in an envelope for the school excursion they just remembered about that morning. Income management only serves to degrade the unemployed as incompetent and not able to manage their own meagre budgets. It is a punitive and degrading measure, which takes away the liberty and freedom of those who are on welfare. Income management increases barriers to employment for jobseekers and that is indeed reckless to the individual and to our society as a whole.
One of the roles of the Prime Minister and Government is to provide leadership of tough issues. This often means doing what is right for minority groups, regardless of popular opinion. I was deeply perturbed at the very vocal Abbott-esque backflip by Turnbull in question time on Thursday. The new Malcolm appears not only to be reckless, but now completely unhinged.
Terri Butler: Given it is clear that members of the Prime Minister’s own party will not respect the $160 million plebiscite on marriage equality; will the Prime Minister immediately allow the free vote that he used to argue for on the private member’s bill that is currently before the parliament?
Malcolm Turnbull: I am not sure what it is about the honourable member’s approach to democracy that she so despises the views of the people that sent her here.
Parliament did not conduct a plebiscite to determine if we should or should not have sexual harassment laws introduced. They did not conduct a plebiscite to pass the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, contrary to what the popular belief at the time would have been. The Government of the day saw legal entrenched discrimination and had the guts to redress it.
By standing by a plebiscite, Malcolm Turnbull is valuing the opinion of bigots and homophobes who have recently photoshopped rainbow nooses around a woman’s neck in an anti-marriage equality advertisement. That is not valuing democracy. That is upholding bigotry and allowing bigots to have a voice against those they seek to oppress. As leaders, the Government has a moral obligation to view this debate from a legal standpoint of discrimination based on the choice of sexual preference and redress this discrimination immediately.
It is reckless for a Government to deny people who love each other the right to marry, based on their sexual preference.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants to know what reckless really is, here are just ten of the many reckless things the Abbott-Turnbull Government has done in the short space of two years and four months. Investing in Gonski is not reckless, it is responsible and visionary, two things the current Government lacks. To fight this Government’s recklessness, remember always to put the Liberal/National or LNP last on your ballot paper and Give a Gonski today.
That is just a list of 20 examples of people who don’t just have a difficult day, they have a difficult day every single day whilst your Government is hurting everyday Australians. Please call an election. It’s not just the Speaker who needed to go. Your entire Government needs to go.
Yesterday, along with many others I watched the much anticipated marriage equality debate between Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong. I found some of the questions from the press gallery quite predictable. I felt the questions did not really challenge what marriage equality may mean for us as we progress as a nation. I have put together ten questions I would have liked to have asked Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong.
Cory Bernardi and Penny Wong Same-Sex Marriage Debate ABC TV 29 July 2015
Question 1 – Twelve Year Olds
Many young people dream of their wedding. Even at twelve years old I dreamt of my wedding and would often gaze at a good looking boy in my class and wonder if it would be him. If marriage equality becomes the norm, how will the world change for all twelve year olds?
Question 2 – Is it time to really scrutinise marriage?
Marriage as currently defined, has no specific parameters of what that actually means, besides the union of a man and a woman. If a man and a woman are married, they can live a life as a sham. They do not need to sleep in the same bed or even live in the same home or even town. They do not have to share parenting, or be good parents or even be parents and there is always a contentious argument of if and when the housework is actually shared equally. Heterosexual married couples do not even have to treat each other with respect or endearment. They do not even have to be in love.
My question is, if we do not question the validity of what marriage means, outside of the bringing together of gender opposites, then why is the anti-marriage equality side constantly debating the morals, scruples and behaviour of the LGBTQI community who would like to be married? If this is such a strong area of concern, how do we redress the imbalance here if the anti-marriage equality advocates do succeed? Should we have more scrutiny of heterosexual married couples?
Question 3 – Gender Transformation
If an individual who is married decides to undertake the journey of gender transformation; what do the current laws mean for the married couple if they want to stay together, if both individuals identify and are legally recognised as the same gender? How will marriage equality have an impact on individuals who undertake the journey of gender transformation,and their spouse?
Question 4 – Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a very prominent issue in Australia at present. Domestic violence is often discussed in terms of between a man and a woman, rather than between two people. There is now a shift in reports and language surrounding intimate partner violence, which includes same sex relationships. How will marriage equality assist Governments to legislate for protections for all people in domestic violence situations and enable Governments to fund programs inclusive for all victims of domestic violence?
