30 Jan 2013

Stand Up For The Welfare State

By Troy Henderson
The global financial crisis should have discredited the free market zealots. Instead austerity is the order of the day. Who will defend the achievements of the welfare state, asks Troy Henderson

Federal Labor's decision to shift 80,000 sole parents off the parenting payment and onto Newstart has put issues of welfare and poverty back in the spotlight at the start of 2013. Greens MP Adam Bandt, living on Newstart for a week as a media stunt, has already declared it to be "impossible", so it's worth examining the growing political consensus among politicians on fat government salaries (Macklin $328K, Hockey $238K) that we should cut welfare further.

Joe Hockey delivered a speech, "The end of the age of entitlement", to the Institute of Economic Affairs in London in April last year.

Founded in 1955, the IEA is one of the UK's premier free market think tanks and played a key role in the intellectual movement that led to Margaret Thatcher's election in 1979, and the subsequent spread of free market ideas.

Hockey making the case for welfare cuts to the IEA is the equivalent of Tom Cruise spruiking the benefits of Dianetics at a Scientology conference. The IEA is part of an international network of think tanks and individuals inspired by the free market ideology of economists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. Other organisations that pursue a similar agenda on welfare include the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation in the US, and the Centre for Independent Studies and Institute of Public Affairs in Australia.

In the IEA worldview, welfare, like the minimum wage, represents an unacceptable interference in the free and efficient functioning of markets. At the level of politics and policy, this free market case against welfare often blurs with the various strands of "compassionate conservatism" that take a tough love approach to welfare.

We see this latter tendency in the bipartisan commitment to extending compulsory income management. Both the free market and paternalistic views implicitly accept major inequality as simply reflections of "blind market forces" or "natural social hierarchies".

The GFC and Great Recession should have been a knockout blow for this kind of free market fundamentalism. But instead, from Greece and Spain, to Latvia and the UK, the crisis has been seized upon as an opportunity to press ahead with attacks on the public sector and the welfare state.

"The European economic and welfare model — I think it's over", IEA Director Mark Littlewood told the Guardian in an interview last year. Littlewood favours cutting UK government spending by a third and has criticised the Cameron government for being too timid when it comes to public cuts.

Joe Hockey made similar arguments in his IEA speech. "The market," he said, "is mandating policy changes that common sense and years of lectures from small government advocates have failed to achieve."

In fact, the GFC was caused, in part, by the wild excesses and spurious innovations of the finance sector. States bailed out some of the biggest corporations in the world, transforming private losses into public liabilities. Higher levels of public debt, made worse by the recession, are the justification for the savage spending cuts we are now seeing in Europe and elsewhere. The Coalition, pledging both a surplus and a reduction in government spending, is already identifying which government services will be cut.

The news is unlikely to be good for the two million Australians living below the poverty line — especially as reliance on inadequate welfare payments is a major cause of poverty.

So, what might constitute a progressive response to the war on welfare? An unapologetic defense of the welfare state as one of the great civilising achievements of the 20th century would be a good start. Support for modest proposals, like the ACTU's campaign for a $50 increase in the Newstart payment, would be a good second step. But those committed to creating a fairer society might also consider another idea propagated in think tanks around the world: the universal basic income (UBI).

Proposals for a UBI have been put forward by Tom Paine, the philosopher André Gorz, and Nobel economics laureate James Meade, among many others. The late Australian economist Ronald Henderson — still known for the Henderson poverty line — proposed a Guaranteed Minimum Income in 1975 as a way to tackle poverty (pdf), and a Queensland University of Technology research group continues to advocate a Basic Income Guarantee for Australia today.

The basic idea is that every citizen receives an unconditional, guaranteed income that is sufficient to keep her out of poverty and provide for a decent, if modest, standard of living. Former International Labour Organisation economist Guy Standing argues that, the UBI would promote efficiency as it would mean consolidating various welfare payments into a single, higher payment.

