An Ode to Those ‘Rich in Brokenness and Brimming With Dreams’
15 December 2016 at 11:25 am
National CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Dr John Falzon has responded to former prime minister Tony Abbott’s crackdown on people who receive disability support by penning a poem.
Falzon described his poem as “a rejoinder to those who seek consolation in the art of bashing those who are struggling”.
Abbott was reported as praising his government’s crackdown on the Disability Support Pension, saying it was far too easy for people with “a bad back and a bit of depression” to access the benefit.
Falzon said the members of the St Vincent de Paul Society see every day what it is like for people who struggle to survive, “often waging a daily battle from below the poverty line”.
“It’s hard enough to be locked out in prosperous Australia,” Falzon told Pro Bono Australia News.
“What’s even harder though is having salt rubbed into the wound of inequality when people in positions of power and influence, in politics and in the media, for example, blame people for the exclusion they experience.
“This is usually a precursor to budget measures that will take from those who have the least in order to give to those who have the most.”
Falzon turned to poetry to make his case:
It’s that time of year
When the privileged and their proxies
To distract us from the revenue foregone
Through tax avoidance and plain old injustice
And the dream of a society that spends nothing on the many
So as to preserve and strengthen the purses of the few
Gleefully put the boot into the people
To crush curse
Threaten and stamp on
Are welfare villagers
Leaning on the rest of us
On the strength of a bad back and a bit of depression
Or an unwillingness to work
But to us
(And here it’s up to you to choose your side)
And we are many
A mixture rich in brokenness and brimming with dreams
Of a fair crack at happiness for everyone and
The simple necessities
A place to live a place to work a place to learn a place to heal
Are simply us.