The housing market, government institutions and parenthood are all difficult to navigate. Sometimes you need a little guidance, but where, or to whom, should you turn? Don’t you wish there were someone who had all the answers?

Well, the Coalition seems to think it has all the answers, even when handing down advice on subjects its MPs have little — or, quite often, no — personal experience with (we’re looking at you, George Brandis).

What advice do our kind-hearted, clear-eyed public representatives have for the struggles of everyday life?

Dear Coalition,

I am a middle-aged male accessing Centrelink due to my work-related injury on a work site. I have been on disability for six months due to complications with my injury, and I am fully covered. However, I have received a letter saying that my disability payout is under review, which I believe is a mistake. This issue has cause me a lot of stress on top of the day to day pain I suffer from my injury. What should I do?

“When a notice is issued and it appears to the person to whom the notice is issued a mistake has been made, they can contact Centrelink and sort out the problem.” — George Brandis 

Dear Coalition,

I am a recent graduate of Melbourne University. I currently work three hospitality jobs so that I can pay my rent and save what I can. I am saving up to buy some property. Due to the fact that I graduated into a competitive job market, I am finding it hard to get in the door in my field, meaning I have to work full time for minimum wage as a casual employee. One of my goals is to one day be able to afford a house, but with the struggle just to keep my head above water, this seems unrealistic. Do you have any advice?

“We’re … enabling young people to get highly paid jobs, which is the first step to buying a house. It’s not the only answer, but it’s the first step.” — Michael Sukkar 

 

Dear Coalition,

I am a 59-year-old construction worker. I have been labouring since I was 15 when I left school, and my body is tired. The very long and physical work days exhaust me and are starting to cause physical problems for me. I would like to retire when I turn 60, after 45 years of work, but I am concerned that waiting 10 years for the pension age to kick in will hurt me financially. I can’t keep up with the younger men anymore, and I need to stop working to preserve what little integrity my body has left. What should I do?

“The idea that you worked over your lifetime and it got to there and it just stopped and (you) played golf, it doesn’t work like that anymore.” — Scott Morrison

Dear Coalition,

I am a resident of Sydney, working for the government. The job requires me to live in the city, and I would like to invest in a house instead of pouring all my money into high rent costs, but the house prices are out of reach for me. What should I do?

“We believe that houses will always be incredibly expensive if you can see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, just accept that. What people have got to realise is that houses are much cheaper in Tamworth, houses are much cheaper in Armidale, houses are much cheaper in Toowoomba. I did move out west so I can say this, if you’ve got the gumption in you and you decide to move to Charleville — you’re going to have a very affordable house.” — Barnaby Joyce 

Dear Coalition,

I am a middle-aged father of four adult children who will all leave university within the next two years. I have a good job working for a broadcasting company, and my wife and I make enough to support our family, but not enough to live a life of frivolous luxury. We want, like any parent wants, to see our children succeed and achieve their dreams, and we have supported them all financially and otherwise through their university years. We are concerned that the housing market will shut them out with its high property costs. How could we possibly support all four of them in buying a house?

“Well you should shell out for them — you should support them, a wealthy man like you.” — Malcolm Turnbull

Dear Coalition,

My name is Michael, and I’m a single father of three children attending public school. I work as a primary school teacher, and I struggle to support my family with my small salary. I am currently under the poverty line after housing costs. I cannot afford to send my children to private school, and there have been issues with the school my children attend due to lack of funding. I want them to have a good education despite my financial situation. I am concerned the government is paying too much into private schools. Should I be worried?

“All Australians pay taxes, Michael, and all Australians receive some sort of services for those taxes and some receive more than others. Some people pay more tax than others, Michael. Some people on net terms don’t pay any tax at all, and there’s a growing group of those people in Australia today.” — Scott Morrison

Peter Fray

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