Saturday, 30 June 2012

When People Get Stuck In a Rut Part II

How The Welfare System Can Hold Us Back

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog with the same above title; this is part two

I was minding my own business blogging away into the dead of night trying to earn a living when I heard a rather interesting call on talk-back radio that kind of broke my heart, made me a little mad and extremely sympathetic.

The serious heartache and struggle that is the life of a person surviving on a pension or someone who is relying on an unemployment benefit or is unfit to work really does take a toll on a person's self esteem. No-one can ever measure another's pain, however each person's life is different and their circumstances different again.

This woman who called the broadcaster had been waiting in a tiny house with five kids and her partner for a government house for over eight years. She was literally at the end of her rope. She had two grown boys who were not working, had no money and they were making no contribution to the household expenses. She struggled with a serious back injury, which I could so relate to and was not getting a lot of help. Well after a pep talk from the radio broadcaster she called the radio station a few nights ago and reported to him and the listeners that she had made many changes in her life. She had quit smoking, her partner quit smoking, she got her boys out to work and encouraged them to quit smoking. She was out and about doing more and trying to help others. 

All I can say is: what a terrific ending to what could have been an extremely sad story. But this woman sounded on top of the world. She took on board the advice listeners had to give her and employed those ideas and I could not be happier for her. And what I heard when she called the program the other night has inspired me to do more for others and myself.

It can really suck when you have a medical condition that forces you out of work and on a benefit or pension and all the while doctors are telling you, that you cannot work. However, that doesn't mean you give up, I have been plugging away trying to make a living as a writer ever since both my doctors told me that and will be writing till the day I die, even if I am able to work full time again. I have always been a big believer in giving as much back to others as possible because it makes you feel so good to give. I find it better than receiving.

So congratulations to this woman and I send my blessings to her three little kids and her young sons and husband and I really hope they keep on keeping on and eventually get to where they want to be in life.

In writing this; I now have a smile on my face, it's great to share the positive for a change rather than writing about the negative issues that surround us and threaten to swallow us whole everyday. 

Keep smiling everyone and have a great day.

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To read more of Janelle Coulton's articles, Please visit at: JanelleCoulton@Suite101 or you can read other blogs at: Janelle's Blogs 

Copyright © 2012 Janelle Coulton

Friday, 29 June 2012

Fairfax Media Say No To Gina Rhinehart

When the richest woman in the world wants to invest in your company wouldn't you jump at the opportunity?

This is just my opinion and the rambling thoughts of a humble, stuggling blogger/writer; who is merely trying to understand what in heck these people are thinking?

Gina Rhinehart - Photo Credit The Australian, June 29, 2012

If this blog comes across as my being biased to Ms Rhinehart gaining a larger stake in the Fairfax media company then I apologise as I do try to look at the issues from all sides, but this seems like suicide to me on the part of Fairfax media. On Friday, June 29, 2012 The Australian reported that the Fairfax board have offered her two seats on the board, however this was as far as they were prepared to go. Ms Rhinehart was asking for three seats on the board, the power to hire and fire editors and the position of deputy chairperson.

Is this asking too much? Ms Rhinehart own 18.7 percent of this company and holds the largest stake in Fairfax media. In my opinion; no. Now I know nothing about business and public companies however I would have assumed that the person with the highest stake in the company would have a say in how certain things are done. I don't know what it is but I have a lot of faith in the abilities of Ms Rhinehart. I believe that she can turn Fairfax media into a more successful company in the future. I also predict that Fairfax shares could be a great investment if it starts to look as though Fairfax are going to welcome Ms Rhinehart aboard.

Another thought is that Ms Rhinehart could put together a takeover bid. This scenario was mentioned in the Australian's article however this option seems rather complicated. But given that since 2007, Fairfax shares have dropped almost 90 percent; it would seem to me that this huge media giant could very well go under. And if Ms Rhinehart is as good as her word and does sell of all her shares, this will not be good for Fairfax as I would assume that the share price would drop even lower. Having said that; this option would not benefit Ms Rhinehart because she will likely be selling those shares at a loss.

For the sake of this companies future and the future of all that are still employed by Fairfax I really hope they can come to an agreement on this, because I believe that Ms Rhinehart can make huge changes within Fairfax, and possibly create more jobs within this company. She is already planning on building another mine and this will bring over 6,000 jobs for Australians; so in my opinion these guys need to get off their high horses' and give her a go. She's not the richest woman in the world for no good reason.


The Australian, June 29, 2012

To read more of Janelle Coulton's articles, Please visit at: JanelleCoulton@Suite101 or you can read other blogs at: Janelle's Blogs

Copyright © 2012 Janelle Coulton

Thursday, 14 June 2012

When People Get Stuck In a Rut

The Welfare System Can Do More Harm Than Good

The following is a true story, however there are no references to anyone's names or locations (apart from mine) as I feel their identity should be kept anonymous.

