Friday, April 28, 2006

DH reveals her most shameful secret!

Following on in her series, "Nothing to hide, nothing to lose?", DH has decided, as a service to the public, to reveal her most shameful secret!

And what is middle Australia's most closely guarded secret? Hardly scandalous tales of wild abandonment and illicit goings on. As if! Most of us are worked way too hard and are way too exhausted at the end of the day to even think about it.
No, she's talking about the family budget, the embarassing story of just exactly what we earn, and what we spend those hard-earned dollars on.
So here it is. A completely detailed breakdown, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually of a middle income Australian's household budget.
Read the spreadsheet and weep.
Desperate Houso's Annual Budget.
The Spreadsheet
(published in HousoLink, a newsletter for Public Housing Tenants)

Summary of DH's Weekly Budget

Total Family Income : 974
Total Govt Clawbacks : 247 (Tax, HECS, Austudy. Overpayments)
Department of HOusing: 300
Remainder : 426

Necessities : 439
What's left $13 out of pocket a week
Fines and penalties 22.00 **
- 35.00

* NECESSITIES: Includes averaged groceries, (food and non-food eg cleaning products), transport, health insurance, medical gap fees (despite exorbitant health insurance fees and medicare), prescriptions, contents insurance, $400 worth of basic clothing a year, uni fees, budget haircuts, telecommunications, utilities and memberships of poliitical, disability, community groups, union fees)

Does NOT include such "luxuries" as : a fortnightly movie for self and child, books, newspapers, birthday presents, Christmas presents (she doesnt buy them anymore anyway), holidays, lattes, an occasional bottle of wine, or anything that makes life beautiful really, the occasional taxi, a CD or video hire now and then

The weekly cost of these basic "luxuries"? $125

* PENALTIES: (Bank fees, parking fine penalties, overdrawn fees. ACOSS documents how the poor pay more for everything because they cant afford to pay on time)

Well, her car was due for rego, but she cant afford it this year. So now she has no car, though with a disabled dependant, her need is greater than most.

She scrounges what she can. She borrows from Peter to pay Paul, and vice versa. She has humiliating encounters at Vinnies. She borrows money from her mothers' pension.
What a life, eh, in the richest country on earth, for a woman with a responsible job in the public sector, a higher degree, and a disabled dependent?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Unbelievable! Centrelink student payment hasnt changed in a generation!

DH's daughter finally got around to applying for her Pensioner Education Supplement. It's exactly the the same amount ($30 per week), as it was when DH did her degree 15 years ago! And wouldnt you know it, it's not retrospective to the beginning of term. You would think that DH had learned by now, that Centrelink never gives suckers like her learning disabled daughter an even break!

Monday, April 03, 2006

DH is sick at heart. What's the point of going on?

Look at the news and weep.
  • Scrooge McHoward, head prefect and beadle of the workhouse, has returned us to his preferred era, jolly old Dickensian England
  • DH is sickened by institutional homophobia. She is enraged at Howard's cant about preserving the "Sacred Institution of Marriage". What preserves the sacred institution of marriage is making sure that working class parents are not split up by weekend work and shift work, that they have secure affordable housing,  decent health care, and free dental care so they can smile at each other without shame.
  • Horrifying news from a jail cell in Sydney: Mamdouh Habib is subjected to brutal and humiliating treatment ONCE AGAIN? Guantanamo not enough for the boys who did this? 
Oh, brave new world order that has such Australian voters in it. We had a relative paradise in this country. DH knows because she was a reffo from Eastern Europe. She still remembers police states, and what happens when there is no workable social contract between workers and industrialists, and the scapegoats that must be found. But the voters, knowing no history, in their ignorance, and their dreams of MacMansions, have undone us.
Anyone for concentration camps? Now THERE'S an efficient solution that kills 2 birds with one stone: the housing shortage,  and workers who insist on eating too much.