OPINION: Govt wouldn't fund your dog or car - why your baby?

TALKING POINT: Comments by a former Labor minister have sent welfare recipients into a spin.
TALKING POINT: Comments by a former Labor minister have sent welfare recipients into a spin.

CONTROVERSIAL comments - there's nothing quite like them.

Even in the most mundane of weeks - Christmas behind us with the relaxed preparations for new year celebrations taking over - it never ceases to surprise just how much we can latch on to some slightly jarring statement with more ferocity than was probably initially intended.

This week, we had a pearler.

Former Labor minister Gary Johns suggested dole payments should be accompanied by compulsory contraception.

Enter controversy. Stage left.

Let's just put to one side for a moment how Mr Johns plans to police this.

While I do happen to sit on his side of the fence for this one, there's something not quite right about SWAT teams charging into neighbourhood bedrooms with bulletproof vests, automatic weapons and a series of pamphlets and contraceptive aids.

I wouldn't even rule out a particularly friendly officer handing over his childhood copy of Where Did I Come From? just for good measure.

For me, that would be the most uncomfortable situation since my parents actually gave me "the talk" about those last ones.

Perhaps that's simply my vivid imagination going a touch too far, but you get the point.

Needless to say, however, all this has sent welfare recipients into a spin.

I understand their frustration. Really, I do.

What I don't understand is their lack of understanding.

Yes, it seems a basic human right to bring a child into the world, and many people can't think of anything more exciting and rewarding.

But if there's not enough money to do it ... you can't exactly do it.

If a man on welfare wanted a new car, we wouldn't just give him the money.

If a man on welfare wanted a new house, we wouldn't just give him the money.

If a man on welfare wanted a dog, we wouldn't just give him the money ... or, quite appropriately, the money for the contraceptive procedure said dogs usually receive.

Yet, when it comes to inarguably the most significant investment we can make as human beings, there's uproar when a guy says you shouldn't be having kids without money.

This is not to say these people are banned from having children for the rest of their lives.

After all, the main idea of welfare payments is to keep unemployed members of society afloat until they are able to support themselves.

Supporting a newborn child must come into that category as well.

I'm well aware I may have made a little controversy of my own here.

Perhaps Mr Johns and I can start a little club.

But let's be honest: you can hardly argue with his logic here.

If the government is helping someone along, it hardly makes sense for that someone to ask for a few extra coins to help out for the surprise addition - or additions - to the family.

It would be akin to me getting free rent in my aunt's spare room ... then inviting all my friends around for parties every night.

You just can't have too much of a good thing.

And yes. That even goes for SWAT teams handing out - what were they called again, mum and dad?

Topics:  editors picks opinion welfare

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