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Why us? There have got to be other ways

Apr 1, 2017

I do not know if this cut to penalty rates will affect me, but I know plenty of people that it will affect.

I am speaking up for them, and I will share some of my views as well.

I think it’s just outrageous that so many highly paid people can just sit back and take money from the low paid workers, regardless of how long it took to come to this decision, or however carefully you claim to have thought about it, as if that’s supposed to make it okay. We’ve got it hard enough as it is. If you want to cut the rates down, then you have to drastically lower the cost of living. We can’t keep going like this. I think all the politicians should have our wage for a while and see how frustrating it is. See how quickly things change.

Us people working in retail and fast food and restaurants and cafes and pharmacies, giving up our weekends because we’re trying to put ourselves through school or support a family or whatever, are the reason why you can have your latte and smashed avocado on toast on a Sunday. Why you can go and buy a pair of jeans on a Sunday. Why you can get advice or your medication. Why you can have a burger at 3AM. And you actually have the gall to tell us we have to be more careful with our money if we ever want to own a house. Please do not take our money. We’re not asking for a hundred dollars an hour here. We know we didn’t have to go to university for eight years to get the jobs we have. We’re just asking for what’s fair.

Ten bucks, thirty bucks, fifty bucks, eighty bucks. It may not mean much to you, but it means the world to us. It’s the difference between eating and not eating. Having fuel or not. Having a working phone or not. Having Internet or not. Paying a bill or not. It’s a lot of money. We can’t really afford to put any money away for our future. I myself don’t even have an emergency fund because I can’t afford to put money aside for one. I am absolutely not prepared for the unexpected simply because I can’t afford to be.

Are we not important enough? We may not be out there performing life-saving surgery or finding the cure for cancer, but we are providing a worthwhile service to people and we put a lot of time into enriching other people’s lives. I, like many others, rely on penalty rates. I haven’t had a weekend in five years because I have to work on weekends (in addition to during the week) because of school. But so many others have it worse than me.

Like I said, I don’t know if the cuts will affect me. If they do, I will only lose about twenty dollars, but that is still a lot for me. That’s two thirds of my phone bill. That’s a lot of essential groceries. That’s half of what I pay for fuel each time I fill up. It pains me to watch so many others in a worse position than I get let down and robbed in this unfair situation.

We’re not just numbers, you know. We’re not pests weighing the economy down and demanding more than we deserve. We have names and faces and lives and families and your decisions will have very real consequences for us.

Why us? There have got to be other ways. Please reconsider.