The “Victim” Mentality

Why do those who knowingly flout the rules try to present themselves as victims when they don’t get their way? It goes hand in hand with entitlement, I think, and I am so over them.

Right now there is a stoush in progress in a Sydney apartment block, where a woman opted to move in with her dog despite the building having a strict “No Pets” rule in place, something which is fairly common in apartment buildings. But the woman moved in anyway and is now fighting for her right to keep her dog.

Now, being an animal-loving type myself, I can’t help but wonder why she would opt for a living space which bans pets? Common sense would  dictate that if you have a pet and you are looking for a place of your own, you would look for one that is pet friendly. That would rule out most apartment blocks. But no, this silly woman moved in with her dog and now is acting put upon because the building management is insisting her dog has to go.

The predicament she has found herself in is all of her own making but that is at the root of the problem with inflated entitlement; these types refuse to accept the rules apply to them too and when they meet an opposing force, they go into shock, and then claim they are being “victimised”.

Well, they aren’t.

This woman reminds me of those who buy into a property in very close proximity to a popular venue, like a pub or club, that has been there far longer than the unit block next door, let alone the new resident who moves in, gets settled and then begins actively complaining about the noise. But complain they do. They want the venue to close, or at least to cut its opening hours and shut down it’s rooftop beer garden (or whatever) because it is disturbing the resident. Really? But if you want peace and quiet you don’t buy a unit next door to a popular pub or club that attracts a lot of patrons and stays open late.  So why do these people buy there?

I remember the carry-on with the prominent Sydney family who decided they didn’t like hearing the noise coming from the iconic harbourside venue, Luna Park, and wanted the council to impose all kinds of noise bans. Like, it’s an amusement park. Because of who they were, they did manage to cause some grief, but it was wrong. Once again, don’t want to hear the general public enjoying themselves? Then don’t opt to live close to an amusement park where you’re bound to hear them enjoying themselves at the top of their lungs!!

But this is the thing; there are people out there who do not accept the rules that apply to the rest of us also apply to them. I don’t know why they feel they are above the various laws, but suspect it has a lot to do with how they were brought up. Waaay too much “positive reinforcement” and never hearing the word “No”. Children brought up in this kind of environment become “entitled” very early  in life and they never grow out of it. But they do grow into petulant adults who cry bullying and victimhood the moment their desires are stymied by an individual or group who informs them that the rules/conditions which apply to everyone else, actually do apply to them. They are not exempt and in this case, if none of the other residents can keep a pet, then neither can the woman who figured the no pet rule didn’t apply to her and her dog. It did, and it was entirely irresponsible of her, as a pet owner, to place her dog in a position where it may have to be re-homed should she lose her legal battle to keep it there. Unless she opts to move to somewhere where she can keep a pet, which is what she should have done in the first place. It’s what the rest of us  would have done.

This woman is not a victim. Overly entitled, yes, but definitely not a victim.

Remember That Rainy Day…?

One of the pitfalls of the isolation thingy is the “What day is it?” thingy. Just realised yesterday was Friday (sorry…)


Remember that proverbial rainy day? The one which people used to put aside for, just in case? Okay, well it’s here now, and a lot of people have been caught short because not only did they not think to put something aside, or just didn’t bother, but may have even been lulled into the false assumption that a rainy day just wasn’t on their horizon.

But it so is. That is the nature of rainy days and right now it’s bucketing down and a lot of people have been caught without an umbrella.

Sure, no one saw COVID-19 coming, but some have been caught so short it will take years for them to recover, assuming they ever do, and I am beginning to hear the word “victim” popping up more and more in news reports and talkback programs, and I am not necessarily talking about those who contracted coronavirus.  Mostly it financial victims but the word is being bandied around all over the place and I am beginning to suspect there will be “victims” popping up who really aren’t, except maybe in their own minds. Only some of them will be genuine.

The financial victims will be those small business owners who have had to shut down their only source of income indefinitely, the people who lost their jobs because their workplace had to either cut staff and hours, or close their doors altogether, those low income earners/welfare recipients who live hand to mouth because they just don’t have enough left over after paying for food and other necessities to put anything aside, and those who, for some reason, don’t qualify for government support. Most people have rent or mortgages, and the stress levels among them trying to meet those obligations is rising.

