Dear Mr Abbott,
I am writing to you today to air my thoughts on your proposed budget. I know you wont listen and if you did you would try to brush me off with one of your ridiculous three word slogans. Let me open by telling you a little about myself.
I am 30ish, educated, a mother and disabled. I live with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sometimes I do well, for me anyway, and at other times I struggle to do anything. I receive a small pension from the government. I recently graduated from RMIT University with a degree in Applied Science (Psychology) and an ex-nurse. Like I said, I am well educated.
Your budget will destroy my family and my future. Your budget will rip out from under me all of my hard work over the last three years. I can forget about post-graduate studies thanks to your proposed changes to HECS. I wont even be able to afford to pay for my undergraduate, let alone any post-graduate study. Here’s the real kicker for me Mr Abbott, and excuse me while I well up a bit, I can’t work in psychology without post-graduate qualifications. I can’t even work as a Research Assistant without a master’s degree. I had already planned my master’s thesis; I have even written the theoretical paper underpinning my idea. All I needed to do was to apply for grant money and start the applied research. I can’t express how excited I was. I love research. My dream was starting to come true. Now, I can just forget about it. Thanks for that. There’s nothing like watching your dream disappear before your eyes to trip off a depressive cycle. Now I have to try and find a job with half an education. I will not be pursuing post-graduate studies as I will not go into debt so that my children can pay it off. I will not ask them to do that. You wouldn’t ask your children to do something like that? Would you?
Speaking of my children, what is to become of them? If your budget gets through, will they be able to go onto higher education if they wish? Further, if they do get in, how much will it cost them? Will they die in debt? As I wont be able to buy a place in a private college and given that I can’t afford my own education, I therefore highly doubt I will be able to afford theirs, what choices for a productive future will they have? Should I tell them to forget about any dreams of TAFE or university now, or should I break it to them slowly. Further, how should I go about explaining it to them?
Then there’s the GP tax and cuts to DSP (particularly for those of us with mental health disability), the butchering cuts to science and research, dismantling of the carbon tax, the severe cuts to the ABC and SBS and the hit list just goes on and on.
I am just one person and I consider myself very lucky that my partner has a good job and my parents are willing to help us out. It’s pretty humiliating asking your parents, at my age, to lend you some money so your child can go on an excursion. I’m not saying that the government should pay for everything. I actually support paying for my degree, under the current system. What I am saying is the government should be compassionate, supportive, and inclusive. I don’t enjoy being on the pension. I want to go to work, but the work I am passionate about requires a high level of education. If I could complete my education, I would be able to give back 10 fold of what I took and I would happily pay if it meant that another person could be afforded the same opportunity. Education isn’t a luxury; it’s a human right. You were afforded a free education. How can you deny anyone any kind of education?
You know, we could have the next Professor Stephan Hawking in our midst and your budget would make no room for him or her in Australia. Not mention all the possible Professor’s that could be on Manus Island.
Just on Manus Island, we know you and your entire government are lying. It’s written all over your faces.