Sunday, January 20, 2013

forty days on $35 a day

For non Australian readers, this poem is about Jenny Macklin, an Australian federal politician who recently claimed she could easily live on AUD $35per day, the current unemployment payment in Australia. Macklin earns around $6000 per week, or $857 per day.

welcome to
pollie said whatthe reality television show
where politicians are held accountable
for the unbelievable shit
they do and say
this week
we join jenny macklin
as she tries to survive
for forty days
on thirty five dollars a day
follow her journey as she agonises
over whether to get evicted
or go without her medication
watch jenny macklin
join the public library internet queue:
the phone line’s been cut
so she can’t job-search
on her home computer
jen will have to sell the laptop
for rent money
cause fricken centrelink
fucked up her rent assistance
yet again
oh / it’s fricken centrelink now
is it jen
funny isn’t it
how after just five days
the tables start to turn
watch jenny macklin sit
on hold to centrelink
in her bare kitchen
on the one kitchen chair she owns
for exactly forty eight minutes
of piano music hold
jenny macklin is crying
they can’t reinstate her payment
till next week
by then the real estate
will have had her stuff
forcibly removed
jenny macklin is now homeless
and the women’s shelter is full
she’s lost all her newstart payments
cause there’s no fixed address
to send the paperwork to
jenny is in agony
she has developed holes
in her teeth
watch jenny macklin
trying to access public dental care
reverse charges
from a dirty public phone booth
the dental hospital can’t fit her in
till around next january
all jen can afford right now
is to get the front two teeth pulled
jenny macklin is now running late
for her compulsory job find interview
where she tells them she’s a politician
with a tertiary degree
centrelink laugh to crying point
and say
she has to clean toilets
if they tell her to:
it is all part of her new
job search obligations
it doesn’t matter lady
if you are qualified to run the whole nation

off her meds
and missing two front teeth
she is mistaken for a meth addict
and doesn’t get the job cleaning
jenny macklin’s forty days are almost up
join us next week on
pollie said whatwhere tony abbott
spends a full month
as a suburban housewife
and mum
in episode three
meet julia gillard:
a single parent
who does it tough
when her parenting payment
is drastically cut