An Open Letter to Joe Hockey

JoeHockeyDear Joe Hockey,

Back in 2012, when you said the age of entitlement was over, I was so relieved. I was relieved that highly-paid politicians like Tony Abbott would no longer think it acceptable to charge tax-payers for personal book tours. I was relieved that filthy rich politicians like Malcolm Turnbull, and like yourself, would put an end to ethically-suspect rental schemes, where your tax-payer funded Canberra housing allowance is paid to your spouses for investment properties they have cleverly put in their names. Which you will no doubt benefit from once again when they sell. I was also relieved to hear that this sense of entitlement would also be finished for the families of rich politicians, when the likes of Tony Abbott would say it was not acceptable to accept a secret scholarship for his daughter’s education. Nor a refund on a non-refundable deposit paid on a rented flat without proper due diligence that any other non-entitled member of the public is in no position to demand. Nor lavish trips to the Melbourne Cup to hob-knob with celebrities which even you can no doubt see is not in the public interest and therefore not an entitlement that should be charged to the tax-payer. Because these are the best examples I have ever seen of a sense of entitlement which is so entrenched and seemingly innate that it’s like an incurable disease that seems to have no end. So again, congratulations on declaring an end to it.

And oh how I wish I could leave this letter here. But I can’t. And you know why I can’t. Because I am mistaken. I am not mistaken that you wish to end the age of entitlement. What is clear is that you do in fact want to end what you call entitlement. The problem is, your definition of the problem of entitlement in our culture, and my definition, are completely different things. From the budget you’ve handed down, and from your recent statements about poor people’s spending habits on petrol (which no one misinterpreted, you really should own your mistakes Joe), it’s clear that you think entitlement is our community’s idea of rights. Rights to quality education. Rights to quality healthcare. Rights to a clean and sustainable environment. Rights to a social safety net when things go wrong. Rights to live in a community where it’s possible to be born poor, but to better our circumstances through hard work, encouragement and support from those around us. All these rights are what you call ‘a sense of entitlement’ aren’t they Joe? And aren’t these rights the things you would ideally like to end? Isn’t your budget, built on a foundation of lies about a non-existent budget-emergency, your campaign to kill the very culture that provides Australians with rights to all of these things that any first-world, educated, well-resourced and fair country like Australia should strive to protect? Isn’t your end of the age of entitlement just code for a user-pays capitalist small-government, tax-free wonder-land?

Well, had I known you meant to end this definition of entitlement, I would never have felt relief. You need a reality check Joe. Rights are not entitlements. And someone like you, with your family background, would surely understand this if you ever cared to think about it, perhaps while you’re enjoying a quiet sit and a cigar. On the profile on your website, you have published this:“Joe Hockey was born in North Sydney, as the youngest of four children. His father was born in Bethlehem of Armenian and Palestinian parentage and his Mum in Chatswood. His family worked hard running a small business on the North Shore, beginning with a deli in Chatswood and later, a real estate agency in Naremburn.” So you like to portray your family story as the classic ‘we pulled ourselves up from the bootstraps’ tale of social mobility. And like so many who have come before you having found riches and success in your careers, you now seem hell bent on destroying mobility for others by burning the ladder of opportunity that you climbed to the top. And that’s what you really meant when you said it is time to end the age of entitlement.

You’ve got it so wrong Joe. Social mobility is not an entitlement. Access to social mobility is a right. And it’s a right Australians will, when they wake up to you, fight to save. You and your rich Liberal Party chums portray the true meaning of entitlement through your little glass tower of privilege where you think it’s ok to simultaneously reap the rewards of tax-payer funded wealth, while destroying the rights of the community by wrecking the public policies designed to keep the playing field level. Shame on you Joe. Shame on you and your entitled Liberal government.

Yours Sincerely

Victoria Rollison


  1. The Labor Party are bad enough, but the LNP are just leaches upon society, they fail to mention their own entitlements and the entitlements of the wealthy, while similtaneously trying to rob the everyday Aussie of our meagre entitlements. Lower than a snake’s arse, as the old saying goes.

  2. Could not agree more …… I have had it with these types in the LNP .
    They have no sense of fairness or any idea of what it is like to be down the bottom of the pecking order. It is always about them , their family and their business partners.
    They are happy to take from our funds for their benefit …. but have a great dislike for those same funds being used to help those less fortunate.
    Their superior attitude disgust me and their idea that the lower socio economic people in this country are the leaners … not the lifters is not only wrong but it is totally misguided.
    When this country has called upon our citizens in times of need ….. the answer has always come from the ordinary citizen ( Joes calls them leaners )………. the upper classes have always run away in reverse.
    Example : Conscription ( Vietnam ) ….. I firmly remember a lot of LNP Members children at the time who were granted exemption …. on very flimsy grounds or were kept overseas for the duration . ( ask Mister Downer and Mister Fraser’s son )
    The current LNP (and Howards lot ) are the ones Bludging on the system ….. taking everything they can get in regard to allowances and frankly giving us bugger all in low gear in return.
    They are the leaners ….. and judging by their waistlines they have not done too much lifting ( apart from cigars and the odd glass of Pinot Grigio )

  3. Extreemly well argued ,Victoria.
    I eagerly await your articals,they are always so appasite and succinct.
    I see the Libs are up to their old” straw man” tricks,arguing for budget repair rather than arguing their unfair method of getting there.

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