Archive for March, 2019

Basic Wage: We have gone backwards since 1907.

March 26, 2019

Oz Liberal Party are saying that we can’t afford Labor’s plan to set Fair Work’s guidelines to seek basic wage to keep single person out of poverty.  (Yes, our “independent arbiter” on minimum wage is independent, but it runs on rails laid by the government…)

Time for the general public in Oz and overseas to revisit the Harvester Decision 1907 (!)  :

As the Fair Work Commission’s website says:

In Ex parte H.V. McKay (the Harvester Decision), Justice Higgins of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court decided to determine what ‘fair and reasonable’ wages were using the following test:

I cannot think of any other standard appropriate than the normal needs of the average employee, regarded as a human being living in a civilised community. [p.3]

This became the basis of the national minimum wage system in Australia. It was a ‘living’ or ‘family’ wage, set at a level which would supposedly allow an unskilled labourer to support a wife and three children, to feed, house, and clothe them. By the 1920s it applied to over half of the Australian workforce. It became known as the ‘basic wage’. Additional amounts were paid to more skilled workers, for example an additional 3 shillings to a fitter or other tradesperson. These additional amounts were known as ‘margins’.

Our politicians are so proud of how we have “advanced” as a society. Well, let’s not go back to the high employment standards of 1907.  Compromise.  Don’t have the minimum be for a family of 2 adults and 3 children.  Let it be for a single adult, but have government support for dependants – covered by taking back some of the tax cuts we have had.  Have the Nation recognise that we need the children to be well-educated and healthy and happy if we are to continue as a strong nation.

Follow Justice Higgins: set the basic wage to cover at least housing, healthy food, medical costs (including dental and optical), power, water, clothes, footwear, furniture, rates, life insurance, savings in case of loss of employment, union dues, books and newspapers and NBN, public transport fares, school requisites, amusements and holidays, replacement of items such as refrigerators, domestic help, and any expenditure for unusual contingencies (e.g. too ill to work,  have to move house, death in family, etc.)

Yes, this means that Australia’s high rental and power costs should be figured in.

Seems weird that we have a high minimum wage by global standards but workers need more?

That’s what comes of letting private industry run vital services (Adam Smith would be horrified, and his works are the basis of many neocons’ theories!)  and also destroying the government-run provision of housing at controlled cost for low-income people.  With the perennial politicians’ bribes of lower taxes we have had the sale of infrastructure and the collapse of State Housing Commission support – with over a year’s wait for emergency housing as one result.  In North Metro Perth, 2018, the average wait was 166 weeks.  I therefore say that the private market’s prices for housing and power and internet must be factored into any calculation of unemployment and sickness benefits, as it should for the basic wage.

Non-neurotypical blasts an organisation called ‘Autism speaks’.

March 24, 2019

Copied from a friend’s Facebook, so people won’t share the ad without text!

From the OP (who has lived experience with ASD)
“Today the ‘West Australian’ daily newspaper (and unfortunately an institution and public standardbearer of what our mainstream public consider ‘keeping informed’ here in my state) ran a full page of content for Autism awareness month bearing the ‘puzzle piece’logo of an organisation called ‘Autism speaks’.

Claiming to advocate for the needs of Autistic folk, run by neurotypical Allistics, and applying the biomedical deficit model to ‘explain’ who Autistic people are and what we need, which is of course a ‘cure’… while denying any encouragement of our potential, or areas of functional strength and talent typical in the lived experience of Autistic difference.

This organisation encourage and facilitate goverment funding and focus on ‘therapies’ to untruthfully miscast many common, essentially harmless (to anyone else, while greatly helpful and functional mechanisms to engage for us, even if YOU can’t see how) Autistic trait behaviors, atypical uses for language and expression, and sensory reactions that pertain to fundamental aspects of Autism as a neurological lifelong condition, to instead be simply psycho-pathological illness or developmental maladjustments that need to be prevented, intervened against and changed via corrective measures and treatment.
Often ushered in under the guises of commonly accepted mainstream therapuetic approaches like ‘Applied behavior analysis’ or ‘Cognitive behavior therapy’.. for adults like me, but also increasingly leading parents and comunity services into frightening fringe medicine like making their kids drink bleach.

No, I don’t mean the 1950s or the 1980s I mean now.

For the first time since my diagnosis and the years of misguided mental health interventions preceding that.. I have finally managed to be given a new mental health plan for something other than cognitive behaviour therapy.

The public understanding that Autism is a disease to be wiped out is why most of the therapies or ‘social interventions’ we can most commonly access in social healthcare wind up being applied in ways that cause the level of harm long realised with gay conversion therapy or a singular focus on body dysmorphia causes the LGBTQIA+ community, where there is a massive cross section of the Autistic population, by the way. We are statisically at double, triple, multiple-intersectional risk for a constant life of being scrutinised, miscast, survielled and intervened upon with a ‘corrective’social gaze at large.

The stigma ‘Autism speaks’ helps to keep publicly institutionalised is the PRIMARY problem and causal motivation of the Anti-vaxxer movement.

I and other Autists stand horror and still feeling powerless and voiceless while mainstream society, our friends assosciates and families, yes, most of my facebook friends.. seem to have taken on rightful disparagement and social critique of the anti-vaxxer movement YET while still largely complicit to the underlying cause while you still yourselves display adherence to applying subtle forms of, or enact Passive daily participation with, the crushing stigma.

This includes your general silence and lack of interest or reticence to engage online anytime I raise autism… and, seeming discomfort, minimisation, topic switching, or silence and general presentation of ‘not wanting to encourage’ my real life conversation or Autistic and neurodivergent self expression.

