Thursday, October 23, 2008

What about me?

I was reading an article in the newspaper the other day about a woman responding to the Rudd government's stimulus package. She was saying that "working families" had been forgotten in the package ie she hadn't got anything from it. The article said that she and her husband's annual income was between $140,000 and $160,000 a year. They were paying off $2000 a month on their mortgage and a further $1200 a month on an investment property. She added that her husband had paid $38,000 in tax that year. So let's do the sums: the mortgage payments are just under $40,000 a year. Add that to the tax - roughly $80,000. Say their income is at the lower end of the abovementioned scale - take away $80,000 and that leaves this woman and her family $60,000 to live on, or $5,000 a month for food, petrol, clothing, school costs, entertainment etc. $60,000 after tax and mortgage payments and she's complaining that she's missing out on government handouts?!

She's not alone, though. Right across this country you can hear the refrain "What about me?" Since when did we become a nation of whiners, all lining up with our hands out for some government largesse?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Australians

I've just finished watching the first two episodes of a brilliant new series, First Australians, airing on SBS. I missed seeing the first episode on TV because it clashed with *cough* Australian Idol. Happily for me, SBS has made the series available on its website, so I spent yesterday afternoon watching it.
The series traces the history of contemporary Australia from the perspective of its first inhabitants and begins with the coming of white man to the shores of Sydney. It weaves modern commentary from historians and Indigenous people with original sources such as diaries, letters and paintings to bring to life the events of over 200 years ago.
Many of the comments on the website ask 'why weren't we told this before?' as the series reveals the true history of the early days of white 'settlement'. In the year that the Rudd government said 'Sorry' to Australia's Indigenous people, this series is a valuable tool in continuing the process of reconciliation between black and white Australia. For how else can we have meaningful reconciliation if the truth about our shared history remains hidden.