My sympathies are with those now having to deal with being in that position, but tends to peter out a bit regarding those who have over-extended themselves to live in an upwardly-mobile bubble. They took on a mortgage for a nice house with a sought-after address they couldn’t really afford but would sort of scrape by so long as nothing went wrong. Went further into debt for brand new cars and other accessories, and life has revolved around their credit cards for so long they have forgotten what making do with what they have actually means. Others opted for a pricy rental  in an expensive area that realistically was beyond their means but fed their aspirations. They could also scrape by (just) on a wing and prayer so long as nothing went wrong. Well yes, they lived precariously on credit card debt too and perhaps stuck their fingers in their ears while going “lalalalala” whenever the inkling of a rainy day entered their heads (mustn’t think about that). But then something did go wrong. Very badly horribly wrong, and it all came crashing down. I don’t deny for a moment these people are dealing with genuine through-the-ceiling stress levels right now, but I’m not sure they are victims of the current situation because I think financial catastrophe was on the cards for them anyway, coronavirus or no.

Genuine victims here though, are  those in countries where the poorest of their populations have had to leave their villages and go out into fields or hills and in some cases, even up into the trees, in order to self isolate because staying at home in a one-room abode shared with a lot of other people was not really an option. They are existing without facilities, with minimal food, water and shelter and near to no medical assistance should they become ill. These people have had their entire lives made much worse by this pandemic. Those I am less inclined to see as victims however, are people who are safely ensconced in spacious homes with all the comforts, oodles of money in the bank, swimming pools, gadgetry, televisions, plenty of food and clean water, supermarkets and basically everything they could possibly need to keep themselves entertained. Yet oddly (well, maybe not) these are the ones bemoaning their current stay-at-home situation. They can’t go out for coffee, they can’t go to the beach, they can’t pop around to friends’ places for drinks etc. These are the ones feeling “victimised” by coronavirus. Barely a peep from those people experiencing genuine hardship and/or social isolation and loneliness, just a lot of noise from Instagrammers, celebrities, wannabes and those so accustomed to having the lifestyle they want handed to them on a platter that they cannot deal with the sudden restrictions to their vacuous existence. Unsurprisingly, they are often the ones found flouting the social distancing directives as well.

But are they victims? No. There are a lot of victims out there but it’s not these guys.

Anyway, this is the rainy day that was always on the cards and with luck, we have all learned something from it. Hopefully the lesson has been to make preparations for the next one in case it comes down in cats and dogs like it has this time, and to get a handle on who classifies as a victim and who just doesn’t fit the bill, because I’m starting to see a lot of “victims” emerging who aren’t. Perhaps we might learn that we don’t have to have the best of everything like, right now. Previous generations worked and saved for those things and were prepared to wait until they could afford them. Start a mortgage on a starter house and move up from there. A reliable secondhand car will do you just fine until you can afford that shiny new wiz-bang model. If you’re any kind of celebrity, you should have at least a couple of million still sitting in your bank account so shut up, you are not in financial dire straits and if you have a home, a supermarket, a phone and social media, you are not really doing it hard at all, hence you are not a victim.

But as for the rest of us? Just organise that umbrella, okay?

Okay, what next…?

Firstly, apologies for posting a day late. My signal dropped out yesterday which meant I couldn’t access my site, hence no blog post… Thankfully, it’s all systems back on today!

So what’s going to hit us next? I’m not usually  prone to pessimistic thoughts but right now I can help thinking about how things tend come in threes, so at this moment I’m wondering what is going to come on in and hit us in the face once COVID-19 has passed and we begin getting back on our feet again.  So far, here in Australia, we’ve had the Summer bushfire season and this year it was a lulu, and we were only just beginning to pick up the pieces and get things back to a semblance of normality when the Coronavirus hit. It hit so soon after the fires that we hadn’t really had much of a chance to catch our breath. And now people are breathing through masks and mostly staying inside again. Just like we did with all the smoke and flames and ash. So is it any wonder that I’m wondering what might come next?

1. Fires. 2. Coronavirus. 3. ???

I suppose I could speculate until the cows come home on what a third disaster could be, assuming there is a third, but I can’t completely dispel the thought that Number 3 in on the national/global horizon, and if it is…? Right now every nation on the planet is vulnerable because of the impact of COVID-19. So, what if there was a country out there, for instance, that wished to get the global upper hand? Now would be a smart time to do it because their target would be preoccupied with dealing with the pandemic, wouldn’t see the conflict coming and would probably be shocked to the back teeth by a direct threat or act of aggression and would probably be slower than usual to mobilise a defence. Their allies would be in the same boat, which would give the aggressor a head start in getting a foothold. That’s a worrying thought. So, is there a power out there looking to up their status to Superpower? If there is, it would mean a war and it would probably be a biggie. Could that be Number 3? I sincerely hope not.

