Some of the government-compliant media have been putting out a story, presumably handed out as a government press release when, what used to be called newsrooms in corporate media organisations, were short-staffed over Christmas and the new year.
These part-time newsrooms (e.g. Nine News) came up with one today, stating that the average Australian works for three hours to pay Australia’s welfare bill1. This includes unemployment benefits, family payments, pensions, etc. The story was reported in the Guardian, and as usual, was more rounded2. Of course, pensioners don’t tend to make donations to the Liberal Party, so the government whines about them rather than their tax-avoiding donors in big business, with the avoidance by them costing Australia about $30 billion per annum. As usual, the bizarre Senator Eric Abetz called for spending cuts2. He never misses an opportunity to trample on those less well off than himself.
While the facts may be true as the story was presented, there was little context. In 2016, Australia spends 19.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on social welfare, while in the US it is 19.3%; in the UK, 21.5%; Norway, 25.1%; Germany, 25.3%; Sweden, 27.1%; Denmark, 28.7%; Finland, 30.8%, France, 31.5%3. So, Australia’s welfare bill as a proportion of GDP is quite low. Again, the government lies by omission.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Chairman of Nine Entertainment (parent of Nine News) is former profligate Coalition Treasurer Peter Costello, and they have donated $94,700 to the Liberal Party, $3,818 to the National Party and $3,000 to One Nation4. That clearly explains the bias of Nine News
This news by government spin is just another disgraceful instance of the Liberal National Coalition and their drive to make Australia a carbon-copy of the kleptocracy of the United States5. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is even starting to sound like Donald Trump, despite being more articulate.