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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

An Open Letter to Joe Hockey - » The Australian Independent Media Network

An Open Letter to Joe Hockey - » The Australian Independent Media Network

An Open Letter to Joe Hockey

Dear Joe Hockey,

Back in 2012, when you said the age of entitlement was over, I was so relieved. I was relieved that highly-paid politicians like Tony Abbott would no longer think it acceptable to charge tax-payers for personal book tours. I was relieved that filthy rich politicians like Malcolm Turnbull, and like yourself,
would put an end to ethically-suspect rental schemes, where your
tax-payer funded Canberra housing allowance is paid to your spouses for
investment properties they have cleverly put in their names. Which you
will no doubt benefit from once again when they sell. I was also
relieved to hear that this sense of entitlement would also be finished
for the families of rich politicians, when the likes of Tony Abbott
would say it was not acceptable to accept a secret scholarship for his
daughter’s education. Nor a refund on a non-refundable deposit
paid on a rented flat without proper due diligence that any other
non-entitled member of the public is in no position to demand. Nor lavish trips to the Melbourne Cup
to hob-knob with celebrities which even you can no doubt see is not in
the public interest and therefore not an entitlement that should be
charged to the tax-payer. Because these are the best examples I have
ever seen of a sense of entitlement which is so entrenched and seemingly
innate that it’s like an incurable disease that seems to have no end.
So again, congratulations on declaring an end to it.

And oh how I wish I could leave this letter here. But I can’t. And
you know why I can’t. Because I am mistaken. I am not mistaken that you
wish to end the age of entitlement. What is clear is that you do in fact
want to end what you call entitlement. The problem is, your
definition of the problem of entitlement in our culture, and my
definition, are completely different things. From the budget you’ve
handed down, and from your recent statements about poor people’s spending habits on petrol (which no one misinterpreted, you really should own your mistakes Joe), it’s clear that you think entitlement is our community’s idea of rights.
Rights to quality education. Rights to quality healthcare. Rights to a
clean and sustainable environment. Rights to a social safety net when
things go wrong. Rights to live in a community where it’s possible to be
born poor, but to better our circumstances through hard work,
encouragement and support from those around us. All these rights are
what you call ‘a sense of entitlement’ aren’t they Joe? And aren’t these
rights the things you would ideally like to end? Isn’t your budget,
built on a foundation of lies about a non-existent budget-emergency,
your campaign to kill the very culture that provides Australians with
rights to all of these things that any first-world, educated,
well-resourced and fair country like Australia should strive to protect?
Isn’t your end of the age of entitlement just code for a user-pays
capitalist small-government, tax-free wonder-land?

Well, had I known you meant to end this definition of
entitlement, I would never have felt relief. You need a reality check
Joe. Rights are not entitlements. And someone like you, with your family
background, would surely understand this if you ever cared to think
about it, perhaps while you’re enjoying a quiet sit and a cigar. On the
profile on your website, you have published this:“Joe
Hockey was born in North Sydney, as the youngest of four children. His
father was born in Bethlehem of Armenian and Palestinian parentage and
his Mum in Chatswood. His family worked hard running a small business on
the North Shore, beginning with a deli in Chatswood and later, a real
estate agency in Naremburn.”
So you like to portray your family
story as the classic ‘we pulled ourselves up from the bootstraps’ tale
of social mobility. And like so many who have come before you having
found riches and success in your careers, you now seem hell bent on
destroying mobility for others by burning the ladder of opportunity that
you climbed to the top. And that’s what you really meant when you said
it is time to end the age of entitlement.

You’ve got it so wrong Joe. Social mobility is not an entitlement.
Access to social mobility is a right. And it’s a right Australians will,
when they wake up to you, fight to save. You and your rich Liberal
Party chums portray the true meaning of entitlement through your little
glass tower of privilege where you think it’s ok to simultaneously reap
the rewards of tax-payer funded wealth, while destroying the rights of
the community by wrecking the public policies designed to keep the
playing field level. Shame on you Joe. Shame on you and your entitled
Liberal government.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Rollison

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