It is a widely acknowledged truth that one can tell a lot about a society from the way it treats its elderly citizens. For example, a society that sends its elderly citizens into a secure location in the desert to quietly and unobtrusively die is likely to be a heartless and inhumane society, yet one with an undeniable drive to get things done.
On the other hand, a society that reveres its elderly, makes use of their accumulated wisdom, and devotes sufficient resources to take good care of them and provide them with the dignity and quality of life they deserve, is likely to be a dull and slow-moving society, with a distinct musty odour.
Pensioners have been much in the news lately, egotistical glory-hogs that they are, and much of the recent public debate has centred on whether or not they’re getting a "fair go" from the Government. Just this week, the Opposition was defeated in its attempt to pass a bill raising the single aged pension by $30 a week.
The bill was defeated due to its unconstitutionality, something which got the usual people like Bob Brown acting like their usual annoying selves. This turn of events stems from two basic facts about the Australian political landscape:
1. Bob Brown, like all Greens, enjoys spitting on democracy.
2. Old people never shut up.
It’s the second point that I’m looking to examine here. Our great country has been assailed in the last few months by an epidemic of whingeing geriatrics on the make, all looking only for what they can scrounge from the Australian taxpayer. This is typical of the average elderly Australian, most of who started out stealing watches from dead Turks in the trenches of Gallipoli.
Today, it would seem, the Government is the dead Turk, and the watches are our hard-earned cash – cash that we could be spending on clean coal and fireworks, but instead we relentlessly fritter away just so we can keep these crumbling antiquities shuffling among us, holding us up at the supermarket with their inability to understand EFTPOS and misguided belief that anyone is interested in having a conversation with them.
So what are the oldies complaining about? Well, the single aged pension comes to $273 a week, which they claim is "not enough" to live on. Let’s look a bit more closely at that, shall we? Two hundred and seventy three dollars a week. That’s enough to buy a DVD recorder, and I think we can all agree that anyone who can afford to buy a new DVD recorder every week is hardly "doing it tough". In fact, such extravagance is quite obscene, and if pensioners are going to demonstrate that kind of profligate and baffling spending behaviour, I don’t think they deserve one iota of sympathy when they start complaining about eating dog food.
Which they always do, of course. Every time the inadequacy of the pension is raised, all the wizened little crooks start bleating about how they have to eat dog food. I don’t know why it’s always dog food. Nobody ever complains that their pension’s so low they have to eat birdseed or fish flakes. It’s forever Pal this, Chum that, Purina the other.
Well, you know what pensioners? Nobody asked you to eat dog food. To tell the truth, we’d rather you didn’t. It’s not as if there aren’t alternatives – death by starvation, for example, which a quick study of history will show possesses a quiet dignity completely lacking in dog food.
And if they must eat dog food, why do they have to keep on about it? And why do we feel so sorry for them? Dogs eat dog food all the time, and we don’t feel sorry for them. When did we decide that people over 70 were better than dogs? I don’t remember getting that memo. At least dogs don’t spend 24 hours a day bitching.
Not that dog food is the only thing we’re apparently supposed to feel bad about. Before he was bricked up in Malcolm Turnbull’s fireplace, former Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson accused Labor of forcing pensioners to live on baked beans and jam sandwiches, which strikes me as an outrageous thing to complain about.
When I was a boy, I would have killed to live on jam sandwiches. I spent long days longing for jam sandwiches while my mother force-fed me steak and vegetables. And now the elderly find themselves in the position of being able to indulge themselves with an all-jam sandwich diet! They are living the dream, and yet they continue to carp and whine. Is there no pleasing these people?
The worst thing is the way we’re always told the pensioners "deserve more". "Oh, our old folks deserve a better deal". "Oh, the old dears deserve a fair go". "They deserve our respect". I ask you, why? What makes them so deserving? Oh, sure, they did their bit back in the day, but to be blunt, what have they done for us lately? Hey pensioners, the "Great War" was nearly 100 years ago, how about earning your keep here in the 21st century?
Why do they do this? Do the elderly and feeble simply not understand economics? Do they have no regard for the welfare of others? Do they feel no pang of guilt as they make ever more rapacious demands upon the public purse, while innocent conceptual artists and experimental theatre groups go without grants? Are old people actually as evil as they look and sound?
The problem is only going to get worse, with Australia’s ageing population set to bring on more and more waves of grey, liver-spotted warriors, hacking and slashing at our way of life. Yet solutions are at hand.
Some have suggested that the ageing population problem can be solved by having more children, yet this ignores the fact that the world in general has an over-population problem. Moreover, raising a child is an expensive and laborious process when compared to, say, shooting a pensioner, or drowning one in the bath.
When kangaroos reached plague proportions, we started culling. We’ve long ago reached that point with the elderly, who are far less cute than kangaroos, and far easier to catch.
It’s time, Australia. It’s time to ease the burden on the taxpayer. It’s time to make this country once again young and vital and robust. It’s time to end Denis Walter’s career once and for all.
Pluck up your courage, grab hold of granny’s pillow, and enter the new world.
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