A former Keating government minister is arguing that only people using contraception should receive government welfare, saying “the idea that someone can have the taxpayer, as of right, fund the choice to have a child is repugnant”.
Gary Johns was a federal Victorian MP for 9 years and Special Minister of State under Keating before losing his seat in 1996.
In a column, titled No Contraception, No Dole, in The Australian today, Johns says bluntly “No contraception, no benefit” going on to cite the pre-Christmas deaths on eight children in Cairns, involving a single Torres Strait Islander mother who had nine children from five fathers.
“There should be no taxpayer inducement to have children,” he says. “Potential parents of poor means, poor skills or bad character will choose to have children. So be it. But no one should enter parenthood while on a benefit.”
Johns says his argument is “not an affront to single mothers or absent fathers, or struggling parents” and acknowledges his idea “will undoubtedly affect strugglers” and Aboriginal and Islander people “in great proportions”.
But, he says “It is better to avoid having children until such time as parents can afford them. No amount of ‘intervention’ after the fact can make up for the strife that many parents bring down on their children”.
Johns singles out to cases involving Indigenous people, also citing intergenerational dysfunction in a Sydney Aboriginal family with a grandmother, who began abusing alcohol at age 12 and had a long history of drug abuse, caring for six grandchildren amid multiple interventions by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
“Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife. As for inadequate non-beneficiaries, we just have to grin and bear it,” Johns writes.
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