Once upon a time there was a far away country where people worked hard, but were able to live reasonably well, pay off their own house, educate their kids, and even have a holiday once a year. When they retired, they could still get by on the age pension…
Most people were proud of the fact that Australia was considered a nation where people were treated equally and were given a “fair go”.
What has happened to the fairytale? No happy ending?
According to the latest Oxfam report, Still the Lucky Country? Even though the wealthiest people are not paying enough tax, they still have disproportionate influence in society.
“Inequality threatens to further entrap poor and marginalised people and undermine efforts to tackle extreme poverty. By concentrating wealth and power in the hands of a few, inequality robs the poorest people of the support they need to improve their lives, and means that their voices go unheard.”
In the Oxfam survey of more than 1000 people, 79% said the gap between rich and poor had widened over the past ten years, 76% thought the rich didn’t pay enough in taxes and 64% said inequality was making Australia a worse place to live.
Life is getting tough enough for the working poor and a damned sight tougher for the unemployed, especially young people trying to get a foothold in the employment market.
In the race to the bottom called globalisation, (fanned by the greed of imperialism) Australian workers are considered expensive and surplus to requirements.
Capitalism likes to have a reserve army of desperate unemployed to put pressure on wages and divide the working class (working vs unemployed, old vs young, Australian-born vs migrants/refugees, etc.).
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert spoke out, saying “The government is imposing what they call reasonable compliance requirements on young jobseekers, telling them to apply for 40 jobs a month and attend appointments with employment service providers, all while they’re receiving no income support at all”.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has brushed aside criticism of his austerity budget as “old-style socialism” and went on to say that the social welfare system in Australia was “unsustainable”.
Yet a survey by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research has revealed that the percentage of people aged 18-64 receiving welfare payments had fallen from 23% to 18.5% over ten years.
Inequality will continue to grow and life will get harder still for many working people.
We need to break free of the domination of the foreign corporations, the banks and the other parasites and rebuild our country for the majority – “new-style” socialism could fix a lot of things. Then our story could have a happy ending.