Champion of the Poor
Friday, 8 November 2002
I was a little bemused by this ABC report that Senator Amanda Vanstone is lambasting the States - in particular Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia - for ripping off the poor. She says that these states are
targeting low income earners in reaping huge amounts of gambling revenue and most states are gaining major benefits from property transactions, like stamp duty.
But she says the states are failing to provide adequate public transport to help people get jobs and a wide range of concessions to help them survive.
"These increases show that the states are just voracious suckers up of money from low income people."
Once again I seem to have missed a major shift in the ideological wind. I thought the general conservative consensus was that low income earners who feed next month's rent money into poker machines are basically shiftless and stupid, unlike their social betters who have the good sense to invest their surplus income in BHP ordinaries where an increase in shareholder value is guaranteed by high executive remuneration. And do I detect a few reservations about the undoubted benefits of privatising public corporations in Senator Vanstone's remarks on the States' failures in the areas of public transport and concessions?
I think that's why I prefer computer programming to politics - it all gets too confusing and it becomes very tempting to resort to explaining reports such as these by resorting to a reflexive, and somewhat simplistic, cynicism about the personal motivations of our politicians.