Australian prime minister Scott Morrison has laid out the reason why he thinks welfare recipients should be drug tested: no one on drugs can ever get a job.
“Being on drugs stops you getting a job,” Morrison told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday. “It’s that simple.”
“Losing all your money to gambling means you can’t put food on your table for your kids.”
“This is just looking at a real situation and being honest about it.”
It’s an interesting take from the prime minister, a man who served as the country’s social services minister a few years ago but has otherwise pointed to divine intervention as a foolproof solution to life’s problems.
It’s also a line that means we can only assume he has never been to a party in his life, let alone been at Opera Bar on a Friday, or any of the other yuppie havens that litter Sydney’s CBD.
Everyone with a social circle outside of themselves known about the coke sniffing lawyer, the party-happy CEO, the spliff carrying everyman – and yet their role in society is rarely questioned – certainly never attacked in these terms.
To imply that only the poor and the disadvantaged take drugs is not just dumb but also foolish; the words of a man who has focus grouped every statement regardless of how stupid it might sound when you give even a minute of thought to it.
We are all adults now. The internet has sabotaged the long-held narrative that Adults Don’t Take Drugs. The truth is out there, on every Facebook group and Instagram photo and Twitter joke: drugs are not the vice of the poor, forever falling at hurdles because they put addiction ahead of anything else. Such a premise is foolhardy and cruel, one that hopes to lean on ancient talking points with the goal of encouraging an equally ancient voting block, and one that discounts why many take drugs in the first place. But it worked for him in the last election, so it makes sense not much else has changed.
These are the words of a man desperate to pass something he promised and equally desperate to please conservatives. It doesn’t matter that experts in the field have insisted drug testing welfare recipients does not work. It doesn’t matter that other countries have tried and failed. It doesn’t matter that the government has previously created guidelines for itself that Australia would not stigmatise or criminalise addiction.
All that matters is that the Australian people see Scott Morrison standing up for everyone Having A Go To Get A Go, rapidly encouraging a class divide that he and the people that work around him hope will benefit him in the months going forward.
Here’s to another class war.