”The age of entitlement is over. The age of personal responsibility has begun,” Joe Hockey.
Wow.. Big big words. I wonder if he is willing to follow through on that statement to the full extent of its meaning.
You see, personal responsibility the way he sees it, is telling Rural Australia that the record breaking drought we are enduring, the crash of the cattle market, and the complete lack of government assistance is perfectly normal, and perfectly acceptable in this age of ‘Personal responsibility’
It is in fact, our fault that this has occurred.
Our difficulties stem, not from 2 years without rain, not from the government closure of the northern cattle markets via the live ex shut down, and not from the complete crash of the market as a result. No, our current problems are directly related to in his words ‘bad business practices’ and ‘a lack of viability’
Mr Hockeys idea is that we the australian primary producers are going through such difficulties off our own backs, we brought it on ourselves, and we now have to cope with it alone.
Ok.. ok.. and.. ok..
Now, lets put this age of personal responsibility into full practice nation wide.
No more disability pension, because, lets face it you should be personally responsible for being hit by that car and being permanently paralysed. Its ‘your fault’ It is also your fault if you were born blind, or born with a mental disorder like autism, or downs syndrome. You should take responsibilty for it, no more government assistance.
No more aged care pension, you should be personally responsible for getting old. Its your fault after all, lets not count all those years you worked hard, and paid taxes to our great nation, after all, the age of entitlements is over.
No more Army pensions of course, its your fault you went to war, and well if you lost a leg or now suffer from PTSD as a result, tough titties, personal responsibility is the latest craze.
What about those illegal refugees? oh, what their boat is sinking? well.. its the age of personal responsibility, they are not entitled to rescue-that would cost the government money! Who said they were entitled to anything from us?
Asylum seekers? no more monetary handouts for you guys.. Tough luck, you are personally responsible for coming here after all…
If we go a little further into it, what about that $30 million we gave to the Philipines after the massive natural disaster they had recently? Lets face it, Joe Hockey says its their fault! Why should we the tax payer be giving them money?
or for any country going through a major national disaster for that matter.. Perhaps we should just sit on our hands and quote ‘The age of entitlement is over. The age of personal responsibility has begun’ so you just go over there and be personally responsible for your own crisis…
So maybe this is a bit extreme, but this is how many farmers now feel after that bald and rather uninformed statement made by our treasurer earlier this week.
We are not allowed to hold up our hands and say we have been hit by an unprecedented natural disaster, we have to button down the hatches and weather the storm alone, without government coming to our rescue like they are supposed to do during times of great trial.
Despite it not having the media urgency of a major flood, or the dramatic entry of a typhoon, or earthquake, drought is every bit a natural disaster as any other that may hit. It hasnt rained in some areas for up to 2 years, longer for some people.
I am hearing stories of such great desperation that people are soaking wood chips in mollasses just to give their cattle something to chew on.. Wood chips! cattle cannot live on wood.
If this were africa, humans would be dying in their hundreds, and world vision would be fighting for aid. But this is australia, and our people are just expected to ‘make do’ and battle on. Families are going without food, or living on rice, just to put that tiny bit extra towards cattle feed. People say, walk away, or why stay, but how can we leave, and leave our cattle to starve or die of thirst?
We cannot sell them all, prices are as low as 8c per kilo, and in some areas cattle aren’t being sold at all, but given away, to anyone good hearted enough to take them. It is cheaper to shoot the cattle, and many are doing just that.
A carton of bullets for the stock, and one extra for me.
To say that the crisis that our rural areas are going through right now is a result of bad business, is burying your head in the sand. To say that farmers are receiving plenty of assistance from the govt is telling lies.
There is aid out there, in the form of low interest loans, which you have to pass a means test to receive. A means test which will cut you out if you are financially unviable. Somebody tell me if it is possible to be financially viable in a time of natural disaster?
Did we question the Haitians when we gave them some millions of dollars, did we send them means testing paperwork first? no, we didn’t because it was not about only helping those who could afford to help themselves, it was about helping them to stay alive, and stay there, to get back onto their feet, and to maybe have a future when they would be viable once more.
We have given aid in the past to car companies to the tune of millions of dollars, just to keep them in the country! Was it a loan? did we require the money back from them, or was it an incentive to hang on and stay here? Should we, the australian primary producer take ourselves off shore, because our govt will not give us any assistance?
If only we could.
What we need right now is not a government to judge our practices, and deem us unviable, in the face of insurmountable obstacles, we need help! We need water, fodder, money, and most of all long heavy and soaking rain. We need rain.
If we can hand out millions of dollars in aid to other countries during national disaster, why not half that amount to our own people?
After all, there is an old saying, and I believe it is true, Charity begins at home.