The Coalition's need to create scapegoats in a despicable effort to shore up its increasing unpopularity, has led to a savaging of Centrelink “customers” that has dramatically backfired.
This week, I watched, incredulous (I know, only a fool with no sense of the immediate past could continue to be startled by any action performed by this government) as Minister for Social Services Christian Porter claimed across the media that the Centrelink debt recovery process was working just fine, and the fact that a “few” citizens are being unfairly targeted was of no great consequence. If they’re upset, too bad, get over it, there’s nothing wrong with our process, was Porter’s basic message.
Here are some of the things that are wrong with the Centrelink process.
Porter seemed oblivious to the astounding news that the situation is of such concern that A Current Affair, not renowned for warm feelings towards welfare recipients to whom they usually refer in stale Murdochian/conservative speak as dole bludgers, felt compelled to devote airtime to advising those on the receiving end of unpleasant notifications from Centrelink and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), apparently threatening jail terms for non compliance, how to cope.
No part of this latest debacle bears even a remote resemblance to the practice of good governance. Yes, systems develop glitches, we saw evidence of that very recently with the Census train wreck. In an alternative reality, Porter might have acknowledged the imperfections and failures of the system, and put threatening the populace on hold until the glitches were resolved, thus salvaging some good will and damping down the massive backlash.
He didn’t even have the nous to take that path.
The LNP is enslaved by ideology, to the extent that it will eat itself rather than look outside the narrow confines of its ideological box. Which is fine by me. Get on with the cannibalism until you’re a midden of shining white bones, is my position.