John Falzon comments in The Guardian (1.8.17) on the increasing consensus of opinion that inequality in Australia is getting worse, arguing that some in politics are choosing instead to ignore the problem, or worse – attack those calling for action to address it.
‘Inequality is not new to Australia. Our history is laden with the long and violent act of dispossession, of forcefully taking members of the First Nations from their homes, introducing massive inequalities in rights, in life expectancy, in happiness, in hope. Sacred places were trampled, lives destroyed, cultures and languages crushed, families scattered.
‘The violence of patriarchy has cut the same dismal highway through our history as that of colonisation. As First Nations peoples continue to be subjected to the ongoing violence of colonisation, women continue to be subjected to the ongoing violence of patriarchy.
‘Thus was the historical reality into which the white masculinist myth of Australian egalitarianism was born.
‘Class inequality is not a recent phenomenon either. It certainly wasn’t invented by those who bear its brunt, no matter how zealously it is denied or papered over by its historical beneficiaries.
‘The recent report of a 9% jump in the number of people forced to work a second job, for example, will no doubt be celebrated by the inequality apologists. “A triumph of the rule of choice”, they will cry. “The market working its magic when government gets out of the way”.
‘What this, and indicators in income, wealth, housing, education resources, health and wellbeing, point to, is a trend towards worsening inequality in the post war period.’