Or is it a string of major natural disasters? No, I am not sitting here getting all fatalistic and conjuring up nightmare scenarios, I am just thinking about that Number 3 because I can’t dislodge the thought that it’s out there, somewhere around the corner just waiting to happen.

A major war would be really horrific. A major natural disaster or three would be really horrific too. I mean, we are still recovering from the raging inferno that dominated our entire Summer. The whole world has been shut down by the Coronavirus. Global economies have plunged and job losses worldwide are at an all-time high. This is scary stuff! Is it any wonder I’m feeling a bit shaky (and I am not one who is normally prone to thoughts of doom and gloom, I swear) about the immediate future? I’m fairly sure I’m not the only one either.

But there it is. If I saw the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trotting down my road tomorrow I’d probably think “Yep, told ya!” and that is so not normally me. So it’s a bit disconcerting for me to be unable to shake the thought that the fires and the Coronavirus are just the start. Perhaps the Age of Pisces is going out with a bang! There is some speculation as to when this age ends and the Age of Aquarius begins (some say it has already begun, except that world events appear to indicate otherwise, while others speculate a time well into the future) but the most reliable source I have found is saying the southern hemisphere Summer Solstice, December 22/23, is the date when we enter the Age of Aquarius, a golden age of peace, spiritual growth and enlightenment (if the tales are correct) that will last for around 2500 years, the average length of an astrological age. I hope this is right, and the world survives to welcome it.

And with luck, that we will too.



When Stay Means Stay!

With COVID-19 busy doing the rounds across the globe, most countries have sensibly gone into total lockdown in an effort to slow the spread of the disease, and their inhabitants are sensibly following the directives. That’s good. Smart people.

What’s not good (and just plain stupid) is what’s happening here in Australia. The word has been out for weeks now; stay home, stay indoors and if you do have to go anywhere, make sure it is only a quick trip to pick up food and other essential supplies and maintain a safe distance from others. Pretty simple really, so why are so many Australians indifferent to what is happening right in front of them? The footage on the nightly news  of vacuous people, wandering around in groups and generally enjoying a day out on the town has me spouting profanity that I didn’t even know I knew. I’m talking a lot of people here (and a lot of profanity!)

Staying home means exactly that. It does not mean meeting up with your friends for coffee and huddling up for a get-together. It does not mean going off for a day at the beach or the park or to go wandering around whatever shops are open and generally socialising and having a good time. It does not mean that at all. It also does not mean holding a barbecue in the backyard and inviting all your friends and neighbours to drop in. It actually means Stay Home! Just you and your family, in your own home with no visitors, no matter who they are. Now how hard can that be? But there are still hordes of people out there thinking the directive does not apply to them, hence the vast numbers blatantly ignoring what they have been told. In the cities, scores of people are out having a stroll and doing it in total disregard of the “social distancing” we have all been asked to adopt.

Seriously? What is wrong with people? Why is Stay Home, Stay In, and Stay Away From Each Other not clicking?

To be fair, many of us are doing the right thing, but the number who are completely ignoring the steps that have been put in place to try and stem the spread of this disease is just deplorable!

Ditto with the hoarding. This began with the bushfire crisis here and has now flowed into the Coronavirus crisis. Time and time again people have been told that buying up more than they need is not necessary. Doing so is just creating shortages that don’t have to happen, which makes it incredibly hard for the rest of the population to buy what they need. But this is another directive that is not getting through some thick skulls out there and so shortages in food, toilet paper and other essentials continue to plague us. When will that message get through that there really is enough for everyone if the selfish and greedy few would just back off and let the rest of us buy what we need.

I think the problem here is that up until now, current generations of Australians have not had to contend with something like this. Yes, there were shortages and food coupons around the time of the  First and Second World Wars, and there was the Spanish Flu epidemic, but the current generations were not alive when these events happened and so they aren’t really taking this seriously. I was not alive then either but I can at least see the logic behind the steps being implemented to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Surely people must be able to see the logic in following the plan? Well no, many here still appear to be ignorant of the threat, despite all the warnings. They are still hanging out at beaches, shopping centres, parks and each other’s homes. So what does it take to make the danger we are in hit home to these people? Have they convinced themselves that it won’t happen to them? I’m guessing it will take contracting the disease and ending up in hospital, as sick as, staring mortality in the face!

