Supporting Alternate Lifestyles for betterment of society


With Bob H’s recent passing, the ABC has run a piece on some of his ideologies dating before he became Prime Minister.

He noted that during the 50’s and 60’s we had experienced great social change, with high immigration into the country plus full employment, creating a community that meshed together very well. By the 70’s, as unemployment began to increase, plus under employment (ie part time jobs increasing) he saw that cohesion starting to break down.

One of his solutions for this problem was the idea to support “alternative lifestyles” with land grants and financial support, to help these types of communities flourish. This he predicted would see some people leave traditional employment in favour of these alternatives, and thus open up jobs for people who preferred that style of living.

Hawke noted that unemployment benefits were very low (though I’m betting not as bad as they are today).

Whilst not quite hitting on the idea of the “Universal Basic Income” (that I thought I’d mentioned previously, but can’t find now), it almost amounts to that idea. People who want to work always will, and those who prefer not to work would no longer be labelled as “unemployed”, but receive financial support to engage in - other activities.

Following on from the AI thread/s and future jobs, with a rising part time / casual workforce… this is ever more prescient now, than back then.

It would take a few generations for such a social shift to really become accepted by the wider community, but it’s certainly an interesting concept! I’m not sure if the economics of this idea would come together, but I do suspect that a large % of the population would continue to choose to work, and not just “opt out” of contributing to society.

Bob Hawke, I barely knew you!



Hawke might have suggested them, but that was no doubt chasing factional support so he could shaft Heydon. Appeals to the left always work in the ALP when it comes to running for leadership. Things change when the protagonist gets in charge of the cheese though. It was also the seventies. Every ABC journalist and their friends were building mud huts in the sticks.

he did the opposite as PM, implementing most of the John Howard commissioned Campbell Report recommendations , eg floating the dollar, deregulating banks. After a painful transition, these measures have built Australia’s luck for the past three decades. That said, maybe Hawke didn’t sweat the details, and that was the work of the Finance Minister Peter Walsh with Keating support. Walsh was old school ALP. Had a real job before entering politics.

Besides, who wants to live in a country when a large slab of the country leans on the backs of lifters? The lifters would head elsewhere, and then where would you be?

I do suspect that a large % of the population would continue to choose to work, and not just “opt out” of contributing to society.

Uh huh. So let me get this straight. A large % of the population will turn up to work to fund an ever growing cohort who live a nice lifestyle without earning it. A remittance if you will. These days it’s called a Basic Living Stipend, or Universal Basic Income (UBI). What would happen as the political power of the lifestylers/doleists/UBIs grew they would demand ever increasing payments, so the next group of workers earning just a bit more than that quit, why bother? Once it reaches 50% of the voting population it’s game over. Veneztralia.

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As someone who has spent her entire adult life as a school teacher, most of that time as a PUBLIC school teacher, and now works for the United Nations for a pittance (though some of the perks ARE nice), allow me to disabuse you of this notion right now.

There are entire sectors of the so-called “economy” where people toil away for crappy wages and terrible support because they firmly believe in the vocation. Teaching is the most obvious, and truly, it is the one for which I will strongly argue proves you wrong on this. I do not care and have never cared how much money I make to teach except as it pays for the bills. If I have a little extra, I sometimes spend it on stuff (like computers), if I don’t… well, as long as it is enough to pay for my one bedroom apartment, my utilities, my commute, and my food… I’m honestly pretty happy. I would be extremely happy if these basics were offered as recompense for my teaching. Sometimes, the money, the damn currency points, offered have not been enough. Yet I have resisted moving to private schools (though I have taught at a couple) or a career change (which I just did, for the same ballpark figure working again in the public sector because I believe in the mission) because I want what I do to matter and someone has to do it.

This idea that people are inherently lazy and if offered a basic living stipend in order to contribute to society in a way that isn’t capitalistically “profitable” (you know, like us public school teachers who consistently get the shaft in some of the neediest schools with the neediest pupils, no matter if it is America, Australia, or Japan) will not continue to practice their vocation is absolutely bunk. Indeed, it’s deeply offensive. One of the major problems with capitalism and how we practice it is how often those that really can contribute to society get wasted in silly jobs because their vocation is undervalued and not considered profitable. This is wrong. And we must find a better way.

The median wage in this country is $52k. Teachers earn more than this.

That’s fine if you’re a single person, at the beginning of your career, aren’t commuting a long distance, and aren’t putting in long hours and spending some of that money to purchase resources for your students which aren’t coming from proper funding of schools. Find me a teacher, especially a public teacher who doesn’t spend her or his own money on students. I dare you. Most teachers do not check all of those boxes, and AU$60K ain’t gonna do much. And there are teachers making less. I’ve made slightly more than that at my best, I’ve made far less than that at my worst. I make less than that now. Australia isn’t unique in this. Lord knows I’ve spent enough time studying Gonski to know.

