Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey says that poor people don't have cars and if they do, they don't drive them much as justification for increases in the fuel excise.
I hope his press secretary is furious, but we've been lucky to gain insight into how our Treasurer thinks.
We've just learned that if you're "poor" in Australia, the Treasurer is working to keep you down, not lift you up. It seems that if Hockey is right and you're poor and don't have a car, his policies are not going to help you get a car or afford fuel if you do have a car. You are dismissed.
How about the poor people who live in outer suburbs or regional areas away from good public transport infrastructure? Life will get harder. Put this together with proposed job search requirements for people receiving unemployment benefits and the burden just got heavier.
$510.50 is the maximum fortnightly Newstart Allowance payment for a single person with no dependents. I guess that qualifies you as "poor" if you have no other resources. And don't forget if you're under 30 years old, the Abbott Government proposes no financial support for you for six months if you're not "earning or learning". I suppose if you have no income at all, you'd be considered poor.
People driving cars aren't the only people paying fuel excise. How about the trucks that deliver our food and other goods and services? These increased costs will surely flow on to the community where poor people live and need to eat and clothe themselves and send their kids to school.
Regardless of the underpinning policy merits of taxing petrol, it's awful to hear such contempt being displayed to people who are struggling. I don't expect to agree with much that the Abbott Goverment says or does, but I do expect the people who have been elected to govern, do so for ALL people, not just the rich.