Welfare is & has always been for people who cannot get a job due to reasons outside their control. If you're experiencing it firsthand now that COVID has ruined your job security, I recommend you kick up a storm about it so that this system can change.
I was raised in a family like many other in my rural area; living off welfare, with no access to the education, resources & support required to set us up with job security. The job market is only accessible to those with the education & skills to enter it.
'But if you work hard, you can do anything.' For some people, that's true. But what if you don't have a safe space at home to make mistakes? What if you don't have time to study because you're working or caretaking? What if you don't learn like the other 30 kids in your class?
If you don't learn like the other kids, you fall behind. If you fall behind, you lose interest. If you lose interest, your mental health deteriorates. And this is all if you even can handle the education system. For those who can't & don't fit a trade, options are slim.
If you're lucky enough to get a job despite all odds, you have no skills to give you job security. Unskilled labourers rarely get good contracts. They take what they can get. That's the mentality we encourage with welfare. 'Take what you can get and be grateful you have it.'
That was our motto growing up. Imagine my surprise when I learn that for some people, life isn't made up of choices limited by desperation. Imagine my confusion realising some people have autonomy in how they build their life. Imagine my anger at working to be such a person-
knowing how many people get left behind. Knowing just how lucky I am and how unaware everyone else is of their luck. Because that's what it comes down to. The luck of the draw. And now that the economy's tanked, there is no draw. The lottery's dead. The Australian Dream's over.
Maybe let's put the money we would've spent on those lotto tickets to good use, boys. Boys in charge, I'm talking to you. Oh wait, you've never needed to dream of lotto to solve your problems. You had the financial backing. You know what finance is. You have enough money to know.
If you've never had money, you don't know. And now you don't have money, you know. You know an iota of what welfare life is. So tell people that matter that it's unacceptable. Use this as an opportunity to help everyone who needs it. We need help. We need welfare. We need change.
But here's where the gap in my education shows: I have no idea how to act in a way that will get the attention of those that can make this change. They ignore petitions, protests, pleas; their reality is so far from ours. How do I get through to @ScottMorrisonMP? @JoshFrydenberg?
I'll keep trying, hoping, emailing, signing, pleading to be heard, seen & lead toward a future where welfare isn't 'get what you're given, be grateful you've got it, get over it'. I won't. I hope you don't either. We can't get over it if we can't even get by.
You can follow @vigilantonie.
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