This is a picture of youngest in an earlier mode. Note the continuing fire theme.
We are all influenced by our experiences and those of whom we love the most.
Most young people really, really, don’t want to be stuck on the dole, what is now called the newstart allowance. It sucks on just so many different levels.
If that’s your only income, if you have no back-up from family or friends, you can’t live on it except in poverty. You have to comply with increasingly onerous rules. The income limits, the way that your allowance drops if you earn, actually rules out getting that extra bit of cash that you might need to increase your income, to get that piece of clothing that you need for an interview or just to take a break, to go away.
Rent is the most difficult thing, followed by utilities and then travel costs. If you are already in the welfare sector, if you live in social housing and have subsidised rent, then it’s a little easier to live if harder to break out of the poverty trap. Why harder? There is a big difference between market rent and a rent capped at 20 to 30% of whatever income you have.
The aspirations of young people, all people, vary. This is a photo of eldest in Copenhagen. She is there on business, a trip that she earned because of her value to the company. She is focused, organised, in a way that leaves me somewhat in awe.
Two girls, two very different personalities with different aspirations and interests. Both are strong women. Neither displays any aspects of what Treasurer Hockey would call a belief in entitlements, nor (for that matter) do their friends. If anything, I would say that neither has any trust in the state or the benefits offered by the state.
Both have received benefits, the HELP or HECS scheme, the youth allowance or newstart. Both have navigated their way though the myriads rules involved. They have tried to work out the practical issues of how to comply with the rules while gaining the extra income they need to survive. Both have had family and friends that they could rely on.
This next photo from a few years ago shows eldest with her netball team.She enjoys netball and kids, loves coaching. It also gave her a little extra cash.
In our modern world, friends and, more broadly, networks are very important. It determines who gets a job, what support you have when things go wrong.
I am not talking big picture stuff here, just the opposite. All young people today need part time work, they need back-up if things go wrong. This is where who you know, what you do, what you have done, becomes critical. Will your housemates carry you if you can’t find rent? Where can you turn to if you lose your accommodation? Who can give you the next job?
Those kids who do not have the right networks, who live in the wrong area, who mix with the wrong groups, are in trouble. Sometimes its a personality issue, more often a lack of opportunity. I grew up in a world of very low unemployment. of abundant opportunities. That world has gone now, The broad scope of opportunities has exploded, while immediate opportunities have declined, become more selective, more restrictive.
The same problem is emerging at the opposite end of the age spectrum. Those on old style super retire as soon as they can. Indeed, they often have too to maximise their benefits. Those with accumulated assets can retire. The rest have to manage as best they can.
Here there is a disconnect between the political dialogue and on-ground reality. The political dialogue says that we must keep older people in the workforce to overcome the problem of aging, The on-ground reality is that a large number of older people who want to work can’t. There aren’t the jobs.
Some things have improved, The abolition of compulsory retirement, the partial enforcement of laws against ageism, have allowed more people to continue working well past 65. Mind you, this has it’s own problems, for it also blocks out younger workers.
There is another problem in our more fragmented society. We are now dealing with the affects of earlier marriage break-ups. This one is complicated. However, the bottom line appears to be an increasing number of people and especially women who no longer have either the assets or the networks to provide the most basic support they need.