Now there’s been a lot of angst about Scott Morrison’s appointment as Minister for Social Services. Probably coming from a few bleeding heart lefties who’ve never worked a day in their lives while earning a living as a “rent-a-crowd” professional protester! (One could see that as a contradiction but only if one thinks about it, so please stop thinking and go with the flow!!)Personally, I see Morrison’s appointment as a turning point in the history of Australia. Up until now, Australia has always been the sort of country that valued a “fair go” for everyone whether they deserved it or not. Morrison will ensure that the “fair go” is reserved for the genuinely deserving. I picture his first interview with the ABC going something like this:
Interviewer: So, Mr Morrison, how do you see your role as Minister for Social Services?
Morrison: It’s really quite simple. We will decide who gets governmnet support and the way in which they’ll get it.
Interviewer: So what exactly does that mean for, let’s say the unemployed?
Morrison: Well, if you’re talking about the unemployed let’s be quite clear. We don’t want the unemployed just rocking up to Centrelink by whatever means they choose and trying to jump the queue. Only those who arrive by car will dealt with.
Interviewer: What about those who arrive by walking or public transport?
Morrison: Simply, they’ll be detained while we check out what jobs they’ve applied for and whether they’re attending interviews, and if we find that they’re not applying for jobs then we intend to send them to camps where they can join a work-for-the-dole scheme.
Interviewer: But how can they attend interviews if you’re detaining them?
Morrison: They should have thought of that before they began their journey.
Interviewer: So how do you intend to determine whether or not the person came by car?
Morrison: Look, can we stop refering to them as “persons” or “people”, I’ve instructed all Centrelink staff to refer to them as “illegal dole applicants”.
Interviewer: The question remains, how will you determine whether they came by car or not?
Morrison: We’ll have ADF personel scouring the streets and if anyone comes within ten metres of a Centrelink office, they’ll be taken into custody while we check out their credentials. In fact, we’ll pick up anyone who comes within ten metres of the ten metre exclusion zone unless they’re wearing a blue tie.
Interviewer: Doesn’t this breach their human rights?
Morrison: Sorry, I don’t understand the question.
Interviewer: I said, “Doesn’t this breach…”
Morrison: I heard it, but you seem to presuming that illegal dole applicants have human rights. These rights aren’t for everyone, you know.
Interviewer: Moving on to some of your other areas of responsibility, let’s take benefits to families…
Morrison: We haven’t actually decide to take them yet, so you’re jumping the gun there.
Interviewer: I meant, let’s look at benefits to families.
Morrison: Well that’s exactly what the Government is doing. Under the Labor Government we had the ridiculous situation of the government taking money via taxation, only to give it back to families in the form of generous payments when a baby was born or a child began the school year.
Interviewer: What’ll you be doing about that?
Morrison: We’ll be stopping it.
Interviewer: So, you’ll reduce taxes and just let people keep the money and abolish many of the payments.
Morrison: No, we’ll be stopping children starting school. After all, in my previous portfolio I stopped the education of children in detention centres and nobody seemed to mind.
Interviewer: You intend to abolish Education?
Morrison: No, don’t be ridiculous.
Interviewer: That’s a relief.
Morrison: Stopping Education is Christopher Pyne’s job.
Interviewer: I can’t believe what you’re saying!
Morrison: Typical ABC bias. Look, it’s very simple. Gonski has given us a big report which according to those who read it, says that most government schools need a massive injection of funds if they’re to achieve anything worthwhile, and Kevin Donnelly has argued that government schools aren’t really teaching anything worthwhile like our Judeo-Christian heritage and Latin, so there’s really no point to them. When you add the fact that under the Higher Education changes, nobody who doesn’t already go to a secondary school that charges a fortune in fees will bother with university, we can stop all funding and then there’ll be plenty of money for the private schools, who can offer scholarships to the two or three children who are bright enough to educate but whose parents have no money.
Interviewer: How will these scholarships be determined?
Morrison: Sorry, but that’s confidential.
Interviewer: Surely the procedures for awarding a scholarship have to be transparent.
Morrison: I’m sorry but that’s a question for Mr Abbott, but I will say that Frances is a lovely girl and fully deserved…
Interviewer: I meant as a general principle, I wasn’t refering to that particular case.
Morrison: Let’s return to Social Services, we’re really straying outside my portfolio.
Interviewer: Ok then, let’s look at the NDIS.
Morrison: Sorry, the what?
Interviewer: The National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Morrison: Oh, yes. That’s part of my portfolio too, isn’t it? Um, yes… We intend to keep that – at least the name part- but we’ll be undertaking a review of its effectiveness and I’m not able to comment on its future till that review is completed.
Interviewer: All right, then what about Seniors?
Morrison: What about them?
Interviewer: Will there be any changes in policy?
Morrison: Yes, same thing. We’ll be undertaking a review of their effectiveness and I’ll comment further when that review is finished. But I will add that Seniors are some of the most important voters in this country and we do not intend to allow their standard of living to deteriorate as long as they can still vote.
Interviewer: So what changes do you see happening in Social Services?
Morrison: At this stage all that’s proposed is ensuring that the Australian taxpayer gets the best value for money. Any developments will be announced by me at my regular weekly briefings, just like when I was Immigration Minister.
Interviewer: And what will you say at those briefings?
Morrison: No comment.
Interviewer: You want us to wait to the briefing before you announce what you’re doing?
Morrison: No, I’ll be saying “no comment”. Let’s be real here, most of the things in this portfolio relate to people’s circumstances and surely people have a right to keep their personal circumstances private.
Interviewer: But surely the public have a right to know the general policies of the Department!
Morrison: No comment.
Interviewer: I just want to know about the general direction…
Morrison: Listen, I’ve made it quite clear that I won’t be commenting on operational matters.
Interviewer: Just finally, is it true that you’ll be abbreviating Social Services to SS on all your correspondence?
Morrison: No comment.
Interviewer: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for. Merry Christmas, Mr Morrison.
Morrison: I’m not in a position to confirm or deny that.