Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Snapshot of a nation under stress

In snapshot of a nation under stress, Natasha Bita—in Australia's favourite tabloid—devotes one paragraph to the nation's poorest households before spending half the article reporting on the real issue; a well-off family suffering "financial stress". Stephen Parker, with an annual income of about $150,000, is quoted as saying
We're all hooked up to the internet. It used to be a couple of hundred dollars per month for a family, now it's $1000 for telecommunications
WTF! Apart from pissing off 85% of the Australian population, winging about how hard it is to live on $150,000, Mr Parker needs to have a serious look at his internet plan. Even Telstra can offer something better: we have 3 mobile phones + 50 GB cable internet + 1GB mobile data for $115/month.

Natasha should read her fellow columnist Tim Soutphommasane's much more sensible article well-off nation cries poor, and demands that its government help, which was also published this week. As Tim says
It beggars belief, for example, that some newspapers could seriously suggest that times are tough even for households with an annual income of $150,000 (as happened during the coverage of this year's federal budget). To give some sense of the absurdity, even offensiveness, of this claim, consider that the median household income in Australia for 2007-08 was $67,000, less than half of $150,000.
Well Tim, it's happened again—and in your newspaper. Please go and have a quiet chat to Natasha. Tim goes on to say
It isn't a good idea for the state to protect or subsidise lifestyles that are attained by living beyond one's means. To do so would corrupt the proper role of the state, which is to guarantee equal opportunity, provide certain public goods, and offer assistance in time of genuine hardship. Governments shouldn't be beholden to the demands of the profligate.
Hear, hear

1 comment:

  1. Come on Paul! Are you trying to take away the God-given right of the well-off to whinge and moan about how tough things are?

    Just remember, that unless we look after these people, they will leave the country for one with more friendly policies - like Ireland.

    Or rather, mores the pity, they'll threaten to leave, but not follow through...