On Monday night, Duncan Storrar became the face of the Turnbull Government’s tax cuts. He asked a simple question on Q&A, and his passionate rebuttal of Kelly O’Dwyer’s response captured the nation’s attention.
He took an abstract conversation about tax thresholds and bracket creep and turned into a personal story about how he was a disabled, under-employed man on benefits who couldn’t afford to take his daughter to the movies.
Storrar didn’t ask for a handout or charity. He simply pushed a politician on a policy and her answer was not really very satisfying.
The Q&A exchange that started it all:
Since Monday night he’s been held up by opponents of the Turnbull Government as a working class hero, and a crowdfunding campaign has raised $60,000 for Storrar and his family.
At the same time, Storrar’s life has been absolutely picked apart in the press. First, we were told he didn’t pay any tax. Then his estranged son said he was a terrible father and a drug-user. And today, we learned that Storrar has a criminal record. That he had smoked some pot.
It’s 2016. Even politicians running for office no longer pretend they’ve never tried it.
None of this is relevant to the question he asked on Monday night. None of it goes to the details of whether Storrar struggles to make ends meet or can’t afford small pleasures like movie tickets for his family.
There is no perfect person, and there is no perfect poor person.
Asking people to be perfect before they can access help and support is a fools errand. And it’s cruel.
Poverty is heartbreaking, soul-destorying, and absolutely demoralising. It isn’t like the last day before your payday when you tell your friends you’re skint.
It’s constant worry about how to pay your bills, or how to keep a roof over your head or get to your job or feed your children. It breeds anxiety and resentment and anger and fear.