In the latest Spectator Magazine, (Friday Friday 1/2/19) the former Howard Government Minister Neil Brown makes the observation that “that all governments (and opposition’s) and international bodies have a vested interest in failure and in making problems worse, because if problems improve or are actually solved, the big excuse for the giant governmental machinery and its cost then disappears.”
The Jennifer Oriel column in today’s Australian, ALP resists policies that may help end the poverty cycle is a case in point.
Here we have a program that is by any measure a success in fighting drug and alcohol addiction and the Labor/Green parties are determined to undermine and dismantle it on the flakey and bogus grounds of discrimination and inequality.
To them, the vague, ethereal, intangible and theoretical principle is more important and bigger than the coal face human tragedy.
In their cosseted and cloistered academic, inner city bubble, where principle overrides people, its a case of out of sight, out of mind.
For their own base political purposes they are determined to keep their mendicant, drug and alcohol addicted, welfare recipient, Labor/Green voting, client base down, sedated and on the hook.
What Oriel describes is a classic case of Brown’s political principle number one, of not only not solving a problem, but actually making it worse.
As Oriel writes today:
“..Labor and the Greens have chosen a populist approach to welfare that appeals to compassion, but offers little in the way of concrete solutions to help people escape the poverty trap. They continue to disregard welfare reforms aimed at ending the inter-generational cycle of addiction, domestic abuse and welfare dependency..”
READ ON —
“….In the battle to win the moral high ground, Labor has adopted a populist approach to welfare. Like the Greens, it is renewing its commitment to the big welfare state. The Liberal government’s social policy reform has been greeted with disdain by the Green-Left. On the question of social reform, the prevailing Left orthodoxy is inspired by tired class warfare rhetoric.
The Opposition Leader has announced Labor will scrap the cashless welfare card if it forms government. The program is having a considerable positive impact in selected communities. Preliminary data from trials showed that 41 per cent of CWC participants who drank alcohol reported drinking less frequently; 48 per cent who used drugs reported using drugs less frequently; and 48 per cent of those who gambled before the trial reported gambling less often.
Labor has been swift to point out the flaws in the program’s evaluation methodology, which is interesting given the ALP has poured millions into social policy over decades without requiring scientific evidence of efficacy.
Despite claiming to want better evidence of the CWC program outcomes, the Greens and Labor tried to block further trials being held to test preliminary findings.
Liberal members of the parliamentary joint committee on human rights called for the committee’s abolition last year after Labor and Greens members opposed the CWC trials, yet defended the right of registered sex offenders to travel overseas. The committee claimed the trial “limits the rights of social security, the right of privacy and family and the right to equality and non-discrimination”.
The Green-Left has made a concerted effort to block welfare reform. In 2017, Greens senator Rachel Siewert ignored requests from indigenous elders to extend the use of the cashless debit card in remote West Australian communities. Elders believed it would reduce family violence and help children with alcoholic parents. At the time, Siewert said: “For those managing on a shoestring budget the card makes life more difficult, and those that are struggling with addiction will find ways around it.” She proposed “locally driven, well-resourced wrap-around services to support those struggling with addiction”.
The cashless welfare card operates by quarantining 80 per cent of welfare payments for food and other essentials. The remainder can be withdrawn as cash and used for discretionary items.
The reasoning behind the program is to empower welfare recipients by removing a major impediment to their well-being and capacity to thrive, namely addiction. It is consistent with the no-harm principle that guides liberal thought.
Labor and the Greens apparently believe government should continue to allow welfare money to be used on harmful addictions. They criticise the decision to quarantine welfare funds for essentials as overly interventionist. They complain that local communities have not been properly consulted. But anyone who has managed a policy cycle knows that lack of consultation is the standard complaint of those with a determined opposition to the policy.
Labor and the Greens have rejected welfare reform, but complain about systemic inequality. Their approach to social policy is based on orthodox beliefs at odds with the evidence.
The concentration of disadvantage in Australia means targeted policies are required. The repeated delivery of broad social programs and redistribution of income with little demonstrable effect on inter-generational poverty wastes taxpayer funds. The welfare system should be reformed to reflect the particular type of inequality and to make the social security system more sustainable.
Labor and the Greens have chosen a populist approach to welfare that appeals to compassion, but offers little in the way of concrete solutions to help people escape the poverty trap.
They continue to disregard welfare reforms aimed at ending the inter-generational cycle of addiction, domestic abuse and welfare dependency.
Despite the Green-Left opposition, the Liberal coalition is leading a quiet revolution in social security. There is plenty of work to be done on the CWC program, but the preliminary results appear promising. The government should commit to improving its assessment of the program by using impact evaluation. It is a method researchers use to determine whether a causal relationship exists between a stated policy and desired outcomes.
The Coalition is right to focus on breaking the bonds of addiction so that individuals and families can be liberated from inter-generational poverty. The poverty trap ensures people remain dependent on the state for survival. The best governments work to remove impediments to human progress so that citizens are free to flourish and realise their potential…”