Opinion

WATER COOLER: What happened to our simple family Christmas?

Letter to the Editor from Eloise Row of Tannum Sands in Queensland.

What happened to us?

"BACK in the day", when life was simpler, slower, uncomplicated and more secure, people were basically happier; content with very little and genuinely caring for one another. What happened?

With no technology, PCs, iPhones, iPads, mobile phones or credit cards, Christmas was a generous and hearty family meal, a game of cricket on the grass or beach and maybe a present each for the children.

With no stress over who to impress, no January credit-card debts to repay and only five-and-a-half days to shop, people organised their few days off around the family get-together.

What happened?

It is now a nightmare for all families, competing with friends and the media, to have elaborate meals costing a fortune, shopping with maxed-out cards (plus GST), and running on short fuses for the month leading up to the weekend.

Domestic violence is escalated, with many children not enjoying the season because of antagonism between warring parents.

Increased homelessness, addictions and violence only add misery to already over-commercialised Christmas expectations, at supposedly a time of peace and goodwill. Far from it for some!

DO YOU THINK CHRISTMAS IS TOO OVER-THE-TOP THESE DAYS?

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Once, water and power were charged on consumption only.

Costs were minimal. Water and power were run by local councils and responsible state governments, kept within the family budget, usually running on one income.

Governments showed restraint and worked within their budgets.

Come 2000, GST added insult to injury, of 10% of a majority of goods and services, creating revenue for governments which failed to live within their means.

Additional daily access and supply charges, inflicted because of over-investment in gold-plating infrastructure and the need for maintenance of the old and ailing networks, exacerbate the pain of utilities for families, forcing women to leave their homes and families into workplaces to survive financially, often incongruent with family responsibilities. The prohibitive cost of child care only exacerbates the strain.

The new government representatives, created by the State Labor Government, supposedly because the portfolios of its prior-elected crew were too large to handle, will not endear the government to those footing the bill for extra politicians.

Families and individuals, many of whom are already on the brink financially, don't need this last-minute, costly decision. We need a conscionable, leaner, transparent and accountable government, displaying restraint and reduction in waste, leading by example.

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