As a society, should be ignoring the plight of the poor? If so, then this budget is for you.
If you don’t, you need to do everything you can to stop it going through.
If you are poor, hit the panic button.
If you can’t find a panic button to hit, since it’s just a throwaway expression with no real world application, then just plain panic should suffice.
I don’t believe in throwing endless amounts of money at the needy, and I think working for the dole is a concept worth putting into action. As long as those involved still have time to search for work, why shouldn’t they be working for their benefits, the way the rest of us work for a wage?
What I also believe is that every person in Australia deserves an opportunity to succeed, and it’s up to them whether or not they take it – the same as every person who goes to the football has the right to view a decent game. It’s just a pity that some of them get a cold pie, and support Richmond.
I’m nowhere near as interested in politics as I am in football. Colin Sylvia has been picked to play for Fremantle this week, and that’s way more interesting to me than the government’s proposal to take welfare payments away from unemployed people under 30 for six months of each year.
Some of those under 30 might be able to move home, or are already there. Others will have an extra incentive to find work, which might be the push that they need.
But many won’t find a job, or have a place to stay, and without the benefits, they’ll be forced onto the street.
These are the most vulnerable people in society.
And here I was thinking that society was meant to look after its most vulnerable.
American Politician Hubert Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
I’ve been to the US, and they provide far less benefits to their poor, and as a result have a lot more poor people.
The last time I was there, I was asked for money far more often, and instead of cash, I often offered food. Which was always accepted. In Australia, not so much.
When someone asks me for money at home, I know that it’s highly likely that they’ll use the money for drugs.
So the real question here is, what sort of society do you want to live in? One that looks after the downtrodden? Or one that walks all over them?
I’ve been lucky enough to have never needed to apply for benefits.
If I need a job, I go and get one, and if I haven’t got anywhere to live, I’ll live with my parents.
However, just because I was handed a winning ticket in the birth lottery, I don’t think that gives me the right to penalise people who weren’t.
There are so many reasons why someone ends up unemployed and is unable to find work for a long period, and very rarely is it a happy story.
Just because there are a few bludgers that take advantage of the system, that doesn’t mean everyone who is struggling should suffer even more.
What I’m not suggesting is that we just throw money at the disadvantaged. There has to be a limit, and where society draws that line on who to help and by how much is one of the biggest challenges for any society.
Confucius said, “In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.”
Right now, with this budget, a lot of the proposed money-saving measures will never affect me, but I still feel ashamed that they’ve even been suggested.
This article first appeared on WA Today:
Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/poor-unemployed-its-time-to-hit-the-panic-button-20140613-zs6xj.html#ixzz34a79tw78
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.