Attila the Pun
Monday, September 05, 2005
Fun for the whole family

The comments to this story are amusing:

AUSTRALIANS are now less conservative in their social and political thinking than they were under Paul Keating.

The notion the country has swung to the Right under John Howard is challenged by the first major study of social attitudes since Labor lost power in 1996.

Australian Social Attitudes: The First Report finds most people are satisfied with the economic gains made since the Prime Minister's election, and that they enjoy their work, are proud of their families, and feel confident and optimistic about the future.

Most would happily give up tax cuts in exchange for more government spending on health or education, and support for immigration has more than doubled since the Keating years.

I query aspect of the study, particularly as people always claim in surveys that they would prefer services to taxes, but the "reader comments" are where the real fun is:

From: Alan
Comment: 1995 - Own 1 bedroom unit worth $60,000, mortgage 50,000 cc debt 0 2005 - Own 5 bedroom house worth 600,000, mortgage 250,000, cc debt 22,000 As you can see I've got a lot of equity now, but after I pay the mortgage and credit cards, I've actually got less disposable income! Especially with the high cost of food, so my lifestyle is worse, this does not make me happy I am also not happy with the social situation, particularly Health and education and the environment. With the high cost of fuel, why aren't the governement using the tax system to encourage us to drive more economical cars? How about anything burning less than 5 litres per 100km is gst free?

So you could sell your 5 bedroom mansion and spend your $350,000 on smaller house. Try sharing a room or two. For someone who is so concerned about the price of fuel, imagine how much energy it takes to warm a place that big. Oh, and stop buying stuff on your credit card. $22,000 at 17% interest - are you insane?

From: heartbeating=happiness
Comment: Richer? Where? My bank account isn't showing that. Seriously, HECS debts, a FTA - that hurts Australian Artists, Grants so hard to come by that Community Groups (eg. Radio Stations) are starting to fold because they can't afford to keep their doors open, how can this be better off for the Nation as a whole? And if you are richer don't you think it's because of YOUR efforts not Johnny's? and PS Johnny can my community's radio station have some money please?

Oh no - grants have become harder to come by for australian community radio stations? How terrible. Here is a tip - try podcasting. Harness new technology, rather than bleating for a public hand out. Oh, and I think your "PS" also explained your bank account status as well.

From: Noel
Comment: Jobwise, never been better off. Money, great. Happier? I will try to leave this now Howardized mediocre island of embarrassment as soon as it is possible to do so. Once proud to be Australian, now ashamed. Can't wait to leave.

So you have become wealthy and succesful here, but the rest of us embarrass you so much that you can't wait to leave? aw shucks - don't let the door hit you on the way out.

From: Tyson
Comment: It seems that the people who pay their own way in society are happier (as I am) while the people who live off the tax payer are unhappy. If you haven't paid for it don't complain.

I don't think Tyson and heartbeat=happiness would get along too well...

From: Jane
Comment: My financial situation is worse and is going to get worse. Mr Howard is intent on ensuring that single parents will no longer have a choice about whether they can be stay at home parents which may be in the best interests of their children. He is going to ensure that by forcing me to work, I will pay the highest possible rate of 'taxation' - higher than Mr Howard himself pays and I feel that the entire situation is contrary to international agreements this country has signed and ratified.

? Did we ratify the International Single Mum Treaty? I must have missed that one.

From: Belinda
Comment: I want to know who those 4000 people are, where they live and what jobs they are currently doing. A study of 4000 people is not an exhaustive study population in a country that has over 8 billion people living in it! I am definitely NOT richer since the Howard government (I refuse to say "since John Howard came into power") came into power nor am I happier. I am studying full-time at university, and have to work a casual job to pay for my living expenses because I receive no help from Centrelink apparently because my parents are supposed to support me (they don't). I can guarantee they are worse off as well.

This one is my favourite. I would love to know what she is studying at university. Not statistics I hope. She is mad that in a country of 8 billion people she is forced to get a job while at uni because the tax payer and mum and dad won't cough up the cash. Diddums.

From: Pauline
Comment: If this is true, why is Howard pushing ahead with his IR plans? He works with smoke and mirrors.

If you learned the secrets of the seven chambers then his tiger style would be no match for yours.

From: Kaister
Comment: Absolutely not. John Howard is a social criminal. All of my bills cost 10 per cent more, fuel prices out of control ( yes Johnny, you can give us relief from the excise short term), annexing the unemployed/ incapacitated with draconian welfare policies and pseudo - white australianisms... A litany of broken promises and half truths - no, my life is not better. Everything costs more, and half of those taxes that were promised for removal at the introduction of the gst weren't. So how can we be better off?

Those would be state taxes you are complaining about I presume?

The rest is either general bitching (mostly about petrol prices) or Howard cheerleading.

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