Are we becoming accustomed to the Coalition Government's cruelty and dysfunction, propagated by "fake news"? Deputy editor Michelle Pini reports.
IT WAS a passing comment:
“Homeless people don’t want to be housed.”
It is important to note that the person who made this comment is otherwise intelligent, educated and compassionate by nature. The "evidence" for his statement came from watching a current affairs programme in which a couple of homeless people were “interviewed” and said they didn’t wish to be housed.
But there was much more at play behind this comment: the daily discourse, via the government and mainstream media, that provides ongoing "evidence" for his statement.
Have we lost our ability to think analytically? Have we become so complacent that we turn a blind eye to homeless people and blame them for “choosing” homelessness?
Here is only a small sample of the running narrative, currently used to demonise the vulnerable in our society, with which we are bombarded on a daily basis:
- Crackdown looms for welfare "cheats"' '
- 'Melbourne homeless: Half of people sleeping on streets not genuine homeless, says Salvation Army'
- 'Identity cards could curb welfare cheats'
- 'Failure to repeal 18C ignores our right to free speech'
- 'This is defending Australian values': PM unveils citizenship crackdown'
- 'Don Dale Four Corners report "sensationalist, misleading", NT royal commission hears'
- 'Mass immigration is diluting Australia's skills base'
So it is easy, perhaps even natural, to accept such “truths”. "Fake news" is now just news. No, this is not an Orwell script.
Podcast: Keeping calm in the face of the Alt-Right. https://t.co/QJpShA32jK— IndependentAustralia (@independentaus) April 10, 2017
Have we become so greedy that we care only about the increasing value of our own homes and investment properties and have no interest in the ability of our children and grandchildren to put roofs over their heads?
Is the state of our rapidly warming climate and the dystopia that will naturally follow no longer important since it will probably only impact future generations?
And are we now so hard-hearted that people fleeing war-torn countries and certain death are left to rot indefinitely, as we wash our blood stained hands off their fate?
The truthful answer to all the above is, “yes”. How else can we explain allowing such inequality to thrive on our watch?
In a little over three years – during this Coalition Government's reign – we have been complicit in allowing an assault on vulnerable Australians like no other.
There has been a blatant disregard for our youth, who have been hit with penalty rate cuts, proposed further higher education cuts, as well as increased university fees, fewer job opportunities and virtually no chance of buying their own homes, barring the possibility of foregoing any superannuation savings they may be able to accumulate.
And if we are to believe my friend's ludicrous claim above, then we currently have 105,000 people who don't wish to be housed.
At the same time, the Coalition has cut taxes for high-income earners, allowed corporate giants to pay no tax and given our politicians a pay rise, as they continue to ignore corruption within their ranks and rort an already generous parliamentary benefits system.
Our government is targeting the elderly, the sick, the needy — and that’s just its own people. It reserves a special language for people fleeing persecution and misery: they are the ultimate scapegoats, blamed not only for their misfortunes but for ours — and then locked up, possibly forever.
Apparently, we can.
Indeed, we forgot why we no longer wanted Abbott and voted in the same government with a different leader, effectively giving it a "mandate" for more of the same.
Where is the sustained outrage? Why is there so little political backlash for this government?
As a nation we are currently so laid back, so willing to accept nonsense as truth and so easily distracted, we are almost comatose. In this era of fake news – no longer dependent on printing presses – the events and outrages of yesterday are so easily and efficiently erased. This short attention span is a damning indictment on our lack of compassion.
But unless we start to take a look at our own complicity in creating a rapidly growing underclass of disenfranchised and disconnected people, we will look back on this era of history and our failing moral compass with only shame.
We need to hold this government to account today.
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