The poor as hapless, the artist as hero

If you’ve visited ABC Online in the last few months, you will have seen multiple stories born of the broadcaster’s so-called “Australia Talks National Survey.” It isn’t a national survey at all, of course. Gerard Henderson:

Which leads to the question – how representative is the Australia Talks National Survey? Well, between 20 July and 29 July 2019, a total of 54,970 people, covering every Australian State and Territory and every Federal electorate, completed the survey’s 500 or so questions. Even so, the survey was essentially directed at the ABC’s viewers/listener base. As the ABC’s Australia Talks promotion material states:

Participants in the Australia Talks National Survey were selected from the Vox Pop Labs online respondent panel, comprised of a diverse cross-section of Australians. The panel was recruited from Australians who have completed ABC Vote Compass surveys in the past and who said they were willing to participate in further research projects.

That’s pretty clear then. The Australia Talks National Survey is primarily a survey of respondents who are accustomed to interacting with the ABC through its Vote Compass initiative. In short, it’s not representative of all Australians – since, for example, ABC TV always rates behind television networks Nine and Seven and sometimes Ten. In other words, the ABC appeals to a minority of Australians.

Notwithstanding that the survey is clearly rigged, what happens when a majority of even these respondents come down on the politically ‘wrong’ side of a question? The ABC immediately hoses down the result using ‘experts’ and the old “divided nation” trope, that’s what:

Is hard work enough to lift anyone out of poverty? This question divides the nation.

If you just work harder you’ll get ahead.

It’s a seductive concept, and essentially the view of 50 per cent of Australia Talks respondents, who agreed with the statement: “In Australia, anyone who works hard enough can get out of poverty.”

Forty per cent of respondents disagreed.

For those who haven’t followed it, the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey questioned nearly 55,000 people across the community to get a nationally representative sample of what the nation thinks.

And a majority of people across the nation think “if you have a go, you’ll get a go.”

There’s logic to this view — Australia is a developed country with solid public education and health systems that should, at least in theory, offer everyone in the community a baseline of opportunity from which talent and hard work can shine through.

But those who work on the frontlines of poverty reduction almost unanimously say the notion that hard work alone can lift someone out of poverty is just plain wrong.

Then the chastisement is really dished out:

Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell from Sydney University’s Department of Political Economy has just written a book on economic inequality in Australia and around the world, and he isn’t shocked by the Australia Talks response.

Frankly, if you haven’t lived in a state of extreme poverty yourself, you’re unlikely to understand the vicious circle characteristics that actually prevent people escaping from that trap in practice…”

“So, the fact that 50 per cent of people effectively blame the poor for not working hard enough to get out of poverty doesn’t surprise me at all.

“But I think if the roles were reversed they might see the situation a little more sympathetically.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere on ABC Online’s main page this morning:

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30 Responses to The poor as hapless, the artist as hero

  1. FelixKruell

    Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell from Sydney University’s Department of Political Economy has just written a book on economic inequality in Australia and around the world, and he isn’t shocked by the Australia Talks response.

    “Frankly, if you haven’t lived in a state of extreme poverty yourself, you’re unlikely to understand the vicious circle characteristics that actually prevent people escaping from that trap in practice…”

    Does he apply the same test to himself? He (presumably) hasn’t lived in extreme poverty either…yet he’s allowed to have a view?

    When a majority of even your ABC rigged poll says you can work your way out of poverty, it suggests there is an element of truth to it. Which can’t be allowed to stand of course…

  2. stackja

    ABC as usual it’s ABC.
    I note previous poster.
    I scrolled. Probably supported ABC.

  3. Des Deskperson

    ‘Does he apply the same test to himself? He (presumably) hasn’t lived in extreme poverty either…yet he’s allowed to have a view?’

    Here’s a laudatory profile of the good Prof from the SMH some years back:

    https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/an-inspiration-for-brightest-young-minds-20130329-2gz0j.html

    showing him enjoying an hour and a half long lunch at ‘his favourite cafe’ which obviously isn’t Subway.

    There is no evidence that he has ever lived any life other that that of a slack, privileged, self-intoxicated tenured academic. If there had been any hardship in his life, he certainly would have been boasting about it.

  4. tgs

    Great bunch of posts lately, currencylad.

    Keep ’em coming.

  5. Boambee John

    Stackja at 1112

    Go back an d read what Felix said, worth the time.

