Maybe you can afford to pay an extra $7. But not everybody is so lucky.

At least 25,000 people marched in capital cities of yesterday with one message – Bust the Budget.

Now, straight up, I’ll admit, I’m more left than right. But more importantly, I’d like to think I’m more right than wrong.

This week, a letter went viral. In it, Kaye Stirland spoke about the value of $7 and her own personal experience with hard times. What struck me about her story, her open letter to the Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, is that no one ever really knows the struggles others are facing or the history behind the person they see standing before them.

I for one can afford to pay the $7 GP co-contribution and despite the fact that it irritates me that we already pay for our “free” visits to the GP each and every week via the Medicare levy (incorporated into our tax that is deducted from our wage), I would still probably have no issue paying it.

But what if one day I couldn’t afford that $7? What if, like Kaye, things unexpectedly turned to shit? If you think that this is something that won’t happen to you, then I wish you well in your bubble. Because not one of us, I repeat, no one, is immune to circumstance or good old fashioned bad luck.

So yes, worst case, I believe that those who can afford to pay the co-contribution, if necessary to help out Australia, should pay it. Those below a certain income level or those who possess a Health Care Card or who are our most vulnerable, should not.

Also, I can agree that Family Tax Benefit, Part B, when a family earns $100K or more, should be discontinued. If a family earns $100k a year, they really do not require assistance from the government. They’re doing alright.

The rest of the proposed budget though, on a whole, is unnecessary and unfair.

I do wonder though, as a mum, as a taxpayer and as a human being, if even one member of the current Liberal Party has faced a week where they’ve had to choose between feeding their family or paying their rent. Or when they were students, making the decision between buying textbooks or buying tampons.

I hesitate to judge but I’m guessing that no, they’ve not had to contemplate either of these two issues. And this is why they don’t understand that people aren’t just being “lefties” when they are dismayed by this budget. They simply just cannot understand.

We don’t have ONE representative who truly appreciates what it is like to live as an “everyday Australian”. Or what exactly that even means.  And I’m not talking about the token, “Oh let’s sleep outside for a night and show the people of Australia how we are TOTALLY down with the homeless peeps”. One night in a stadium, where the worst they have to endure is 12 hours without “real” coffee and a $3,000 orthopedic mattress, does not mean that they understand how hard it is to be displaced. Quite frankly it just makes them patronising arseholes.


And look, I get it, I have a background in finance and I understand that we need a healthy and prosperous economy so that we CAN provide adequate health education and shelter for all, regardless of wealth and privilege. But somewhere along the way, our government, both current and recent, seem to have lost their way with the fundamentals. If they truly understood people, they would understand that waiting six months for the dole will be, for some young people, condemnation to poverty or worse, a death sentence. Ditto working until they are 70 years of age.

The mother and daughter have been homeless since early January

I’ll be the first here to admit that right now in my own life, I am doing okay. Not so okay that I don’t have to budget or work five days a week, but I am employed and able to pay my own way. I did, however, not come from privilege. I grew up with a single mother who left an abusive relationship and we lived, for a large part of my life, in Housing Commission. Housing Commission was a lifesaver for my mother and ultimately for me. Without that saving grace, without her single mother’s pension a solid roof over our heads and my mother’s confidence that blossomed as a result of this, I am unsure if my brother and I would have become the contributing members of society that we are today. My brother is a Senior Sergeant in the QLD Police Force and I am both an accountant and a writer.

IF we take away these supports, IF we don’t allow for people to feel that they are supported when they are at their most vulnerable, then I’m not sure what kind of society we will become.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: A reasonable person understands that if they are doing particularly well in life, then they are in the position to help out those less fortunate than themselves. A reasonable person however would also never think that it could EVER be okay to try and return to surplus at the expense of the most vulnerable in our society.

So after this morning’s Newspoll results which indicate that Tony Abbott has suffered a massive hit, overtaken as preferred PM by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten by a whopping 10 point lead, I have one question to Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

Are you listening yet?

Here are some of the placards from the Bust the Budget and March in May protests. 

What do you think of the 2014 budget? Were you one of the people protesting around Australia this weekend?