A UBI would also provide the income security necessary for individuals to exercise a greater degree of choice in terms of how they allocate their time. As the political economist Robert Skidelsky and his philosopher son Edward argue in their book How Much is Enough?:

"An unconditional basic income would make part-time work a possibility for many who now have to work full-time; it would also start to give all workers the same choice as to how much to work, and under what conditions, as is possessed now by owners of substantial capital."

According to Australian economist John Quiggin, technological progress could, over time, generate the productivity gains necessary to support a UBI in Australia. The main challenge would be changing social attitudes regarding what is considered a legitimate use of time.

Quiggin gives the example of someone who is condemned by today's society for choosing to surf every day rather than doing "proper" work and suggests that in a future society with "less need for anyone to work long hours at unpleasant jobs, we might be more willing to support surfers in return for non-market contributions to society such as membership of a surf life-saving club". Clearly, this change in social attitudes towards work would need to be accompanied by a change in attitudes towards taxation. Australia is not a high tax country and there is scope to increase revenue to fund important social reforms.

The idea of introducing a policy like this may seem like a pipe dream now. But it's worth remembering that so many things we take for granted, like public healthcare, the age pension, and the weekend, were at one time considered utopian or dangerously radical.

Begging for a few crumbs from the free market ideologues' table is a recipe for hunger and disappointment. So let's aim high. Let's reset the terms of the debate and put a UBI on the table in Australia. So, how about a Fair Go Income (FGI) for all permanent residents over the age of 18 set at a level that ensures we don't have two million Australians living in poverty in the future?

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Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 16:35

The idea of a Basic Income has been around for a very long time, but in all that time, I do not believe I have ever heard a politician say the words. Bit beyond their comprehension, I guess. Much like the Tobin Tax. That idea has been around for decades, is mulled over on occasion, but no political party has done anything about it until some Europeans, being belted over the heads with 'austerity' being foisted on them by Economic Fundamentalists, totally pissed off about banks, which, taking their idea from America ( which had been chiding them for years to grow up and join them in swindling the peasants out of their very lives) convincing their Governments, mostly Right Wing, such as Germany and France (and Britain/Ireland, of course to drop fundamental constraints on banks gambling with other people's money, and grow some magnificent building bubbles, just as the good ole USA had done.
Then the proverbial faeces hit the fan, in the USA, and very swiftly carried through to Europe. In the USA Obama, surrounded by Bankers, used Public Money to bail out the Banks, trillions of it. Converted it to Public Debt. Which, if it was not for China and Asia, would have seen the USA bankrupted.
In Europe, following the Obama lead, the various Right Wing Governments gave billions to their banks, to save them, and of course, transferred the debt to Public. Which meant that the ordinary workers and citizens of European (EU) countries were now saddled with massive debts, debts that really can never be paid off, because those banks really did play fast and loose when they were in full flight. They paid out billions in bonuses to their Executives, and lived in luxury land. Just as they are doing in the USA. The banks are now back to making billions, still with no controls, still no one has been made to walk the plank. Excepts for the poor bloody workers, in places like Greece and Italy and Iceland and Ireland and Portugal etc. etc. who have been hit, by economists placed at their Governments, by horrendous austerity requirements. Millions of jobs lost, Pensions cut to the bone, support payments cut totally, public assets sold off cheaply to those same banks and their mates, so that if by some miracle, these countries ever paid off their burgeoning debts, or they were wiped, they would have no infrastructure left with with to make money, pay taxes, employ the millions out of work. All of this would now be owned by the RICH.
Every Magazine that I picked up was saying now that Capitalism was DEAD. That the American style Free Market, anything goes, Capitalism had failed miserably, an was headed for the knockers shop. While all the time, the banks, encouraged by the bankers in Administrations, were doing what they had always done, play fast an loose with other peoples money. No controls, not even a mention of controls. Obama still had himself surrounded by bankers. He had put them there. Same with EU countries.
So now, we have just had Davos again, where the filthy rich and powerful go to play.
No thought of cutting down on their free wheeling ways. No mention of the unholy mess they had made of the world's financial systems. No, it was all 'let the good times continue to roll'.
What happened to the Occupy Movement? Smashed into oblivion by Black Dressed Storm Troopers sent in by Establishment Mayors, wielding billy-clubs with abandon.
Was there really any bite-back about this. No. Got to protect the assets of the Rich. That is totally what they are there for.
The World's Media were totally complicit in all this. They are part of the Establishment.
But now, all countries have utterly draconian Security Laws (Australia very much included) and these Laws will be used to put down any dissension to the Ruling Class.
Once there was hope that countries in South America, throwing off the North American Yoke, would show the rest of the world how they could survive and thrive without the Total Free Markets of America. But they have knuckled under to so-called Free Trade Agreements, which always favour America. (just as do the ones we have signed with America, we have been taken to the cleaners). Or they have lots of troubles stirred up by the American CIA, totally determined to destroy any Leftish Government elected by the people. Ask Hugo Chaves if he ever gets out of Hospital in Cuba. If he had been stupid enough to go to an American Hospital, he would now be dead, probably supposedly heart failure. Sensibly, he went to probably the only place where the American CIA would find it very hard to get at him.
Do we have any chance of beating the forces that range against us, the Rich, the Powerful, the Owned Governments, the CIAs the ASIO:s, the National Security Organisations. I think NO! We did have a chance, if Obama had not been President of the USA. But he was a very weak President, and allowed himself to be used. I do think that he wanted to put in some financial controls, even if it were only the ones that Clinton had killed for the financiers, a few years before. But he was talked out of them by his own people. Well, traitors, actually. People who put their own interests before that of the Nation. Much like Paul Keating was used by Australian Treasury, who converted him to Economic Rationalism, and started the rot here.
Poor Fellow. My World.


Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 17:58

In a free market environment - surely these financial institutions also would not be supported by the public purse? Or industries that are inefficient without government subsidies??? Creative destruction - an inefficient operation DIES so a better one can take its place. So with this whole GFC, to follow the free market ideology truly, the states would not saves these inefficient, badly run operations, they would die and their management would be the ones out on the street. There should've been hundreds of new state-owned financial institutions after the GFC where public money should've straight out bought those failures and cleaned them up, made them answer for the use of public money, and saved normal people's lives, lifestyles etc.

But states support these enterprises with OUR money!! What do we get for our money, our taxes? Austerity measures - yay - a great ideology for the majority is this unfettered free market!! How is it sold as a good idea?!! These corporations, organisations, businesses and their CEOs/elite expect and have "entitlement" to obtain trillions of dollars to save their business...so they can continue to abuse the wealth they obtain...without any consequences or accountability. No no...this gets transferred to public debt...so thousands can lose their jobs, their homes, in the USA also their health care protections...because after all we can't waste money on public health can we?

Globalisation has also challenged the expected processes within the free market environment - there is not an equal playing field between developed, developing and undeveloped countries. There is social dumping, unequal human rights standards and different employment/labour and workplace health and safety standards across different countries giving unfair advantage for manufacturing to poor countries with human rights abuses (be aware that free market think tanks also do not care much for human rights!!) and little investment in society, futures, equality, public services. This gives free market processes an unnatural environment as well - but we don't see the supporters of it attacking this unnatural element of industry or the economy do we!!

Gee I wonder why!!?

But somehow Macklin and Hockey can ignore this and focus all their bile on Centrelink customers!! I reckon you're getting a bargain with us compared to the expensive failures of big business, subsidies etc!!

Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2013 - 18:18

oh and I forgot - what about all the "private" businesses especially in health care, aged care, disability services, and TAFE programs in many places now (cutting TAFE also leads to higher unemployment/youth issues!!) - that are actually fully funded by public money...the OWNERS take their share of profit straight off the top don't they and then those people that the services are supposed to target, get whatever funds they are found to be "eligible" for with harder and stricter criteria!! So once again public money funding very wealthy groups. This reminds me of the Poor Houses in 1700 England where the "guardians" of the poor ate up big feasts and gave the peasants enough to starve to death.

Remove regulation and these private organisations can do whatever the hell they want - and if the bubble that bursts is big enough - public money saves them!!

