Home builder grant
(Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

Build it, and they will (not) come

The Morrison government has been accused of addressing the pandemic and related recession with what amounts to wishful thinking, based on the idea that private industry will somehow lead the country back to prosperity as spending magically increases in an economy enjoying its highest rate of unemployment since the Great Depression and the highest rate of household debt since ever.

And one of the more notable products of this wild optimism was the tradie-supporting HomeBuilder stimulus scheme, in which the government promised to contribute up to $25,000 to home renovation projects provided that the applicants earned less than $200,000 a year, owned and lived in the house in question (or were about to), and were about to spend $150,000 on it. Oh, and the house can’t be worth more than $1.5 million pre-reno. Simple!

The scheme has been funded for 27,520 grants of $25,000 each at the moment, despite criticism that the conditions were so specific that few people would meet them — especially on the east coast where property prices are most insultingly high, or in regional areas where that $150,000 minimum reno-spend was unlikely to fly. 

So when Treasury were asked this week about what the uptake was looking like, they were very happy to report that the scheme had cost the taxpayer zero dollars to date.

More specifically, the senate inquiry were told that only 247 applications had been received — all from South Australia and Tasmania — and none had been approved so far.

Still, gotta love that optimism. And at such great value for money too!

Bluey goes blue?

It did not take long for Twitter to explode at the news that two episodes of the genius-level Australian children’s show Bluey had been quietly taken off the ABC because of inadvertent use of racially-charged language. 

It transpired that Ludo Studios, the makers of Bluey, hadn’t been aware that “oogabooga” had been an insult hurled at Indigenous kids in the past and wasn’t just a nonsense throwaway child-word. 

And while it only broke on Wednesday, Bluey-obsessed parents had known about it for well over a week when the episodes both disappeared from the ABC’s iView service, while overseas fans found them gone from Disney+ (which has the non-Australian rights). 

Because they make a show for children to enjoy Ludo redubbed the episodes immediately — so swiftly, in fact, that one is already back online and the other is returning in the coming weeks because this is what responsible people do when they accidentally get something embarrassingly wrong.

Even so, Twitter was briefly trending with predictable IT’S POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD THEY’RE DOGS ANYWAY CANCEL CULTURE HAS GONE TOO FAR angst from Bluey fans, and SO NOW WE SEE THE TRUE NATURE OF THE SO-CALLED PROGRESSIVES AND THEIR PRECIOUS ABC from the reliable conservative corners.

Seriously, everyone. If a six-year-old animated dog knows how to make everyone feel included and valued after getting something wrong, you could stand to take a few notes.

The price of love

If you’re unfamiliar with the location-based pick-up app Tinder, then stop being disingenuous: of course you’re familiar with Tinder because it’s 2020 and even the most loved-up and becoupled long-term relationship is at least vaguely aware of the basic mechanics. 

So: people go on it to meet people for relationships and/or doin’ it. Stop being a prude.

Consumer group Choice recently scored itself an impressive investigation into the murky world of dating apps and discovered that there’s a tiered pricing system for folks on Tinder which isn’t immediately obvious to users and is also quite possibly illegal in Australia.

And not to make explicit your value as a sexual being, dear reader, but if you’re a young female person looking for other female people then your monthly premium rate is the lowest ($6.99), while if you’re a straight dude in middle age then hoo boy, get ready to pay $34.37 a month. Even if your photo was taken ten years and 15 kilos ago.

The issue is that making people pay different premiums based on their age is totes illegal under the Age Discrimination Act 2004.

Overall people over 30 paid about double what under-30s did, but Choice did add that “there were also large price variations within these age groups… We didn’t see a pattern that could explain these differences.” So it’s probably just based on how hot they think you are, or how many fish you’re holding up in your photo.

Tinder is yet to respond to Choice’s investigation, but wouldn’t it be perfect if this investigation led both companies to a beautiful meeting of souls in romantic concord?

Or, you know, something much filthier? We don’t judge.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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