Bludging on the dole

John Howard had it down to fine art: find someone to blame for his government’s political agenda; the method of demonizing.

Immediately asylum seekers come to mind, however Howard was also adept at demonizing other groups of people.

Remember “the family”, a tale of ne’er do wells who proudly boasted of never having had a job between them in their family of five. The son was offered The Dream Job, something involving sun-baking in a tropical paradise, or so we were told. He however refused to cut his hair and to remove his numerous piercings in order to take up the offer.

Success! Proof positive that the dole in its generosity encourages the idle to remain that way.

Likewise others, who were presumably examples of their “ilk”, were scrutinised as to their rorting capabilities. There was the disabled person “caught on film” on his roof doing repairs, plus others with disabilities who were clearly laying it on thick in order to reap a clearly overly generous government handout.

Further success! That a majority of people with disabilities clearly aren’t, and fit into the above category of being idle, and prefering to remain that way.

And as for struggling pensioners, that’s their own fault as well. They should have worker harder and been more frugal during their working years. Too bad that you’re now on struggle street.

Today’s Sydney Morning Herald introduces an article with the words, SHOCKING findings.

As the article pertained to assessment of life on the dole and other welfare benefits I was at first a little reluctant to read this, fully expecting one of the usual; let’s bash a dole recipient.

However, not so. Instead factual information was provided, being research as commissioned by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs by former department head, Dr. Jeff Harmer.

Hungry: 10.3% of Newstart recipients are unable to get a substantial meal a day, which compares with 0.7% of aged pensioners.

Medical Treatment: while 1.4% of aged pensioners surveyed were unable to get medical treatment, for those on Newstart the proportion was 22%.

Prescribed medicines: 2.1% of pensioners were unable to buy prescribed medicines, with the proportion being 16.7% for those on Newstart.

Dental treatment: 13.7% of age pensioners cannot get access to dental treatment if needed, which compares with 44.7% on Newstart.

The report says that although the results do not necessarily imply anything about whether the age pension is adequate, it appears to be more adequate than the payments to people with a disability, to parents and to those on Newstart.

For those who are not aware of payments currently available, these are as follows:

Newstart adult allowance $245 per week, $265 per week for those with dependent children. This higher rate is also available to recipients aged 60 years and over who have been unemployed for more than nine months.

Disability Support or Aged Pension (single) – $347 per week.

According to the OECD Australia has one of the lowest unemployment benefits, as a percentage of the average wage, in the developed world. Shocking findings indeed.

57 comments on “Bludging on the dole

  1. Hardly an epic money spinning lifestyle…..realistically, without the other support programs like Medicare and PBS life on Newstart would be horrendous….all potentially put at risk by so called ‘austerity’ and ‘sense of entitlement’ ideologies.

  2. According to the Labor government increasing the ‘dole’ is a disincentive

    “Treasurer Wayne Swan did not answer twice when asked yesterday if he could live off the dole rate of $35 a day.

    The government has claimed an increase to the rate could be a disincentive to finding work.”

    So I’m not sure why you still bang on about Howard when he hasn’t been the PM for some years, yet ignore the same apparent reponse from the current Labor government. Does the implementation of some progressive agenda mean you give a free pass to Labor where you’d otherwise give the Liberal a kick?

    And before it starts, as far as I’m concerned Labor and Liberal are the same shit in different buckets.

  3. Johnny, neither political party have much to boast about when it comes to welfare recipients. Labor however did give pensioners their first permanent increase with another one due in March next year..which compares with Howard’s Handouts.

    I would consider that with our low unemployment rate and the frugality of the dole, that we could afford to do substantially better than what we are.

  4. At the rate both parties are allowing jobs to be sent off-shore under the banner of `free-trade`, both are turning Australia into a dumping-ground and welfare state. As far as I`m concerned `dole-bludger` is a defunct term. Nice job Min.

  5. It may surprise you Min but I agree with most of what you say here, as I see it the money that is paid to the unemployed the aged and the disabled is worthwhile because it makes for a society with less crime and misery. I will pick you up on one thing and that is that you fail to mention that for those on benefits prescription medicines only cost $6.50 each , or about one and a bit Lattes so they are rarely unaffordable.