My sons both receive dental vouchers, about $160 each - I forgot the vouchers, left my kids at dentists' getting their check ups and drove home in a 6km round trip to get the vouchers. When I returned in 10 minutes, the kids had already finished being seen to...TEN MINUTES, with $320 going to the dentist....tell me who benefits from that? Rent assistance - around $100+ per fortnight...this goes to the landlord - who benefits?? Why not cheaper housing and programs where I can buy my own home? There is no cheap housing so the govt gives rent assistance - landlords get more money.

This is a fake system where the free market is not truly in operation - without that money, it is the very wealthy who would be worse off as there would be no customers, no tenants...it is an unnatural environment to be claiming free market is successful.

ALL of society benefits from equality, there are statistics about far less crime, mental illness, violence, incarceration, unemployment, domestic disputes, ill health - in countries that are more equal. Therefore, enabling our society to be less equal with greater gaps between rich/poor, overall is not good even for the rich...conflict, ill health, prisons, police etc are all very expensive...prevention is always better than cure, but the rich can't see that - they just define poor and "criminal," demonise, degrade, dehumanise.

Free market also makes the error in logic of absolving governments, corporations, big business of any human agency, responsibility, self determination, choice, power etc...people pretend that "nothing can be done" or it "is all just a natural consequence"...when in fact we are all together responsible and powerful...especially our leaders IF THEY WOULD LEAD

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 03:50

Well, when Zimbabwe finally proves that an economy driven by perpetual debt and central state spending results in economic wealth, I think the world will finally be convinced of the positive attributes of the perfect welfare state.

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 09:00

rockjaw - you are comparing apples and oranges - our society is located socially, politically and economically within modernity - modern technology, modern education (though decreasing in standards IMHO - we've talked about this before - but my son just started high school and can't do joined writing (cursive in Vic :-( )), democracy, capitalism, government and legal structures and public services. Most states in Africa do not have these structures and processes in place or they are highly corrupted...(thanks mostly to imperialism anyway where developed countries (and especially their ruling classes) benefited from the exploitation of indigenous populations and resources and then left a huge social, economic mess when they "de-colonised).

rockjaw - a lot of those African countries have one doctor to 100s of 1000s of citizens too...or have to spend mere cents/single digit dollars on health whilst paying major international finance organisations 100s times that amount...who makes money from whom? That pattern occurred all through many African and South American countries...the pure free-marketeers and capitalists LOVE poor countries and peoples with corrupt governments so they can be easily exploited (that's why no authorities in Western countries battered an eyelid at working with straight-up bloodthirsty dictators)...this is what they want in developed countries so they can demand efficiency and productivity of poorer classes here too (with highly dehumanising living and working conditions - but so long as one's records show great profits in Business Weekly - who cares right?). Therefore welfare undermines such a process of exploitation by giving us all a better quality of life than the free-marketeers want.

Our constitution still has no statements about individual human rights - makes sense coming from a bunch of boffins who only represent the merchants, lawyers and pastoralists during the construction of the Constitution (not any women, indigenous folks, small shop keepers or wage-earners!!) - even Marx says that capitalism requires equality so there are many people to spend/consume and keep things rolling along...why else the stimulus package?

A more equal society is a better society - some of the Scandinavian countries still have high welfare and can make it work...also having excellent social measures of a more equal society. Mind you, probably their attitude to welfare is different where the recipients do not expect to stay living that way all their lives...our society needs fixing to condition people too help themselves, build strong communities etc...but the free-marketeers won't like that either - they want broken communities that cannot negotiate and fight for their own interests - just ask any farming community where CSG is threatening their 100s years of lifestyle/productivity...

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 13:51

Sometimes I think that people will look back at the world as it stands now, and wonder how the majority of the world could be so duped, hoodwinked and dumbed down by a very small band of exceedingly rich puppeteers.

It baffles me on a daily basis. Truth stranger than any fiction. When are we going to wake up?

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 14:47

@ fightmumma

we may have "more doctors" than the Africans, but the gap is closing.

Welfare states brought with them ever greater misery in Africa, and technology is most certainly a thing of the past since the introduction of those welfare states.

