Welfare policy sustains the poor in state of inequality

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Welfare policy sustains the poor in state of inequality

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

This has been the first increase in the welfare payment since 1986 (“Even with boost jobless will not escape poverty”, February 25). The unemployed in 1986 did not have to use modern technology to search for work and meet the harsh obligations set to receive JobSeeker. Can we expect an increase in mental health concerns for those already struggling with the challenges of life as they search for that elusive job? No more fresh fruit and veggies for those who will have to visit the local relief centre for a food parcel and toiletries as they struggle to survive on heartless government support. How many job seekers have our Prime Minister and his ministers met and listened to as they share their reality of life? Lillian Bennetts, Green Point

The increase in unemployment benefits from the lucky country is paltry and miserable. Not unlike this Morrison Coalition government. Paltry, as in devoid of any future policy to move this country forward, and miserable in its lack of mercy to anyone who cannot use leverage to get some support. Let them enjoy franking credits while the poor buggers, including children, starve. Wendy Atkins, Cooks Hill

Unemployment causes loss of self-esteem, making it even harder to search for a job and present for interviews. TAFE has been decimated and courses are not cheap. The number of job applications required per month is ridiculous, especially in small communities. So the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. I am appalled at the miserly increase in JobSeeker payments while those with shares get a refund on franking credits for a tax they haven’t paid. And anyone can negatively gear rental housing, even parliamentarians, while someone on benefits struggles to buy food after paying their rent and will never get into the property market. This becomes a generational problem. What happened to the egalitarian country we once strived to be? Glenys Quirk, Forster

I can see many employers angry at the government’s requirement that each dole recipient must apply for 30 jobs per month - so much time wasted saying “no” (Letters, February 25). Why does this government treat social support as a punishment? Richard Swinton Clunes

How much more humiliation can this government inflict on the genuinely unemployed? First its cashless cards, now “DobSeeker”. I don’t know the checks and balances for DobSeeker, but I bet it is as sloppy and dysfunctional as the current government. Conrad Mill, Parkes

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:

Surely it will happen that unscrupulous employers threaten to dob in job seekers who refuse to do underpaid or dangerous work? What protections will be available to people seeking work? Bruce McGarity, Bathurst

A tired Coalition cliché, “the best form of welfare is a job” was trotted out by Employment Minister Michaelia Cash (“Stingy increase bad for economy”, February 25). Au contraire; in the current economic circumstances “the best form of business and employment incentive is an increase in sales”. Politically, the best form of re-election guarantee for the Morrison government in 2022 is a fairer economy in which a million voters are not reduced to penury. Geoff Black, Caves Beach

Last year the government brought forward the 2022 tax cuts and backdated them to July 2020. People earning above $90,000 get an extra $6.66 a day. Compare that to the just-announced JobSeeker rise of $3.57 a day. How is that fair? Corrado Tavella, Rosslyn Park (SA)


Open secrets, closed minds and unshareable truths

I doubt that you would find the head of any major organisation in Australia who would not tell their senior staff that they do not want any surprises (“Police met to inform Dutton before PM on alleged rape”, February 25). Yet we have senior staff and politicians in our Parliament who think it’s OK not to tell the PM what’s going on in the big house. What else is going on that no one has bothered to tell the PM? Surely this reinforces the case for a federal ICAC with real teeth. Viv Dore, Randwick

Imagine that you are the manager of a large organisation. You receive word that a young female member of your staff has been raped by another of your employees. You learn too, that at the time of the incident, the crime was reported to one of your senior managers. What would you do? Complete outrage at what a young woman has been forced to endure would seem a barely adequate response. And, complete outrage at the lack of responsibility taken by your management team should lead you to demand permanent change, not further secrecy within your organisation. Ted Keating, Tallai

Peter Dutton’s ambition has always been obvious. His admission that he knew days ahead of the Prime Minister of the alleged assault on Brittany Higgins but did not tell Scott Morrison shows that his ambition to become Prime Minister is alive and well despite having lost the ballot in 2018. Margarett McPherson, The Gap (Qld)

Dutton really needs to look outside his square of excuses for something a little more original than “sensitive operational matter” which bears a remarkable resemblance to his “sensitive on-water matter “excuse. Exactly how will informing the PM compromise the sensitivity or operational status of an alleged rape in one of his minister’s office? Tom Palagyi, Wongawallan (QLD)

Parliament should have had an employee assistance program where counselling can be accessed without a boss. Ministers and PM long knew the work environment was toxic and did nothing; they bear collective responsibility. Ingrid Radford, Waverton

Seems Linda Reynolds is being left out to dry by the PM and his inner circle. No doubt her hospitalisation is a result of the pressure she has been under. Time for all to own up about who knew what about this alleged rape episode and not look for a scapegoat, especially a woman. Denis Suttling, Newport Beach

If this keeps up, Brittany Higgins will be the last one not in a clinic and out of the action. Not surprising; she shows more fortitude than most. Joe Weller, Mittagong

Brave whistleblowers betrayed by the top brass

May I express my absolute outrage and disgust at the army’s plan to sack the whistleblowers who came forward to give evidence to the war crimes investigation (“Army to sack key inquiry witness”, February 25). It just goes to show the moral degeneracy of those people currently in power and working in the so-called toxic “Canberra bubble”. What a statutory lesson for anyone who witnesses or experiences crimes and wrongdoing: don’t under any circumstance come forward to report such conduct as it will be you, not the perpetrators, who will be punished. One can’t even begin to imagine how those courageous soldiers who were game enough to come forward must now feel. Sue Armstrong, Pyrmont

