In a social democracy welfare is a right.

 

social_democracy_wallpaper__1920x1080_by_detectivep-d4hnmuyAnother critical piece showing that the Abbott government’s reforms to Newstart and Youth Allowance will simply not work can be found here in The Saturday Paper,

Welfare changes ‘more about prejudice than policy’: Hewson

In the article, Mike Seccombe highlights former Liberal party leader John Hewson’s comment that our incumbents are driven not by a sense of humanity but by ideology. I agree with Hewson that these reforms reveal not a measured rational response to current economic conditions, but insanity. The insanity of repeating a process proven to be ineffective and counter-productive in negative ways.

Since the New Deal was instituted by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, since the Beveridge Report helped found the welfare state in the UK in 1942, and since welfare provision initiatives taken in the 1940s in Australia, citizenry in these three nations has benefited enormously through policies designed to assist the most vulnerable.  In the guise of bringing-the-budget-into-surplus austerity, and following trends in America and the United Kingdom, we are witnessing the driving forward of policies tantamount to a violent attack on what had for many decades been taken to be the very essence of good democracy.

I am rather tired of our current government behaving like a steamroller. I feel squashed flat under the weight of its endless cuts, its ruthless policies towards the most vulnerable in our society. A government deaf to our persistent calls for this draconian process to stop. We campaign, petition and take to the streets in our tens of thousands over and again. We are fighting on so many fronts and we are ignored. This is not what social democracy should look like. Citizens should have a whole lot more power and influence than just that of dropping a bit of paper in a ballot box. We want our voices to be heard, our calls answered.  Not this endless crushing, this ruthless oppression, this almost dictatorial governance hostile to all social spending.

Yet it is incumbent upon us to fight for whatever remains. To not be disheartened into inactivity, not acquiesce, not allow ourselves to lose hope and fall into passive despair, for to do so is to not only admit defeat but to allow ourselves to become complicit in the very system we oppose.

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2 Comments

  1. Well said, Isobel.
    The only part to which I would take exception is the phrase:
    “…this almost dictatorial governance”;
    and the only word in that phrase which may be a little soft is the word “almost”.

    Yes, yes, I know… things are still way better in this country than in many other places in the world. However, as you have noted, we do seem to be moving inexorably toward bigger government, more draconian laws and tighter living circumstances in all areas. Many people–perhaps even more than at any other time in recent history–are losing all faith in our so-called “representatives”. I know this because I am one of those people; and frankly, I’m kicking myself for ever in my life thinking that anyone in “power” might actually do some lasting good.

  2. Thank you Q. I think that this loss of faith, this turning back on politics, is both understandable and unfortunate in that social democracy requires participation. A disaffected citizenry that turns towards the private sphere instead of fighting for justice plays into the hands of this new managed democracy (which is controlling on the one hand and so appears bigger, yet when it comes to welfare, is a shriveled husk).

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