SBS’s ‘The Feed’ brings poverty into the spotlight

The ABC and SBS are often criticised for bias. There have also been new calls for the two Australian government – owned broadcasters to be merged or sold and be pushed into the commercial media landscape.

I do agree that bias is a bit much on the ABC. I used to see it quite often when I used to watch Q and A regularly. And, yes, the SBS has controversial shows on it.  Sometimes, presenters aren’t as respectful as what they could be.

One thing both the ABC and SBS have going for them is that often, they give a voice to those that the commercial mainstream media (and governments) often ignore.

The real face of a ‘dole bludger’

Tara Schultz is on Newstart. She is thirty – one. By her own admission, has never held down full- time work.

Reading that alone may give you an impression that Schultz is a bum. But, if you read the rest of The Feed’s article, you’ll quickly realise that her story is much more complicated.

Schultz’s short life so far has been marred by sexual abuse, poverty, terminal illness, death and mental illness in the family. She cared for her father to the end of his battle with lung cancer. After her father’s death, Schultz looked after his widow, who suffers agoraphobia and post – traumatic stress disorder. She then moved to look after her mother who suffers fromschizophrenia. Her step – mother no longer had a carer due to government funding cuts.

When talking about elections, Schultz said her family finds voting “utterly laughable”.

I won’t go through the whole article. Read through it yourself. It’s heartbreaking.

Indictment of society and Australia’s political system

The article really reflects how broken our political system is. Quite frankly, it’s also a reflection of how broken our society is.

Poverty wasn’t mentioned during the election. The main focus was (as is often the case), on the upper and middle -class.

This election was also about culture wars. The media, especially Newscorp did the Israel Folau’s sacking to death. This became part of a very messy political campaign. It’s ironic that Christianity and religious freedom became hot button issues, yet, the poor were left out of the debate. The Bible contains hundreds of verses advocating for them.

What should be done?

Poverty is complicated, so I won’t be able to provide an adequate answer in one post. Obviously, Newstart should be increased so it can be lived on.

The way the government fails to help the severely mentally ill is appalling. It is a disgrace that Schultz’s mother lost her carer due to funding cuts.

I passionately believe that those with chronic mental illnesses should be able to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). If not, there needs to be an equivalent for mental illness sufferers.

 

The article also shows that welfare isn’t something that should be sneered at. The caricatures of what a welfare recipient looks like is obviously not the reality. There are people and families that need it as a means to survive.

A question to Prime Minister Scott Morrison: what will you do about it? Or should I say: What would Jesus do? (Hint: He wouldn’t give himself an A$11,000 pay rise while allowing penalty rates to be slashed for lower income workers).

 

 

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