Joe Hockey travelled to London,
To make his declaration
That it was time to turn the page,
And bring to an end the age
Of what he called Entitlement.
You may well ask why didn’t he
Announce it in North Sydney
That we’re citizens of Asia,
Neighbours of Malaysia
And the Indian subcontinent.
There, he said, they are satisfied
With what their families provide
To support them when they’re old.
Now Oz could save amounts untold,
With something the equivalent.
When asked to whom the scheme applied
He hesitated and then replied,
“Oh, we’d have to have a means test
Which would eliminate the rest……..
…….Of us who prove ourselves non-indigent.”
NOTES: Joe Hockey, the Shadow Treasurer, made a speech in London on the other side of the world from here a few days ago which included an unambiguous statement about the age of unlimited and unfunded entitlement to government services and income support being over in the Western world. He then made the mistake of appearing on Lateline that same evening and answering very pointed questions from Tony Jones about exactly what that might mean under a Coalition government.
He repeated again his statement that “with an ageing population and an entitlement system that has seen extraordinary largesse built up over the last 50 years, Western communities, Western societies are going to have to make some very hard and unpopular decisions to wind back the involvement of the state in people’s lives.” At the same time he talked about Australians riding on the back of significant growth in Asia and the Government, if serious about their much vaunted “Asian Century, should start comparing us with our Asian neighbours when it comes to understandable levels of economic growth, inflation, employment and so on, rather than comparing us to countries in Europe and North America.” He then agreed with Tony Jones this included “entitlements……….a significant issue.”
Having got this beautiful “Gotcha!” out of him, Jones did his best to tie Hockey down as to exactly which benefits he had in mind but got a lot of squirming and waffling in reply about it all depending and case by case issues! It’s worth watching! I won’t link you to the stories about it which appeared in the MSM next day but if you google ‘the age of entitlement’ you’ll be reading for hours. He wouldn’t be pinned down as to exactly which Asian countries he’d compare us with on social benefit entitlements, but he mentioned statistics for Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. You’ll have to forgive my poetic license in using India and Malaysia for rhyming reasons. After all, they are our neighbours in Asia and millions of people in all of those countries and elsewhere in Asia are currently living in abject poverty.
I was appalled to hear Joe Hockey talk about how we should look to our region for a model on welfare spending! Not so! We need to maintain and improve our mutual support standards here so that we can be a beacon to other countries around us! We are an example of what they can strive for! I can’t imagine living in a modern state which hasn’t found a way to look after its weaker and poorer members. Medical, educational and other social benefits should be fairly available to all regardless of economic status, and yes all need to make a fair contribution to their cost where they can.
Listening to the man who could be our next Treasurer I feared for our future more than ever before. He was talking as if he had no real understanding or appreciation of the enlightened society most of us are beginning to enjoy only now after centuries of struggle from the earliest days of organised labor in Western Europe. Almost a thousand years ago journeymen and their craftsmen employers were striving for improvement in their lives through the Guilds. In the 18th century ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ economist, Adam Smith noted the imbalance in the rights of workers in regards to owners or ‘masters’ in The Wealth of Nations.
Today more than ever in Australia working people at all wage and salary levels need to join together in their unions and professional organisations to work with and within all political parties. They must make sure that the well-being of our society, its economy and its environment, is such that the fair entitlements of all its citizens are protected. This Coalition team led by the likes of Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb must not come to power.