Depending on government

Temujin at the ALS Blog makes an interesting observation:

In the early 1960s, 3% of Australians relied on the government for most of their income. By 1980 that had increased to 14%. And now, despite a decade of strong economic growth and increased employment opportunities, 17.5% of Australians rely on the government for most their income — including 5% of Australians who are apparently disabled and 5% who are carers (mostly single parents).

It is easy to sympathise with the social-democratic desire to protect the most vulnerable. But does anyone really believe that nearly one in five of Australians are vulnerable and can’t look after themselves? That is about 4 million people!


#1 Eudaemonion on 07.31.08 at 1:05 am

Amir, think of all those poor Public Servants who would be out of a jobs.

#2 Ozymandias on 07.31.08 at 1:24 pm

Changing demographics -lots more oldies, living lots longer than they did in the 60s (about 15 years more, on average). Many categories of welfare that exist now were not recognised then. Disability pensions were almost unheard of, especially for ‘mild’ forms of mental illness such as depression. 17.5 % isn’t that high, when you break it down.

#3 Temujin on 08.02.08 at 12:43 am

If one in five Australians can’t look after themselves then our country has a serious problem. We are running out of responsible humans and fast filling up with irresponsible overgrown children.

We’re richer than we ever have been. A country full of adults should be *more* able to look after themselves.

#4 antish on 08.10.08 at 7:25 pm

I certainly believe that the numbers (if in fact they are correct – I doubt it) are real – every single government I can ever remember has fought hard to make it more difficult to get benefits. The notion of the “dole bludger” is even more corrupt than the notion of the “un-Australian immigrant”.

Yep, we are rich – so we can afford to help people. People on very low incomes (dunno what the official poverty line is, but the dole would have to be below it) do it very tough.

There’s nothing inherently good about being in work – statistically it does have benefits for mental and physical health compared with not working, but that’s a product of a consumerist society not geared towards non-material happiness, IMHO.

I personally find stints on the dole to be difficult materially (I inevitably end up in deep debt) but spritually rewarding. Maybe you should try it some time.

#5 Eudaemonion on 08.13.08 at 7:54 pm

Stints on the dole, Antish? A lot of things make sense now.

#6 antish on 08.14.08 at 1:01 am

You’ve never taken time out? A lot of things make sense now.

Let’s avoid gratuitous insults, shall we?

#7 G-man on 08.14.08 at 1:11 pm

I can’t say I approve of people taking a holiday on my taxes. If one wants “time out”, one should save up and pay for the privilege and not expect the rest of us to pick up the tab. I’m surprised Antish. What’s the difference between that and expecting taxpayers to pick up the tab for a few extra wives?

#8 antish on 08.15.08 at 1:03 am

If you are in the habit of saving up and travelling for long periods it can take quite a while to get a job when you return home. That and one or two redundancies have been the causes of my stints on the dole.

However, as a taxpayer myself, I have no objection at all to subsidising people doing interesting things on the dole. I agree that intergenerational unemployment is a bad thing, and I agree that everyone who wants a job should be able to have one (but don’t feed the “there are plenty of jobs, there’s a skills shortage” rubbish – I don’t know what it’s like in the capital cities, but here in the bush there are bugger-all jobs).

If someone decides that they would prefer to stay at home and go into debt for a while rather than work as a call-centre slave or a McDonalds drone, I’m happy to support them.

I suspect it’s just terminology that bothers people who despise “dole bludgers”. If the dole regarded a short-term and extremely meagre arts grant (or physical fitness grant or a daydreaming grant or listening to Pink Floyd stoned grant) with a bit of paperwork we would be congratulating ourselves on our enlightened society.

#9 Eudaemonion on 08.16.08 at 2:03 am

Its amusing that you equate taking time out to having ’stints’ on the dole, Antish, gratuitous insult or no.

#10 antish on 08.16.08 at 12:49 pm

Why amusing? As I said, if the paperwork associated with getting and keeping the dole was changed to paperwork headed “Aussie Healthy Mind, Healthy Body Grant Application” or even “Australian National Service – Recuperation Period Application” there would be no talk about dole bludgers.

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