A Current Affair and the Welfare Wars: as told by white men with opinions nobody asked for

Foreign citizen and former dole-bludger, Lamisse Hamouda, wonders why white men with opinions we didn’t ask for can’t stop obsessing over immigrants and people on welfare.

What can I say, this new budget is pretty exciting. As noted by Uncle Stooge-wannabe and famous unwarranted opinion-giver, Neill Mitchell, 26 years of continuous growth in the Australian economy means that we “can’t afford to be generous”.

And don’t worry, generous we are NOT.

Australia’s darling trash Tracey lays down the law with a report that sounds like a circle-jerk of conservatives pontificating about why poor people should just work harder to be less poor.

The budget is going to “crackdown” on “lazy welfare recipients” and A Current Affair will tell you why demerit points are a justified “weapon” in the terrible time of the welfare wars.

I wonder what other weapons are in store? Time-out corner for people who are late to appointments? A naughty chair for people who lose their jobs? Writing one hundred lines of “I will support neoliberal policies that cause me to blame myself for my own poverty” while sitting on a naughty chair in the time-out corner of the Centrelink office?

Oh-ho-ho, this is only the beginning!

As if the punitive punishment of demerit points weren’t enough, through this piece of bottom-feeding journalism, ACA makes actual people on welfare engage in verbal self-flagellation as a form of public repentance to the Gods of the Budget.

ACA achieves this by taking us to the “dole capital of Australia” – also known as the “Rum Capital of Australia”, also known as “Bundaberg”. It is here they show us people on welfare in action: waiting in line at Centrelink, or waiting outside of the Centrelink office.

These people are stopped on the street while doing awful things which mostly involves any activity that doesn’t involve searching for a job or waiting at Centrelink.

A camera is hovers over their faces and the reporter asks suitably invasive questions, demanding they perform shame appropriately and lick our collective boots for forgiveness over their unemployed status.

But if you thought the people in Bundaberg were getting a grilling for being people from Bundaberg, then please. Sit down. This wouldn’t be a true six-minutes of torture without old white men discussing opinions they were never asked for.

Complemented by Tudgey, Neill and some dude who runs Bundy… the real hero of this “report” is the king of all things pale, stale and male – David – discussing his favorite topic. Immigrants and why they are to blame for everything.

First, dole-bludgers are taking too much money.
But then, he clarifies that it is immigrants who take the most money.

An ACA reporter steps in to tell us it’s actually dole bludgers who don’t want jobs who take the most money.

*plot twist* ACA reporter informs us that it’s actually the immigrants that are dole bludgers who take the most money.

Then David comes back to insist that the immigrants shouldn’t get welfare unless they are citizens!

Are you keeping up?

Why am I watching this?

Immigrants are then referred to as “foreign citizens”! And David insists that foreign citizens are the immigrants that shouldn’t get welfare. After having said that immigrants can’t get welfare until they are a citizen. So… which is it, David?

I think someone forgot how an oxymoron works, because how can a citizen be foreign if they are a citizen? Semantics aside, it is here we witness David exercising the great white privilege of demanding other people speak a language he doesn’t know himself, and forgetting the true history of Australia as a definitely not pasty, not English-speaking nation. WHO IS THE FOREIGN CITIZEN NOW DAVID? Oh wait… we all are.

Possible evidence that policy is directly influenced by South Park.

Try not to get your whip in a twist over this kebabbale of nebbish logic as presented by A Stale Affair and D-dawg. After all, this is the special fantasy world of a man whose Wikipedia page needed to mention that his ancestor was a Swedish baron.

My burning questions for these folks are… WHY ARE YOU SO OBSESSED WITH US?

It keeps being so all well and convenient for poverty to find it’s boogey man in the paradoxically invisible and ‘brown’ migrant.

And this obsession is all day, every day.

Even when white immigrant Australia is at the forefront. Afterall, the two dole capitals of Australia are literally some of the whitest towns this nation has (hello Cairns, hello Bundy).

Rum Capital? Dole Capital? Or Just Another Struggling Rural Town?

And like, this obsession with immigrants is starting to feel like a fetish? And not a good one? Because this obsession is neither consensual, sane or safe.

Maybe we just need to establish dungeons in Canberra where old white men can play out their fantasies about immigrants and they can get it out of their systems. Could that stop the plague of obsessing about immigrants? Is anyone else totally disturbed by the idea of Leyonhjlem in leather? Would a leather hood leave Leyonhjlem even further enraged about ‘creeping shariah’?

Regardless, I’m sure we’d appreciate seeing all these politicians gagged.

David asks the hard questions in life: is a leather hood like a burqa? Do I look like a bowl of mash potatoes? Can I go back to 1791 and be a Swedish Baron? Why won’t someone stop me from talking?

But mostly, after watching this blatant exercise in neoliberal sadism – all I really want to do is walk into a Centrelink office where money falls from the ceiling. The ACA can’t do a decent report, but fuck they make some great graphics.

10/10 would exchange direct debit for money showers at Centrelink.

Lamisse Hamouda

Lamisse Hamouda is a writer and youth worker based in Brisbane, Australia.

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Lamisse Hamouda is a writer and youth worker based in Brisbane, Australia.

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