Michael Burrill’s Current Affairs Wrap this week delivers TBS readers the latest on manus island, Joe Hockey’s latest jive, and Scott Morrison on the NDIS crackdown.
Smokin’ Joe Hockey made a couple of interesting statements this week. First Joe claimed, “When Australians spend the first six months of the year working for the government with tax rates nearly 50 cents in the dollar, it’s a disincentive.” This, despite the fact that only those in the highest tax bracket pay around that on every dollar over $180,000 – and on average pay between 39 and 25 cents on the dollar all up. Even ignoring their inaccuracy, Joe’s comments seem particularly, well…rich, for lack of a better term, considering the supposed dire state of the government coffers. But just as he was looking out for those poor little multinationals when he changed his mind on closing corporate tax loopholes, I guess this time he’s worried about those “Aussie battlers” who have been forced to rent out the beach house or switch from Jamon Iberico to Jamon Serrano in order to deal with their kid’s rising private school fees. Joe also weighed into the Medicare debate, raising the possibility of people living to be 150 years old in the near future as justification for cuts. While his comments were widely treated with scorn (despite having some scientific basis), he may have a better idea than some think, as according to the ever unreliable Stanky Johnny, Bronwyn Bishop and Phillip Ruddock are actually 150 year old vampires who decided to try out bloodsucking on a national level. Joe went on to add, “The question is how we live with dignity and ensure we have a good quality of life the whole way through.” When it comes to dignity, I’ve got a couple words for you Joe – “voluntary euthanasia” – particularly as the way things are going it could only be a matter of time before life support machines start getting switched off to save money…
As unrest, hunger strikes and self harm continue on Manus Island, and Peter Dutton probably repeats the mantra, “I’m just following orders” over and over in his head, figures from both sides of parliament have commented. Deputy PM Warren Truss said, “I wish that there weren’t tensions on those islands, but I wish the people weren’t there in the first place, I wish we didn’t have a situation where people have paid people smugglers to try and come to this country to get around our immigration laws.” Paying money to be sent on rickety boats that may never make it, to a country which may never let them in…it’s almost as though they might have been desperate or something, Wazza. Julie Bishop took much the same tone adding, “It is a volatile situation because these people clearly don’t want to accept the safe haven that’s being offered to them.” Maybe it’s just me, but a place where not only regular people threaten and scare you, but also the police tasked with protecting you, doesn’t seem like that much of a safe haven. Lastly, Short William limboed underneath the fact that the Manus Island detention centre was reopened by Labor by condemning “the culture of secrecy surrounding Manus Island,” a culture perfectly illustrated by revelations that a number of journalists were referred to the AFP over stories relating to asylum seeker policy during Scott Morrison’s tenure.
Probably glad to be free of all that – maybe looking to shake off all “The Muppets” related jibes by this very columnist and seemingly now taking influence from existential masterpiece Paul Blart: Mall Cop (you’ll be left wondering, “Why does this exist?”) – the new Social Services Minister has labelled himself…Scott Morrison: Welfare Cop! The minister claimed a welfare crackdown was needed to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme, despite previous repudiations of that theory by both Labor, and the Disability Advocacy Network Australia. Really jamming out on the cop motif, Morrison said of the Australian public, “Just like they won’t cop people coming on boats, they’re not going to cop people who are going to rort that system,” adding, “I want to make sure this system helps the people who most need it.” When I consider that the last great punitive measures against the mythical dole bludger, work for the dole programs, haven’t had any effect or that all of the Coalition’s proposed welfare reforms have seemed like blanket measures that would affect the needy and rorters alike, I realise that Scott Morrison: Welfare Cop leaves me with much the same feelings as his possible inspiration…bemusement and revulsion.