Friday, February 17, 2017

What price a civilised society?

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not everyone in society is equal and sometimes people need a bit of help to get back on their feet, study to improve their chances of employment/starting a business or time to be treated for an illness?

Politics in Australia is particularly ugly as Katharine Murphy so eloquently writes for The Guardian but what struck me this week was people without children complaining that they are "subsidising" the childcare rebate of those with children.

Well yes, without children, there will be no taxpayers of the future. Parents who work are not abandoning their children but attempting to remain taxpayers for as long as possible. I took the decision years ago to work part-time/freelance while the father of my children worked full-time. It suited our family at the time. Now, I'm stuffed. We are no longer together and my career does not exist, for myriad reasons. I'm attempting to build a new career and am determined to do so, but sometimes for a minute or five I wonder if it just a folly. Then I remember there is no time for folly. There is only time to put my head down and attempt to build a new career by studying and working hard at those studies.

If I had not received childcare rebate all those years ago I still would have worked, but having a bit of money given back meant work was more accessible and I could do more of it and pay more tax. For the past 16 months I have been living on quite a restricted income. I am now studying. I am ineligible for any type of government assistance, despite having little income. (Please don't tell me that something must be available ... you actually have to be out on your arse to receive any assistance from this govt). I don't think anyone should receive any form of assistance that they are not entitled to, but I have been a taxpayer for many, many years. I'm not a leaner. I've always worked hard.

There is no gold travel pass for me. And now politicians on their generous salaries and ex-politicians after their generous salaries have to buy their own airline tickets. Welcome to the real world. This is the world where people catch planes in the middle of the night or at strange times, with long stopovers, so they can meet with loved ones, attend important family events, including births and deaths.

Most people don't get to sit up the pointy end of the plane, with drinks in the rarefied air of the Chairman's Lounge in between flights.  Hell, most people don't even travel by plane because it is beyond their weekly budget. Nor do they get a public forum in which to vent their privileged fury.

When I grew up, Australia offered much promise for its citizens. There were jobs aplenty and houses were affordable. You could start a business, work for someone else, take a bit of time to start a family. Now, not so much. I worked in politics for a few short years. I have few regrets in life, but that is one of them. I thought it would be good to make a difference for people, to help those who needed it. It's not my lived experience. Staff are sucked up, used up, discarded.

Someone I know has been forced from their job in recent weeks. They worked amazingly hard and did incredible work but lesser personalities demanded an end to that role.

And then there are the politicians, behaving like loons. Trump takes the cake but there are many Australian politicians who if they took a good look at themselves would/should be frightened of the character staring back at them. The scary thing is that so many people are not interested in their carry-on. They are too busy trying to get the money together to put a roof over their head and food on the table.

We were the lucky country. We certainly are not any more.

Where does this thing go? What's next? It's too simple to blame "social media" and the "24/7" news cycle. People have to accept that they are members of society. We need to work together to create a better world for all of us. Be nice, be kind, take a long hard look at yourself and if you are a dickhead, stop being a dickhead. If you are a politician, stop being selfish and remember why you wanted to represent the public. When I ask my politician friends and acquaintances, the most common response is" "To make a difference." Well, go ahead, make a difference. Don't be a dickhead. Be kind, be nice, look beyond tomorrow's headlines. Heck, look to the future. Our children and the generations to follow are counting on it.

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