My new year’s wish this year was for a kinder, gentler facebook. I was sick of posts that just fed hatred for particular groups or even individuals.
Unfortunately, during the Australian election it seems to be getting worse.
So I’m going to go out on a limb here – no I don’t think the unemployed are to blame for all the ills of the world and saying “just get a job” or “drug test all welfare recipients” is not only hateful, it’s intellectually lazy.
As I said in my previous column on this, just about everybody in Australia is a welfare recipient, including:
- The unemployed or underemployed on newstart (that is, the working poor)
- Parents, both partnered and single, on parenting payment
- Parents receiving family tax benefit – despite the name it is paid in cash through the welfare system
- Those who give birth or adopt a child and receive the baby bonus
- Parents who get the government parental leave payment. Because of a desire for ‘stay at home mothers’ not to miss out on anything this is a welfare payment, not a work-related benefit.
- Those with a sickness or disability which prevents them from working, and their carers
- War veterans
- The aged
- Those who are rich enough not to receive one of the above direct payments but get their welfare as “tax deductions”. Oh, stop howling, you know it’s the same thing, including
i) Those who put extra money into superannuation and receive a very generous subsidy from the government for doing so
ii) People with private health insurance who get part of their payments back directly from the government
And that means you too. So stop it already with the “welfare recipients” crap. Just because you do have a job doesn’t mean deserve support any more or less than somebody who doesn’t have a job.
So while having a job and the economic independence and confidence it can (usually) bring you are important, I think there are other things more worthy of a facebook campaign than “blame the dole bludger”:
How about taking up a campaign to:
- Improve aged cared so our parents and grandparents don’t have to sit in their own shit for hours until somebody comes and wipes their bottom for them
- Fight child abuse
- Improve the public education system for EVERYBODY not just for those who can’t afford private schools (talk about middle or upper class welfare). Our current literacy levels should make us ashamed as a nation
- Stop the competition between both our possible Prime Ministers over who can be the cruellest to refugees, while children are being killed by guns, bombs and chemical warfare in their own countries. If it was happening to my kids I’d do anything to get them out.
Oh, and by the way, everybody in this country is a tax payer. That’s what the GST does.