  6. The term “dole bludger” would disappear from the lexicon if policy makers would only think outside the box.

    Bill Mitchell has been writing about and promoting the idea of a “job guarantee” for years. It seems to have a lot of support from his non-orthodox economist colleagues overseas.

    The basic idea is that the government provides a job at minimum standards (not the dole) for anyone who wants to work.

    The jobs would not be painting rocks, but useful work not being catered for by the private sector.

    This pool of JG workers would be a “buffer stock” against inflation, in stark contrast to the current theology of the “natural rate of unemployment” where a stock of unemployment is cruelly used to provide the buffer (via the RBA’s ‘non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment’…or NAIRU ideology).

  7. Just to add to my comment above…

    The “buffer stock” effect would operate through the private sector being able to “hire off the bottom” from the stock of work-ready pool of JG workers in buoyant times when demand for labour was increasing.

  8. At the first instant I agree with what is being said. It is amazing to see those of the right leading the charge.

    On second thoughts, there is much truth in seeing the dole, as sit down money,

    Maybe we need to rethink the matter. Maybe sticking to the concept of the dole, is were we are going wrong.

    The emphasis should not be on supporting people while out of work but on increasing their skills, giving them the skills they need for more stable work life.

    We should see unemployment as a chance for those unemployed to increase skills. Getting skills and back to work should be the aim of unemployment benefits.

    The aim should be to get them back into work or further education. Time spent on the so called dole should be short.

    Yes, there is need for more money, but not for increasing dole payments. The money should be aimed at giving people the ability to upgrade existing qualifications, or gaining new ones.

    Maybe some of the reasons some find themselves unemployed are health or disabilities. These needs to be addressed

    Money for the unemployed needs to be more than sit down money.

    With the payments at a all time low, it could be time for a whole new concept.

    I am rambling on a little. Have not got my thoughts sorted out. What I am saying, there must be a better and more efficient way. The aim must be work, or moving on to education and acquiring new skills. Long term unemployment is and should not be an option.

  9. CU,

    The problem is, and always has been, that a capitalist economy rarely creates enough jobs for all (except in war)

    Keynes showed how a capitalist economy can come to equilibrium at very sub-optimal levels of employment.

    Training the unemployed for jobs they know don’t exist is very soul destroying.

    A whole industry has sprung up in recent times sucking up govt grants to provide training for jobs that often don’t exist.

  10. Interest concept MJ and on the surface appears to have merit.

    The only thing I can see is what work do you give them?

    Any work that is either already undertaken by the private/public sector or by NGOs cannot be given out to dole recipients as that would take work away from those sectors.

    Same as volunteer organisations, many who achieve great personal satisfaction out of volunteering, but as I’ve posted previously, something governments, especially conservative State ones, readily exploit. Do we replace volunteers with paid unemployed workers?

    There is work out there. Like the story I heard on radio yesterday of the man in Queensland who won an award for his great work with the homeless. He said he’s always looking for more people to lend a hand.

    But just how much suitable work for the unemployed receiving government benefits is out there?

  11. One of the biggest difficulties with the long term unemployed is enabling them to reach a situation where they are even able to be considered as employable. A place where they can shower, decent clothes to enable them to attend a job interview – and a particular bugbear of mine, their teeth fixed. I have known of long term unemployed who cannot be considered for even stacking shelves or the supermarket checkout because of rotting and missing teeth.

    Give a person these basics, plus some sort of transport (VIP in regional areas) and you have given them the opportunities to be able to make changes in their lives.

  12. According to the OECD Australia has one of the lowest unemployment benefits, as a percentage of the average wage, in the developed world.

    I wonder if that report takes into consideration that many of the countries they compare with only have temporary unemployment benefits, whereas Australia is indefinite. That does change the comparison somewhat.

    Also, although the actual payments are low, the associated benefits and subsidies is quite substantial, health, power, and even food can be obtained at far cheaper rates.

    It would be interesting if all of these were taken into account when examining this issue.