It has also come to light that those who have managed to return from overseas and tested positive, along with those who have just contracted it anyway, are ignoring the self isolation conditions. Police checking up on them, following information that they are going out into the community, are finding that yes, they are not at home. Self isolation would have been very precisely explained to them, so they cannot claim ignorance about the conditions, yet they are going out. Hefty fines are in place now, so we may see a bit less of that. But how many have they infected?

No one’s exaggerating here. COVID-19 is a very dangerous disease. It has shut down countries world wide. If infected, you are a danger to your community. You, and those you infect when you ignore the rules, could end up dying from it. It is a global pandemic.

And it can so easily happen to you.

The Churches of Cash

L Ron Hubbard, the founder of the Church of Scientology, is rumoured to have said “If you want to get truly rich, start a religion” or words to that effect. Well, old L Ron wasn’t wrong if the billions raked in by his “church” is anything to go by. Personally, I believe, as do a few others, that Scientology was actually a concept for his next piece of science fiction (he wrote several sci fi stories) and he launched it as a form of research, just to see what would happen.

Others have done the same, started a cult, called it a religion, and the founders accumulated incredible tax-free wealth via the donations of the followers they attracted, brainwashed and who continued to work themselves ragged on behalf of the cult leaders. The Moonies, Rajneesh and a host of others all did it and the chief gurus (and their under-gurus – one level down from the top bloke) did very well off the money and adoration of those who gave up everything in the pursuit of “spiritual salvation”. But only achievable if they paid up first in cold hard cash.

And now we have Hillsong. Hillsong began as a small Pentecostal church in suburban Sydney in the 1980s but today is worth a staggering (tax free, because it calls itself a church) $103.4 million, annually. Like all the other money-focused cult-corporations, it has focused relentlessly on attracting wealthy celebrities as well as high end corporate types with serious money, to join the “church” and fund the luxurious lifestyles of it’s founders and their immediate underlings. Sounds familiar. doesn’t it? Yes, it does.

Hillsong now has 37 locations around Australia as well as 91 internationally and the money is rolling in for founders, Bobbie and Brian Houston, and donations are big business. The organisation plays on people’s faith, and members are encouraged to pay up, on top of the tithe, in order to (hopefully) gain favour with God, and are openly encouraged to make big donations, which apparently will grant them the “honour” of being able to “resource God’s House”.  Unfortunately, people caught up in the organisation’s hype are encouraged to believe that the greater the donation they make, the closer they will get to God’s “favour”. Is this the Hillsong version of “buying one’s way into Heaven”?

Seriously, this is a highly money-focused organisation with a hard-core approach to recruitment tactics and with equally hard-core methods employed to coerce it’s congregations to hand over money. Big money. What it isn’t is a religion.

Yet it has managed to attract huge numbers of people through its doors and they have all become mesmerised by the the noise, the light shows and the hype. Oh, and the promise of special access to God on the proviso they make large donations to the “church”. No wonder it strives to attract the influential and the wealthy.

But if you look at the overall Christian texts, Jesus was a humble carpenter who spent His time with humble people. He was not impressed by money apparently, had a low tolerance for materialism and money grubbing in general, and according to the texts, implied that no one could buy their way into the Kingdom of Heaven. Money was irrelevant to Him because He was all about helping the poor and the afflicted, and encouraged people to develop spiritual growth and lead good and honest lives. Well that sounds more genuine and something a genuine religious leader would say.  There is nothing in any of those writings that implied He recruited His apostles to hit on his followers for as much money as they could get out of them so that he, and his chosen twelve, could live in wealth and luxury. You just couldn’t buy favour with this man!

Which makes me wonder where Hillsong got the idea to imply to their followers that they could buy “greater favour” with God by paying out a lot of money to the “church” (the Houston’s really) and, if their followers really knew anything about the Deity they claim to be worshipping, why haven’t they seen the contradiction? Like, it’s staring them in the face! I’m guessing it’s either because they  have never read a Bible, or more likely, they have been brainwashed into believing the hype. I’m leaning towards the latter.

Because that’s how organised cults operate.





Town-hoppers Hog Supplies

Could those doing the town-hopping thing be seen as akin to looters?

I think so, despite paying for what they are taking, because they are flocking to smaller towns and villages, from further afield, and buying up everything they can get their hands on in the wake of the Coronavirus scare, and that is really unfair. It is also very wrong.