Question 5 – Atonement
Because it is 2015 and Australia still does not have marriage equality, there may be some LGBTQI people in our community who have felt they could not just ‘be who they are’ and may have chosen to live a life married in a heterosexual relationship for whatever reasons they decided this was best for them. If marriage equality is achieved, is it fair to say that there may be some resentment from those who feel they have been forced to make decisions they would not have had to? Is it fair to say that by not recognising marriage equality earlier, we have not allowed people to live a full life with freedom of individual expression and decision making and how do we as a nation atone for this?
Question 6 – A parent’s perspective
As a mother to a newly engaged daughter, my excitement is over-whelming awaiting the wedding. Weddings are something which do bring family and friends together for such a celebration of love and happiness. Weddings are seen as a key milestone for so many. I see myself as someone who is privileged to enjoy this excitement and my heart pains for mothers and fathers who do not have this privilege. From the perspective as a parent, how does a Government see their role in interfering in such a personal, individual celebration of love which is only afforded to mothers and fathers given this privilege? This question is particularly for Senator Bernardi, considering his Government favours small Government and is supposed to favour distancing themselves from interference in the private sphere.
Question 7 – Our social fabric
One of the biggest arguments for marriage equality is that it will end discrimination and enable equality for all. As per my last question, marriage is currently for those privileged to do so under our laws. If we do not allow same-sex couples to ‘be’ as heterosexual couples are allowed to just ‘be’ then our social fabric will always be woven from those in a position of privilege. How can our social fabric ever be complete when we are unconscious of a discourse that is currently silent about love, understanding and togetherness for all? How will marriage equality assist to weave our social fabric or in Senator Bernardi’s case destroy our social fabric?
Question 8 – Regional and Rural communities
I live in a regional community and I am aware that as I have aged over the years, many friends from my younger days have moved on to live in capital cities where communities are generally more supportive of LGBTQI Individuals, as regional and rural communities have not been very supportive in their experience. Some studies also cite very harsh treatment towards LGBTQI people who reside in regional and rural communities with some contemplating suicide or sadly, taking their own lives. What impact will marriage equality have on LGBTQI individuals living in rural and regional communities and what impact will marriage equality have in shaping these communities as a whole?
Question 9 – A Government’s responsibility to understand all groups in society
Although liberal feminism has achieved some great progress for women; liberal feminism was criticised by women of colour for excluding their lived experiences of discrimination and their need to redress areas of discrimination. This is because liberal feminists made assumptions from the perspective of middle class white women. Feminism has evolved to now women of colour having a much stronger voice and leading the issues in many areas of feminism. Including more experiences from a broader range of individuals can only result in better informed legislation. There are many areas of social policy and statistics collections where research assumptions are made on research and data collected from a heteronormative viewpoint. For example, there is little data to understand issues for single mothers who were previously in a same-sex relationship.
As it is the Government’s responsibility to develop social policies and legislate for same; isn’t it also the Government’s responsibility to ensure they have an understanding of all groups in society? How will marriage equality impact on the development of social policy and legislation of same? If Cory Bernardi believes these groups should be excluded by default by not having marriage equality legislation to redress this imbalance, does he support ill-informed legislation and policies?
Question 10 – Tolerance and conscience vote versus binding vote.
Anthony Albanese (Albo) on ABC Qanda on 1 June indicated in his response to a question about marriage equality and a conscience vote, is that we need to tolerate and respect the views of others to bring them along with us. We have many different pieces of legislation which already make discrimination unlawful. Therefore, the battle against discrimination and inequality has been won on many fronts with political parties or Governments coming together to legislate for change to enable equality.
My question is about a conscience vote versus a binding vote. I question whether a conscience vote is a necessary patience, or a subconscious accommodation for the class of people who understand discrimination well enough in other contexts; but not when it involves stamping out discrimination for something they fear. The same class of people who use religion, ignorance and/or prejudice as a shield to ward off progress. As a progressive, I do not feel I need to respect groups or individuals who actively fight against progress and who uphold discrimination.
So my question is: How do Governments or even political parties make the decision about what is characterised to be morally and ethically sufficient or insufficient to determine whether a binding vote or conscience vote will be used? Also, to truly progress, how tolerant should we be of all views?
How will you vote?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%
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!
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.)
“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.
Those who have followed my blog (thank you) will know that a main theme I have addressed in the 2014 Budget is the “Agenda of Stigmatization” by the Liberal National Coalition Government. The Agenda of Stigmatization is alive and kicking in Budget 2015. The targets? Women, single parents and working mothers.
