While the Turnbull government plays Santa to the big end of town, the Murdoch press has launched a new campaign to vilify the poorest people in Australian society: welfare recipients.
Teaming up with their buddies at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consultancy firm with a wealth of experience assisting bosses to condemn workers to welfare dependency, Melbourne’s Herald Sun has cooked up sensationalist statistics about the cost of welfare over the lifetimes of everyone living in Australia. Predictably enough, it is a large sum.
The aim is to create hostility to the unemployed by manufacturing concern about a supposed “new generation of couch potatoes” living off the taxes paid by everyone else.
“It is clearly too easy for some young people to simply put out their hands and think that those of us who have jobs owe them a free ride”, the Sun editorialised.
It’s no wonder that bullying is rampant in Australian schools: the right wing promotes that culture through every outlet available to it, mobilising its parliamentary representatives, media mogul allies, corporate backers and like-minded opinion makers to bludgeon mercilessly the most vulnerable at every opportunity.
It targets those with no resources to retaliate, nor media platforms through which to respond, nor investment portfolios to mobilise as leverage. Right wingers hope to direct the discontent that characterises modern capitalist societies toward those with the least power, and promote identification with those who create a system of inequality, rampant poverty and inadequate social services.
In the Sun’s words, it’s “people with jobs” against those “reliant on handouts”.
Cleaners earning the minimum wage have jobs, as do the CEOs whose offices they clean. But only one of these job holders controls the millions that modern workplaces generate in profit, and can use this control to influence government and the economy to their advantage.
They are perennially concerned that the workers they rely on to make their businesses profitable will demand a greater share of the wealth.
The right comes to the aid of the bosses by dividing the rest of us: workers against the unemployed, refugees against citizens, so-called migrant hordes against commuters and first home buyers, Muslims against “Western civilisation”. On and on it goes, each week a different target, but always the same goal: divide and conquer.
The response of our side must be solidarity.