Jordan King Lacroix

Coalition axes Safe Schools, enters empathy recession

safe schools

Approx Reading Time-10The Coalition tearing down safe schools has revealed an interesting point. It’s not that they don’t understand our complaints, they just don’t care.

 

 

 

As of late, it has been difficult to keep track of everything happening. There’s the constant threat of looming nuclear war between the USA and North Korea. The last ragged gasp of the Great Barrier Reef. The fact that inmates have overtaken the asylum at Nauru and Manus.

There’s a lot going on.

It’s important to take a break. This Easter long weekend, the leaders of the nation deserve to sit down like the rest of us with beer, barbecue chicken, their loved ones. But, no. To honour Jesus’ miracle and indeed his message of acceptance, the Coalition concocted their own, the miraculous vanishing of empathy. All that was left in the cave of humanist assumption was discarded bloody rags. The rock that was rolled back? The Safe Schools program.

There are some Coalition supporters who are cheering on the axing of this very important program, saying that all it leaves behind is an “epidemic of ‘transgender’ children”, that it was only a “social engineering programme”, which is another way of saying it was “too PC”. An epidemic. As if transgender people are just a disease to be cured.

Clearly, the antagonists of the piece are the kids who relied on the Safe Schools program. Those weaponised thugs. Why we must punish the LGBTI community, who are already subject to a maelstrom of bullying and harassment, and now have one less place of safety? These people might not get another Easter with their families, which is not hyperbole, for suicide rates among the LGBTI community are incredibly high. Some of the people depending on the Safe Schools program to help them during incredibly difficult periods in their lives no longer have their lifelines. Kids may die. And if they do, their blood will congeal on Coalition hands.

I’ve long held onto the theory that these decisions were made in honest error, ideas hatched for good of the electorate, but just misguided. I was wrong. As the headlines pile-up, a pattern emerges. It’s clear that they do not care.

This is not the first time in the year of lord 2017 that the Coalition has rid itself of that pesky chattering parrot named empathy. They’ve already handed the most vulnerable people in our society more uncertainty by cutting the penalty rates. In the same breath, they said there was no money for Safe Schools, they said they would hold a (completely non-binding) $160 million plebiscite on same-sex marriage, something that the majority of Australians already support.

Perhaps the question is not of gender, but rather simple home ownership. The average price for a home in Sydney is $1 million. You’ll never afford it. Why not move to Tamworth? This is something that the Coalition have, so far, done absolutely nothing to help with. The idea that young people, who can’t afford to buy a home anywhere in two of the largest major cities in the nation, should just uproot their lives and connections to move to a rural backwater is not only ridiculous, it’s insulting. I’ve long held onto the theory that these decisions were made in honest error, ideas hatched for good of the electorate, but just misguided. But, I was wrong. As the headlines pile-up, a pattern emerges. It’s clear that they do not care. They’re looking out for number one. Under each decision that lines the pockets of the haves, over the have-nots, the subtle bass line beats “We don’t want your kind here”.

This permissiveness we have for them because they’re “trying to fix the economy” or “it’s only business” or any other such nonsense needs to stop.  But the challenge lies not with the Coalition, for the leopard’s spots are what they are; perhaps those who need to take a long, hard look in the mirror are those who still care, who care enough to empathise with our fellow citizenry. Which is to say, us. Perhaps then the challenge is ours, to remain clear minded until the next ballot box arrives in 2019, to demonstrate how much we do care in this country.

 

Jordan King Lacroix

Jordan King-Lacroix was born in Montreal, Canada but moved to Sydney, Australia when he was 8 years old. He has achieved a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney and McGill University, Canada, as well as a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Sydney.

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