In a café recently I saw a tall, strong, intellectually disabled teenage boy walk up to an elderly gentleman who was quietly sipping his coffee. The boy suddenly shouted at him and knocked his glasses off his face onto the floor. His poor, worn-out mother, who was on crutches, was mortified. She made her son apologise to the shaken man and led the boy back to her car. As she drove away I wondered about her life. This never ends for her. She was just trying to have a coffee – a much needed break that the rest of us take for granted.
Our society needs much better support and respite for the hundreds of thousands of parents and carers who have been dealt a tough hand. We keep being told there’s not enough cash in the kitty – but as the figure below shows, Australia is the 6th lowest taxed country out of 34 in the OECD (as measured by total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP). It’s a mystery to me why so many Christians will man the barricades to try to prevent something like same sex marriage in the name of defending the faith, and will then happily vote for parties committed to cutting taxes and ensuring that there’s never enough money to adequately care for the poor, the sick, the marginalised, the oppressed, the elderly, the homeless and the exhausted. Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.