    Last para: “When a majority of even your ABC rigged poll says you can work your way out of poverty, it suggests there is an element of truth to it. Which can’t be allowed to stand of course…”

  6. Roger

    Notwithstanding that the survey is clearly rigged, what happens when a majority of even these respondents come down on the politically ‘wrong’ side of a question? The ABC immediately hoses down the result using ‘experts’ and the old “divided nation” trope…

    Interestingly, a majority [71%] of respondents agreed that religious discrimination happens in Australia either occasionally or often. Annabel Crabbe leaped into action citing the 60% who thought religion was a strictly private matter. The obvious topic of the freedom to manifest one’s religious beliefs publicly was not broached.

  7. stackja

    BJ – Your post is enough. Thank you.

  8. Tim Neilson

    To be fair to Prof. Stilwell, it actually is difficult for the genuinely impoverished in Australia to break the poverty cycle. That’s because they are the victims of a vicious head kicking and stomping at the hands of the enlightened progressive do-gooder demographic, with e.g.:

    (a) “minimum wage” laws to stop them from getting entry level jobs (unless you’re working as an au pair for a Greens politician);

    (b) other “fair work” laws to make employers the indentured serfs of their employees, thus discouraging businesses from employing people (in Australia, anyway);

    (c ) taxpayer funded “safe injecting centres” to encourage people to remain drug addled welfare recipients;

    (d) identity politics to brainwash women and minority groups into paranoiac defeatism instead of having a go.

    I’ve probably forgotten a few, but those four are plenty enough to repress the underclass, and ensure that there’s an ongoing “need” for cushy white collar public sector jobs to “help” the underprivileged.

  9. notafan

    How often is addiction the cause of extreme poverty?

    if you are able to work at a full time job it stands to reason you can escape extreme poverty

    we do have a minimum wage and penalty rates

    but if every penny goes on booze, you live rough and you rely on shopkeeps for free food etc extreme poverty will be your lot in life

  10. Tim Neilson

    .. but great post nevertheless. C.L.

  11. Roger

    I’ve probably forgotten a few, but those four are plenty enough to repress the underclass, and ensure that there’s an ongoing “need” for cushy white collar public sector jobs to “help” the underprivileged.

    Add 10-12 years of enlightened public education which leaves many functionally illiterate and innumerate.

  12. Mother Lode

    Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell from Sydney University’s Department of Political Economy

    Such reminiscences – back the Sydney Uni in 1982, when an entitled claque of students were marching, chanting and waving banners demanding a Political Economy faculty be established. This was before the fall of the Berlin Wall, when all the socialists and marxists were instead warning of the imminent collapse of capitalism.

    A cloistered egghead whose one hope is to make his manifestly inadequate subject seem relevant. A perfect fit for the ABC. No wonder he is on their speed-dial.

  13. min

    Selfselected participants will give you the result you were expecting . I bet there will be other problems with methodology that will give a skewed result also.
    Re poverty Not all are equal in learning ability , motivation, mental or physical ability and nowadays there are not the jobs to employ these people.

  14. Roger

    Re poverty Not all are equal in learning ability , motivation, mental or physical ability and nowadays there are not the jobs to employ these people.

    Indians and others from Asia seem quite happy to take up all the menial jobs that could otherwise be filled by those Australians lacking more marketable skills. I know of an abattoir near a regional city that imports workers from Brazil because they can’t attract locals to the work even though there is a high youth unemployment rate. Anecdotal, yes, but a story that could be repeated manifold times by business owners and farmers in regional Australia. The only trade that seems to be flourishing among young Australians in regional Australia is the drug trade…and tattooing.

  15. Art Vandelay

    Emeritus Professor Frank Stilwell from Sydney University’s Department of Political Economy

    ‘Political economy’ at Sydney Uni is code for Marxist economics. As you can imagine, the graduates turned out by this faculty are largely unemployable.

  16. Tator

    This view that poverty is inescapable in todays society permeates throughout Academia and they are teaching people working in Disability sectors that only Progressive Governments can properly deal with this issue.
    Seems to me that the Great March through the institutions by the Marxists has been thorough. Even though every obstacle in place of people escaping poverty has actually been placed there by the left.
    Rampaging Credentialism from the left
    Over regulation of the industrial arena was done by the left
    High minimum wage is another leftard policy
    Over regulation of business comes from the left as well
    High costs of living due to high utility and housing costs, all due to leftard policies
    Yet they are the only ones who can solve poverty and run the NDIS properly. Go figure eh.

