‘Hello, Madam – have you looked for work this week? And could you just urinate in this jar?’
Are my eligibility and capacity for work actually present in my urine?
The federal government wants to play tough-love-daddy and drug test welfare recipients. If a positive test is returned, then they’re subjected to income management, via a cashless welfare card. If the Newstart recipient refuses the test, then they lose their benefits. Oh that makes sense – force them into crime – that way we can just keep our ‘unwanted’ in prisons.
If we hurry up and privatise the prisons, then pretty soon we’ll be able to monetise our low-level drug users! They’ll be off the streets and in our corporate jails.
The government is criminalising the poorest and most wretched, calling it Tough Love. What a bullshit term that is. It basically means ‘sort yourself out. If you do, then we’ll take credit, because we disowned you, and if you die, well that was your choice. ’ That’s Tough Love. It’s a compassion cop-out. To do it properly you have to be sociopathic. It’s clear our federal government are. Perhaps they could coin a new term that embraces their leader’s vision: Sco-ciopathic.
Leave people on welfare alone. Because let’s face it, if you’re on the dole and you’re drug dependent you aren’t a player. You’ve been played. I don’t know if you’ve been on welfare, but if you’re ever going to use drugs, that’s the time to do it. It’s not like you’ve got anything to lose. You’re already on the bones of your arse. Being poor and broke and without a future is depressing – it’s so hard to stay positive… it’s virtually impossible not to test positive.
The government are taking a moral stance on your lack of lifestyle choices. As though being drug-addicted on welfare is a choice, and not the result of long-term social disadvantage in a system that has been screwing over poor people for years. How many people made a choice to have alcoholic or drug-addicted parents? Or a choice to be sexually abused by a family member or someone trusted to care for them? Like a Catholic priest, or a school teacher, or a swimming coach? Or a choice to be lost in an education system that didn’t have time or resources to make a difference? Or a choice to have a behavioural disorder, or a mental illness? Or the choice to be disregarded and lost? The choice to have no sense of a future or any idea of what you could do to make change happen?
You don’t just become drug dependent as a lifestyle plan. Most people with substance issues have suffered some sort of trauma. You don’t just become an ice addict because it sounds like fun. Something has happened to you. So the government is going to punish you. They’re clearly in the business of upping our homeless figures.
This government has no regard for intervening and supporting people towards wellness. To make systemic changes that might offer new generations hope rather than despair. Of course it’s okay if you take legal drugs like antidepressants. Just not illegal drugs. If you are going to be medicated the government would like to do it.
A lot of people on welfare smoke pot. I certainly did when I was on welfare. I smoked weed from morning till night. When I was stoned I didn’t feel so bad about not owning anything. Not having a car. Not having food. In fact getting stoned made me really productive. I cleaned the house with a toothbrush. And I enjoyed it. Being stoned made me creative. I started painting. I started painting a lot. And guess what, I started selling paintings. I started writing jokes. Lots of them. Mainly about being stoned on welfare. You could pretty well say that using drugs while on welfare helped me create income that eventually got me off welfare. So, Scott Morrison, put that in your hash pipe and smoke it. You can, because even though you’re living off the tax payer too – no-one’s drug testing you.