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Crikey says: whatever happened to Rooty Hill?

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Ah, western Sydney. During an election campaign politicians flock to its streets to hock their wares, and the famed Rooty Hill RSL has seen many a leadership showdown. Months out from last year’s election both Abbott and Gillard started their unofficial campaign trail there.

Eight months on and times have changed. The Abbott government has handed down a budget that looks hand-crafted to annoy and disenfranchise large sections of key marginal electorates — including in western Sydney.

Much has been written about why Abbott’s first budget is a strategic train-wreck for the Coalition, but today Fairfax has some troubling figures that show why a policy that denies the dole to under-30s for six months of the year will be a social disaster for the region.

Analysis of ABS statistics by the Brotherhood of St Laurence shows that Parramatta is Sydney’s centre of youth unemployment — in January it was at 16.8 %, close to three times the national unemployment rate, and it’s expected to reach 26.4% by 2016. The Abbott government’s new tougher welfare measures will soon see a “large underclass in western Sydney,” warns the executive director of the charity.

Howard’s battlers” might have been a myth but the rhetoric worked and John Howard successfully sold himself as a champion of the working classes.

Abbott has tried hard to emulate John Howard’s populism but has failed dismally. His attempt to build a 2013 election victory on marginal seats with high numbers of unemployed people and welfare recipients is questionable, given what the budget holds for these voters.

Abbott would do well to recall what he promised the people of Rooty Hill before the election, or he may get a very different reception in 2016. And not just in western Sydney.

4
  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Monday, 2 June 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry - Abbott thinks they’re dumb enough to forget this slight and he can buy their votes in time for the next election?

  • 2
    Bill Hilliger
    Posted Monday, 2 June 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Ha, ha, the Rooty Hill Aussie sheeples have been shorn, dagged and shagged. And yes klewso, rAbbott will buy their votes come next election and I believe they’re dumb enough to get gypped once again.

  • 3
    AR
    Posted Monday, 2 June 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Crikey Crikey, are you letting the subliterate interns at the editorial now - “hock their wares”? Did you mean ‘hawk’? Though, in a sense, they did hock their integrity (yeh, yeh, I know…).
    Klewy - Westies may be ‘slight’ in many aspects but they won’t forgive this sleight - assuming that they remember.
    Parramatta is the demographic centre of NSW - since the 80s there have been more schoolchildren between the BM’s & Queen St than the rest of NSW.

  • 4
    Dez Paul
    Posted Tuesday, 3 June 2014 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Abbott is a fool to invoke the Howard “Golden Era” at just about every turn. People moved on, Tone, especially after 2004 when it became the “Golden Shower Era”.

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