Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Age of entitlement - my SBS Insight notes

With my upcoming debate on entitlement in Australia I though I'd better watch Insight on SBS to see what punters think.

If you missed it, here are my notes.

Major moral decision - should we support people till they can get a job they might like.

Carrying a job while trying to get one in a different industry?

Says the guy that had no problem getting a job in his industry that he would get a job cleaning toilets full time after his degree.

What should they be prepared to do?

Amanda Vanstone (on the Commission of Audit) -

“In my day I walked up hill both ways to school…barefoot”
“We’ll never have a health or welfare system like the US” mmm… she might regret that
“We are richer than others, so we shouldn’t focus on equality or social issues”

Ignores politician's retirement entitlement that she lives on.

Guy who has no idea what is happening elsewhere in the world compares us with elsewhere in the world.

My family is rich and support me so should yours.

Beggers can’t be choosers

Are people entitled to a job they might actually like? Yeah, we covered that. No one knows.

Some people not very good at finding work. Really? Such an informative program.

Frank Stilwell -
Points out that poor people are not the only ones who think they are entitled.
Says job-snobs is actually rare.

Tourism Association wants people to wash dishes on the cheap, according to their well-paid consultant, who has been lobbying to open up immigration.
Says there are 30,000 jobs in tourism. seek.com.au says there are 7,000 currently advertised nationally.

Old lady worked since she was 15 - in the post-office, then bus conductor. Public servant for life. Worked hard, thinks she’s entitled to her pension.

Some dude wants to say privilege instead of entitlement.

Guy states the obvious -
“you contribute when you can, and when you can’t others will contribute to look after you”

People shrug it off and start bitching again.

As expected woman with 5 kids shows up with about $20,000 in various benefits. Oh god, now ageing population comes in. Woman does her bit for society. Says hypocritical of government encouraging children but decreasing family support. Really thinks that ageing is solved by more people.

I have no problem giving her a bigger chunk of the pie. Who really cares!

Again, let’s all not talk about the moral judgements we are making.

Single Mum, good earner, gets $160 a fortnight in various benefits. Has a whinge about her life being tough and ‘deserving’ hand out. She has a mortgage. Really?

Why does everyone just justify their position by some appeal to deserts?

Taiwan guy - in Taiwan, in the 1980s, you were expected to look after yourself. Actually scrap that, your family. Why don’t we use the family unit as the social welfare system?

Oh I wish someone had thought of that. Is welfare really stopping that? What if your family can’t support themselves, who supports them… mmm…

Another single Mum says she’s being pragmatic and helping her parents and children.

The guy without a job reminds everyone that we are a rich country. Says it’s very inefficient to have highly educated people pouring coffee and doing dishes.

ANU guy (Andrew Whiteford) -
“Lowest ratio of welfare payments to wages in the developed world”

Audience gasps. Facts are hurting brains and their beliefs.

“We spend less than everyone except Chile and Mexico. South Korea is catching up”.
“We can just spend more by raising more taxes, easy”

Guy who once advised Tony Abbott -
“We need to get in early before we send ourselves broke - a crisis”

Amanda Vanstone -
"If we do nothing now, where will we be in ten years”

Ummm… probably perfectly fine. Anyone want to challenge them to define a crisis? Which metric would cross which threshold?

Old lady (ex-pubic servant again), wants the simple retirement - asks Vanstone what should she do to adjust to reduced pensions?

Amanda Vanstone ignores that. Has a bitch about paid parental leave scheme.

New guy -
Works in a restaurant. Ask Vanstone whether welfare is about raising people to upper classes.

Sure mate. We’ll just all be upper class. See how that works? Get used to things being relative, not absolute.

People clap because Vanstone hired someone who had a job.

Farmer (National party member) can only get backpackers to pick fruit. Locals are difficult, with all the paperwork and stuff. Backpackers need the money to get on with their travels. Better to employ the more desperate people.

Oh oh. Coming up - old lady says her home is not an asset. Ask her kids about that when she dies.

Zara, age 92, full pension, $800/fn. She’s frugal. Has bills. Gardens a lot. Lived in her house in some expensive suburb - Mosman. Neighbours house sold for $2million. But doesn’t know what to do with $1million. Needs her garden apparently.

Here we go.

Vanstone -
“should someone with $2million in asset get same benefits as someone with $0 in assets”

Young guy perks up, wants to stick up for the old ladies.

What about a reverse mortgage to fund retirement.

Other dude - my grandparents sold their farm to fund their retirement and move to the city. It is possible to use assets to support yourself.

Smart guy says - “hey why don’t we have inheritance taxes (or similar) which would fund pensions for those with assets?”

Oldies really like death duties, but think the rich will not let it happen. Woman with no assets doesn’t want an inheritance tax - doesn’t seem to understand how percentages work.

Woman with 5 kids likes GP co-payment, for some reason.

Other woman says people will delay visits and may miss out on early treatment.

Dude who advised Abbott - who recommended GP co-payment while working in a think tank (golly gosh, what a surprise) - says system needs to be sustainable. Doesn’t seem to want to explain what his view of sustainable means. Doesn’t want to consider the health system as a whole.

Guy without a job makes a statement that proves he won’t get one in a hurry.


  1. "Old lady worked since she was 15 - in the post-office, then bus conductor. Public servant for life. Worked hard, thinks she’s entitled to her pension."

    She said she'd worked till the age of 30. Don't mean to be rude, but 15 years isn't 'for life'.

    1. I'm glad someone was paying attention. I was busy writing notes. ;-)