My point is: teachers gonna teach. No materials? We teach. No classroom? We find a tree and teach. No one teaches for the money. We teach because teaching is who we are, not what we do. And certainly not for “profit.”

The point is that more than half the population is earning less than you. You are not poorly paid.

In case you are wondering, I earn about the same as a primary school principal (over $100k), and I am responsible for a staff of 39 and manage an annual budget of well over $100m. I also do the job because I believe in it, not because it earns a lot too.

Back on topic, the closer a UBI gets to median earnings, the more people will opt out. You aren’t going to go cleaning/working a bar every night if you can get a UBI. Well, maybe working the bar.

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I just calculated, I am making AU$30,412.80, before taxes. Still think I am not poorly paid? I think I am very on topic, I only made AU$16K last year. Yet I did not give up and get a job just for the money. As long as people like me exist, who just want the bare minimum, I’m not sure I see the evidence for opting-out.

BTW: Capitalists always argue alternately that people are either greedy or lazy. Yet it can’t be both. Either people will obey the invisible hand and seek to expend some effort for better than the minimum whatever that is OR they’re lazy and will just accept the minimum.

I think the answer is neither. Lots of people will put in the hard work because they have ethical and moral value for the work. They will neither be lazy NOR seek profit for profit’s sake. Not everyone, plenty of out and out profit driven folks (detrimental to their emotional, mental, and sometimes physical health), but we shouldn’t all be subject to their nonsense in order to not die.

In considering the original post above, I have to admit that I started thinking about Star Trek - The idea that in the future, money would have no meaning, society would have moved past it. I honestly still can’t truly grasp that notion, but I love the idea that humans could live in such a manner.

The reality? Yes, menial jobs will probably always be a real test to this concept, because - who wants to spend their life cleaning other people’s messes? And if no one is doing that, then the world turns to… mess. And that’s not an idyllic rosy oil painting of a future depicted by Star Trek…

I know from Tony Robinson that throughout history there’s always been lowly jobs performed by people at the bottom of the pecking order. Just this week in India 7 people died in a hotel septic tank. I’m sure none of them wanted to be the person who had to go into the septic tank.

There is none the less at the moment a huge imbalance between corporation’s CEOs and the lower paid workers. Perhaps this kind of re-think would also require shitty jobs to be paid more, and some jobs to be paid less.

(One company I worked for - the CEO received a multi million dollar bonus, despite the company making a large loss. The loss meant staff lost their bonus, and the govt also missed a dividend. So 300 people worked damn hard for no bonus, and the CEO cooked the books and got millions…)


You made $30k as a UN volunteer?
In any case we were talking about teachers in the public system, where the graduate wage starts at $65k, higher in many states. This is below the average wage of $80k, but well about the median of $52k. A graduate, or even someone with a couple of years experience, should not be paid above the average wage. That is a higher starting point for a teacher’s wage than I would have expected given they always carry on about it.

Clearly, the utility you gain from being a UN volunteer outweighs the extra cash you would get as a teacher in Australia.

Anyway, for people that are unemployed we have the dole, and disability pension. Unlike a UBI, these require an activity test. That deals with the needs of the people you are concerned about. You can argue about the amount they get another time.

I was a public school teacher and the most I ever made was US$64K, but that was a very special year at a private international school. I have usually made around US$35K which is around AU$52K, or that median wage you mention. I make about AU$30K as a UN staffer. I am not a volunteer. I am an employee of the United Nations, though I am on the lowest tier. I should go up next year, I hope. I only started in April.

I have post-graduate education and 11 years teaching. Welcome to the global recession continued. Do not believe the folks who get their wealth through the stock market/capital gains, or had other large amounts of capital. The economy is doing just fine for them. Not so much the rest of us.

Thanks for your service as a teacher.

I for one think you’re not only paid rubbish and not what you’re worth, but most likely you’re treated like rubbish a lot of the time, by parents, the system etc.

This wage argument “you’re paid above the medium wage” is rubbish and a stupid comment.


Yup. Thank you. Teachers in all developed countries are dealing with this. And a large part of it is the major disparities between the private, parochial, and public systems. Those of us who CAN teach in private schools may choose to do so out of financial need, but we do not always want to do so. The neediest pupils are always in the public schools. Australia gives federal and state dollars to the private and parochial systems and it seems utterly insane to me, especially as someone who moved to Australia to study from the US where, while this happens, it has to be very under the radar because of separation of Church and State and because private institutions receiving public funds tends to be frowned on. Japan is quite similar. But in both countries we have other funding issues. In the case of the US I went to a public high school drawing from a local tax base so rich it was like private school. 30 miles down the road, in majority-black area… Surprise surprise, low tax base, so textbooks falling apart, buildings not maintained… Infuriating. Japan has issues with public Boards of Eds hiring temporary and dispatch contract teachers (which I have dealt with myself, hence my low wages at times) from private companies. Absolutely ludicrous.