Whooppee, back to the stone age for us all, roll on the welfare, accelerate government spending, lets drown our economy in more debt.

At last, at last, economists have discovered the great secret of wealth creation without the burden of laborious productivity, and the answer is? Debt, debt, debt and more debt.

Why did it take us so long to make this simple economic discovery?

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 15:46

I mentioned in a previous comments page the idea of a living wage being based on 50% hecs style loan and 50% based on volunteer/training/accepted vocation - hecs threshold be lifted but a windfall tax of 15% be imposed when someone recieves inheritance/windfall. Alot of homeless people are on the streets because they can't make the system work for them. We can't be too generous because people become welfare dependent, but the shadow side to this, rarely talked about is the enormous costs of imprisonment, substance abuse and depression - unless you have death squads you need to provide a social floor. Ours is quite generous but then we whip people through various means - this gets some to work, it also sends many over the edge - there needs to be a social minimum wage at least where if you don't play by the rules you still get a $100 a week so you are not completely abandoned.

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 16:33

come off it rockjaw - your sarcasm isn't an argument! what happened to your usual intelligent debate? The inherent flaw of the system is that all activity, people and material possessions only have monetary value to the governmental bureaucratic machine/monster. Once we have to place money values on everything of course anything with ONLY social /spiritual/cultural significance is not worth much. I thought you were more creative and bucked the system a bit more than you are here rockjaw - what happened to thinking outside the box?

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 16:57

If we do have to have Trade, let it be FAIR trade.
If we do have to have Markets, let them be FAIR markets.
But this does not gell with crony capitalism.
Yes, indeed, fightmumma, the Free Market Capitalists did not even run with their own rules when the house came crashing down on them. All those businesses and banks should have been allowed to crash and burn. See if any Phoenix arises.
But in the first place, none of those businesses and banks should ever have been allowed to grow to such a size as to be 'too big to allow to fall'. One of the very first things any sensible Government should do (such as America) is to break up all the large firms to reasonable sizes. That was done in America to "Ma Bell". It should be done again, to all those Big Businesses. When a Corporation gets to be bigger than countries, there should be an automatic 'destroy' button. Before it does what they all do now, take control of such Governments, all Governments, and alter Laws to suit themselves.
Yes, there would be lots of employees dislocated, but Governments have a responsibility to step in and assist here. Now, employees are just dislocated and discarded.
Probably the horse has bolted. Big Business now controls all the pollies it needs to, to retain all power, and ensure that they are NOT threatened by any such action.

Posted Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:25

A lot of angry comments and letting-off steam, but no concrete and positive proposal how things could be reformed.

The welfare state in its present form, relying on transfer payments from consolidated revenue, which in turn relies on an income tax system, is a failed experiment.

We need reforms:
- From social welfare to social insurance
- From income and labour-related taxes to natural resources and use-and-abuse charges
- Governments have to step in where the market will not go
- From imported skills to producing skills domestically.

Each area needs to be addressed in its own right.
Change needs to be planned and phased in (phased out with the old, phased in with the new).

Just one example: Australia is a land of droughts and floods and extremes, has been for longer than anyone can remember.
Why is there no catastrophy fund?

Finally, vested interests, the elites, have to bury their narcissistic ambitions and aim for cooperation.
It can be done. If the Mums and Dads can do it in times of adversity (right now in Queensland with the floods and in other parts of Australia with the fires), then so can those sitting on top of the ladder.

Unfortunately reality is that we will continue to muddle through and let big corporations run the show.
According to Robert Gottliebsen (in Business Spectator) Abbott has grand ideas of strengthening the SMEs. Sounds noble, definitely needed. Question is - will he have the guts to implement it. Personally, I more than doubt it.

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - 12:03

Marga - actually I have a number of ideas, but I am just realistic and know that they will never get off the ground or will be so watered down (like Pokies "reforms") that they wouldn't be effective. Mostly my ideas start with strengthening communities, the smaller scale, grassroots stuff, breaking up large bureaucracies into smaller sizes, developing neighbourhoods, better education (therefore a better informed/aware population), more participation in governing, community development by everyday people...eliminating roles where people do not have training/qualifications/expertise and experience in the field they are working as a bureaucrat in.

