I DON’T want to kick off any argy-bargy about politics.
Whether you find yourself and your beliefs aligning with Labor, Liberal, the Greens or the living, breathing cartoon character that is Clive Palmer is beside the point.
There’s a bigger issue at play here.
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You see, when Treasurer Joe Hockey made some offhand comments last week about poor people not driving as much as rich people, he revealed a startling bit of information that left me reeling.
I was positively shocked, I tell you!
It seems his comments – the ones where he said the fuel excise isn’t a big deal, because “the poorest people either don’t have cars, or actually don’t drive very far in many cases” – caused a bit of a stir with ‘the people’.
So, he had his office disseminate some facts to back up his position. Hockey says that if you divide Australian households into five categories, with 1 being the poorest and 5 being the richest, it becomes clear that:
The poorest amongst us spend an average of $16.36 each week on petrol.
And the richest spend around $53.87 on the same.
Now, here’s what I want to know – no, what every Gold Coaster deserves to know:
Who are these people who can proffer fuel at such a steep discount, that $16 worth lasts them a whole week? And can they share their cheap fuel secrets with the rest of us?!
In my car, $16 buys me enough fuel to get me through ‘til about Tuesday afternoon. My car guzzles through at least $70 in petrol every week, and that allows for nothing more extravagant than daily work, school and kindy runs.
That said, I’m not particularly bothered about the fuel excise… It’ll add perhaps an extra 0.50c or $1 per week to our cost of living, and we can cope with that.
But Joe Hockey’s comments just have just proven once again how hopelessly out of touch he is, and most politicians are, with everyday Australians.
His comments were akin to suggesting that elderly people shouldn’t worry about rising electricity costs, because they don’t use their heaters in winter anyway.
But the reason our grannies and grandpas freeze every July and August isn’t because they have different needs to the middle-aged or the middle-class – it’s because they can’t afford to allocate half their weekly pension toward their energy bill.
At least most of them don’t drive…
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