The Australia Club, doing it tough

Did you hear the one about the wealthy blokes and their boy’s club that received a government payment they didn’t really need, so they decided to hand the money back because that was the right thing to do?

Yeah, neither have I.

Sydney’s Australia Club, a so called “gentleman’s club” which provides a safe space for blokes in suits to complain that the world is no longer purely theirs to plunder as they see fit, trousered $2 million of your taxpayers’ dollars in 2020.

Oh, and they also managed to more than double their annual surplus in that time. The club grew its assets  from a paltry $6.3m to $8.3m in a year when millions of Australians were wondering whether they’d be able to pay their bills and feed their families.

So, did the brutes in suits hand back their taxpayer windfall, like decent corporate citizens such as Toyota and Domino’s Pizza?

Ha! No chance.

Naturally, the Morrison government, so amped and gung-ho about chasing welfare recipients to the ends of the earth through its discredited and infamous Robodebt scheme would be banging down the door of the Australia Club’s Macquarie Street cubby house demanding the boys give back the cash, right?

Now you really are having a laugh.

Just like the ratbag of retail, Gerry Harvey, who told Australian taxpayers to get stuffed after his white goods store Harvey Norman pocketed $22m of JobKeeper cash despite doubling his profit in 2020, The Australia Club has kept the money.

And Josh Frydenberg, Scott Morrison and the Liberal government has done nothing about it.

This is the same government that is so concerned about the misuse of taxpayers’ money that it has now set Australian workers against one another with what has been dubbed its “DobSeeker” hotline, that encourages employers to dob in jobseekers they deem have rejected work.

If you have an interview with a prospective employee, then call the Job Stasi hotline and put them in. “Mutual Obligation” they like to call it.

Of course, that obligation doesn’t extend to you if you happen to be a member of the Australia Club, where the likes of Alan Jones and John Howard like to enjoy a long lunch.

Mutual benefit is the go in that case.

Oh, but the Morrison government is serious about making sure your tax dollars aren’t wasted. Employment Minister, Stuart Robert, insists that wasting your hard-earned cash is just not on, and his robber’s hotline was to put an end to the sweet life people were enjoying on the luxury of their $44 a day JobSeeker payment.

“You just can’t sit on the JobSeeker payment and expect your neighbours to cover that lifestyle. We want to give you every opportunity to train or re-skill, and we want you to turn up. If you’re going to turn up, be intentional about working, that’s the whole point of this,” Robert said.

Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Stuart Robert (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

This from a minister who has run so many red lights for breaching ministerial standards that it’s unfathomable that he’s got a job at all.

  •  The $37,975 of internet fees he was forced to pay back to the taxpayer for internet expenses (what is this bloke watching in his spare time?).
  •  The two $50,000 gold Rolexes he accepted from a Chinese Billionaire.
  • The speech he gave to Parliament in 2012 which was partly written by a Gold Coast property developer.
  • The trip to China for personal business in which he turned up at a signing ceremony for a mining deal between Australian company Nimrod Resources and a Chinese business. His hosts believed Robert was meeting with them in an official capacity.

The list goes on and on.

Where is our hotline to dob in this bloke for his continued disregard for the public he is supposed to serve and the waste of taxpayers dollars he so loudly proclaims are sacrosanct?

In the end, the Australia Club’s shame and Robert’s hypocrisy are all part of the same piece.

Whilst working Australians are told they are not even entitled to a meagre rise in the minimum wage, that the idea of a decent job with entitlements is out of reach, and they need to turn on one another and blame each other for their tough situation – Stuart Robert, Gerry Harvey and their mates at The Australia Club are helping themselves.

Someone is having a laugh, and it sure isn’t the workers and taxpayers of Australia.

Do Something powerful

Date Published: 29/04/2021 Category: On The Job

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