Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The single person's Federal Budget wish list

It's Federal Budget time of year again here in Australia.

Like every other year, you can expect the word "family" to be bandied around a lot with phrases like "battling families", "struggling families" etc.
But I know they don't mean my family; mine doesn't count.

They only mean families with a middle-aged couple, two kids and a pair of black SUVs in the driveway with "My Family" stickers on the back.

And this is despite the fact that the majority of Australian households aren't "families" at all, rather singles and couples.   Still, it's political gold to pretend it's 1953 all over again.

As a single, I haven't got anything against families.   I'm certainly not "anti-family" (whatever that means).  In fact, research shows many singles come from families too.

It's just that at Federal Budget time, the Australian child-less single seems to be overlooked.

It's wishful thinking, but here are my five Federal Budget initiatives for the Australian single:

1.  The "Thanks for not being a burden on the system" Bonus
So you didn't use a hospital during the past 12 months?  Maybe you went to the GP once or twice, but didn't use Bulk Billing?   You've stayed in shape and looked after yourself, so here's a bonus for not being a drain on the system.

2.  The Disposable Income Economic Stimulus Reward Scheme
Let's face it - single people are more likely to have disposable income.  We're not paying for young Jordan's braces or Olivia's school camp.  Instead, we're spending our disposable income on ourselves. Some may call it selfish, but I call it stimulating the economy.   After all, where would the entertainment, fashion, health and fitness, travel and other sectors be without the single dollar?

3.  The Single Person's Travel Allowance
Great citizens are global citizens.  This allowance helps Australian singles explore the world, soak up new cultures, destinations and ideas, and bring the best of these back to Australia.   Ok.  So this one might face a bit of an uphill battle to pass through Parliament.

4.  The ERNP (Environmental Rebate for Not Procreating)
It's fair to say the risk of the human population dying out is fairly low.  In fact, rampant population growth seems to be killing the place.  Apart from being childless, singles are also probably more likely to live in medium to high-density dwellings, thereby reducing urban sprawl; less likely to have a massive fuel-guzzling car running idle outside schools, child care centres and sports grounds; and are certainly emitting less CO2 gases by not whining about how rewarding / hard it is to have a family these days.  So if you've managed not to have a child during the past financial year, the environment and government says thanks.

5.   The Single Productivity Incentive
As a single person you didn't take time off from work to look after young Tiffany when she got chicken pox or the flu or whatever else was going around child care.  You also didn't take paternity or maternity leave.  And you probably came into work earlier and / or stayed back late (and maybe even did weekend work) because you weren't dropping kids off at school, taking them to the doctor, and because, let's face it, you've got no life to speak of.  You were probably also more likely to do those work trips requiring nights away because... well it's not like there was anyone waiting at home for you, was there?  As an economic unit you're pretty efficient and productive, and this incentive recognises this.

And if all of these great ideas are just too hard to implement, how about just a handwritten note from Treasurer Wayne Swan saying:  "thank you for funding all those things you'll never use or ever be able to access because you will probably die alone in your flat with only the smell of your decomposing body alerting the neighbours"?

It's not too much to ask is it?

NOTE:  If you take this post too seriously, you should be slugged with an extra tax.