    Having said that, though, it is a discussion that needs to take place, as I would guess that the vast majority of people on the dole are not there from choice, and to label all unemployed as ‘dole bludgers’ is soul destroying. It is also evident that the base rate has not moved for a long time. Whether this has been taken up by these other benefits is where I think the initial research should lie. Because I, for one, am not against unemployment payments (as opposed to pensions etc) being paid out more directly to essential items, to help prevent the abuse of the payments, which I am aware does occur too often for my liking

  13. I do believe that there was a time where people could bludge quite happily on the dole..about 15 years ago when a 3br could be rented for $150pw. It is beyond my imagination how a person could exist on $245pw today and have to pay rent and with waiting times for public housing in excess of 7 years in many areas.

  14. The big mistake we all make in analysing JWH’s hatred toward minority groups and unions is believing it is part of his conservative make-up. Sure, a percentage is there..the base foundation. But most of his AND Janine’s hatred springs from an internal insecurity of being isolated from their own Liberal Party heirarchy in his early days under Malcolm Fraser and Tammy.
    The “High-church” Liberal squatochracy viewed such neuveu-politico’s as low-order upptiy-serfs and scorned them socially and politically. We are all aware of Malcolm’s repugnance for Howard..a lingering detestation matched by Howards continuing needling about being the “longest serving…”
    The social scourging from those early days left an indelible mark more on Janine than the thick and thick-skinned John…..HE didn’t have to sit at home brooding on the issue and we all remember those twin-sets Janine was so keen on! It was enough to make any sartorial splendid Prime-Minister’s wife wince….”For God’s sake don’t place her next to me in the official photograph!”
    No, the real hatred of the Howard years toward “dole-bludgers” and other minority groups can be truly sheeted home to the yokel picture he was painted with in his own party.
    When one can’t realistically attack one’s own, one doubles the vitriol toward the “outsiders”.

  15. and have to pay rent

    As I said Min, the benefits available do not appear to be taken into consideration here

    newstart also comes with rent relief, so that changes the field a bit too.

    I’m not sure if the same applies to other payments though

  16. In today’s tight employment environment it’s more than just finding a job, but also being ‘job ready’. The current Government doesn’t get enough credit for the programs it has in place to help the unemployed become ‘job ready’.

  17. I fell in love with Guaranteed Minimum Income when I was at uni in the 1980’s. It now seems to have a new name.

    It makes sense. It makes for a more efficient government, that can concentrate on solving problems and building for the future.

    We live in a new global world today. Our economy and I suspect our workplace is global. This leaves the filed open for each country to concentrate on what they do best.

    If people took a step back, I think they will find the future exciting and productive.

    For once in our history, we are no longer on the outside of too far away. We are where the future wealth will be created.

    If we had something along the lines of GMI, or it’s new manifestations, we would not now be complaining that benefits are too low.

    We now live in a world, that demands that we continue to upgrade out qualifications throughout our lifetime. The economy needs to ensure that one has the ability to do so.

    Any economy that does not, will wilt on the vine.

    We have reached a staged, that health, work, training and education overlap.

    I hate to say this, but they are all important in making the economy and the nation work.

    Yes, if we do not get outside of that box, we will go under.

    I asked on another site, how low does many want taxation to go.

  18. Min. The man in Queensland who is working with the homeless I mentioned is doing exactly that.

    He put up the same point that a homeless person going for a job interview never stands a chance of getting a job as they face a queue of people who present better.

    The good Samaritan gets these people cleaned up and dressed for the interview so at least they have a chance.

  19. Tom, I think a number of pension or income support payments have rent assistance available. They can also apply for a telephone allowance (TA), utilities allowance (UA) and mobility allowance. Both TA and UA almost tripled when Rudd took office, BTW.

  20. Mobius, we could do with a few more of these Good Samaritans..meanwhile on the Café Talk thread we have Xenophon proposing the deletion of penalty rates for those prepared to (or must via necessity eg child care..lack thereof) work weekends.

  21. Migs, also raising the Youth Allowance to age 22yrs thereby enabling young people to receive greater assistance for longer.

  22. What has been raised is the possibility that there are no jobs available. The job numbers do not appear to support this supposition. Yes, the ongoing training has to be real and for jobs that do exist.

    My son, through the system, got his rigging ticket. Hasd to be out of work a long time to get to this position. Before that he worked for decades, printing for Amcor, and other places for decades. This was the first time, he found himself on the unemployment trap. .