The great wastage and biased overspending by politicians and bureaucrats could be stream-lined extensively (they do this happily and swiftly for we single parents so why not turn the scissors on themselves??) therefore pay-cut the pollies (hey that could be a great election slogan for someone!!), fix political time wastage and doubling-up of services/programs, eliminate state government-strengthen local councils, shift health/education to federal responsibility rather than state (they suck at it and there is different pay scales/training for different states), protect small business and manufacturing, charge some sort of a tax on all imported products where there are human rights abuses suspected by the manufacturing corporation to create a level playing field in negotiation/investment.

Oh and can someone explain to me the way this works?

I have been targetted by both sides of politics for being a single parent and am now on Newstart Allowance (yes yes I know it saves the public purse huge amounts of money but where does that money go? How is that savings good for the general citizen anyway?). I remain not working in order to be the best parent that I can for 2 children who have special needs which limits my employment opportunities and threatnes my mental health.

MY ex-husband has just obtained fulltime job but doesn't have to pay me any child support. His job finishes after 4pm and so he cannot fulfil parenting responsibilities so because I don't work he relies on me to take kids to/from school (with associated petrol/bus costs)...he can earn because I am at home parenting...yet he doesn't have to pay anything in the support of his own children. I work my but off with difficult kids, challenging behaviours and watching my own future career/s, earning potential and dreams (such as owning a home) go down the toilet - get treated like a drain on society, like virtually a criminal - and am answerable to all sorts of obligations. WHY doesn't the governemtn care so much about making sure that the public purse isn't drained due to deadbeat dads who even though they are working, do not financially support their own children? Why can my ex IMMEDIATELY get exempted from child support if he isn't earning, but when he has a fulltime job has doesn't immediately have to fulfil parenting responsibilities but can keave this p to the State?

Maybe this is an area that both sides of politics can target - make deadbeat dads PAY to support their own children rather than leaving it up to the state.

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - 13:18

<i>...Maybe this is an area that both sides of politics can target - make deadbeat dads PAY to support their own children rather than leaving it up to the state..."</i> I thought the days of gender profiling were over.

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - 14:12

I'm not sure what you are meaning exactly rockjaw -

the new laws shifting single parents onto newstart allowance mainly targets single MOTHERS seeing as we make up the majority of single parents...it is still a gender thing in some ways (and I do not consider myself a feminist!): the not-working-or-paying-tax mother isn't as valuable in some circles as the working-paying-tax-but-not-supporting-his-children father; the parenting role she does is not valued as much as the non parenting person's income tax; the women's roles are not validated by politicians or MSM; programs designed to support and empower these women/roles are not valued; these programs are undermined and attacked; the working parent (most usually the father) does not have the same coersive/controlling obligations to support his own children as what the mother (doing the job of 2 people and with little resources/great stress) does through needing the welfare benefit...

If the pollies are trying to save money, get a surplus, cut costs - why not have equality in who has obligations with the costs of raising children? Why not equally enforce/coerce the obligation to support your own children - financially? I'll tell you why - because what the MALE ROLE is (working outside the home), is valued more than the societal-assigned female role (ie parenting, family, home duties) (no matter whether a man or woman is fulfilling that role) - and these social values are part of politics and laws.

And yes I am definitely being subjective and using female perspective because I AM a woman and these laws affect/disadvantage ME and my family, even though I kill myself in doing the best job I can, and my ex flies under the radar with nothing from government, politics or the media making HIM be obligated. It upsets me that even though I do the best possible job i can - the public perception and attitude towards me is that I am a second class citizen, a drain on society, a negative element in society. Why am I perceived this way and my ex can live/work etc without any obligation, expectation on him??

Your thoughts?

Posted Friday, February 1, 2013 - 18:25

A Guy like Joe Hockey, member of a closed shop, talking of entitlement is the grossest hypocrisy .

This economic ignorameus should let the Market determine his wage.
Better yet a corporate style "pay for performance" model, adjusted quarterly by the QandA audience.

