Sunday, May 6, 2012
Black Budget Blasts Battling Blue Bloods
True blue Australian battlers, the Hetherington-Alswyths did not land here off a boat. (Well, not quite, Prudence's great-great-great grandfather Horace did arrive in Adelaide on a clipper in the 1870s to buy a 50,000 hectare pastoral property in the South Australian hinterland).
"Christmas Island? I'd like some of that," says Prudence with a snort. "We haven't had a decent Christmas at Whistler in at least three seasons. Lawrence is looking at skiing in Innsbruck this year. And have you got any idea of the price of the ski-lift there?"
Lawrence, an investment banker, has seen his bonus halved in the four years since the financial crisis, lost his paid parking space due to the crackdown on fringe benefits and now as a high income earner faces losing his tax concessions on super.
"Success has become a sin in this country since these jackboot socialists and their tree-hugging, koala-cuddling mates dragged their fat behinds across the line in 2010, "Lawrence says. "I mean look at the wine cellar. We're buying cleanskins for goodness sake! Have these people got any idea about the dignity of the Aussie family?"
Lawrence's son Vincent is a lawyer for a resource company and knows first hand the hardship that the mining sector has encountered since the government started trying to secure a bigger share of the wealth generated by the so-called commodity boom and put a price on carbon.
"They say it's a boom, but this is a dirty, dirty business," Vincent says. "I have to dryclean my Zegna suits every single week after a trip to the Pilbara. Have you got any idea what that red dirt does to microfibre?"
Vincent's wife Anastasia, just back from tennis, is equally scathing of Swan's budget.
"I've just heard three women tell me they're taking their girls out of St Catherine's and putting them into a public school. I mean really," Anastasia says. "When you cut the legs out from under working families this way - honest negative gearers just trying to make their way in the world -you really have to wonder."
But nothing compares to the hardship endured by the family's patriarch - Myles Herthington-Alswyth III. An Australian Air Force commodore in the Vietnam war, Myles survives on a veterans' pension, 10,000 BHP Billiton shares, a $5 million self-managed super fund and the rent from 10 investment properties.
"Whatever happened to the Anzac spirit of mateship?"asks Myles. "I fought three world wars for this country and now what do these layabout good-for-nothing latte drinkers do but cut funding to self-funded millionaire retirees? We are being asked to sacrifice too much."
Those sacrifices will now extend to dispensing with the services of their gardener, Mohammed Ahmed, a homestay refugee from Pakistan.
"He'll be fine. He'll get the magic carpet ride from the government," says Myles, trying to hide his bitterness. "They always look after their privileged mates. And I'm sure he'll end up with a small business loan and a place in a TAFE training scheme or something."
Admittedly, the Hethrington-Alswyths are an extreme example. Other families are making more modest (though still humiliating) sacrifices, such as downgrading their coffee from Lavazza to International Roast or swapping Noosa for Byron for weekends away. But the pain is equally felt.
It seems Labor has misjudged the electorate yet again.
(THIS IS AN UPDATED VERSION OF A POST THAT RAN IN THE LAST BUDGET IN 2011. IT SOMEHOW STILL SEEMS APPROPRIATE)
Posted by Mr D at 10:00 PM