  17. cuckoo

    Recently I was sitting in a departure lounge in Melbourne airport and a large family near me were chatting away (white, Australian, upper-middle Bogan). One woman was trying to describe the tv show Utopia to her friend but couldn’t think of the title. “Oh, you know, it’s on the ABC..” to which her friend said in a dead flat voice “I never watch the ABC“.

  18. cuckoo

    Incidentally, how did the lovely Asher Keddie go from being a highbrow MTC actress to her current role as a “Myer style ambassador”?

  19. a happy little debunker

    Couldn’t help but notice all the ABC’s ‘examples’ of poverty all involved accrued debt.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Wonder if the 11,000”scientists” took part in this “poll” ,including Mickey Mouse ?
    Its like holding a poll on the worlds best religion in the Vatican no surprise result there .

  21. notafan
    #3208236, posted on November 11, 2019 at 11:44 am

    How often is addiction the cause of extreme poverty?

    I dunno, but a new home has 45% of the final sale price as taxes!

    We’re literally impoverishing ourselves to waste money on government art installations, NDIS fraud, PS job ads and PR for policies.

  22. JC

    You break out of poverty by getting a job and keeping it. It’s that simple.

  23. Tim Neilson

    You break out of poverty by getting a job and keeping it. It’s that simple.

    Simple but not always easy JC.

    As Roger pointed out above, state education makes vast numbers of people virtually unemployable, and then SJW’s price them out of whatever market there is for their labour by minimum wage laws.

    I don’t doubt that the entitlement mentality (plus drugs and grog) causes a lot of poverty, but the SJW’s are the worst enemies of a poor person who actually wants to break out of welfare dependency.

  24. Squirrel

    “The Australia Talks National Survey is primarily a survey of respondents who are accustomed to interacting with the ABC through its Vote Compass initiative.”

    Australia Talks is clearly the mother lode of wisdom (with updates and fine-tuning from the Q&A audience) that the ALP should draw on heavily for its policy development for the 2022 election.

  25. FelixKruell

    stackja:

    Oh dear. How awkward.

  26. Des Deskperson

    The Fantausso story is, like so many other items of the ABC news site, a promo for an ABC program, in this case tonight’s Australian Story’ .

    He may have dragged himself out of poverty – caused at least partially by his dad’s desertion – he may be married to Asher Keddie, he may be able to ‘get close, into the psyche of the people he paints’. but his work is pretty ordinary, although it probably appeals to the safe and lower middle brow taste of the ABC’s audience.

    This photo realist crap is easy to do and involves no creative ability. On the other hand, that sort of stuff – particularly it portrays a celeb -, can be pretty sure of winning the Packers Prize at the Archibalds

  27. Win

    What Emeritis Professor Shitwell is saying that the out back Aboriginal Communites miles from any where with out any employment opportunities within a 2 to 10 hour drive away can not lift themselves from poverty. But when the mining companies come along with jobs money and the opportunity to lift these drug and alcohol fueled violent communities out of their shame and degradation can we expect Professor Sitwell to remonstrate with The Greens and their hypocrit Di Natalie ,(the doctor who harms),the Socialist Alliance Rebellion Extinction Vegans and every other Marxist splinter group who in alliance with the ABC form cohorts to prevent it.

  28. Paul Farmer

    That is the wrong question ………..is hard work enough to lift anyone out of poverty ? “Anyone” to oft becomes inferred to mean “everyone” by the ABC . The question should be ” does hard work enough provide the opportunity to lift most people out of poverty”. The answer is Yes.

    There is no guarantees but in this life and an opportunity is all you should expect. There is nothing the government can do to provide certainty in this life without destroying the necessary freedoms that would make us all the more poorer and moreover by reducing “economic” freedom more of us inevitably end up poorer. One of capitalism’s great but true paradox’s…………of course totally lost on the idiots at the abc.

  29. John A

    The latest trick of Australia Talks is to ask lots of voluntary and NFP groups for their views.

    An email invitation came to the community theatrical group where I am on the committee.

    Quite a number of my fellow committe(e)d jumped at the chance to have a say on camera. Given the leftist-progressive bent of such groups, the exercise will continue the bias – as to be expected.

  30. procrustes

    Frank Stilwell – one of the ABC’s go-to Marxists.

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