If you were wondering how the Government intended to fill all those private prisons with 40 hour per week work gangs, fret no more. Here come the latest bennie bashing dog whistles to happily fill SERCOs new private prisons, this time it's a year inside prison for being in a relationship with a beneficiary who has taken money 'fraudulently'.
What does that actually mean? There are a complex set of rules that claim if a boyfriend or girlfriend spends a certain amount of nights at the same house then those on welfare suddenly lose their status and get reclassified as a couple. That in turn cuts down what they can claim on welfare and the officials get to claim the 'couple' are defrauding them and they either cough up $5000 plus split repayments or it's a year in prison.
What these changes mean is that we will start seeing a new age of welfare dawn raids with officials wanting to see who is sleeping where so that they can be reclassified and of course get punished.
So the question of course is when will we be arresting rich housewives who know their banker husbands are tax avoiding? Why are we only arresting the partners of beneficiaries? Welfare fraud costs us what, $20million per year where as tax avoidance is a minimum of $140million per year.
When Bill English double dipped his housing allowance, we should be calling for his wife Mary English to be arrested?
Of course not. This isn't policy that cracks down on the problem, this is policy that mauls the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us while demonizing them so that the outright injustice of their treatment compared to the wealthy housewives of tax avoiders is utterly ignored.
What an ugly little country we are becoming.