I‘m going to need to give you some context to my being motivated to write this post. I was in a discussion here about Macklin’s idiotic claim she could live on $35 a day. I want to make it clear that this post is not about that. Ok?
I joined in the conversation in the comments below that article. Here’s what I wrote:
We’re both on the pension with three kids. We own our house outright, so that makes budgeting a LOT easier. We have some nice things, but we always bargain shop, and we’re always looking at ways we can spend less.
We live rurally, so that cuts down a lot of expenses. My partner was working full time when we had our last child, and I was doing a little work from home from time to time. We have both agreed it would not be fair to bring another child into the family now that we’re on this budget.
We’re also trying to figure out ways to get one or both of us into the workplace in the future. It could be a long road towards that, but for now, we have to focus on getting my partner as well as possible. We dont really know what ‘as well as possible’ means for him yet.
I think most people on benefits are doing the best they can. We always have to look for ways to spend more wisely. My partner and I try to do that, but still try to allow for some joy in life too. It’s not just something we can ‘get off’ in three months, so we do allow for some wants as well as needs, but we just try to be moderate with those.
Now, here’s what sparked today’s blog post. The reply I got:
How is it possible to claim the pension when you own your house outright? Wouldn’t you redraw from your house during difficult times instead? I see so many friends struggling to get into the property market, working long hours etc. It seems unfair that you have paid your house off and are still able to obtain a pension?
Oh deary me, Anonymous, what a shit I’ve been. All this time your friends have been working hard and not owning a home, I’ve been living the high life and just rubbing your noses in it.
As for my partner, well, what can I say? He’s just a selfish prick in the face of you. He really was a dickhead to turn grey, have something resembling a heart attack (tests on that remain inconclusive), and not do a terribly good job of breathing. He really should have tried harder to suck more oxygen into his paint poisoned body so he could continue to spray paint the cars you drive and powdercoat the furniture you use. But no. That bastard instead, had to go to hospital for two weeks, on your tax dollars, mind you, instead of just picking himself up and going back to work. He should not made such a convincing show of looking like he was going to die and leave his missus and three kids behind. Oh boy, I tell you, he had me fooled!
The way he made his skin turn dark grey and his eyes sink into his head was diabolical. But you know what these welfare bludgers are like, always fooling everyone.
Look, I’m with you. I don’t believe he was hallucinating and seeing bugs crawling all over the house. When he coughed and vomitted, I reckon it was fake blood. I don’t think for a minute he left the gas stove on when we lived in Sydney because he lost his sense of smell temporarily, he was just too lazy to turn it off. He wasn’t overeating because he’d lost his sense of taste temporarily and never felt liked he’d eaten, he was just greedy, like all welfare bludgers.
Encephalitis is no excuse to be not working. Neither is mental illness. You’ve got two bloody arms and legs, you should be able to walk out that door and go to work. I’ve tried to tell him I don’t care if you have agoraphobia, but he just doesn’t listen. Bloody centrelink bludgers.
And look, don’t get me started on the injustice of him owning a house because his mum died and left him an inheritance. I know, it’s not fair at all. Why can’t it be your friends’ mothers who get to die? I can understand why you’d wish to be in our shoes, because let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy grief? I mean, that in itself does wonders for someone mentally ill.
You see, Anonymous, I’m with you. We have a charmed life. It’s not everyone who gets to have all these experiences that lead to them needing a disability pension, and a pension for the person looking after them. There’s plenty of other wonderful things we get to experience too. I feel sorry for you that your kids and yourself have never been screamed at because the kids got to bed at 7:01pm instead of 7pm. My man has this silly idea that seven is his safe number, goodness me, anyone would think he was mentally ill? It’s not fair you don’t have that in your life. And you really haven’t lived until you’ve spent those first two years since your partner got sick, on permanent suicide watch. Woe is you.
And you know something? When he used that inheritance to buy his family a house, I thought he was so stupid. What sort of an arsehole father tries to give his family a roof over their head, just in case he dies and leaves his missus a single mother? I was LOOKING FORWARD TO PAYING $320 A WEEK ON THE SINGLE PARENT PENSION, YOU DICKHEAD!! It would have been character building for me to drag my three kids up, but no. He had to take that away from me. Prick.
I’m telling you now Anonymous, since he didn’t end up dying, I feel like a fool. Being able to pay my electricity bill without panicking just makes me feel like shit knowing friends like yours have to work for it. I was looking forward to scraping money together after paying everything on rent, to be able to clothe my kids and feed them.
I was wrong to envy friends like yours who are able to work. Because I own a house and they don’t. I clearly have it better than they. I like meeting new people and when the question comes up, ‘where do you work?’, because it means I get to rub their noses in it and say, ‘hey, we’re both on a pension,’ because that always impresses new people.
None of my contributions to society are of any use to you good, tax paying folk. Not the taxes we used to pay when we worked, not the GST we pay now. It doesn’t benefit anyone that we’ve moved to the country and buy lots of fresh produce directly from the farmers. Our money doesn’t support these farmers at all, because it’s dirty pension money, and not as good as yours.
Any charities we contribute to are not even worth spitting on. Nothing we do is worthwhile unless we are leaving the house and getting paid to work. When my partner is well enough to test the waters to see if he’s ready to start work again, he’ll probably ease into volunteer work first. And I’m telling you now, that’s not helping bloody anyone. If you’re not getting paid for the work you do, and paying taxes on that work, it means jack shit, and I’m gonna tell him so. See how he likes those apples.
I’m also sorry Anonymous that I’m such a selfish bitch. I really should just leave my mentally ill partner and three kids at home to rot, while I go out to work. Why can’t they just all fend for themselves? I really wish I had that crystal ball to know my partner was going to get sick, because hey! You and I both know, why have kids if you can’t afford them, amirite?
So, I’m sorry life is unfair for you, Anonymous. I’m sorry you have it so tough. I kneel down before you and kiss your feet. Thank you for your tax dollars, and I sincerely apologise that our existence inconveniences you so much. We are nothing but con artists, and no one has even sent your memo to Centrelink to tell them that pensioners aren’t allowed to own homes. I mean, we told them about the inheritance, and about the house we bought, and they didn’t seem to care. I mean, what the fuck? Has no one told Centrelink how you, Anonymous, thinks life should work? What you think the rules should be? Or maybe they have, but it’s just that no one gives a shit what a small minded Anonymous, armchair critic ZERO thinks. Must really suck to be you.