A few days ago, I saw that the Greens (political party in Australia), were asking me how the latest budget would affect me. I told them my story. Having a shocking memory means that I do not remember now how much of my story that I wrote, but considering how badly we’re doing now, and how much worse things are going to be when/if the budget does go through and is implemented, I was damn shocked to find the following email in my inbox earlier today…
Tens of thousands of you rallied against Abbott across the nation this weekend. You rallied for the poor, the sick, the elderly and the young. You rallied for the Australians that Abbott intends to hurt with his brutal, ideological budget.
Last week marked my 25th year in politics, and in those 25 years I have never seen anything like this. I’ve never seen a government so brazenly, so cruelly and so deceitfully lie to a country about an imaginary “budget emergency” to justify their unprecedented and deeply unjust agenda.
We will take them on, and we will block Abbott’s attacks on the poor, on the sick and on the vulnerable.
I never want Australians to face a budget like this again. That’s why I’m emailing you – to ask you to chip in $20 today to make “One Term Tony” a reality.
The Abbott Government has waged war on the poor and ignored the most urgent and critical global issue of our time — climate change. He has thrown money at fighter jets, whilst sacrificing beds in our hospitals and teachers in our schools. He has made the rich untouchable, and created a budget to punish the poor.
Let’s take him on, Linda.
This budget ignores the environment and tears apart Australia’s social fabric by attacking universal health care and making higher education a luxury for the wealthy. It punishes those who are already doing it tough to prop up the profits of the nation’s richest corporations and biggest polluters. We will do all we can to stand up to this government.
Abbott Government’s popularity has plummeted in the polls as Government shows its true colours – and thousands of people are hitting the streets in protest. Let’s harness this energy and build opposition to Abbott’s cruel attacks on our students, our pensioners, our environment and our health care.
Just $20 will go a long way to fund campaigns all over the country.
This budget is brutal, and this Government is cruel. But, I want to be very clear — this is not a time for despair, this is a time for action. We saw what happened in Western Australia when we worked together; we must draw on that same energy now.
Let’s take them on together,
P.S. Hundreds of people have been in touch to share how this budget will affect them and their families. We’re going to do everything we can to stand up to this budget and this government. Please, if you can, chip in $20 and let’s start campaigning today.
So basically, the conversation has gone like this:
“I’m so broke, I’m scared for the health of my children.”
“Let us do something about that. Give us $20.”
The Greens need to fund raise. I understand that, and that is fine. My problem here is not that they are asking for money. Australia isn’t really used to the idea that individuals can (let alone should) donate their own personal money to political parties. We are happy to bitch about politicians being bought off by corporations and big business, but do we really have a right when we aren’t willing to fork over a little of our own cash? Politics needs money. Like it, or not, that is just how it is. If every pensioner paid a little to politicians, don’t you think they would start listening more?
So no, I don’t have a problem with any party asking for money. My problem is that they are asking for a certain amount. My problem is that they are doing this in response to people telling them how broke they are. My problem is that they too, seem to have no clue how it FEELS to be this financially scared.
I’m not a fan of Labor, and I hate Liberal. I’ve been on the fence with the Greens – until now. If anything says “we don’t really get it either”, it’s this.
This email had me feeling like shit. My stomach dropped when I read my name in the middle of it. Asking for a certain amount, asking it at this time, and making it personal are all seemingly good tactics but they are so wrong for this demographic. For this demographic, who can’t afford $20, putting a number on it limits options. If they had asked for any amount, no matter how small, I might have chipped in $5. I can’t afford $20. Asking for money within a week of my explaining our situation is offensive. And making it personal just makes me feel sick to my stomach.
They don’t get it either. Not really. And I lose even more hope that we will ever evolve to the point where we may understand each other, let alone have empathy for each other.