15 May 2011, Comments (10)

Alternative Universe: Newsfax Ltd Voxpop article on 2011 Federal Budget

Author: Helen

The O’Reallys are the typical so-called “well-off” family who are now staring down the barrel of the Gillard government’s crushing “middle-class welfare” reform. Our intrepid editor sent this reporter out to one of the up and coming suburbs to get the real lowdown on how hard hit these families are by this merciless class warfare.

One of the countless Aspirational Families in these tree-lined streets™, Tom and Sue O’Really work as a teacher and a construction estimator. They have two children, Lily and Bradley. Lily, 6, has started primary school and attends after-school care. Bradley, 3, is in daycare. Sue’s income is just over $150,000, making them rich in the eyes of Labor and Leftist types who choose to ignore the stark, brutal reality of their suburban struggle.

“Are you joking?” laughed Sue when we pointed the mike at her so she could tell us how the government, hellbent on redistributing wealth and closing the gap between the alleged haves and have-nots, has reduced their lifestyle to a nasty and brutish struggle for survival. Here is a transcript of the interview which followed:

Newsfax Ltd: Now that the rate at which the family tax benefit cuts out has been frozen at $150,000, will this spell the end of your middle class lifestyle?

Sue O’Really: Well, of course, a lump sum in your tax return is always nice. But really, isn’t government income distribution meant to be targeted at, you know, really struggling families, on $40,000 and less? I mean, of course your wants always expand when you get more money. (Laughs) but shouldn’t we be directing Family Tax Benefit to families who can’t afford to send their kids to the dentist? Or use the money to put dentistry on Medicare?

Newsfax Ltd: But food, clothing, gas electricity — it all adds up. Not to mention childcare and your private medical insurance, for which you now get only 20% rebate instead of 30%. With the cost of living increasing, shouldn’t eligibility for family benefits should have been lifted?

Sue O’Really: Look, of course the cost of living goes up. I’m not arguing with that, I just wonder whether “adrift in ocean of debt and despair” isn’t over-egging it a bit. Half of all workers earn less than $44,146 per year. Shouldn’t you be interviewing one of them? I mean, they’re taking money away from Leonie three doors down, for god’s sake, she’s on the single mother’s benefit and they’re going to put her on Newstart when her daughter turns 12! And… wasn’t it your paper and others like you who used to be against “middle-class welfare”, anyway?

Newsfax Ltd: Well, Wayne Swan said himself you weren’t that well-off!

Sue O’Really: Well, I can see how he would have been under pressure to say that. But it’s something thats easy enough to resolve through 10 minutes on the ABS website and some Year 8 maths. We’re not “battlers”. We’re not even “average”. According to the ABS, I’m in the top three percent of income earners individually and we’re in the top ten percent of households. So, yeah, sure, childcare is very expensive, and we did remodel our California Bungalow to twice its former size, and that means high repayments. And we try to eat healthily, and the cost of fruit is ridiculous. But to claim we’re doing it tough is just an insult to that half of the workforce that’s on less than $45,000 – not to mention disability pensioners, unemployed, single parents…I mean, they’re paying the same for fruit and vegetables as we are!…

[Newsfax Editor’s note: You failed to get a proper response from this interviewee. Bin this story.]

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