We already know about the toilet paper nonsense, it’s happening here just like everywhere else, and many of the people stripping supplies from my local supermarket have come from Sydney and surrounds and for some reason believe they are justified in coming to our small village and emptying the supermarket shelves, at which point some may then go home. But many will opt to stay on, thinking they will be safer from the virus here.

Except we don’t want them here.

Many locals are now being confronted with depleted shelves, every day, and apparently it is because those who have turned up from outside of the area are waiting at the supermarkets at 7am for the doors to open, and then stripping whatever has been delivered the evening before, leaving little, if anything, left for the local population. They are doing this every day! We haven’t seen toilet paper here for weeks. Yes, it has been coming in overnight but is all bought out in about twenty minutes, because people who have travelled into the village are stocking up here before they leave to go home, but many are making no move to leave just yet, but continue to shop up a storm.

But just how much toilet paper, rice, pasta and other non-perishable food items do they need? And how about the local population who don’t need these grasping out-of-town travellers here in the first place? Why do these people believe they are more entitled to the local supermarket’s stock than the people who actually live here? It’s disgraceful!

But it’s not just here. This is the story in small towns and villages up and down the coast as well as inland. They have been invaded by city people wanting to stock up on far more supplies than they need and then decide to sit the virus out in the regional area they are depleting. If they weren’t behaving so selfishly, they may be welcome, but they come, they strip our resources and stubbornly refuse to move on. Those that have gone home have done so with their vehicles loaded to bursting point with what they have stripped from local outlets, leaving local populations struggling just to get the basics. It is incredibly selfish.

I can see riots happening in the near future over this. We have already seen altercations in supermarkets between shoppers with loaded trolleys, determined not to allow a single packet of toilet paper go to someone else, and getting violent over it. It is going to happen over food lines and inevitably, those with the fullest trolleys are often the perpetrators because they refuse to acknowledge that others also have a right to buy. Honestly, there is enough for everyone. Supermarkets in Australia are not threatening closures and product lines are in good supply, so there is absolutely no need to go on a rampage through the aisles or to be lashing out at others just trying to do their normal food shop. There shouldn’t be shortages, and there wouldn’t be if the panic buyers would just stop, so we could all get what we need and be done with it. Simple! But they won’t stop. Honestly, the town-hoppers really need to pack up and head back home.

Seriously, JUST GO HOME!

Drug Cheats Don’t Play Fair

Chinese swimmer, Sun Yang, is probably biting his nails down to the quick this week as he awaits the verdict on his appeal, held in Switzerland in November last year which, following another delay, is set to deliver its verdict on March 3.

The appeal came about because the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to lodge it with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following Sun Yang being cleared by swimming’s international federation on a technicality, despite Sun Yang admitting he had destroyed his own blood sample at an out-of-competition drug test at his home in China in 2018. Normally, such an action by a sportsperson would result in a lengthy, automatic ban on competition.

The verdict has been delayed over issues arising from the unreliable interpreter provided by Sun Yang’s legal representatives and the call for the transcripts of the translation, which apparently included some confusing testimony by Sun Yang, was agreed to by lawyers from both sides of the argument. Richard Young, WADA’s lead attorney, described the testimony as “monumentally evasive”. Personally, I believe the deliberately destroyed blood sample should have sealed the Chinese swimmer’s fate right there and then (why destroy his own sample if it was clean?) and would be interested to know just what the “technicality” was that cleared him and allowed him to continue competing. But the evasive testimony is ringing alarm bells. People with nothing to hide don’t give evasive testimony. Or throw temper tantrums when someone questions their place in international sporting events.

Thing is, despite his golden boy status in China, this is his second doping offence and if the CAS verdict goes against him it will herald the end of his swimming career, as he will be looking at an eight-year ban, and eight years on the sidelines is something he is unlikely to be able to come back from. Plus he will be stripped of any prizemoney and medals he has won after September 18. If that happens, Australian swimmer, Mack Horton, will be moved up to the title of World Champion, as he had come in second to Sun Yang in the 2019 titles in South Korea.

Which means Mack Horton will be vindicated.  The bad blood between the two athletes erupted four years ago at the Rio  Olympics when Horton called Sun out as a drug cheat prior to their clash in the 400 metre Freestyle event. Horton won. Then came the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, where Horton objected to Sun being allowed to compete. Horton came in second and then refused to take the podium with Sun for the medals ceremony as a protest to Sun being allowed into the Championships.