It is all complicit to finding myself wasting years on, and being exhausted, frustrated and self critically distraught over the constant failure of ‘standard therapies’ like CBT socially forced upon me and been judged as ‘not trying hard enough’ when inevitably a psychological approach created for allistic people with a completely different cause for similar behavioural issues cannot rewire hard wired genetic expressions of Autistic neurobiological difference.

I don’t just mean my normie friends and fam. Almost none of you Allistics.

Not the Academics. Not the feminists. Not the LGBTQIA+ friends. Not the social justice ‘activists’. No particular other social minority or political or cultural group. Pretty scary for us because we are part of ALL those groups. Scary because some of you go through the same judgement and harm and are years ahead of us in terms of enacting social changes to end the mainstreaming for similar forms of it specifically targetting your identity groups. You actually do know better than to treat and problematise us how you are.

If I can’t call you all out during Autism awareness month then what the fuck is the use of having one.

Considering all the dribble you are going to get from supposed ‘best practice’ industry leaders in Autism ‘advocacy’ I thought I should contextualise in detail just how sickening it is to have a month or whatever mainstreamed for raising your apparent awareness and millions of dollars, wasted on empty rhetoric, simply reinforcing your already problematising acceptance of 1950s medical establishment views of what Aitism is and who we are while I can drown you in current credible Autism research that would actually be helpful and wouldn’t make you feel so conflicted for me and icky about it.

You’ll have family and friends reading glurgey bullshit premised falsely in popular daily broadsheets and weekly magazines and it will be rife online. Even those of us suffering severe physical disabilities and painful conditions heavily associated with Autism or those wanting a cure for some aspects are only harmed by the dominant ‘curative’narrative framework limiting how you can possibly understand or appreciate difference based needs of we Autists. Enforced forms of personal and public humiliation shame and torture have not worked to help us or eradicate Autism. Most of us would choose to stay Autistic if you actually ask us.

Ignore anything this month with a puzzle piece logo accompaniment. Warn your workmates, peers, family. Watch this 2006 ad by AUTISM SPEAKS and be truly horrified.

Those of you who know me in real life, ask yourself: how the ad can be misapplied to my life outcomes and struggles unfairly and why, what it means for me when people who don’t know me as well can’t possibly be expected to as easily see the contradictions.. if exposure to an ad like this influences how they interpret and comprehend anything Ive told them about particularly the last five years of my life. If it can all simply be boiled down to the unfortunate throes of a maddening disease that other people have to cut me off over, ‘just to save themselves’ until I can be… or will ‘responsibly choose’to be cured’? To leave me only pitied yet avoided, or ‘compassionately’ discouraged from positively identifying the uniqueness and strengths inherent for Autistic forms of humanity? To revile any notion of Autism even being a type of humanity?
Beyond any further risk of sounding any more like Frankenstein’s monster, I’ll leave those questions with you to process your own ways..
FFS you better come up with a little more than ‘this doesn’t apply to OP so he’s probably not even autistic after all’ ”

Politicians’ high incomes blind them to the reality of the effects of proposed taxation changes.

March 6, 2019

Most of the political claims around the Australian Labor Party’s franking credits tax plans talk about retirees. The pollies have missed the point – which is odd, as they probably own franked shares!  I guess they are just too wealthy to understand what happens to those on low incomes.

But why don’t journalists pick them up on it?

My understanding of shareholding is that shareholders are basically the company’s owners – each share being an equal “share” of the company.  In Australia the company pays tax on its profit to a maximum of 30%.  When the after-tax profits are shared out per share as dividend income to the owners, each has effectively paid that tax on that income. That tax per shareholding is the “franking credit.” For tax, both the dividend and the franking credit together make the shareholder’s income from owning part of the company.

The shareholder’s individual marginal tax rate may be more or less than the rate the company paid – if more, they pay the difference between what the company paid and their rate. If less, they get back the tax they have overpaid.

Consider a person who comes from a very Labor family.  He is single,  has lived quietly and bought shares instead of travelling and partying, and is now  effectively unemployable but too young to retire.  He cannot get unemployment benefits (“Newstart”) as he has paid off his home and has over $258,500 in assets outside the home.  His shares give him about $14,000 in franked dividends, with the franking credits of $6,000.  That is a total of about $385/week – $272 before franking credit refund  – and he gets by on that, nursing the $6,000 tax refund to get past unexpected expenses.  Newstart would be about $275 per week, according to the website.

Under the proposed changes, he will have his effective income cut to $14,000 – cut by almost a third, to less than the  Newstart allowance he cannot get.  At the same time, a federal backbencher on the 2018 base salary of $207,100 a year with dividends of $14,000 will get the $6,000 back as a tax credit, suffering no change to income .

That makes him angry. And it has made me  angry too.

I feel that if Labor really cared about the battlers, it would not do this – if franking credits tax law must be messed with to stop wealthy family trusts and large superannuation holdings from getting big refunds, Labor should change the rules for large holdings, or say that only actual human individuals below median wage equivalent taxable income should get the credits back.  Or they should abandon the refunds altogether.  Not claim that the low income people who get taxed dividends “have not paid tax” and so shouldn’t get the franking credits refunded, insisting that they can only be used to pay tax due for other reasons.

I would like every journalist who has a pollie claim that the low income people who get franked dividends “have not paid tax” call them on that falsehood.

I would like every journalist who has a pollie talk about retirees and superannuation funds as being the only things affected by the proposed changes, or about “franking credits being returned to pensioners”,  do one thing:  ask the pollies “What about the many people who cannot get a pension or Newstart,  but have poverty-level incomes?”

The same could be asked of any who go on about “increasing support  for working families” (say, Liberals saying they will give tax cuts) – I know that many working families have only part-time or irregular work, end up barely taxable, and are not helped by tax cuts.

I think it is time pollies were put onto Newstart for their time in Parliament, to teach them how it feels.