21 Sep

Ian worked 5 days a week as a butcher in a deli. It was good, steady work that brought in a decent income and Ian never found himself too far in debt. The minute that his expenses outweighed his income, he tried as hard as he could to balance out.

Over time, Ian saved up enough money to finally put a deposit down on a new home, his first. This would mean that Ian now had a very large mortgage and was now in debt, yet he was very confident in his own ability to be able to get out of that debt in a relatively shorter amount of time compared to other people.

Ian was very quickly approved for finance by his bank due to his good record. Now he was a proud home-owner and because of his steady job he was still able to save money as well.

The one thing, however, that Ian never took care of was his own health. He was blind to the necessities of his own life and he would put other priorities before his own comfort and well-being. Ian did not have health insurance. Ian did not even have a decent working car, instead he borrowed rides off his mates all the time or caught public transport which was very inconvenient for his work. Nevertheless, Ian got about in his own way and was happy.

Instead of spending money on necessities, like good food, home maintenance and fixing his car, Ian preferred to use his hard-earned dollars to buy up season tickets to as many sporting teams as he could. Ian loved his sports, it’s what he lived for. In his eyes, there was nothing better than being at a stadium or arena with other screaming fans and cheering his teams. This cost him thousands of dollars – money which he had, however, money that didn’t leave room for anything else other than his large mortgage.

One day, Ian woke up with a rather large pain in his lower abdomen. Ian, despite waiting hours and deciding to go to work instead, finally saw a doctor later that night. After numerous tests, it was found out that Ian had kidney failure. Something not to be taken lightly by others, Ian was not as concerned despite the doctor’s advice that he would need immediate surgery. Ian refused saying that he had another, it wasn’t a problem.

You see, Ian found out that the surgery would cost him $5000, and that was without the room fee at the hospital and the expensive medication that he would need to take. Ian didn’t have that kind of money.

Well, he did. However it was put aside for the next football and cricket season.

Ian went without the surgery and decided that after the NEXT season, he would save up and pay for the surgery.

Ian saw lots of bright advertisements on the television saying how cheap private health cover was, it would even cover some of his expenses for the surgery that he needed. Yet, Ian was blind to it and they were only a nuisance in between quarter time breaks when watching the footy.

A year went by and the new season had started. Ian had lost a lot of weight, was calling in to work sick many times, and as a result, was losing money. He had to re-mortgage his home in order to pay bills that he just couldn’t get paid. It was not a happy time for Ian.

One day, Ian was incredibly sick and rang work, only to be told by his boss that if he didn’t come in today, then he shouldn’t bother coming in the next day, or ever again.

Ian tried his hardest to get to work that day, but the pain was unbearable and he was so tired. Ian lost his job.

Ian made his way to the good doctor. The news was horrible; if he didn’t have the surgery immediately, Ian would die. This meant $10,000 would be spent on the surgery. You see, Ian had left things for so long that they had accumulated and now the surgery was much more complex, almost unfixable. He would need a new kidney from a donor as well so he would have to wait.

No more sports. No more footy in the winter and cricket in the summer.

“But you’ll die!”, exclaimed the doctor.

“What is life without sports”, replied Ian.

“You have your priorities bent.” Were the doctors final words to Ian as he signed the papers to finally have the surgery.

Over time, our state and federal governments have neglected the necessities, the very same way that Ian did. Now, no one in the real world is as foolish as Ian was in the story that they would neglect their own health and well-being as well as other comforts in the place of sports. However, this is exactly what has been happening in this country for many years now.

The priorities by many MP’s are not straight and have not been for a very long time. While it is great to have big new stadiums to watch teams play in, it is unimportant when compared to our public health and education systems. The last two WA state government administrations, including the current one, have sports and our sporting teams very high on their list of priorities. This is at the same time that our hospitals still do not have adequate facilities, enough beds, underpaid and overworked staff and a growing waiting list.

Our public education system is failing due to a lack of resources, underpaid and overworked staff, poor building maintenance and a massive gap between the haves and have-nots.

Many people I have spoken with about this have argued for the trickle-down effect: The more greater facilities we have such as stadiums and tourist attractions, the more our economy grows due to tourism and trade and this money can be placed into those other areas.

This is false. The trickle-down way of working an economy does not work. This is only beneficial for the 1% while the rest are in deep trouble. Public welfare is left out and this bears too many problems for the working and lower classes.

While our governments argue heavily for the need for state of the art international sporting facilities, particularly those to cater for a possible 2018 or 2022 FIFA world cup, they are completely missing the point of social welfare. Health and Education should always be very high on the list of priorities for any government. Followed closely by welfare, transport and planning.

As a taxpayer, I have absolutely no problem making my contribution – if it goes to the right areas.


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