I don’t watch horror movies. Partly because I have an anxiety disorder, and partly because my life has been filled with enough fear already. I know the horror of watching your bank account slowly slip into the red, several days before payday and with the cupboard running bare. I know the chill of panic that runs down your spine when you hear the car engine rattle and know it will be months before you can afford a repair, and have no other way to reach your place of employment. I know the ghastliness of having to decide which relative to ask for help, which bill collection company to beg for mercy, which medical problem to ignore for the moment and which you can afford to fix now.Fears and anxieties that a lot of people know, surely? Especially in days of recession and inflation? Congratz, Steve, you're one of us!
But wait, not so fast! Steve, you see, is special:
And oh yes, I know the dread of your benefits being taken away from you.Of course! Benefits are forever, you see, like diamonds:
After several meetings with Centrelink, I had to have my illness certified by a psychiatrist. It took a month to get an appointment, and he required two appointments minimum – each at a cost of several hundred dollars – before he would attest to my condition. It took a few more weeks before the final interview with Centrelink where I was once again asked to prove I was disabled to a scrutineer: a final humiliation that presumes the weakest of us are criminals, and permits us to prove our innocence only by proving our incompetence.No. it's not 'a humiliation'; it's a safeguard. That the money is being spent on the right people, and not squandered on fraudsters. Do you think there should be no checks at all?
In 2013, I watched the government cut mental health funding so I could only get half as many subsidised treatments a year. Then Kevin Andrews began to suggest plans to alter benefit payments to people with mental illnesses, saying he was "alarmed" by growth in mental illness numbers. The pressure of this constant threat – along with the need to keep working in case it became a reality – have continued to damage my mental health, making it harder and harder for me to get well. Which means I spend longer and longer on the pension, and cost the government more and more money.That sounds a lot like blackmail, Steve-o...
Andrews continues to talk about making sure those who can work do. It is a choice of language that reduces people to resources: if they are able to be turned towards a profit, they will be, because anything less is a travesty against capitalism. This is a mindset that leaves no consideration for health and well being, of getting better and staying better. Certainly no concern for making lives richer and people stronger.I'm a little unclear about just how handing out money with no safeguards for life so people can sit on their backsides makes anyone's life richer, or how it might make people stronger for that matter. It seems to me it just makes them dependent.