The stigmatization narrative of the Liberal National Government’s Budget 2015 is like a passive aggressive snarl, rather than the brazen punch to the face we received in 2014.
On The Insiders, ABC (17/05/2015) Barry Cassidy interviewed Joe Hockey on a variety of budget related matters. The first area that piqued my interest was the matter of Paid Parental Leave. This policy assists parents, predominantly young women to care for their new born babies for a period prior to returning to work. This was hailed as a major initiative of the Coalition Government. One where they built on Labor’s Paid Parental Leave Policy and had ‘achieved better and greater than Labor ever could, where it comes to women.’ In fact the coalition stated that:
The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme will result in a woman earning the average full-time salary of around $65,000 receiving $32,500 – and they will be around $21,300 better off under the Coalition’s scheme relative to Labor’s scheme.
Tony Abbott also famously stated on 3AW in September, 2013, that
“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.”
So now they don’t have a “fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme” – what has the Coalition got to offer women?
Now the Coalition has back-flipped on this policy; stating the reason for the back-flip was that they have listened to the community. Yes, the community needs reliable, affordable childcare, but not at the detriment of already hard fought for entitlements at work.
The negative narrative of parents, primarily women, being ‘rorters and double dippers’ is meant to stigmatise this group so the public believe that working mothers are getting more than their fair share. The Coalition would like the voting taxpayer to believe that mothers are essentially stealing the nation’s taxes.
The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they reduce or abolish Labor’s Paid Parental Scheme altogether.
Single parents, particularly single mothers are another favourite target group for the Liberal National Government’s agenda of stigmatisation. We have already had in Budget 2014 attacks on FTB reducing family income for up to $6,000 per year and a the abolishment of FTB once a child has turned six. In addition, return to work and education supplements, which have been vital in the past to transition single parents into work will also cease. These changes still need to be passed in the Senate and are now linked as savings, which will fund Childcare, in addition to savings found from those on Newstart under 25 having no income for one month.
When the Prime Minister and Minister for Women was challenged in Question Time about these cuts by Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, the Prime Minister accused Labor of supporting welfare as “pseudo-generosity. This is a prime example of the Coalition’s narrative that they see welfare as a ‘generosity’ to be given or taken away rather than an essential need.
Now we have the “Have A Go” Budget of 2015, where the Coalition ‘Has a Go’ at Single Parents by comparing apples and oranges to convince the public that Single Parents are not only having their cake and eating it too, but eating hard-working people’s cakes as well. The message here is that single parents are greedy bludgers, who get more in hand-outs than a hard working voting taxpayer.
The following table was discussed on The Insiders, ABC Sunday 17 May, 2015. Barry Cassidy queried Joe Hockey as to why it was necessary to compare the two. Hockey’s response was that he thinks it is important to advise tax payers where their money is going. (It is also interesting that the pictures on this graph pegs a single mother with two children against a hard-working single man.)
As you can see the “Age of Entitlement’ Graph demonstrates that a hard-working person working five days per week, is actually worse off than a sole parent with two kids. This is a dynamic display of the ‘Lifters and Leaners” narrative we were accustomed to in 2014 although the actual words are not used in Budget 2015. The subliminal messaging is what is used to be effective here.
However, the graph does not take into account the cost of raising children, which I have added below:
As this table now shows, regardless of what the Coalition want you to believe, when you take into account the cost of raising children; a sole parent working part-time is not better off than a hard-working individual working five days per week on $80,000 per year.
As Barry Cassidy put to Joe Hockey “But you may be creating resentment though for no purpose” Of course, Joe Hockey disagreed and responded with “Why anyone would resent helping a single parent?”
After the last 18 months of stigmatizing those on welfare, including single parents; along with the Kevin Andrews’ mantra that married couples are more valued in society; this really speaks volumes of how out of touch Joe Hockey and the Coalition are. Maybe the Treasurer should follow commentary on social media and main stream media to understand what many people think of those on welfare.
Joe Hockey knows and the coalition knows that their negative narrative about those on welfare for the past 18 months has already increased resentment. Taking an under-handed swipe at single parents, whilst butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, is beyond reproach.
The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they make more harsh cuts to welfare and single parents in conjunction with a more Liberal friendly Senate.
The 2015 Budget has given little to no hope for those already doing it tough on welfare. The Budget failed to deliver a vision for our future and has painted an even bleaker future for women. It is essential that the vision we have for the future is to say “NO” to a Coalition Government at the next election and always, always, put Liberal & National last.
“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”