Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Rinehart's attack on welfare

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In the most recent issue of Australian Resources and Investment, mining magnate Gina Rinehart takes aim at welfare recipients for seeking modest assistance claiming that they are making Australia unsustainable by decreasing productivity and increasing government debt.

By Socialist Party reporters Perth

Rinehart, worth at least $22 billion, argues that the current system is unsustainable and that welfare payments are the principal reason for increased government debt. While the current system is unsustainable welfare costs are hardly the cause.

While railing against welfare for ordinary people Rinehart herself is perhaps the biggest recipient of corporate welfare. Her companies receive millions of dollars in government subsidies and recently she received a $764 million loan from American taxpayers. It seems according to her there should be one law for the rich and another for the poor.

The reasons behind her calls to “end the age of entitlement” are centred firmly in her drive to increase profits. The mining boom, particularly in Western Australia, has rewarded Rinehart immensely. At the same time ordinary people in Australia have had to endure increased living costs and a much more insecure existence.

Recent figures show that unemployment has risen to 6%, the highest in over a decade. To make matters worse the jobs that have been created have been largely part time and casual. In reality the real unemployment rate is much higher.

Rinehart claims that assistance for those that the system has left behind is bad while she has profited massively from government policies and corporate subsidies in the form of decreased taxes and grants for infrastructure projects associated with her mining businesses.

Her business interests are primarily focused on the mining of iron ore and sending it overseas to places like China. With the growing possibility that the Chinese economy will undergo a correction she is concerned that this will impact on the Australian governments bottom line.

She is calling for cuts to welfare and other services that ordinary people use in order to ensure all the government assistance she relies upon is maintained.
This entire set up means that wealth is being increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. The Socialist Party stands for an entirely different system. We argue that the best way to distribute wealth and resources is via a publicly owned planned economy.

If major industries such as mining, along with the big banks, were in public hands the proceeds from these enterprises could be used to transform the economy. Not only would we be able to create more well paid and secure jobs but we could more than afford to support those who were unable to work.

On the basis of a planned economy we could use also the wealth created to fund the development renewable energy technologies. Therefore we would also begin the process of combating climate change and protecting our environment.

The current system where billionaires such as Gina Rinehart get richer at the expense of the rest of us needs to change. It’s time to fight for socialist solutions to the problems that we face.


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