Thanks for the article Troy. The Economist was standing up in a timely matter by also reminding us of Scandinavia in an article the " Northern Lights".

Abbott and his Freaking Facists are 180 degrees from the Liberals of Menzies and Fraser.

There is no hope for the ordinary Joe or Jo until we get a Bill of Rights and these Bloody politicians understand that they are Servants NOT Masters of Citizens not Subjects.!!!

Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 09:46

After Hockey made that entitlement speech and it caused a stir in the media, the Liberals knew it was bad PR - "off message", I think they'd call it. One of his colleagues said "he must have been jetlagged" or something like that, to pass it off as "not our policy". Evidently not the stuff of a successful election platform.

What I'm interested in, in this election, is the gap between Liberal party policy as they would like it to be (i.e. what they really want - e.g. privatise healthcare), and what they say, how they try and present their platform (their strategised, sanitised, innoculated campaign to win power).

I wish I had the time to analyse this - I hope New Matilda is able to do this kind of thing this year.

Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 17:40

EarnestLee great comments.

You should go to
The Monarchy - Are We In Or Out?
By Cal Viney

David Cameron's in-out EU referendum raises questions of sovereignty and the social contract that feature in the Australian republican debate. We would do well to pay attention, writes Cal Viney

and post some of your wisdom their aswell.

There is no hope for the ordinary Joe or Jo until we get a Bill of Rights and these Bloody politicians understand that they are Servants NOT Masters of Citizens, not Subjects of the European Aristocracy/The English Queen etc...!!!

Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 17:47

Go for it fightmumma, for a fellow Australian you certainly got more brains then some of our Country Cousins. Or the sheep in our City Reservations.

They can't see the Zoo Gates coming, wait till their all in it, Bred to consume and slave for their Daily Bred.

Posted Sunday, February 3, 2013 - 19:01

thanks jackal!
Did everyone hear that Abbott will be cutting the School Bonus if elected? He says "it won't affect education." A good argument for (well firstly not voting Abbott) and for not sending my kids to school anymore where it will be a struggle to buy textbooks and uniforms (and bus fares). Between the Vic state gov't and Abbott it looks like public education is in for some dark days...and any child not born with a silver spoon in its mouth. Same for the health system maybe?? Get ready for MUCH worse class division in this country I reckon!

Posted Monday, February 4, 2013 - 06:08

The well to do are feeling hard done by in their loveless, greedy lifestyles so they need the underclasses to make them feel better about who and what they are.

Thats why serial killers always come up with excuses, like, their doing it for God, to save civilisation.

Most of the idiot shooters, all have some kind of mental reasoning for doing it, like the guy in Europe.

Essentialy though, its because we are over populated, the Nanny state has too many mouths to feed making the rich feel un loved, because thats where their actuak wealth comes from. Arms Manufcturers sell to Governments, thats also where there Gold came from. They got it for $356.00 now 1600 something. The Government sold it to them for cheap and now we just dig up more of it, out of Indiginous Lands.

Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 12:41

When people talk about taking Welfare from the General Revenues, and putting it in an
insurance scheme, I would sure hope that this would NOT be given to Private Enterprise. It would be soon ripped off to the benefit of the PE. And even if it were a Government operated Insurance Scheme, one can be sure that when Tories such as the Mad Monk get into power, it would very quickly be privatised, to the loss of society. There is no way to stop that happening. So please, forget about Insurance. However, one hates the idea of the levels of Welfare being under the control of Ministers also, subject to political whims. Both major parties , bowing to pressure from Right Wing groups and Think Tanks, do their very best to destroy the lives of those they see as 'losers'. Like Minister Macklin and the Indigenous people, plus all those she has total control over.
A friend of mine had an accident at work on a property owned by the richest woman in Queensland, his ribs were smashed in nine places and his spine distorted by a bull he and others had been trying to force up a ramp into a truck. He then came under Workcover. An insurance scheme, or sorts. Totally underfunded by the people, business, who are supposedly required to do so. (In NSW, business has, with the assistance of the Tory government, totally demolished Workcover in that State.)
What a Disaster. These people should have been some of the first to be dismissed by Campbell, they are utterly useless at their jobs. It would seem that that have a 'plan' that covers all eventualities, and every person that comes under their control MUST abide with that plan, no matter that the supervisors have not even checked to see what happened to him, or what his medical situation is.
Flown into Mt.Isa Hospital, they could not read an XRay. They shipped him off.
On the Coast, trying to recover, he is forced to comply with 'the plan' or else his support, little as it is, will be cut off. This entails a lot of pain. Still, the supposed supervisors, including a female Occupational Therapist, have not seen his file or his XRays, or the report of a Specialist employed by WorkCover to advise them, (actually probably pushed to tell them that he is right for work). His own doctor has told him that it may take 12 months for his ribs to heal, or maybe they will never heal. They are now so far from meeting up that it beggars belief that they will ever meet again. He is probably now permanently disabled. But the pressure on all these organisations to force such people back into work, even if it is digging holes and then filling them in, which is what 'the plan' entails, is incredible, from Governments needing to pander to the Far Right and their bleating Radio thugs. Meanwhile, conforming with 'the plan' is probably doing more damage to the health of my mate. 63 years old, and now rendered unemployable by his erstwhile employer, he has had the misfortune of being thrust into the pity-less and brainless hands of WorkCover employees. His mind is being destroyed by these people. But this is what they want, just as they (the Governments) want it for the Refugees on Manus and Nauru.
Poor Fellow, My country!

Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 13:27

Dazza - yes, as I said in that flood article - they want serfs/slaves, we the average wage earner and citizen, are viewed as disposable commodities...they want a society where this is the norm, socially acceptable and unfortunately they are getting what they want. The only answer is to get outside the system somehow, to not accept being part of breaucracy, to re-claim our personhood, our humanity and defy anyone/system/sheeple who try to bully us, or who create new laws that give collevtive bullying validity.

My son who has autism ahs been struggling a great deal with schooling and his emotions, future etc for a very long time. He has said many times that he wants to kill himself, that life isn't worth living. I have tried and tried to get him help, but we don't qualify (my emotional and mental health issues associated with this are also at risk), and the so-called health professionals have not taken him seriously. I hve even used services advertised in his school news letter (HeadSpace and the main psych health organisaiton in my area) and they sent us away "we can't help you"...type thing. Well, on Thursday might he cut himself over and over on his lower are with a knife...the cuts fill up an area of about 10cms2. It has to get really bad before we qualify/are eligible for "help". SO now that he has been refused support/assistance for long enough, finally he needs the help so badly that he qualifies...how lucky we are hey!!!

"Rational" bureaucracy is a monster, it is inhuman and empowers the inhumane...I feel like vomitting...

Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 18:44

Your absolutely right.
Our health & welfare rules and regulations are written very loosely.

In other words its a bit like the American Torture Laws, its all he said, she said, they said. In the end some lower order/ranking booth gets the chop because well, its all about interpretation. Bush & Co never said nothing they just pushed and pushed and demanded action on Terrorism, in the end the idiots gave them what Bush wanted but never really asked for.

Occupational health and safety was used in that fashion for quite a while.

The trucking Industry is like that, the Boss never told you to drive fast etc... he just kept on telling you he was going broke and you would loose your job.

Our care systems are the same, they have these rules that can be interpreted differently by different persons. So if some Dept Head job decides to Interpret it one way because they don't like your looks, Religion, Nationality or even you opinions then you basically get the worst possible Interpretation, there are safe guards their but you must find them, know how to use them or know who to talk to. Sometimes its better to get someone else to help you, your Doctor maybe..

You must make them feel that they are un-reasonable and that their jobs are not safe, so they should be a little bit more careful.

My mate always rings the person who is in opposition (Lab/Lib) he who needs the votes and has a whinge.

Try taking your son to associations like the RSPCA where he can see other life forms suffering so that he does not feel so alone in this endevour. You must let him see that its better to be alive then Dead, without lecturing maybe. A cure could be just around the corner.

Just an Idea.