THE Salvation Army hit the streets again on Sunday for the annual Red Shield Appeal, raising funds to support a raft of charitable works.
Volunteer doorknockers again found Orange people wanting to help those less fortunate but, as is the case every year, it seems many are finding they have less and less to give.
The year’s doorknock came at an interesting time in our country as the federal government continues the tough job of selling the first Abbott-Hockey budget.
And it shines a light on the inequities in this budget that have angered so many.
While Coalition MPs have done their best to convince us this tough budget was all about “sharing the load”, independent analysis has shown that’s not truly the case.
Rather, this is a punitive budget that inflicts the greatest pain on those that can least afford it.
While changes to higher education have created the greatest protest [from those students who will be directly impacted], the attack on Australia’s culture of compassion and support for the needy should be of far greater concern.
Taking from the unemployed, the disabled and the poorest among us does nothing to strengthen our economy.
Rather, such measures simply condemn the needy to generations of poverty.
Australia remains a lucky country for many, and they are the ones who should be asked to contribute more to tackle the nation’s growing debt.
Instead, the 2014 budget cynically scapegoats those whose luck has failed them.
The government should be raising taxes for middle and high-income earners, not stripping benefits from those with nothing to spare.
Charities such as the Salvation Army know the next few years will see demand for their services increase, not fall, and they will have to fight harder for every dollar they receive in public donations.
Surely that’s a sign of a country with its priorities all wrong.