Just last summer I got a Certificate IV in TESOL from a college in Queensland to add to my English Ed BA and my Masters coursework in Social Studies (US/Japan/Australia). I have sunk a bunch of coin into a stack of credentials.

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I also think you’re underpaid.

Working in school IT, I see the amount of work teachers actually have to do. Reports, Programming, Compliance, Curriculum development, testing… And that’s on top of lesson planning, marking, actually teaching, meeting with parents… the list is endless and they aren’t paid enough for this. I know so many teachers who are stressed out of their brains and have lost the love of teaching.

Not only that but in Australia at least, teaching isn’t respected as a profession, like it be. I have massive amount of respect for teachers, I don’t know how you and others do it.

I don’t have a problem with federal funding to systemic private school systems, because I think its fair enough that if a parent wants to pay half the education costs, that their kids get federal funding as well (since these parents pay for education through the tax system). The government would be paying a LOT more if they stopped funding systemic school systems and everyone had to move to state schools or pay a full private School fee.

However, I do have a massive problem with private private schools that charge ridiculous amounts of money and are hugely overfunded, ie the type with Multiple swimming pools.

I do agree though, public schools are underfunded. I think the money should be cut from the ‘private private’ schools and put towards public schools.

I agree many (most?) public schools are underfunded but the fact is that there are many underfunded private schools as well. Smaller and/or rural private schools, in particular Catholic rural primary schools are often disadvantaged compared even to their local public schools.

I don’t have a horse in this race, I’m not catholic but I did manage a rural bus company for the last 25 years before I retired and I was a regular at most of the local primary and secondary schools.

It was clear from the equipment levels, the classroom facilities and talking to the teachers that roughly 3/4 of those Catholic primary schools were teaching in conditions inferior to that in their local public primary schools.

That was not the case by the way for the secondary schools which if anything seemed to have better facilities than most of their public competitors.

And yes there was the obligatory expensive private school which could easily have had their funding cut but that’s the point… not all private schools are the same and you can’t just say ‘cut funding from private schools’ without hurting students and teachers who’re already doing it hard.

And I might add not all public schools are underfunded, Bendigo senior secondary (years 11 and 12) is anything but underfunded and Bendigo South East College (years 7 to 10) has facilities that most other public secondary schools in the area can only dream of having.

You need a nuanced solution to funding shifts.

Oh yes definitely, this was my point about Systemic school systems. People seem to lump all private schools together.

As you say - A nuanced solution is required… It isn’t as simple as cutting funding to private schools and the fixing everything.

And definitely this. I’d say it would have to be a staged cutting of funding. And when I said “I think the money should be cut from the ‘private private’ schools and put towards public schools.” I meant money cut from the super expensive private private schools, not Catholic systemic schools (for example).

I personally think all education is underfunded. A lot of schools appear to be shadows of what they were. It’s sad, it’s a let down for not just the students but the teachers doing the best with what they have. Which isn’t a lot.

Edit: I should clarify my statement. Some schools use money better than others, like anything, they work with what they have. But it’s impossible to brush schools with the same brush. Some schools deal with different problems and issues than other schools. Some have to deal with a lot more anti social behaviour than others so they need to put more funding into that. A school down the road might deal with that less so they can put more money to technology etc. I think all schools should be dealt with individually. But overall education needs a boost.

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This would be ideal. So many factors come into play with schools…

In the US there is no official public funding for private schools and parochial schools are just the same on paper as any other private school. Moves with so-called vouchers and public-private charter schools seriously tests America’s commitment to separation of Church and State when private/parochial schools get access to this money but discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and disability, and sometimes race!

In Japan all high schools cost money, even public schools, so there are subsidies for families directly, but that said, Japanese standards across public and private schools are a lot closer because all must adhere to national education guidelines. Public 1-9 is constitutionally guaranteed and mandatory. Some international schools may get special dispensation to follow their countries’ own standards, but there are still inspections.

In Australia, I recognise @Geoff3DMN’s point about Catholic schools (I was raised Catholic and attended Catholics school and public schools in about equal measure), but if a Catholic school can turn away children for having gay parents or because the student is gay or because the family is atheist or Jewish or the parents are unmarried or the student has a disability that the school doesn’t want to accommodate, that school should not get public funds. And if you want to send your kid to such a place, I don’t want to help you pay for it.

I also feel my public and Catholic educations were of similar quality and I have no intention of sending my children, should I ever have any, to anything other than a public school. I can teach religion and ideology in the home.

I see your point, but kids don’t get to choose where they go to school. I don’t think where their parents send them should impact on the education they receive.

I am gay and Catholic and went to Catholic systemic primary and high schools, and there were definitely non Catholics there, there were out kids (I wasn’t out) and kids with disabilities. I don’t agree with funding discrimination, but I also don’t agree with kids receiving a lesser education because parents have made certain decisions.

At the end of the day there are a certain amount of students and the catholic schools take pressure off public schools and also cost less per student for taxpayers.

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