Mutual Obligation: The semantics  of Howard’s social coalition

Written in 2004

My mate Tony Abbott reckons it is the poor’s problem they are poor.
Pass it on – Denigrate the Poor.

It’s a game the entire neighbourhood can play.

The Real Agenda: Highlights, Income, Revenue, Balance Sheet, Assets, Stock Performance.

The Macquarie Dictionary defines mutual as:
1. possessed, experienced, performed, etc by each of two or more with respect to other or others; reciprocal: mutual aid.
2. having the same relation each towards the other or others: mutual foes.
3. of or pertaining to each of two or more or common: mutual acquaintance (1987 p.1175 italics in original).

There is no reciprocity in the relationship between the Howard Government and unemployed people.

The opinions of unemployed people were not sought; their interests are not considered. The Government unilaterally imposed the policy; the Government unilaterally extended the policy in the 2001/2002 Budget & again in the 2002/ 2003 Budget.The 2004 Budget did not do much there is an election coming. Have you enrolled?

There is no respect for unemployed people implicit or explicit in compelling them to engage in ‘Work for the Dole’. Unemployed people are (until the 2004 election) powerless to amend this policy or mitigate its impacts.

The power differential extant between unemployed people and the Government is huge. As a result of this, unemployed people and the Government can’t have the same relation each towards the other.

The only sense in which the Government policy of ‘mutual obligation’ is common is in the sense that the policy is ordinary, mundane and lacking sophistication.

The Government imposes ‘mutual obligation’ on the unemployed, they have few ways of affecting the Government.

There was never any deal done between the Government and unemployed people to seek mutual acceptance of the policy.

‘Mutual obligation’ is a compact between the Government and all citizens – one which (hopefully) will be undone in the 2004 election.

Mutual obligation is imposed upon the poor but the real target is the working class it is just that at the moment the Howard Government is not powerful enough to take head on the entire trade union movement but it is powerful enough to attack low paid workers  and those excluded from the labour market

The only way you can protect your own position is to act in solidarity with all those excluded from labour market.

Whilst you allow them to: denigrate the unemployed, incarcerate the asylum seekers, and disproportionately incarcerate Indigenous people, you undermine your own future!!!!