Gerry Georgatos – Australia is by various accounts one of the world’s wealthiest countries despite many languishing in poverty and some in abject poverty. Australia is the world’s 12th biggest economy. According to the Global Wealth Report 2018 the median wealth of adult Australians is $264,903 AUD. That’s the highest in the world.

The median wealth of the world’s adults is $5,820 AUD.

Australia’s extreme capitalism fails egalitarianism. Other nations such as Norway where there is much more equality and less poverty and disparity than Australia’s, have lower median wealth. Norwegian median wealth of its adults is less $80,000 AUD.

Half of Australia’s adults have more wealth than the $264,903 AUD.

Fourteen percent of Australians live below the Henderson Poverty Line, with 20 percent in relative proximity to the poverty line.

Sheer capitalism alone has not just created Australia’s wealth disparity. Norway too is in effect a capitalist society, but its Governments have weighed in social justice.

How do some capitalist countries have wider disparities between the poor and the wealthy than other capitalist countries? It’s not just the United States of America but also countries such as Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand for instance is argued as progressive but speeches alone do not define a nation – New Zealand has a higher homelessness rate than both the United States and Australia.

New Zealand ranks eighth in the world on the Global Wealth Report for median wealth for its adults, $98,613 AUD. Finland is one of the world’s most egalitarian capitalist democracies, with street present homelessness effectively ended in Helsinki. However, Finland’s median adult wealth is $45,606. Yet overall the Finnish enjoy a higher quality of life than Australians and New Zealanders.

Because of toxic greed economics and weak governments there is a permanency of significant and increasing poverty in Australia and New Zealand and relative poverty threatening half their populations. I have relentlessly argued that one of the great lies of our generation is that the majority of the world’s nations are lifting people out of poverty.

Australia and New Zealand criticise other countries for rudimentary human rights abuses while masking their own systematic abuse of entrenching between a quarter to up to a half of their populations in poverty or proximity to poverty.

More than three million of Australia’s 25 million population languishes below the nation’s poverty line – nearly 750,000 Australian children living poor. Unofficially if we recalibrate more sensibly the poverty line to reflect the accumulation of life stressors in an expensive society that foremost serves and benefits the half with more accumulated wealth than it should have been entitled to, we’d find that 35 percent of Australians live below the poverty line, more than two million children.

The poorest Australians include a significant proportion of First Nations descendants who live in crushing poverty, some in third world akin conditions, and many more migrant born Australians than the propaganda of the migrant success stories mask. Nearly one third of Australia’s homeless are comprised of the migrant born. More than a quarter and up to nearly a third of Australia’s suicide toll are accounted for by the migrant born.

Australia is by all accounts a big economy, a wealthy nation, but unlike genuinely more progressive nations such as Finland, Australia does not distribute its wealth with universal apothegm.

Australians are held hostage to narrow corridors of discourse despite an internet that by all presumptions should have connected us all to inescapable and indisputable truths the world over. Our national media regurgitates the deceits plied by the nation’s political forces, underwritten by the nation’s sublime sliver of agents of greed.

Australia does have the wealth, if distributed with humanity in mind, to improve health care, provide free education, end homelessness, do away with extreme poverty, ensure genuine affordable housing and cap the outrageous property prices, provide quality social housing for everyone in need.

But Australia and New Zealand, both which outrageously peddle themselves as human rights arbiters, like sorcerers will say one thing while keeping nearly half their populations downtrodden or in drudgery. They vilify and discriminate and therefore marginalise.

Australia’s suicide toll has increased by 33 percent during the last decade; one of the world’s highest increases. Poverty is the causal narrative to Australia’s increasing suicide toll, to an increasing unnatural death toll of people living below the poverty line, to a lower life expectancy average for people living below the poverty line. There are those who argue I am wrong, but I am right. Poverty kills.

Regularly, some have criticised me for arguing Australia as racist, classist and misogynistic, as a human rights perpetrator but it is true.

We need to expose the real Australia. We need to expose the real New Zealand. If we don’t then we are part of the discrimination and complicit in the condemnation of people to human misery and half-lives.

 

  • Gerry Georgatos is a suicide prevention and poverty researcher. He is also the national coordinator of the National Suicide Prevention & Trauma Recovery Project.
  • Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636.