Horton has a spotless record as a clean athlete, which is a good thing, seeing as he is such a gifted swimmer (and one of ours). His protest against Sun Yang cost him a lucrative potential sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola and subjected him, his family and girlfriend to abuse from Sun Yang’s supporters.  Any businesses, institutions or sponsors associated with him copped the flack.

But the real kicker has come from his school, Caulfield Grammar in Melbourne.  A former graduate, Mack Horton is the school’s first Olympic champion and the plan was to name the school’s new $25 million aquatic centre after him, but following the fall-out after his protest in Korea against Sun Yang, who remains one of China’s most celebrated athletes despite the drug offences, the school has done a backflip. This is really wrong.

Caulfield Grammar is heavily dependent on keeping up good relations with China. It has a campus in Mainland China and sends groups of its Year 9 students to its Nanjing boarding facility to participate in five-week language and immersion programmes. Chinese children make up a large number of the student body at the school’s secondary campus in Wheelers Hill, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Former federal government minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, who was part of the team that worked  to secure a free trade agreement with China, joined the school’s council in December.  Well, that’s interesting. But that the school would choose to placate China, over their former graduate, doesn’t go down well with me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one having an issue with it.

Anyway, the verdict on Sun’s appeal is due to come out next week and I think Mack Horton is as keen to hear it as Sun Yang, but for very different reasons. Horton’s protest was as genuine as it was justified. Sun Yang is a drug cheat.  But if the verdict goes against Sun, will the school change it’s mind, again, about naming that pool? And will Mack Horton accept the “honour” if it does? I won’t blame him if he doesn’t.

He’s deserves better than that.





The Greed behind Indue

So what is Indue? Indue Pty Ltd is the corporation that has been awarded the contract to manage the Cashless Welfare Card programme, and it’s underlying systems, that is guaranteed to make welfare recipients lives much harder while bringing in a lot of revenue for the people who own it. This is because Indue will earn $7000 to $12,000 (this figure varies according to differing reports) per person placed onto the cashless welfare card, so it stands to reason whoever owns that corporation is going to do very well out of the  government coffers.

Okay then, so who are these wealthy, soon-to-get-even-wealthier, corporate owners who are as keen as mustard to get the cashless welfare programme rolled out nationally? Well, they are members of the Liberal and National Party and Indue Pty Ltd donates to various Liberal and National Party  (LNP) branches around Australia. So there you have it.

No wonder Scott Morrison is so determined to foist the controversial and unwelcome cashless card on unwilling welfare recipients, at a cost greater than what it would be to just increase the Newstart Allowance (the payment mostly in the firing line here). Many in parliament have been pushing for Newstart to be increased to a liveable amount but Scott Morrison refuses to sign off on it. And why is he trying to get the legislation passed that will not only extend the trial period of the card in selected areas to 30 June 2021 (it  is currently scheduled to finish on the same date this year)? Because it will also open the door to expanding the card’s use to welfare recipients nationally. So now you know why.

One of the main beneficiaries though will be Larry Anthony, former member of the Australian House of Representatives and current President of the National Party. He was also the former Chairman of Indue Pty Ltd and keeps his shares in Indue in his corporate family trust, Illalangi Pty Ltd. Other companies owned by Larry Anthony, and/or by the corporate trustee of his family trust (Illalangi) operate under sub contracts for Indue, generating their profits via dealings with Indue via Indue’s contracts with the LNP Government. The corporations are SAS Consulting Group Pty Ltd (a political lobbying group of which Indue is a client) and Unidap Solutions Pty Ltd (a digital IT services corporation that provides Indue, as well as the LNP Government with a number of IT services).

That’s quite a network of corporations and trusts, and is also a fairly standard practice among those wanting to muddy the waters around their connection to a particular enterprise, especially when they want to hide just how closely they are involved. Even more especially when they stand to profit so nicely. Thing is, Larry Anthony will continue to score from Government contracts with Indue, despite no longer being Chairman, because he still shares in the profits it earns, plus the profits from SAS and Unidap, via their connections with Indue. The cashless welfare card system will be a nice little earner for him.  And for LNP members and supporters who will benefit from the government money initially earmarked to assist those in need.

Is it any wonder then that the LNP is so determined to push the legislation that would not only see the cashless welfare card trials extended, but expanded nationally? The cost per person forced to use the card will go straight into Indue’s coffers and where, from there, find it’s way back to members of the LNP Government. What these public funds won’t do is benefit those who really need them because they will never see a cent of it. And this is the Morrison Government’s preferred alternative to increasing the Newstart Allowance, which would have allowed those having to rely on it to be able to survive a little easier.

