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New Liberal-National Party coalition government social funding model?

By Lynelle Osburn - posted Monday, 21 July 2014

The Pararoos, Australia's Paralympic football team has been cut-off from all funding. Soccer: it is the world sport. This team is ranked tenth in the world. Already we can see online protests developing. These online movements construct the foundation that will underpin the Coalition Government's smart new taxation system for funding social programs.

Recently we have had all sorts on on-line protests and crowd-funding of advertising campaigns against the government. This is the key to the new social funding model.

The Coalition Government it would appear wants to see crowd-funding of this group. They look like they are pilot-testing this new funding model. They want us to show them how much we want the Pararoos, how much we value our Paralympic football team, not by on-line protest but crowd funding.


The argument is obvious. Why waste precious cash on funding the media and pressuring the government? Why bring the nasty squabbles we witness in Parliament house outside? If people want to control the budget, give them control. Let's reduce the size and scope of government and put the power and control back to the community. This way the government can reduce taxes.

Only people who have the discretionary income to use to crowd-fund will do so. The Pararoos are not a charity so there's no tax refund, not a cent comes from the public purse. Those on limited incomes will no longer have even part of a cent of their taxes used to fund the Pararoos.

What we have here is clever, tricky and cynical. It isn't a great big tax it is a tiny one – barely noticeable. After all if 175,000 of us pledge just $1, the Pararoos are saved!

All the people who care about the world game (soccer) inclusion and human endeavour will give at least a dollar. So the tax then is levied on those of us who subscribe to philosophies of human rights, dignity, equality and inclusion. All things that in recent times we have learned the national Liberal Coalition Government would rather forget. And if we don't support Paralympic football team then it is obvious that the community has no interest, no commitment, no stake no "buy in". The only arguments left for using tax-payers' money to fund Paralympic football team are those proposed by social policy writers who subscribe to notions of human dignity, anti-discrimination and justice. There is a hidden assumption that those policy writers are not like normal folks, that they are out of touch with the normal people of Australia.

The policy writers are actually normal people too –they too have children, brothers, sisters and other relatives and friends who have disabling conditions.

If the Pararoos are going to be crowd-funded to whom will the money go, what structures and governance will be used? It won't be to a community board. Thus it is a sneaky way of taxing.


And if we do not want to play that game, if we don't come on to the field and crowd-fund, some company who likes the sponsorship or a philanthropist, will step in and the ownership will be removed from the people. The Pararoos will no longer be a testament to what we Australians as a whole do together. They will no longer be a beacon to who we are as a nation and how we value and include people. Instead it will be an act of generosity by a rich person or corporate sponsorship deal. The Pararoos become a commodity.

It will take people with a disability back to last century when we thought disability was a terrible tragedy and treated these people as somehow less than us. These Pararoos are we: you and me. They are inspirational, life affirming and worthy to be supported. In some ways, they are better than us.

Abbott and Co are not just cutting funding to the Pararoos, they are setting us up so they can continue to steal the relationship we all have with people of diversity. Australia is a land full of people from diverse backgrounds, environments and experiences. They are stealing our relationships, our connectedness with each other. It is just divide and conquer all over again.

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About the Author

Dr Lynelle Osburn has 34 years of professional social work practice in health, child development, child protection, forensic medicine and community work. She has had positions in rural and urban settings from direct service work with individuals, families and communities to management, policy and community research. Lynelle has developed particular interest in loss and grief and educating human service practitioners. Her PhD was a critical sociological analysis of the use of power by professions and universities. Currently freelance social worker and academic.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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