Dear Sen Anne Ruston, Are You a Hypocrite or Just Bad at Your Job?

Aidan Jarvis | 04 Oct 2019

Dear Senator Anne Ruston,

You spoke at a Soroptimist forum, made some very bold claims, and defended yourself, stating the report of your comments were ‘misleading’.

Anne Ruston says the reporting of her comments was ‘misleading’ and she only wants to reduce barriers to employment. – Luke Henriques-Gomes, The Guardian

I want to see what you said, so that we can decide who or what is really misleading.

You are quoted by the Murray Valley Standard to have stated:

We can’t just keep on adding money to this bucket, because we’re not making a difference.

There are two key-phrases here: ‘keep on adding’ and ‘not making a difference’. The bucket in this lazy metaphor is quite clearly our social safety net; our welfare system. But this doesn’t make sense, because we as a country, have not kept on adding money to this bucket. Neither Newstart nor Youth Allowance have been raised in the past 25 years. You, Anne Ruston, as the Minister for Families & Social Services either know this and are lying, or do not know this, and are not doing your job appropriately.

Giving (people) more money would do absolutely nothing … probably all it would do is give drug dealers more money and give pubs more money.

At least you said “probably”. That probably saves you from a lot of the backlash you quite clearly deserve. I can understand this being taken out of context, but even if the subject of discussion was alcoholic, drug-addicted problem gamblers, you can’t possibly use this as a reason to not give people who need more money the money they need.

You say it will do nothing. Here is what it will do:

  •  allow people to keep up-to-date on their bills;
  •  allow people to keep heating and cooling on more often;
  •  allow people to eat more regularly;
  •  allow people to stay healthy, and thus cost the government less through medical costs, among many, many other things.

When the aged pension was increased last, what do you think happened to our elderly? Did their quality of life stay the same, or was it better?

Of course, you are the Minister for Families & Social Services.  You know these things… right?

What we need to do is take a proactive approach to how we look at social welfare, look at social cohorts and what those cohorts need.

As I am sure was already pointed out, this “look” at social welfare has already been done. Every person who is on a government benefit in this country, even the disabled and even the elderly, are living on or below the poverty line.

This means disabled people cannot rely on the government, your party, to get the assistance they need. This means elderly people have to turn heating off in winter, and cooling off in summer.

But you know this, Anne Ruston. There is no way you don’t.

Senator Ruston argued that increasing the rate of Newstart was a simplistic solution to challenging problems, especially when 35 per cent of taxpayer spending was on welfare.

And here, to me, is the truth exposed. You complained that a local paper reported your comments as misleading. Yet this claim is the most misleading of all.

Not only are you not being honest with this statistic, you are, by extension of your own words, “probably” accusing aged pensioners as being people who buy drugs from drug dealers, and spend their benefits on booze and gambling at the pub.

In my eyes, much like many other Liberal Ministers who have held this position, you are confirmed as either someone so devoid of compassion and reason, that you would knowingly mislead swaths of suffering people in front of you, or you are woefully incompetent and unworthy of even a pittance of the money you receive from tax-payers.

Anne Ruston, which is it? Are you a hypocrite who misleads people in need, or are you just really, really bad at your job?