Heritage vandalism

It would seem the Environment Minister Sussan Ley’s rationalisation for not including protection of Indigenous heritage sites in proposed federal government environmental reforms is because there are already “significant protections” under existing state and federal regulations (“Ancient sites put at risk by new laws”, February 25). These supposed protections did nothing to stop the destruction of the 46,000-year-old Juukan site by Rio Tinto. This is nothing short of vandalism. Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield

Olympic cash splash

It is time the IOC had a permanent home for future Olympics, rather that cities’ bid to waste billions of dollars on a two-week sport extravaganza (“IOC officially selects Brisbane as preferred candidate for 2032 Olympic Games”, smh.com.au, February 24). I hope that the Brisbane City Council will tell us how much this overrated sports event will cost and who will be paying the bill. The current Mayor of Brisbane, the Premier and PM will not be around in 2032 and the cost blow out will be left to politicians who haven’t yet been elected, leaving them a poisoned chalice, rather than the IOC picking up the tab. Robert Pallister, Punchbowl

It is welcome news to hear that the city of Brisbane is the forerunner to host the 2032 Olympics.
There are always social benefits to a nation hosting such a pinnacle contest. Anyone who didn’t temporarily escape the Harbour City back in 2000 would recall that there was such a spirit of civility and optimism that existed; citizens were friendlier to each other; there was less road rage and the mass of volunteers were guilty of death by a thousand smiles. The Summer Games is now such a massive logistical and costly exercise, that only a few global cities can sufficiently pull it off and make it memorable. a city such as Brisbane would be a stellar occasion and would tick all the boxes regarding safety, security, staging, supporters, sporting facilities, and most of all, spirit. Peter Waterhouse Craigieburn (VIC)

Healthy choice

Monica Dux may have her own reasons for continuing to use a mask (“Why this antisocial 40-something is happy to keep her mask”, February 25). I have my own rather different ones. Nary a cough, cold, fever nor flu afflicted me or my partner during the entire duration of 2020. Health stats support the view that 2020 experienced one of the lowest records of the common flu. So pandemic or no pandemic, I will desist unnecessary social contact, continue washing my hands after stepping out and keep that mask on whenever I travel on public transport. Dilhara Gonsalkorale, Glebe

Rail fail

The thanks of all rural dwellers are due to Matthew Tierney of Armidale (Letters, February 25). Yesterday I drove from Kentucky, NSW, past Armidale and on to the Queensland border at Wallangarra. The New England Highway, which I used, roughly parallels the old railway line. The infrastructure, still owned by the NSW government, is decrepit and for years has been used by sheep and cattle for grazing, rather than for rail traffic. In contrast, the rail line from Wallangarra to Brisbane is meticulously maintained and used by the Queensland government - that body so maligned by our poor excuse for one. Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky

Foul is fair

Has anyone else noticed the Country Garden parcel of land purchased by the government for Transport NSW is named after Cawdor Castle in Scotland, the setting of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth? Should we be concerned (“How did Daryl know?’: Transport for NSW outrage over leak to disgraced MP”, February 24)? Dennis Dorwick, Mortdale

Makes sense

Charles Purcell argues for a Minister for Loneliness (“Why we need a loneliness minister”, February 25). Can I suggest that we need a Minister for Common Sense first? Keith Masnick, Woollahra

Healthy reading

The answer is yes, if it is accompanied by the Herald (“Is coffee really good for the heart?”, February 25). Mustafa Erem, Terrigal

Tiger untouchable

It is an insult to golf fans globally to compare Tiger Woods to Sam Burgess and Scott Miller (“Woods, Burgess, Miller? My diagnosis – ‘elite athlete syndrome”’, February 25). Tiger is in a global league of his own despite his off-course issues; possibly the greatest golfer ever. Burgess is a one-premiership wonder and Miller a one-medal wonder. I know who I would invite to the dinner table. Mark Purtill, Lane Cove

Breaking bread

All those fresh bread stories remind me of my five-year-old self, filled with derring-do at the sight of a bread cart and horse stopped outside our home (Letters, February 25). I climbed into the cart, applied the reins and went clopping up Haig Street, but to my sheer terror couldn’t make it stop. I’ll never forget my mother’s white face as she raced at a greater pace and stopped it by pulling the reins. The fresh, warm loaf of bread was compensation as everyone was too shocked to scold me as I deserved. Anne Garvan, Chatswood West

Eighty years ago I learned a lesson as I walked past a horse-drawn bread delivery cart. The delivery boy had gone into the shop to make a delivery and the horse waited patiently at the roadside. Without thinking, I made a clicking sound and the horse took my sound as an instruction to start walking. When the delivery boy came out of the shop he saw his cart disappearing in the distance. Alan Parkinson, Weetangera (ACT)

The soft, convex end of a half-loaf of bread was called the “trouser end” because if that half dropped on the ground you could clean it up on your trousers. The concave end did not pick up dirt to the same extent and therefore didn’t need this treatment. According to the kids sitting on the buckboard of the delivery cart “driving” the horse, the baker himself was the main culprit in this regard. Bob Phillips, Cabarita

As children we were sent out to buy a “married loaf”, which we would break in half then run to the horse and give him the middle. Our mother never complained, nor did the bread man or the horse. Barbara Finnerty, Lewisham

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
IOC selects Brisbane as preferred candidate for 2032 Olympic Games
From jrolson: “Who in their right mind is suggesting the Tokyo Olympics experience is indicative for future bids? If the pandemic isn’t under control by 2032 then the world has bigger issues than Olympics. Good for Brisbane - Olympics are a city-changing event and there are tangible long-term benefits for reputation, tourism, immigration, future events hosting, which aren’t borne out in the immediate aftermath of Olympics costing. A well-run Olympics is a good thing for any city, even if there is some bill. Sydney is still shining from the 2000 Olympics.”

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