By Ben Wilson
The Morrison government’s decision to start withdrawing emergency support is a kick in the teeth for those who find themselves out of work because of Covid. Contrast this with the generous loan facility to be set up for mining projects, and protection against loss from real estate promised to banks, and other lending institutions. This comes on top of generous handouts already given to mates.
We are witnessing the rise of class based politics, to a level not seen in a century. And it is the Morrison government that is drawing the line in the sand.
The cut to Covid support is supposed to discourage people from not working. Just like that, the lockdown and staying away from work is blamed on the victims. Morrison and Dutton are really saying, people are staying home because they are lazy.
First, those in payments will have to report to Centrelink every week. This opens the door to ongoing loops and abuse. When 80 percent of those over 16 have been vaccinated, there will be further cuts and nothing after two weeks, except miserable unemployment benefits. The maximum is around $350 per week.
This brings up another matter. Vaccinations have been sold as the holy grail. It isn’t. Vaccinations can help. But overcoming the pandemic involves a multi-faceted approach. This is what the experts are saying. A lot more must be invested in quarantining of infected persons and lifting community participation. The experience has shown that nations taking this approach tend to do better.
The Morrison government’s approach is increasingly cemented into neglect and cutting down costs. It sees that it needs the money to assist its business benefactors.
Only 56 percent of the total population vaccinated is the real target before payments are cut. This leaves plenty unvaccinated to spread the disease. Even those who are vaccinated can be spreaders. They may not have the symptoms but they still can carry the virus.
This is enough to show anyone that vaccination targets are a diversion form what needs to be done.
Enormous pressure is being put on the state to comply, and we are seeing preventive measures being lifted as the toll rises. Taking a leaf form the ultra-right and conspiracy theorists, this is called freedom.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), which represents welfare organisations across the nation, is furious.
“It is unconscionable to use broad vaccination rate data as the mechanism to cut off income support to people without paid work, regardless of whether a lockdown has lifted or what the actual vaccination rates are for a range of at-risk groups,” ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie says.
Economists are warning that the argument that pent up demand built up during the lockdowns will transform into more buying and stimulate the economy, may not work out this way. Some put it harder. Money is not going into the [pockets of those who will spend it on consumption. It is going into the pockets of investors.
If Australia accepts the con, we are in for a bumpy ride, and not a return to the old normal.