It could have been us.


I was driving to work this morning, listening to triple J. More swear words, less ads for erectile dysfunction remedies. Just the way I like things.

On the news, they were talking about how families make up a quarter of the homeless population in Australia. Many of them are women and their children, escaping domestic violence.

This chilled me.

Ok – confession time here.

My mother regularly suffered domestic violence at the hands of my father, an alcoholic who is now deceased. They split up when I was ten. After a few sudden runaways to womens refuges, she finally had the courage to leave him, we stayed in the family home and he left.

I have a very distinct memory of dad coming back one day and saying “I am selling the house”. The abject panic of my mother, who finally arranged to pay him out his share of the house by increasing the mortgage. Not easy, on extremely limited income. At times, the sole income was the single parents pension.

She kept the home for us, just. By the skin of her teeth.

I wondered this morning what would occur if this happened nowadays. Would there be any support for women like my mother?

It would appear not.

“Current Affairs” shows that pander to the lowest common denominator, we all know which ones they are, demonise single parents, usually mothers, on pensions.

How on earth can we demonise somebody who cannot really even afford to keep a roof over their kid’s heads. “Oh but they can afford to smoke”…yeah, so what?

There is something so very sad about a wealthy and well-resourced society who would fear and alienate people who are vulnerable, people who divert from the white, christian family with 2.3 children.

I fear that, in many ways, we are going backward, not forward.

Anyway that is my thought for today.

One response »

  1. It’s a ridiculous sitation, isn’t it. I’ve been there – been a single mother trying to survive on a pension but also been on the other side because I used to work at Centrelink.

    While there are always some people who try to work the system, most of the single mums I dealt with when I worked at Centrelink were desperate to get off welfare and get working. Also got a lot of divorced fathers asking “why do I have to pay child support?”… very hard to stay calm and professional and not use swear words to that one.

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