Incidentally, Indue is not a member of the Australian Banking Corporation so it is not bound by the consumer protection provisions of its Banking Code of Practice. Indue also stands to profit from the cashless card system and their involvement will help to create a two-tiered banking system in which most people will have a choice of financial providers. Those on the card, however, will be restricted to just one.

One of the biggest issues, aside from being forced onto the card, is that people wishing to get off it will find it close to impossible to do so. There is an exemption form, but it is six pages long, disturbingly invasive, and based on the type of questions the applicant is asked, no one would qualify as exempt. A person has to “prove” reasonable and responsible management of their affairs, including their financial affairs but “proving” them will be beyond reach. Stands to reason when, the more people confined to the card, the more fees will be generated for the personal gain of Larry Anthony and the LNP.

A cashless card system has been trialled before, in the form of the Basics Card, which was introduced in 2007 as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (made possible by suspending the Racial Discrimination Act) but was shown to have a negative impact on the families involved because it severely disrupted household finances, caused a lot of confusion about how to access the funds, and had a detrimental affect on the children of those families via a drop in birth weights, school attendance and general wellbeing. The Cashless Welfare Card, which is just another form of the Basics Card, is bound to show the same results.  As mentioned in a previous post, the cashless card will have 80% of the recipient’s benefit put onto the card, with only 20% made available in cash, but mining billionaire, Andrew Forrest, wants that changed to 100%. Where does this man even come into it? How difficult does he want people’s lives to be? And how dare he, with all his billions, suggest inflicting something like that on people down on their luck! As recipients cannot withdraw cash with the card, how would they, if 100% of the benefit goes on the card, be able to put petrol in their car, or pay a public transport fare? Buy a newspaper or a cup of coffee? Pharmacy items? So few places accept the card as it is, so how on earth are people supposed to manage without any access to cash whatsoever? How are they supposed to live?

But the Larry Anthonys and Andrew Forrests of the world don’t stop to consider things like that. They are only interested in the profits coming their way, with no thought whatsoever to the hardship they are going to inflict on those so much less fortunate.

And that is just plain greed.


Beware the Cashless Welfare Card

I really believe Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a very low opinion of welfare recipients, which is why he seems to go out of his way to do things to them to make their lives even harder than they currently are.

Sure, I would agree there are some recipients out there who have chosen welfare as a lifestyle and yes, they are enough to give anyone the pip, but I’m not talking about them right now. I’m talking about those on welfare because, through no fault of their own, they have found themselves either out of a job or at retirement age and no longer able to take retirement because the Morrison Government has decided they should continue to work instead. We are talking people in their fifties and sixties here.

But the big problem with insisting older Australians reapply for work is that no employer will consider a sixty-plus year old applicant for a position. Even fifty-plus is pushing it, because employers want much younger staff so an older applicant just isn’t going to cut it. And so they have found themselves unceremoniously put onto the vastly inadequate Newstart Allowance. Vastly inadequate because it has not increased in twenty-something years, despite the cost of living going up and up. Which is why there has been a push from several ministers to have Newstart increased to allow those forced to try and live on it to at least be able to afford to live, but Scott Morrison has refused to consider any increase. Because he has been pushing another agenda he likes better.

The Cashless Welfare Card.

This card has been trialled in selected regions since 2016, with the trial due to end on 30 June 2020, but the government wants to extend the trial period for a further 12 months, which will see it continuing to operate until 30 June 2021. I think this is really just the first step in making it a permanent fixture, but it doesn’t end there. The Coalition wants to roll the card out nationally, but the plans to expand it have hit a stumbling block via key crossbenchers who have stated they intend to refuse to support the legislation until they have completed a comprehensive “fact-finding mission” on the pros and cons of the card. The Labor party have also said they will oppose the move unless the card is voluntary.

So how does a cashless welfare card operate? Well, it doesn’t work in favour of the recipient, which is why it is generating so much flack in government circles. Essentially, what it does is quarantine welfare payments. The majority of the payment goes onto the card, not into the recipient’s bank account. It cannot be used to purchase alcohol, tobacco or gambling products. The recipient cannot withdraw cash from it. It also does not allow online purchases and can cause other disadvantages as the card is not accepted everywhere. Guaranteed there will be glitches with it which may leave welfare recipients who are forced to use it, unable to do so. There have already been cases where the card has been refused at various outlets and the financial authority, Indue, will not allow the release of funds for essential things like car repairs and other living expenses. It has far more negatives than positives and will make life even harder for those struggling to get by on an inadequate welfare payment.

