To the woman who was asked where were they all living before living in the car? And who said “At home with my parents but then I got kicked out.” I want the media to find out why. To the mother of 10 children living in a carport I would like the reporter to explain that if she is on her own and her children are all school age, that she is entitled to $1500 per week from WINZ – which may not be much with 10 children – but what happened to that money this week. With an accommodation supplement on top of that her income would be much closer to $2000 per week. And another question she could be asked, bearing in mind she has probably been renting previously is, why she moved? Has she got a good rent record? Did she always pay rent on time? Was the accommodation ever damaged? Did she have to move because of the harsh and unfair treatment of the landlord or what? None of the answers affect the bottom line which is that it is all about the kids. But I want to know.
The media dereliction of duty has got even worse. They now allow the Greens to put up people and refuse to supply a surname – making it impossible for media to verify if what they are being told is correct. Yet despite this, the media all reports the claims.
Others being in bad circumstances does not make us become cold and uncaring towards them, or unsympathetic towards their circumstances. It doesn’t mean we all want to see people living in cardboard boxes under bridges, or begging on the street. It doesn’t mean we say it’s their own damn fault. The opposite is generally true. We open the doors to our homes, we open our wallets and give of our time energy and resources to help, we drop off groceries and raid our own firewood supplies to help with heating, especially when kids are involved.
Knowing the full facts doesn’t absolve us from a responsibility to help. But I am stuffed if I am going to be denied the knowledge of those full facts because a news agency can’t be bothered asking the questions. Alternatively, maybe they have decided that we don’t need to know because it doesn’t fit with the angle they are taking on a particular story.
When my bull-dust radar is screaming, the only way to turn it down is to know the truth. Let the fourth estate step up on this occasion.