The Day The Egalitarianism Died


I am, as a rule, not a partisan. I try not to take sides in my probing analyses of current events, but rather to act as a sort of journalistic King Solomon, calmly weighing the evidence, delivering my judgment, and suggesting the murder of babies without prejudice or ideological blinkery.

But there are times when one side is so clear-eyed and visionary, and one side so mendacious and cruel, that taking sides becomes not just an option, but a duty for any patriot. This is one of those times.

There are many outrages that have been inflicted upon the Australian people by their semi-elected representatives in recent years. There was the time the Government herded us all into our roofs and set us on fire. There was the time Julia Gillard taxed the bubbles in our Coke. There was the time Craig Emerson caused mass suicides among Skyhooks fans. But has there ever been an outrage to match that perpetrated this week, in the shape of a cut to the Baby Bonus?

Has ever a government betrayed the trust of its constituents so completely, than by declaring that from now on, parents would receive $5000 for their first child, but only $3000 for subsequent children? We like to call ourselves an egalitarian nation, but this truly is what Don McLean meant when he sang of the Day The Egalitarianism Died.

Think about what this means: the Baby Bonus, one of the pillars of the social contract, the safety net that ensured that nobody would have to give birth without getting a bunch of money, reduced to a pale shadow of itself, to the extent that a family with two children will get no more than 80 per cent of what they would have under a more democratic regime. Is this what our Diggers fought and died for at Gallipoli? So their grandchildren could live to see their natal-based benefits stripped away and their ability to use jolly gallows humour at Young Liberal functions annihilated? I think not.

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey made the point that this reduction in the Baby Bonus was very similar to China’s one child policy, but in fact in many ways it’s even worse. After all, the one child policy merely discourages you from having more than one child. The Baby Bonus cut goes even further, by allowing you to have more than one child, but preventing you from having as much money as you might theoretically have had otherwise at the time. How confused would that make you as a new parent? How could you even care for a child, constantly brooding over the $2000 that you don’t have? You’d just never have your mind on the job.

Believe me, when Australia’s founding fathers Howard and Costello envisioned a country based on principles of fairness and justice and getting $5000 for having a baby, they certainly were not picturing a country where you got $3000 for some babies. We’ve abandoned those ideals altogether.

And that’s why it’s time for good people like me and you to stand up say "YES" to Tony Abbott. Because Tony Abbott is a man who understands the need to get $5000 every time you get a baby. Because he understands families. In fact he has at least one of his own.

I first began to suspect Abbott might be the man to lead us to prosperity when I found out he had three daughters. As a man with two daughters myself — which technically makes me two thirds of a feminist — I know how hard it is to bring up children who come with less than $5000 attached, and I love the way Abbott instinctually gets that. As he says, often when you have a second child, you need to buy another cot, or a double pram, and if the government can’t buy you cots and prams then why exactly do we even have a government? We might as well slide back into the oceans.

Think about how you would feel if you found yourself pregnant, with one young child already, needing a double pram, and only having $3000 on top of all of your own money. You’d feel pretty lonely, wouldn’t you? Pretty isolated. Pretty bleak. Like all the world had abandoned you, or at least like all the world had been slightly stingy.

Tony Abbott understands this, because he’s a man who’s bought cots, who’s bought prams, who’s in all likelihood performed other parental tasks of some kind. When you sit there sobbing because after buying your cot and your pram you don’t have enough to buy a quality electric guitar as well, Tony Abbott knows exactly how you feel.

And the simple fact is, Julia Gillard doesn’t. As a "career woman", who didn’t have time to start a family because she was spending all her time playing the gender card, she doesn’t have the gut-level connection to Aussie mums and dads that Tony Abbott has. What would she know of cots and prams? She’s childless. She probably thinks babies sleep in fibreglass pods, as they would in the cold, sexless, socialist utopia which her government intends to introduce by June 2013 according to leaked Budget papers.

That’s why any responsible pundit or opinionista must say NO to Gillard and YES to Tony. At this juncture in history, when an already-battered populace has been hit by possibly the most outrageous minor reduction in unearned privilege ever seen in an OECD nation.

Tony Abbott has courage. Tony Abbott has integrity. Tony Abbott has empathy with the common working parent, because he’s a common working parent himself. But more than anything else, Tony Abbott has functioning sperm. Three times he has despatched his tiny navy to storm the uterine beachhead, and three times he has come up with a reproductive VE Day. Tony Abbott’s sperm, like a Mac, just works, and isn’t it time we had something in government that we could say that about?

Don’t let the Gillard comintern destroy our way of life. Don’t stand for a government that, in the name of socialism, spends like a drunken sailor and then fails to spend like a sailor in an alcoholic coma, and then won’t let you buy more cots. Don’t let your children grow up in a country ruled by sailors who can’t decide how much to drink.

Vote 1 Tony Abbott’s sperm. Let’s claw back our baby-cash, and smell the air of freedom once more.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.