By Simone White
Nothing goes together like an already cruel welfare system that grossly under-serves the most deserving of help, and a former immigration minister who turned persecuting refugees into a blood sport.
Scott Morrison is the new self-appointed “welfare cop” on the beat. He is fit to be the minister for social services in the same way that mass murderers are fit to run child care centres.
This Liberal government has a vision of the future: a society in which the last standing refugee, the last-standing unemployed 18 year old, the last surviving elderly worker unable to receive a pension until they’re ready to die, and the last single mother desperate for support, are forced to fight each other for a scrap of bread. Then the winner will be tasered for displaying an entitlement mentality.
Meanwhile, the Australian Tax Office will write Uncle Rupert Murdoch another cheque for $800 million. Because he doesn’t have enough cash to print newspapers decrying the undeserving poor.
Lecturing us about what Australians will and will not “cop”, Scott reckons that “what they [that’s us he’s talking about] won’t cop, just like they won’t cop people coming on boats, is they’re not going to cop people who are going to rort the system”.
Who exactly is he talking about “rorting the system”? Not Rupert, that’s for sure. But every inquiry into welfare rorting has found it to be virtually non-existent, if it’s even possible to “rort” poverty wages.
The latest ABS data reveals there were 149,900 job vacancies in November 2014, the month before Scott got his new, highly paid position. The total number of unemployed was more than 770,000. That’s five people for every job. And that doesn’t include the half a million or more underemployed people – those with a job but wanting more work.
Morrison and Abbott’s dictate to “get people off the dole and into jobs” would be laughable if it wasn’t so utterly cynical.
A 2014 ACOSS report found that 2.5 million people live below the poverty line in Australia. And 33 percent of them are working. Youth unemployment is at 15 percent.
Morrison must be laughing into his Friday night drinks with the big end of town: “And then we said … ‘The unemployed have an entitlement mentality’! (Chortle). More wine thanks, waiter. And your penalty rates, too, please. (Guffaw).”
If we want to keep what we have left of our entitlements – yes, we do deserve them – we have to stand up and fight. And then fight for more.