Strangers R Us: Why Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is Bitter, Stupid And Counter-Productive – Australia News

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If you think our society is ‘too soft’ on the vulnerable, you probably need to find another society, writes Sue Stevenson.

It’s apparently easy to persuade lots of people to be cool with their government treating others like criminals. All you need to do is wedge yourself in underneath the bitterness of their life, and then use it as a lever to fling them really hard into the idea that other people are getting an easy ride.

That’s often all it takes for some people. Because geez, if there’s anything we don’t want in Australia, it’s anyone else having an easy ride.

In the name of our hardness, some of us are fine with our government’s plan to drug test people on welfare. Not addressing the things that may be exacerbating the drug problem, like the lack of jobs, the nagging threat of the automation of future jobs, the way our society is falling apart, the way that all the things that are beautiful have been somehow sidelined for homo economicus so that you’re tempted to find beauty and peace artificially.

No addressing the rampant mental illness that comes from all that. Nah. That’s too soft (and anyway, for the government it’s virtually impossible because then they would also need to address the very foundations of capitalism itself, and no one wants to go there).

And so the government, in its unrelenting desire to treat poorer Australians like they’re in a penal colony, will give this stupid drug testing idea a shot, even though we know from New Zealand’s attempt at the same program that it’s a waste of time and money. But some Australians will still be okay with it anyway.

I tend to think that people who cry “too soft” carry…

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