Leading article Australia

Get a job

13 June 2015

9:00 AM

13 June 2015

9:00 AM

‘I grew up… with an unemployed father. He didn’t riot. He got on his bike and he looked for work. And he kept looking till he found it.’

Ah, those were the days. Joe Hockey has always claimed that he admires Margaret Thatcher, but one struggles to find too much evidence of her spirit in his most recent budget. Yet this week our Treasurer drew the ire of not only the chattering classes, but many Liberals, for channeling one of Lady Thatcher’s greatest lieutenants, the irrepressible Norman Tebbit.

There are many similarities between Mr Tebbit’s comments, above, and Mr Hockey’s controversial words this week about the need to have a good job and salary if you intend purchasing a house in Sydney. The obvious comparison is that both men were stating a blunt truth unpalatable to the socialist mindset of the latte set– even as the bien-pensants fall over each other to grab the trendiest homes in the inner-west on their overly-generous taxpayer-funded salaries.

‘The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money,’ said Mr Hockey, to a question about Sydney’s expensive housing market and mortgage requirements. He is quite right. But as with Mr Tebbit’s comments, the idea that individuals are in control of their own financial destiny, and may indeed be capable of making decisions or taking actions to improve their lot in life, is a red rag to Labor and the Greens.

Mr Tebbit’s comments caused a storm in 1981 when he uttered them at the Conservative Conference in Blackpool, at a time when the Thatcher government was doing its best to rein in decades of profligacy and waste. So, too, Mr Hockey’s comments have caused (yet another) media meltdown for the Treasurer. In both instances, however, in order to prosecute their case, it was necessary for the Left to immediately distort the actual quote. The accepted lie became that Mr Tebbit had told the unemployed to ‘get on yer bike and go and look for a job’. He said no such thing, but the imagery played to the political narrative of the oppressed north and wealthy south. Similarly, the Left here have had to misquote Mr Hockey in order for their criticism to have bite: ‘Just get a job that pays more money… that’s let them eat cake stuff,’ was how new Greens leader Richard di Natale re-phrased the remarks. Social media and Labor jumped aboard, with the accepted lie now being that Mr Hockey was telling aspirational home-buyers to switch to a higher-paying job. He, too, said no such thing, but the ferals of twitter, and even many respectable conservative commentators, have lazily leveraged this falsity so as to portray the Treasurer as belittling the work of nurses, the police, firefighters and so on.

Of course, what really riles many on the Left is the poisonous three word slogan that lies at the heart of both comments; loathed and feared by those who feed off the welfare state.

Get a job.

The Fibbing Season

The porkies came thick and fast in the ABC’s first episode of its much-hyped The Killing Season; Sarah Ferguson’s well-crafted take on the Rudd-Gillard fiasco, (see Richard Ferguson in this issue). The obvious dissembling came from the mouths of the two protagonists, with Ms Gillard seemingly ad-libbing as she went along, keen to gloss over her Lady Macbeth role in bringing down a prime minister whilst trashing Mr Rudd’s legacy and personality. It simply didn’t wash.

Ms Gillard is clearly struggling to embroider a cosy place in our history books, and has latched onto her so-called feminist credentials as the key, going so far as to accuse the nerdy Mr Rudd of ‘bullying’, ‘menacing’, ‘angry’ and physically intimidating behaviour. Behaviour she never mentioned to a soul at the time.

Mr Rudd, baffled and understandably peeved by the allegations, came across as the more credible of the two, although that’s setting a pretty low bar.

But personalities aside, the biggest fibs of the first episode came in the portrayal of the global financial crisis. Filmed and edited to look like a Robert Redford thriller, we had Kevin and Wayne jetting across the globe to save Australia from ‘financial armageddon’, whilst an unconvincing Ken Henry attempted to justify the biggest waste of taxpayers money in Australian history with the limp excuse that nobody could say for sure what would have happened if Mr Rudd hadn’t over-reacted. Mr Rudd’s boasts at the time of his great success look arrogant and hollow today, as the US and the UK leap into recovery whilst Australia is mired in his debt.

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