Dear Josh,

Let’s be honest with each other; you probably don’t like me, especially after that little incident at Scotty’s place, and I really don’t like you because, well, *gestures at Liberal/National/Labor parties*, but fate and chance and forty years of flawed economic theory brought us together.

First up, credit where it’s due, boosting the jobseeker rate, freeing up superannuation, and that first stimulus payment last month has created a situation where I feel like I can breathe, for the first time in years.

I don’t know if you know this, despite the countless studies, submissions, recommendations, and protests, but living below the breadline is fucking hard.

Like many Australians, I fall into the trap of making it personal when it comes to politicians such as yourself and those you work with, but it’s hard to avoid it when so many of the decisions you lot make feel so personal.

When you acknowledge that the rate was too low by doubling it, you can’t go back to claiming that the best form of welfare is a job – if that was even remotely true there would be full employment because welfare wouldn’t be a necessity.

And committing the unemployed to remain in poverty? How is that not personal? Are we the deserving poor? Are we so inherently flawed, that this is our natural state?

And if that is the case, why bother with the bootstraps rhetoric, why not just lock us all up? I assume someone in your life must have told you why creating an underclass of people whose actions are monitored and controlled by the state is a bad idea.

I don’t want to seem like I’m labouring the point, but the lives of your fellow Australians hang in the balance.

This is not a question of ideological difference, there have been too many suicides, too many untreated illnesses, too many deaths from exposure and other poverty wholly linked to the shattered public sector, starting with Centrelink and radiating out like an infection.

I understand you’ve been in the corporate party system for your entire working life, and even before that, you had a fairly decent upbringing. Not all of us were that lucky, some of us came from poverty, some of us had a few bad years, and some of us are being forced to look for jobs when we are incapable of working even if someone was hiring.

This isn’t me blaming you for my general lot in life, I made my choices and I’ve been trying to make up for them. This isn’t my envy or a post-structuralist essay on class struggle, this is a frank acknowledgement that you’ve had it pretty sweet and hey good for you, I’m sure it hasn’t been easy.

But trying to climb out of the poverty in this country is nigh on impossible; between the needlessly complicated bureaucracy of Centrelink and the pittance offered by any social security payment, including the pension; individuals are forced into an endless struggle just to attain the first tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

No offence, but we don’t all have surgeons for fathers and walk out of university into federal advisory roles.

It’s okay to admit you were wrong, it’s okay to recognise that mistakes have been made in the past. Voters would actually respect that.

All we want is functional public programs, the approval ratings right now are proof of how desperately this country wants any semblance of the governance they pay their taxes to prop up.

This neoliberal nightmare has to end; the world is teetering on the brink of endless disaster, and you have the opportunity to be at the helm of something transformative, like Keating 2.0.

Josh, mate, if you’ve read this far, go on and have a look at this thread:

This is the reality of the Australian economy: I used to be a Liberal voter.
I used to be a quiet Australian.

You may think it’s hard being the government, but you haven’t tried living under it.

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