Back on May 17th, 2010 I wrote an article on CanDoBetter entitled 'Australia's growing underclass'.
The article came out of my personal exposure to months of abject unemployment forcing me, out of respect for my family, to humbly walk into CentreLink. To my disgust, since I was not in absolute starvation-poverty, CentreLink rejected my claim for temporary unemployment benefits. Only thanks to my broader family, we didn't come close to losing our house.
That article read as follows:
Australia's Growing Underclass
I can attest to the inadequacy of the Australian Government's treatment of unemployed people via Centrelink. The forms are longer and more invasive than a tax return. The processing took eight weeks after which I was rejected because my partner was working part-time.
Eventually I got back into work off my own bat, but the experience was humiliating, a waste of time, and has turned me vehemently against government.
So many Australians are vulnerable to losing their job and don't have sufficient financial reserves to get back on their feet, let alone meet bill payments when there is no income. When this happens it comes as a shock to find that the safety net one assumed existed, does not in fact exist. One must be in abject poverty to be eligible for government support. For men in particular, the loss of esteem as a failed breadwinner can tip many to depression and worse. A substantial number in rural Australia and on the land are isolated and particularly vulnerable.
Both Labor and Liberal argue that important numbers of people rort the system and so each of these political parties have respectively made the claim hurdles so high that the majority of applicants' claims are eliminated as they go through the Centrelink system. The unemployment benefit of $220 a week, if it is paid, is so low as to be less than most weekly rents. People with a mortgage are forced down a path of bank repossession. It is a steep, slippery slope for many families.
A large proportion of workers now work on contract terms, like me, without leave entitlements, without unions, without rights. When the contract ends there is nothing and sometimes those contracts end at a whim with a tap on the shoulder at 5pm on a Friday.
And it is not just unemployment that has many Australians placed in dire circumstances. People with a disability, widows, veterans, and older people, have been thrown on the scrap heap. So have people with mental health issues, the homeless and those who simply find themselves in poverty and in broken homes.
Many Australians do not realise how close they are to joining the growing underclass.
Labor and Liberal have lost touch with those ordinary Australians who fall from the position of being able to fend for themselves. The Greens as the main alternative seem to be stuck in some ideological utopia pressing for 'green' issues that prioritise environment and climate change over basic human needs.
Meanwhile Australia's growing underclass is undermining the health and cohesiveness of our society. It wouldn't take much for a new alternative party focusing on life's fundamentals to get up.
Later that day I added a further comment:
'I have decided to join Australia First'
I shall give them a go since I have read and support their values.
I see no reason to support Labor, Liberals, Greens or Nationals, based on their lack of performance. Over the years, I have voted for all of them at one time or another, kidding myself they will bring change. I have had a gut full.
If another party presents itself with fresh ideas I will consider that too.
Since my post, slur and innuendo followed and then CanDoBetter went off air for about two months (Nov-Dec 2010). But it was only yesterday I learned that I had been granted release from purgatory and that I now have access to CanDoBetter (hence why I have not contributed since).
And so, now at the first opportunity I herein post the reply offered by chairman of the Australia First Party, Dr Jim Saleam, to the accusations raised against him all those months ago that were denied a free hearing. I have since started my own website against injustice entitled malleebull.org, although I shall continue to support CanDoBetter since they gave me an opportunity to speak freely.
Reply by #JimSaleam" id="JimSaleam">Dr Jim Saleam, Australia First Party, 25th Nov 2010:
[This is a reply to "Can the Australia First Party help fix the plight of ordinary Australians" and other comments on candobetter - which I have not yet been able to locate. Ed.]
Freedom of speech is vital in Australia and I am pleased that this website respects this right.