Media Circus: HILDA Report Refutes Hockey Edition

Even the Oz has noticed! I haven’t read the full article because paywall, but here’s the excerpt from today’s Australian article on the release of the annual HILDA (the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey) report:

AUSTRALIA has enjoyed a decade of remarkable prosperity that has halved poverty rates, brought much greater self-­reliance and reduced dependence on government welfare, particularly among the aged and those on lower­ ­incomes.

The trend towards greater self-reliance — driven by the productivity gains of the 1990s and the resources boom — cuts across Joe Hockey’s argument that tough budget measures are necessary to tackle a culture of “entitlement” that has developed in Australia, with people more dependent on welfare than in other countries.

The Vine has a take on Hockey’s claims as well, as part of a larger picture of the dangers of letting one’s opponents set the parameters of debate:

Which brings us, as this column inevitably does, to the whimsical behaviour of our government and the way that it makes arguments about there being a budget crisis (which doesn’t exist) that needs immediate action (which it wouldn’t, did it exist) and for which cutting services is the answer (which it wouldn’t be, should a crisis exist, which it doesn’t).

See? If we jump straight to arguing about whether cutting services is the answer, we’ve already conceded that there is a budget crisis (there isn’t) and that immediate action is needed (it’s not). It’s important to argue the premises BEFORE one argues the proposal.

While Joe’s been deliberately misleading about about the specific numbers, there’s another point at work here: his argument only works if you accept that a smaller percentage of Australians shouldn’t have to help the larger one.

And that’s bollocks.

[snipped explication of Hockey’s false facts laid on top of false premise – read it at the source]

So don’t just deny the argument that the poor are being subsidised by the rich because Joe’s lied about the stats: deny it on the grounds that this is exactly how the system is meant to work.

He shouldn’t be permitted to use a false argument to sneakily fix the idea in the nation’s collective brains that the minority just straight up shouldn’t have to help the majority. That way bad things lie, friends. What happens when we start accepting the idea that those who have a lot owe nothing to those in desperate need?

Back to the HILDA report specifically: there’s a lot more going on than just analysing incomes and welfare recipient rates of course, which I simply cannot spare the time to read in full. According to various headlines, female breadwinners are on the rise, married men are getting fatter (and fatter men earn more while fatter women earn less), traditional gender roles persist in unpaid household labour even when both partners work, childcare availability remains the most common complaint amongst parents seeking placements, and nearly half of all retirements are involuntary due to poor health at ages well under 65, so lifting the retirement age to 70 seems purely punitive. Please link to any interesting articles written by those who have read more of the details from the HILDA report so that we don’t have to.

What news story/commentary/analysis has grabbed your attention lately? In particular, what else is being shoved under the national and international media rugs while HILDA dominates the news right now?

As usual for media circus threads, please share your bouquets and brickbats for particular items in the mass media, or highlight cogent analysis or pointed twitterstorms etc in new media. Discuss any current sociopolitical issue (the theme of each edition is merely for discussion-starter purposes – all current news items are on topic!).

Categories: culture wars, economics, media, parties and factions

Tags: , ,

9 replies

  1. I’ll jump in first and point out that one of the things not getting as much coverage as it should right now is that all those claiming that the current mess in Iraq simply could not have been predicted back before the CoW went there to depose Saddam Hussein are liars pure and simple (Bishop, Blair etc). Exactly this result was predicted over and over again as the deployments into Iraq were debated in Congress and Parliaments. They’re big fat liars.

  2. Thank you for linking that argument up so nicely.
    Here’s someone not in Joe’s income bracket doing what she can: And, just while we’re talking about how the media frames things, that’s not a “gesture” thank you very much, it’s real help.

  3. So Obama’s sending in a token military presence to “protect the embassy”. Anyone willing to bet that’s how the numbers will stay? And how long will it be before Abbott sends a company of SAS to help out?

    • I’m so not going to devote a post to it and send him undeserved linkjuice, but GandalfOnAPogoStick Tim Blair’s frightbat clickbait exercise. What a waste of skin.

      • Mind you, since I’m insomniac right now anyway, reading the #frightbat timeline has been a great way to find new witty and interesting tweeps to follow.

  4. If she hasn’t already, I’d like to nominate Kathy Jackson for Hoyden of the Week. Her testimony to the Royal Commission is amazing, not only for what she went through, but her determination to keep going despite it all.

  5. We must have been reading very different things AotQ, I was under the impression that she blew the whistle on alleged wrong doing while happily continuing with her own (alleged) dodgy doings.

    • There’s certainly plenty of claims and counterclaims going on. All of the people against whom allegations have been made appear to have questionable ethics at various levels, Jackson included. It’s going to take a while to rake the muck away from what needs to be more rigorously examined.

    I see multiculturalism is going down a treat in Bendigo. Australians all, let us rejoice.
    I googled ‘Bendigo racism’.
    I bet they are upset about the halal butcher, too.
    Australians are shamefully hostile to new arrivals. Both my mother and father faced similar levels of hostility as new migrants to this country in 1955. And they were white and (kind of)English-speaking.
    Kathy Jackson: I’ve thought about whether the allegations against her were punishment for whistle-blowing. I also wonder how much my perceptions about how a woman Should Behave are colouring my conclusions.
    But I think she is just as dodgy as the rest. When she first made her accusations she came across as enjoying setting the cat among the pigeons. She was not so much concerned with the wrong-doing as getting back at her enemies. She seemed to be enjoying the media attention and the fall-out. She didn’t appear to be an outsider, stressed and isolated.
    Perceptions. They are the very devil.

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