I heard a call on talk back radio last week from a woman who was at the end of her rope because she has been waiting for a government house for eight years. She called the radio program because she had heard that around 87,000 government houses were just unoccupied. I'm not sure if she was referring to a national figure or within her state; however I have heard that the State Housing departments do keep a certain number of their houses empty for a variety of reasons. Emergency housing would be the main reason and these emergent circumstances would vary depending on the needs of the public. During the bush-fires in Canberra in 2003; I heard that many people who were homeless were placed in emergency government accommodation housing that were vacant.

Anyway my reason for posting this blog was the conversation that occurred between the radio announcer and this woman. She is a mother of six children and lives with her partner/husband. Both she and her partner have disabilities and are on a disability payment. It sounded to me like this family have been through the wringer both emotionally and physically and I felt very sympathetic towards her situation.

She has three little children sharing the one room, and two grown sons living in the house bringing in no income and then went on to explain they cannot get Centrelink benefits for 3 months. She also mentioned a daughter who is married to a great guy and lives with her family some distance away. Her husband has various disabilities, so would be limited in what kind of activity he could do.

What upset me about this woman's situation is that she kept bringing up the past and all the things she and her family have done in the past but, she was not focusing on what she could do about her situation right now and into the future. It is so obvious to me (and I'm sure other parents who were listening) that instead of allowing her two grown sons to take advantage. (She has two adult boys and they are allowing their mother to support them when she has three little children who are totally dependent on her). It seemed to me that she had just accepted the fact that they had to wait the three months for money from Centrelink, rather than get their butts into gear and find jobs and contribute to the household expenses. If her boys are willing to work and do any job they are qualified for then that's what they should be doing. The jobs are out there, they just need to be found.

As for her back injury and her partner's disability; I guess it depends on how serious these medical issues are and this is where I am going to compare my recent situation to hers.

A few weeks ago I was paying $900 per fortnight for rent and my partner was earning $1,000 a fortnight from his job caring for disabled people. It's hard work and it's low pay, however he loves it. We had to get a boarder in to help with the expenses, we hated the idea, but we had no choice. Our children are almost grown, so for us not having the expenses that go along with raising children was a relief. I have had a back injury (Crushed vertebrae) for almost 20 years and I worked for years in an office (sitting at a computer all day) and came home in pain everyday, and it did not matter how many breaks I took. But I needed the job, because the wage was much better than what benefit the government would have given me. Three and half years ago, I became chronically ill and I still am. It took 2 years to diagnose and I was made do part-time hours at work which reduced my income. A year ago I stopped working as I was not coping, however because of what my partner was earning, I did not qualify for any type of benefit except a health care card. So with no income coming into the home from me; we were forced to cope as best we could and this situation went on for eighteen months. Yes I received almost $15,000 in leave accrual payouts and long service leave, however that did not last long.

Our situation now is that I have a severe illness of the stomach which should have improved given the treatment I've had, however it's not. My back injury is no better, and will never get better unless I have surgery which is most likely elective and expensive. We are no longer in that horrid financial situation because my partner and I sat down months ago and we planned out our next twelve months and every option we had was considered, because nothing ever goes to plan, and our lives certainly have not. Without going into too much detail, things changed for us dramatically and we have now ended up in a situation that was not part of the plan, however it's all for the better and we are both happier now. Separated, living in different places; however we are happier, because we managed to achieve our goals. He got to keep his job, found somewhere cheap to live and I am trying to get established as a writer. I write for a few online sites, my blogs and my followers are growing everyday. Live the dream while you can I say. My GP tells me I cannot work for at least the next three months and that outlook will depend on what my specialist has to say, so at the moment I'm working at doing what I love and hoping one day I get someone to pay me to do it.

What I'm saying is: have a plan, examine your options, stop making excuses, make a list of your non-negotiables i.e. pros and cons of every situation that could come up. This mother needs to get onto to Housing every week and nag the absolute hell out of them (that is what I did when I was a single parent and my daughter was little, and had my government house in Canberra in 4 years in 1995). They just may grant her family a house to make her go away. And the same goes for job hunting; chase up the companies, follow up, basically annoy them into employing you. It works; believe me. She also needs to focus on her little ones and get those boys, including her partner doing something.

I wish her and her family all the luck in the world and I encourage her to get up everyday and decide to do one thing that helps someone else, even something simple like holding a door open for someone at the shops. It's a start and it makes you feel great.  And perhaps she should focus on doing something simple that is just for her, like get hubby to watch the kids while she takes a bubble bath. This will help build up her self esteem. There are so many ways to pull yourself back up, you just need to give yourself that kick up the 'you know where.'

To read more of Janelle Coulton's articles, Please visit at: JanelleCoulton@Suite101 or you can read other blogs at: Janelle's Blogs

Photo has a Creative Commons licence and is linked to the source.

Copyright © 2012 Janelle Coulton