    Since getting this ticket, he has been employed, but with little stability. He wants the next ticket, that will ensure ongoing and more stable employment

    There is no way he can take three weeks off and pay TAFE. It is stupid that one has to get back into the unemployment queue to be able to do this.

    What I am saying, there is much the government can do, to keep people off unemployment. There should be two aims, one to help those who fall through the cracks, and help them up again. The second is to help those, especially in low paid and skills up the ladder, to where the jobs are.

    I am believe that employers also have some responsibility to ensure that their employees have access to further training. They appear to have left the field completely.


  23. And the radical right mentality is alive and well in QLD, as not content with sending many onto the dole queues, he (Newman) has also cancelled funding for the organisations that are there to help with retraining and job placement.
    So those that can compete for the ever decreasing jobs available due to the unemployment flow-on will be competing with the educators as well.
    What a gem… 🙄

    And God help us all if Abbott gets control.

    👿 👿 👿

  24. ME,

    Here’s a link to Bill Mitchell’s archive of essays on the subject of the Job Guarantee

    One of them “Boondogling and leaf-raking” addresses those issues you were mostly concerned about. It covers some interesting history, especially with one Tony Abbott, Minister for Employment in the Howard govt.

    Recently Bill Mitchell’s research unit conducted a 3 year national survey of local govt around in all states to ascertain the need and volume of potential employment opportunities.

    “The results were that there were huge areas of unmet need that could generate 100s of thousands of low skill jobs across urban, regional and remote Australia.”

    The only limitations seem to be our imagination.

  25. I believe a big problem with local government is that it has for a very long time preferred to use medium to heavy machinery to do jobs that manual labour could be doing, thereby hiring unskilled workers and saving costs on machinery. Trouble is, there is a gross lack of skilled foremen and supervisors within the local govt’ organisations.
    This is because in some country areas, a coiterie of “Maaaaate!” still exists and it is not always the best man gets the gig and a type of cabal-clique of “insiders” gets control of the hire and fire system.

  26. That is good MJ. Will have a deeper read later at home and digest.

    My concern is the potential to kill some businesses and employment by using what amounts to cheap labour, but that seems to be addressed.

    The example I know of is in the US where prisoners are used in many States for cheap labour, for example making number plates.

    That may seem trivial and menial but in doing that the viable arms of some manufacturers were taken away. The manufacturers can produce the number plates, and other goods produced by prisoners, fully automated, so in that case it’s not direct labour jobs that are being replaced by US prisoners, but the lucrative production of a good that per piece is cheap and has a tiny margin, but by scale of continuous production and huge numbers adds up to a reliable profitable item for any manufacturer over an almost indefinite time frame.

  27. those who are jealous of the wealthy should start working harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising.

    Well, I’m not jealous, so don’t know if she is referring to me or not.

    What I am is pissed off with the filthy rich trying to use/abuse our labour to get more filthy

    I’ve had it, I’m off to the pub 🙂

  28. I thought you already were at the pub.

    Am I that lushid already ❓

    I recall the days when home WAS at the pub 🙂

  29. Oh I understand now, I never knew. The wealthy don’t drink, smoke or socialise, that’s how they became rich.

  30. No one has mentioned the effectiveness of Howard’s dumping of the CES and outsourcing to charities and private sector.

    As far as I know, there has never been any research or investigations into the system we now have.

    I have never heard anyone that has good word for the present system.

    I do know, that it has made many owners very wealthy..

    Has the outsourcing worked?

    I feel Howard’s aim was to dump all responsibility for the unemployed. Maybe there are readers, that have had positive contact with the employment agencies.

  31. ‘I spend a bit of time socialising and drinking’
    Clive Palmer shares different views to fellow miner Gina Rinehart on work ethics and the minimum wage.

