Lower classes being seen as lesser humans

AUSTRALIA rolled its eyes when Tasmania boasted four out of seven finalists in television show Bogan Hunters.

“The seven biggest bogans in the country have been found and it may come as little surprise to some that four of them are from Tasmania,” one News Ltd piece sighed.

Esteemed publication The Daily Mail nodded along: “They market themselves as a state full of untouched wilderness, craft beer and edgy art exhibits, but Tasmania can’t shake its reputation as the bogan capital of Australia.”

Instead of laughing and dismissing these people, a decent society should try and address the issues of unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse, poor education and health issues that flow from generation to generation.

It seems most Tasmanians would rather ignore this element of society. George Town residents have told me their lower classes are either non-existent or nocturnal.

Pretending poor people -“bogans” – don’t exist or completely separating them from the rest of the population only serves to further marginalise an already disadvantaged group of people.

Off the record, journalists hear politicians joke about bulldozing poor areas, event organisers whisper about ticketing events to “keep out the bogans” and Launceston business owners whinge about the riff-raff that hangs around the mall.

One CBD retailer moaned in a public meeting that the three op shops on Launceston’s Charles Street were bringing down the tone of the area.

“What’s next?” she asked.”A brothel?”

And call a spade a spade: repeated attempts to move Launceston’s Metro interchanges is about nothing more than keeping “the anti-social element” out of the CBD.

A University of Melbourne study found that Australians viewed people of a lower-class as animal-like.

Although viewed as warm and competent, peoples’ perception of our disadvantaged overlapped with that of rats, dogs and apes.

Plainly, Australians view its lower classes as lesser humans.

No wonder people were so upset with Glamorgan Spring Bay Mayor Bertrand Cadart when he said Tasmania ranged from “the most bogan of bogans … to the greenest pains in the arse”.

But typically for Tasmanians, instead of accepting Cr Cadart’s view and looking at the bigger issues, people flew to deny the label.

A third of the state is reliant on government benefits. The portion that is employed has the lowest average income in the country – 13 per cent of Tasmanians live in poverty.

The Tasmanian Council of Social Services has argued that the federal budget will only make this situation more dire.

For Tasmania to isolate such a large portion of its residents only takes away a large portion of the ideas, resources and opportunities.

The poor aren’t the problem – it’s the people who judge them and exploit them.

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