Under the current cashless debit card scheme, 80 percent of the recipient’s welfare payment is quarantined to a bank card with restrictions on how it can be spent. The new legislation though, would be expanded to allow a restriction of 100 percent of the payment in some circumstances. But who would decide which circumstances? The Morrison Government wants to impose these new controls on Social Security payments and has reinstated calls for a national expansion of the card and Social Services Minister, Anne Rushton, is supporting having it rolled out nationally as a “financial literacy tool” (whatever that is) as she claims there is “absolutely” a case to support introducing cashless welfare in  major cities nationally.

While initially focused on the cashless card as a policy to reduce “welfare-fuelled alcohol, gambling and drug misuse” the government is now arguing the card is also a “broad financial and budgeting tool” but welfare groups strongly disagree on the grounds that it is “discriminatory and not backed by solid evidence”.

Thing is, it will cost far more to implement the card than it would to adequately increase the Newstart Allowance to a liveable amount, and the Australian Council of Social Services describes the expansion as a “shameless attempt” to distract from mounting support to increase the Newstart Allowance, one in four recipients of which are people aged over fifty-five, thanks to the government raising the retirement age. Those who are not self-funded retirees have to work longer now before they can claim the Age Pension, and if they cannot find work, the are forced to do fifteen hours of “voluntary” work per week in order to received their Newstart Allowance, which is disgusting.

Meanwhile, the Social Services Minister, Anne Rushton, is praising the card’s benefits as part of what the government is hoping will be a national roll-out, with the Morrison Government claiming the card will “help welfare recipients manage their money” with Morrison adding it is just part of his “compassionate conservative” welfare agenda…that also includes trialling drug-testing of those receiving welfare payments. How stupid does he think people are, that they will not see it for what it really is? It’s all about unnecessary and uncalled for control, and a blatant attack on the basic human rights of those on welfare to manage their own lives. Australian Council of Social Services CEO, Cassandra Goldie, has slammed the card and the Morrison Government’s murky reasons for wanting it expanded further “People on Social Security know better than most about budgeting” Ms Goldie said  “so they don’t need the Federal Government to ‘teach them’ how to do it.”

I’m with Ms Goldie on that.


Climate Disaster..?

I saw a headline, possibly on social media I think, proclaiming the world needs to prepare now for climate refugees. Seriously? Well apparently so. I think the UN was mentioned somewhere in the headline too, but to be honest, I didn’t read the article, however I do believe it was prompted by the bushfire emergency that has ripped through much of Australia this summer.

But to have climate refugees, there has to be a climate emergency, and that’s not what happened here in Australia. Aside from those few fires ignited by lightning strikes, the rest of them (around 80 percent) were deliberately lit. So it wasn’t a climate disaster at all, it was an arson disaster and needs to be treated as a major criminal offence if/when the arsonists are caught.

Okay, so some may cite the long drought preceding the fire season as “proof” it was climactic, but it’s still gets a no from me because Australia has always been a drought-prone country and our droughts can last a very long time. Add to that the fuel that has built up on the ground because various environmental groups have opposed maintaining fire trails through national parks and controlled burns in general over the winter months and you have a tinderbox just waiting to ignite, and in this case, arsonists took full advantage and set the country alight.  I can only guess why, but I don’t think I’m too far off the mark with my suspicions. But anyway, as it was an arson emergency, it cannot be labelled a climate situation, because it wasn’t. Fires that start via a natural occurrence follow a specific pattern. The fires that raged through Australia did not, and that’s how the authorities know it was arson. Plus, they did catch a couple of the arsonists and I so hope they catch the rest.

Hence no climate refugees. Fire refugees, yes, and there are a lot of them because so many homes have been lost. But the fires that have devastated Australia, being mostly deliberately lit, cannot be attributed to any type of climate change because had the arsonists not gone out there and set the country on fire, none of it would have happened. Those fires started by lightening strikes would have been contained eventually and dealt with. But that’s difficult to do when fires are popping up randomly all over the place and our firefighters are stretched beyond their limits trying to deal with more fires than there are people available to fight them.

I have no idea who planned to burn the place, or why they thought it was a good idea, but I live in hope that Karma will be a real bitch when it eventually catches up with them, because anyone who would put such a plan into action is a sick excuse for a human being and what they have caused is beyond forgiveness.

But to reiterate, there are definitely no climate refugees here.

Only fire refugees.