    Treasurer Wayne Swan has slammed mining magnate Gina Rinehart for insulting Australian workers after she accused people of being jealous of the wealthy.
    Mrs Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, says those who are jealous of the wealthy should start working harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising.
    In her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine, she writes it is billionaires like herself who are doing more than anyone to help the poor by investing their money and creating job

    Read more:

  32. But Mr Swan said the comments were ‘‘an insult to the millions of Australian workers who go to work and slog it out to feed the kids and pay the bills’’.
    ‘‘The big question is whether (Opposition Leader) Tony Abbott will endorse Gina Rinehart’s social policies as he’s endorsed her tax, industrial relations and environmental policies,’’ the treasurer said in a statement.
    ‘‘Tony Abbott is Gina’s knight in shining armour when it comes to fighting for tax cuts for her and Clive Palmer.’’
    Mr Swan added: ‘‘The question for Tony Abbott today is does he agree with Gina Rinehart that Aussies are lazy workers who drink and socialise too much?
    ‘‘Will he do her bidding and slash the minimum wage as Gina wants him to?’’
    Mr Abbott has yet to respond.
    But Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt has joined a chorus of criticism of Ms Rinehart for insulting workers.
    Mr Bandt said he was continually amazed at people like Ms Rinehart, who did not see the mining boom as belonging to everyone.
    ‘‘They want to take all of the benefits for themselves and distribute none of it to the rest of the country,’’ he told journalists.
    ‘‘A lot of people work very hard and work a lot harder than Gina Rinehart does and take home less each week than her.’’
    Earlier today, federal Health Minister Ms Plibersek said Ms Rinehart was out of line attacking those on the lowest wages.
    “I think it’s pretty easy for Gina Rinehart to say that people on the minimum wage should get paid less,” she told the Seven network today.
    “I think she should try living on the minimum wage.”
    Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, told Seven she respected success but Ms Rinehart was not self-made.
    “She’s accumulated wealth from her family.”
    Senator Rhiannon said workers were out there creating the wealth.
    Building union chief Tony Maher said Ms Rinehart’s comments showed why Australia’s mining billionaires should not lead Australia’s economic debate.
    The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union national president said in a statement today that Mrs Rinehart’s comments revealed her “twisted logic”.
    “At the same time as trying to import cheap foreign labour and avoid paying tax, Rinehart claims it’s millionaires and billionaires who are the greatest for social good.”What planet is she living on?”
    Mr Maher said Ms Rinehart was born into a mining fortune and once you had such a fortune it wasn’t hard to build on it, especially in an era of record prices for Australian resources.

    Read more:

  33. THE Israel lobby, Qantas and mining companies are leading the charge in lavishing federal politicians with all-expenses paid junkets and other gifts, a Herald investigation has found.
    Billionaires including Gina Rinehart, big drug companies, controversial Chinese technology company Huawei and multinational defence contractors are behind many of the “free” flights and high-level entertainment handed to politicians.
    Politicians are being serially wooed by foreign interests, with Israel and Israeli lobby groups giving politicians 44 fully or partly funded trips to Israel and other destinations disclosed in the past two years. In contrast Palestine sponsored just two trips in the same period.
    Taiwan, with 16 trips, and the Tibetan government-in-exile (5) paid for more parliamentarians’ trips than China (3), the country they see as threatening or stealing their territory.
    Duchessing includes 82 tickets to AFL and NRL grand finals, more than 100 overseas flights, and accommodation offered by a host of donors including billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals Group and the Kingdom of Morocco.

    Read more:

  34. Hi Ian (12.56pm)

    That’s a great video of Bill Mitchell’s on discrimination in employment at that link you provided.

    Bill also talks about the govt’s obsession with deficits and points out how the pursuit of surpluses will come back and bite us the bum. Put a bit more politely than that of course.

    There’s some good stuff there also about the options that are available to governments like ours that “own their own currency”, and thus can not face any fiscal constraints when it comes to so-called problems of the ageing population.

  35. CU

    “No one has mentioned the effectiveness of Howard’s dumping of the CES and outsourcing to charities and private sector.”

    I’m sure Bill Mitchell has had a few words to say about that !

    I’ll see if I can find some links.

    I personally know of people who gamed the system and made shitloads.

  36. Thanks MJ. Not much sense just talking about the level of the dole. The whole system needs looking at. I would put the GST in the same basket.

  37. Regular ‘reforms’ to improve the quality of service provision have failed, because they have not addressed its fundamental design problems, which in one way or another stem from the flawed policy of combining labour market brokerage with welfare policing, which has driven employment services standards backwards since it became the central objective of policy makers around 1987.

    The outsourcing of employment services was largely adopted as a final solution to Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) staff resistance to the intensification of coercive management of the unemployed, after years of managerialist cultural re-engineering to achieve this objective had progressively impaired its function.

