In her usual confused, ludicrously partisan style, Amanda Vanstone tells us that the ‘bogans’ have had enough, and that the problem is the ‘clever’ are attempting to disenfranchise them1. She also states that it is a fallacy that a government’s job is essentially an ideological one. This is ironic coming from a former minister in a government who were the most enthusiastic ideologues of neoliberal economics, the system that has most effectively disenfranchised the under-educated and the under-employed in this country over much of the last 40 years.
It was during her tenure as a minister under John Howard, that tax cuts were delivered to the wealthy, and these have led to many of the structural problems in the Australian economy, which have exacerbated budget deficits2. It is her former colleagues during the Abbott nightmare who attempted to screw the poor by cutting funding for the Newstart (unemployment) allowance, health and higher education, as well as the ABC, SBS and CSIRO. This austerity budget was even too rancid for the cross bench in the then Senate to accept, and as a consequence, it was rejected twice by the upper house3. More recently, her former colleagues, now led by the disappointing Turnbull have again screwed the poor by backing penalty rate cuts for Sundays and public holidays4, and also by arguing for a minimal increase in the minimum wage. One of the arguments put forward by the government was that some minimum wage earners were “often found in high-income households”5. This vacuous argument is symptomatic of the government committed to looking after the big end of town6. This commitment is also clearly demonstrated by the government’s company tax cuts which will cost the budget bottom line about $15 billion per annum7.
The fact that Vanstone is warning the ‘clever’ people about the fact that bogans have had enough clearly demonstrates that the people in her own party are unaware that the time of neoliberal economics is over. Screwing the poor has been a hobby of conservative governments ever since the lie of trickle-down economics was adopted by ardent local followers. Vanstone’s time in government bracketed some of the worst excesses of this lie, and for her to now warn her former colleagues about a backlash from the people she helped screw, is just another example, if one was needed, of why politicians are so on the nose.