Thursday, April 04, 2013

Poor of Australia: Stand Behind Broggers!

Thanks, John Brogden, for defining the problem.

There you were on the ABC show 730, valiantly toiling in your paid occupation as apologist for Porsche Cayenne buyers the nation over, the negative-gearing doctors'-wives of Double Bay, and so on …

Doing quite well until you had to try and convince people, whose superannuation won't buy a second-hand Honda Postie and whose entire wardrobe is worth less than your damn pinstripes, should grab pitchforks and torches to defend the interests of your clients.

Against what?

Against the old, poor, sick, the cancer patients with no private cover, the desperates trying to work four jobs to pay both the mortgage and the chemist bills, the staggering Alzheimer patients who can manage to get a prescription filled if there's a friend to help them, the single parents who somehow manage to get a couple of hours cash-in-hand at a cafe without either super or leave.

John, I won't even try to make this nice: your egregious, patronising, insulting and offensive plea to egalitarianism, that superannuation policy should be about “all Australians” – like hearing a Tsarist serf-owner of the 19th century say “it's about all of Russia!” – is beyond crapulous.

Your threat to take up arms of advertising against the government is just odious, and completely out of touch. So here's a quick sample of the life of people who you're happy to have take the kicks on your behalf.

  1. Can they skip the trip to the chemist? Before the safety net level, even familiar prescriptions can cost a bomb. Does the asthma feel okay, or do they head for the discount butcher to buy the preventer?
  2. Darn. Need to register the car. That means the insurance, four tyres, and plastic that's already maxed. Wonder if the parents can lend a grand to tide things over?
  3. Can't call mum to ask, because the phone got cut off and there's not the spare cash to buy a $20 prepaid voucher. Bugger.
  4. Hang on, why the final demand? I paid that bill” “No dear, that was the previous one.”
  5. I hate porridge!” “I know dear, but until Dad's working again, we really can't lay out $7 a box for Nutri-Grain. It won't be long.”

In among all this, I can just imagine the unsuperannuated rising in outrage at the unfair treatment that you and your peers might suffer – not will suffer, because we don't actually know what's in the budget until it arrives – not because the government will raid your superannuation accounts, but merely because they'll remove a tax break.

And there they will be: risking the sack for sneaking away from work early, losing benefits because Stand Behind Broggers is more important than turning up at Centrelink for ritual humiliation, laying out three nights' dinner-money on burgers to join the rally.

You can be sure that Jones will deliver a foam-flecked rant; instead of naff hand-drawn signs, someone from an ad agency has kindly thrown in a couple of hours for a nifty new Witch logo, and there's always a mate who runs a printing company so that things can be done properly.

And there they will be: the poor, the starving, the broke and the huddling, holding your signs and chanting your slogans to make sure that no Australian has to start retirement living without at least a Princess Crusies trip of some kind or other.

I can just see it. Can't you?

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