    As a close observer of the evolution of these practices, first as an unemployed youth in 1976, and subsequently as an employment officer, employment counsellor, Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) branch OIC, SkillShare Manager, Job Network Manager, during the 1980s and 1990s, and through a range of experiences including secondments to Canberra, and opportunities to interview former Ministers and other policy makers, it surprises me how little is publicly acknowledged as to what has driven this agenda…

  38. Bludging on the dole. That’s the fate Abbott and his moth-bitten shadow frontbench deserve after the next election, if not earlier.

  39. Cuppa, that would indeed be Karma given Abbott’s previous whinge about existing on a lowly member of the opposition’s salary…

  40. Well Abbott was stupid saying that but he did have to take a pay cut when he went into Opposition.

    Here is Shorten complaining he does not get enough after he gets his salary increased in govt

    EMPLOYMENT Minister Bill Shorten ruled out any immediate increase to the $13,000 a year Newstart allowance yesterday, despite declaring he finds it “hard to make ends meet” on his much larger salary of about $330,000.”

    Beats me how someone struggles on 330K/year.

  41. Min,

    I’d also add:

    * Negligence of the core duty of a mainstream political party – develop viable and costed policies and put them to the electorate for consideration.
    * Time-wasting in Question Time. The pointless Points of Order, the farcical calls for Suspensions of Standing Orders, and the dozens of hours that Noalition members have spent cooling their heels after being ejected for disruptive conduct in their workplace.

  42. Min,

    I get annoyed when MPs manage to get themselves kicked out of Question Time. One’s got to put a lot of effort into being “kicked”. It’s their constituents who are affected directly. They have the right to expect that their elected Members will be in the House, representing them while Parliament sits.

    The Liberals are oh-so puritanical about the conduct of employees in the workplace. Heaven help employees who are lazy, disorderly, time-wasting. Well, Question Time is THEIR workplace (one of). And in that workplace Liberal MPs display in abundance all the traits they are quick to condemn in other employees. Bloody hypocrites.

    I’d like to see some pecuniary penalty applied to those who are ejected under ’94A’. Say, the docking of one week’s salary for each hour they spend outside. Perhaps that would improve their conduct to a standard approaching that which they demand of everyone else in employment.

  43. Cuppa, I agree absolutely. The idea of Question Time is to ask pertinent questions, and particularly those which address potential concerns relating to the person’s own electorate – because that’s what they’re supposed to be there for – to do the best possible job on behalf of those who elected them. This opposition has turned it into a circus.

  44. I seen that interview of Shorten’s. It is being twisted to say he is whingeing about his pay.

    Shorten was agreeing how hard it would be to live on the dole. He pointed out he did not find it easy on his wage, Pray, what is wrong with that.

  45. When asked to withdraw for what they say across the chamber, they should be made to repeat what was said.

  46. One of the biggest difficulties with the long term unemployed is enabling them to reach a situation where they are even able to be considered as employable.

    Exactly, Min. The unemployed are currently paid less than the OAP and were excluded from the one-off carbon price payment, which I found pretty unacceptable. OAPs are also paid a telephone, utilities and internet allowance which the government has jacked up a couple of times.

    I don’t know why the government has this niggardly attitude towards the unemployed and I certainly do not buy the “disincentive” bullshit!

    People also overlook the fact that if you are unemployed and have children, they are also being “punished” because their parent/s are unemployed and will also have poor general and dental health and will be disadvantaged wrt education.

    I wouldn’t put a great deal of faith in the private employment agencies, either. My eldest was on the dole for about 6 months and as far as he was concerned, they were a liability in the job search department.

    He found a job without any input from them and was less than happy when they wanted him to sign on the dotted line so they could collect from the government.

  47. those who are jealous of the wealthy should start working harder and cut down on drinking, smoking and socialising.

    Just ‘cos she’s got no friends. And perhaps she needs to be reminded that she inherited her wealth.

    Neil, I don’t think any politician can complain about being poorly paid.

    Cuppa @12.05am, I couldn’t agree more. I also think that by refusing the opportunity extended to them wrt carbon pricing and climate change discussions, they were extremely irresponsible, because they could have contributed to the policy formation and represented their constituents’ interests. After all, that’s what they’re elected to do.

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