Singular Policies


We're constantly hearing about how the average age of first time marriage and childbirth is rising; divorce is increasing; and people are choosing to be single for years on end. One quarter of all households now single-person households, and that number is expected to be more than a third in the next twenty years.

So why does the government keep ignoring us?

It's not just this government. It is the pecking order of governments everywhere - Families (especially of the Working variety) are number one, seniors second (they may not actually do anything for the seniors, but they do at least rate a mention) and singles don't even appear on the radar.

We pay maximum rates of tax, and there are never any policies that benefit us. It's the received wisdom that families are the ones who deserve the goodies and no one questions it - not even the singles themselves. Maybe, as our numbers increase, we should stand up and demand our share of the government largesse. We should demand that singledom is not looked upon as a selfish, frivilous lifestyle choice but a genuine phenomenon which includes people of all ages and social strata. And that if people want kids, they should bloody well pay for them themselves.

It's a nice idea, anyway. But the idea of "family above all" has become so pervasive that at the 2007 Federal Election, when I heard of the What Women Want party, I looked into their policies and found they were all about paid maternity leave, birthing choices, schooling - in other words, only policies that applied to women with small children. There was no mention of the other seventy years of a woman's life, or the eighty or more years for the quarter of all women who won't have children. This seemed not to bother any commentators, although the voters may at least subconciously grasp the truth - the party registered just 3,870 primary votes (less than half, for example, of the Socialist Alliance).

Even if you do benefit from childcare rebates, family tax benefits, baby bonuses etc, surely even you would like to hear Rudd shut up about working families for a while? Us singles are a huge voting bloc - we cannot be denied forever.

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