A few days ago, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi Information Minister, stared unblinkingly into a camera and declared that the US invaders were surrounded by Iraqi soldiers and were about to surrender.
The thinking and understanding of many Iraqi people had been so primed and manipulated by deceptions and lies for so many years that they would have accepted this statement without question.
On Thursday the true situation was revealed as American tanks rolled into the centre of Baghdad. The response of the Iraqi people was to spill into the streets, expressing jubilation and excitement over their freedom from tyranny.
The response of the Iraqi Information Minister was silence. Up until this time, he had behaved like the Monty Python knight who kept fighting even though his arms and legs had been chopped off.
The denials by the Iraqi regime brought to mind the recent public statement by the assistant manager of the Child Support Agency (CSA), Sheila Bird, who declared that,
“Australia’s child support scheme is the most successful of its kind in the world.”
This is a view that is often expressed by the CSA regime. So it must be true. Or is it? Who else agrees with Sheila Bird?
Would single mothers receiving child support agree with Sheila Bird? I doubt it. Before the CSA was created in 1989, they were receiving the equivalent of $46.76 per week per child. Today, they receive an average of $34.14.
Would non-custodial fathers paying child support agree with Sheila Bird? I don’t think so. 41% of them have opted out of the scheme by becoming unemployed. In fact, 76% of all unemployed men over the age of 20 are unwilling and un-cooperative clients of the CSA.
Would the children the CSA ‘support’ agree with Sheila Bird? Probably not. One million of them are suffering from the collateral damage created by inflexible CSA formulas. They have lost their fathers. For them, the CSA is a Child Abuse Agency.
How about those non-custodial fathers who are working and earning over $30,806 pa, and who still have significant care and contact with their children? Would they agree with Sheila Bird? It’s unlikely. After paying 30% tax, up to 36% to the CSA and losing 30% of their family allowance entitlement, they’re left with just 4% of their income.
Would the 1400 non-custodial fathers who suicide each year agree with Sheila Bird? No, they can’t. They’re dead. The CSA had deprived them of their children, their income, their hope and their reason for living.
Would the Australian taxpayer agree with Sheila Bird? Not if they think about it. The operating cost of the CSA is $221 million per year. It collects less in child support then was paid prior to its existence. Its activities have created a total shortfall in child support payments of $656.24 million per year. The CSA has produced no benefits for single mothers or their children, and has been a poor investment for taxpayers.
Who then would agree with Sheila Bird?
Would many CSA officers, senior government bureaucrats, politicians and lawyers agree with Sheila Bird? Yes, they would. The CSA provides them with a nice little earner: a secure job, professional status and a steady flow of income.
This is not enough to justify the continued existence of the CSA. The CSA is a regime of tyranny. It should be abolished.
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash.