Duncan Storrar: the sequel

If Duncan Storrar knew how his life would change by asking a question on television, chances are he would have stayed stumm. Storrar sent a statement to Media Watch. Here is an extract, giving the main points:

    “If a person shows the powers to be, out-of-touch people that they are, they will be dropped, probed and attacked in any way with no thought to the mental wellbeing of their children. This exposing of your life and every discrepancy in it will be published, ruining your job prospects (would you give me a job after a google search comes up with the headlines of last week?) and will be used as a example to keep people like me quiet.

    “There have been serious consequences from the decisions that the News Corp press has taken in my so-called story. I told everybody I talk to that I have just been to the Royal Commission and have serious mental issues. Knowing this, the right-wing press decided to write the stories they did without a care for me or my (now ex-) partner’s mental health. Now, as somebody who is training to learn to be a mental health advocate, I ask does News Corp have a mental health policy when it comes to dealing with people like me? … These are questions for lawyers not me.”

    “My question is still valid and hasn’t been answered but, more to the point, there are a whole class of people out there (yes we might have records, yes we might not be perfect) but society has forgotten us, the politicians and the media use us whenever they want to show why they need to be elected but never do anything to help our plight. We are breaking down here and life hasn’t been this hard since before Whitlam for the underclass.

    “Q&A is the only place where people like me can ask questions of our leaders and policy makers and, as it’s so hard to see your politicians, we don’t have any other contact with these people. [It’s] the most important part of democracy I have available to me.”

The full text is here.

He reckons his question has still not been answered.

Paul Barry, Media Watch host, wrapping up the segment:

    “Is this what now happens in Australia to someone who sticks their head up in public and exercises their democratic rights?” he said. “Duncan didn’t ask to be a national hero or a national villain, nor did he ask for our charity. All he did was put his hand up and ask a question and for that, he was crucified.”

Ambigulous first raised the Storrar question here, and there’s more here.

I believe half the $60K plus that was raised for him is to go to charities and half is to be held in trust for his daughters. To be honest, it seems a rather small amount to be forming a trust. I hope he has a cheap accountant.

51 thoughts on “Duncan Storrar: the sequel”

  1. I admit I haven’t followed the story closely, but it seems deeply ironic that the company hounding Duncan because he doesn’t earn enough to make him liable for income tax is at the top of the ATO’s list of companies known as tax avoiders (or should that be evaders?).

  2. Good point, zoot. At today’s prices they pay a dividend of 1.13% unfranked ( that is, they pay no tax). Commonwealth Bank by contrast pay 5.34% as a dividend, fully franked. They pay billions in tax.

    Newscorp take the money out of the country and invest it elsewhere, it would seem.

  3. Brian I did not follow the Storrar story earlier, but wow, the QandA event is a real eye opener.

    It all comes back to affordable accommodation from Storrar’s perspective, his income while not good is sufficient if he only pays a quarter in rent, while the Government’s budget direction is entirely the opposite to the needs of low incomes, the very low incomes that the government is managing the broader population towards over the long term in so many ways.

    Storrar should have been hailed as a hero by the LNP as he is supporting his family under difficult conditions and not living fully on welfare, instead he is smacked down and told to shut up as “serious people need more money”.

    Taking less money from higher income’d people does not create jobs. All it does is allow them to pay more for property that they might like to own for “security”.

    The reality is that business throughput funds employment, not the pay scale of the executives. And this LNP government has done nothing but trash manufacturing throughput. All of this talk about innovation creating jobs is nonsense, in the terms that it is being flouted, which amount to little more than a vision of “something in the future”, certainly nothing for Duncan Storrar to grasp onto…


  4. BilB, the link is to the Oz and is paywalled. If people Google ‘Judith Sloan Innovation serves nation best by eliminating wasteful spending’ you’ll get it.

    BilB, having solved that I’ve got to fly and will check it out later.

  5. BilB, basically the Murdoch press piled into Storrar like a bunch of bullies, having fun exposing ‘hypocrisy’ in the public interest. They don’t much care who they hurt.

    But it is akin to how whistle-blowers are often treated. It’s all about attracting eyeballs, but the class attitudes are there. He should know his place and be duly grateful.

    Judith Sloan is typically neolibral, but it is interesting to see her get stuck into Morrison and Turnbull. The former is an example of the Peter Principle and the latter is turning out to be a dud, who is mainly interested in power. She is hard in the innovation statement:

    This is where the loopy Innovation Statement comes in. Even if it comes to fruition as the fine words suggest, it doesn’t really amount to a hill of beans when considering the economy at large.

    A few dollars here and there, a tax concession or two, some more public spending on the CSIRO and other pet projects — it’s all great for the rent-seekers in the ­innovation space (and there are plenty) but it doesn’t come close to dealing with the job of managing the economy. It does, however, provide a useful slogan or two: the ideas boom replaces the mining boom, for example.

    She’s probably right. As Tony Bourke said on the box tonight, they don’t have a plan, they have a slogan.

  6. I still think the tax cut for the $80K people was basically tokenistic. ScoMo and Turnbull wanted to have a tax cut in their budget. That was the cheapest way of doing while claiming, with a bit of a stretch, it was for “middle Australia”.

  7. I agree, Brian, an expensive token at that, but with middle Australia? wellll,..the median income is 54k the average income is 58k, and the average full time income is 74k, so Turnbull’s tax benefit is aiming higher than the middle class. It might be better considered as aiming at the middle of the people Turnbull considers worth helping, and that is a very different group of people to who the average person might consider the middle incomed. Go down to the middle of this item to see who Malcolm’s friends are…


  8. The other thing to consider looking at the professions in the previous link with incomes above 80k is how are these people going to create new employment. Another figure that I heard in passing is that the much touted decrease in company tax for small business covers business with turnovers between 2 million and 10 million. Not me, not yet, and even then it is purely for funds left in the business which really means business with turnovers above 4 million. Considering that small business employs 46% of workers small business should be a real target, but what percentage of small business turns over above 4 million? I’m picking just a tiny number. I tried to find that number in here


    but they seem to have gone to some considerable effort to make that hard to find. So again, how serious is Turnbull about creating employment? not very IMHO.

  9. I would have thought this was a classic case of Duncan’s freedom of speech being suppressed by all those politically correct Newscorpse writers.
    As I have already said, I didn’t follow it closely but surely Andrew Bolt defended him … didn’t he?

  10. Geez that’s funny, the focus on what they say rather than who they are is the principal made, but goes out the window real fast depending on who you would rather agree with.

  11. Jumpy, it’s really not funny at all and I think you need lessons in empathy, as well as an understanding of our basic rights to free expression without being personally attacked.

    Craig Wallace, the president of People with Disability Australia, has said that the media’s treatment of Duncan Storrar was reprehensible, and should not be allowed to happen again.

    He said that politicians had gone missing:

    I actually think it’s the first duty of our politicians and electoral system to speak up for the rights of ordinary voters to ask questions.

    The press say it was in the public interest, but Wallace says that would only be so if Storrar were running for office.

    The transcript seems to be shortened, because Wallace said it was also an attack on Storrar’s privacy. Also 30 other heads of NGOs had supported Wallace in his statement.

  12. Jumpy, it’s really not funny at all and I think you need lessons in empathy, as well as an understanding of our basic rights to free expression without being personally attacked.

    The right wing media was just reacting to the lefts use of Storrar in the ongoing class war.

    Had the leftwing media not put the man on their shoulders and paraded around chanting ” the right are scum, the right are scum “, he wouldn’t have been a target.

    He was used, sure, but by who first ?

    As for lessons and understanding, try living next doors to housoes with ( wink, wink ) bad backs for 20 years, then pontificate.

  13. Had the leftwing media not put the man on their shoulders and paraded around chanting ” the right are scum, the right are scum “,

    Got an example?

  14. BilB, that’s an interesting article from back in 2011. I wonder what he’s saying now. He says that “progressive reform will require using a broken political system to fix a broken political system.” To me nothing much has changed.

    We seem to be going down the same path to some degree with increasing inequality and the increasing casualisation of work. Our political system is better, and could be better still if Turnbull had decided chosen adult policy discourse over destructive juvenile sloganeering.

  15. Jumpy, I’m afraid a sigh doesn’t do it. I was going to ask exactly the same question. When exactly did the leftwing media (not sure what that is) put Storrar the man on their shoulders?

  16. jumpy, it seems to me that Storrar’s question raised two issues. One is the adequacy of the safety net in our society. The second is, why, if we are going to attend to bracket creep, should those on $80K plus alone be given attention?

    Kelly O’Dwyer’s answers seemed to fall short by a fair margin. I didn’t see that program, but I gather she had two answers. One was that low income people had been helped when the carbon tax was removed and the $18.2K tax free threshold was left in place.

    Well,lifting the tax-free threshold was about two decades overdue, and gave equal benefits in cash terms to all tax payers.

    Secondly, the company tax relief was somehow meant to shower benefits on the likes of Storrar and make their lives easier. It’s a long bow she’s drawing. Most economists say 10 years at least for any economic impact. You can bet that in that time inequality will increase. The benefits to Storrar would be very indirect and marginal at best. Meanwhile someone worked out that the US treasury would be $11 billion better off.

  17. jumpy, I apologise for personalising my comment about empathy. However, I’ve recently pointed to research that shows that the privileged lose empathy for the poor, and that would also seem to apply to their ideological fellow-travellers. In general.

    FYI I haven’t lived life in a bubble, but I wouldn’t be making adverse public comments about how my neighbours lived unless I’d walked a mile in their shoes.

  18. Look, forget Duncan for a moment.
    The Q&A question could have been asked ( upon approval from ABC directors ) by anyone.
    Nothing will be said negatively about him/her ( by the right ) until he/she is championed ( by the left ).

    The tax free threshold is a subsidy in Shortens eyes is it not ?
    Inequality is only an issue if the bottom quintile have a lower standard of living, are they ? No.

    The safety net is just that, not a permanent free pass to the movies, durries for life or a never-ending supply of iPhone credit.

  19. Nope, searched for reports of anyone carrying Duncan around on their shoulders chanting “the right are scum, the right are scum” – no results at all.
    Sounds like Jumpy’s off his meds.

  20. Nothing will be said negatively about him/her ( by the right ) until he/she is championed ( by the left ).

    Pull the other one, it plays Jingle Bells.

  21. zoot, no matter how much Brian tries to legitimise your empty comments, they’re still empty.
    Rebuttal is not what your doing.

  22. FYI I haven’t lived life in a bubble, but I wouldn’t be making adverse public comments about how my neighbours lived unless I’d walked a mile in their shoes.

    Are you talking of my neighbours shoes that push a tinny into the river 3 times a week but can’t push a lawn mower ?
    That can sell weed from a garage but not sell for a retailer ?
    That can’t put a wheelie bin out resulting in a big pile of stinking garbage, but can put his hand out?
    Those shoes ?

    What do you Neighbours do ?

  23. I must say i had empathy for his pig dog.
    Even though it dug under my fence and did $2500 damage and much pain to my Staffy, Jack.
    The poor pig dog had finally broken off it chain that it wore 24/7 for the previous 18 months.

  24. I’ve suspected for a while but this thread puts it beyond doubt.

    Jumpy must be a poe designed to make glibertarians look bad.

  25. jumpy I gave you a link here.

    So here it is again:

    Ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a logical fallacy in which an argument is rebutted by attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself.

    If you read further, you’ll find that in fact, according to strict logic, ad hom is not always fallacious, but in common parlance, it is.

    Or you could try this one:

    Ad hominem attacks can take the form of overtly attacking somebody, or more subtly casting doubt on their character or personal attributes as a way to discredit their argument. The result of an ad hom attack can be to undermine someone’s case without actually having to engage with it.

    Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

  26. Jumpy, you were asking about my neighbours. I was trying to tell you that I don’t think it’s wise to be making judgemental comments traceable to specific persons in a public place.

    I also don’t think it’s proper.

    You do seem to have colourful neighbours. They couldn’t afford the rent in our neighbourhood, which is becoming gentrified, as house after house gets a makeover. When we came in the early 1980s, over the road were old public housing workers cottages, and our house was one of the better ones in the street. Now it’s one of the worst, even though we’ve done a bit to it. And, increasingly, we have negatively geared rental homes.

    I remember a friend of ours in the 1980s became principal of Bernarkin school on the way to Kingaroy, just through the forest. She reckoned it was where the people on social security, fleeing the big smoke, ran out of petrol. Where my sister lives in Dulacca, further out, there are 88 residents, and only 11 proper jobs when I asked last year.

    The main point, however, is that you seem to think that everyone can lift themselves up by the bootstraps, and if they don’t they are entirely to blame. Unfortunately that is not how it works. We are social beings. One of the main purposes of compulsory schooling is to provide kids with a chance to live in a world different to the one they were born in. It provides an avenue for social mobility, but the peer group, family and social setting influences are very strong.

    What can we do?

    We have a couple of social workers in the family, and a friend of ours, when she was a nun, used to live with people, sleep on the floor, earn their trust, and over time bring more order, hope, nutrition and hygiene into their lives. But she burnt out, as lots of social workers do, and had to do something else.

    One thing is certain. Making judgements about the worth or culpability of others is not the way to start.

    My own solution is entirely rational, but unimplementable. It begins with putting contraceptive medicine in the drinking water. I’d better leave it right there!

    Meanwhile you might think about the notion that it’s better to pay some people to stay out of the workforce. Remember the Paxton family?

    Finally when I Googled the Paxton’s I came up with this 2012 piece by David Hetherington in the Oz:

    The final moral quandary concerns adequacy. While we’ve boosted middle-class and corporate welfare, we’ve let our basic unemployment benefit slip to just more than 20 per cent of average weekly income, the second lowest in the OECD. As Jennifer Westacott of the Business Council of Australia has said: “People can’t live on $35 a day. Entrenching them into poverty is not a pathway back into employment.”

    A rich, morally aware society such as Australia can do better. (Emphasis added)

    If it’s paywalled, Google David Hetherington Paxtons have gone but dole trap remains.

    I’d also recommend John D’s post Is harassing the unemployed justified? which still gets hits in our archives.

  27. What was that ad homosomething thing you talked of zoot ?

    I made an observation about the quality of your contributions to this thread (unsupported assertions, avoiding questions, attempts to change the subject etc).
    I was not not rebutting your argument by attacking your character, which would have been an ad hominem argument on my part.
    Try to keep up.

  28. Sounds like Jumpy’s off his meds.

    Jumpy must be a poe designed to make glibertarians look bad.

    Jumpy, it’s really not funny at all and I think you need lessons in empathy, as well as an understanding of our basic rights to free expression without being personally attacked.

    Keep it coming if you will.
    It’s only possible to take offence, not give it, and I don’t.

  29. Jumpy, I’ve restated what I wanted to say:

    Jumpy, it’s really not funny at all. Storrar has basic rights to free expression without being personally attacked.

    And deserves our empathy.

  30. His right to free expression has not been denied, ( enhanced if anything), no-one has the right not to be criticised and why should his past actions not affect the level of empathy he deserves ( if there is such an inherent starting point ) ?

  31. Still missing the point Jumpy.
    His past actions are not a rebuttal of the point he made with his question. Whether his income level is above the tax-free threshold has no bearing on the answer to his question. If he had the history of Jack the Ripper it still wouldn’t invalidate his question.
    You obviously don’t understand the difference between playing the ball and playing the man. Is it a rugby thing?

  32. no-one has the right not to be criticised

    That’s where you go ‘to the man’ rather than to the argument he is putting.

    Answering Storrar’s argument has nothing to do with Storrar the man.

    Do you understand the point made in this example?

    After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

    Storrar himself is a separate matter entirely, and should not come into play if he asks a question. That is the point made by Craig Wallace, the president of People with Disability Australia. All Australians should have the right to engage in public debate without their personalities and their lifestyle choices being attacked.

  33. Here is the question ( if you haven’t seen it )

    “I’ve got a disability and a low education, that means I’ve spent my whole life working for minimum wage. You’re gonna lift the tax-free threshold for rich people,If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life,that means that I get to say to my little girls, ‘Daddy’s not broke this weekend. We can go to the pictures’. Rich people don’t even notice their tax-free threshold lift. Why don’t I get it? Why do they get it?”

    You really want me to break that down to the nuts and bolts of reality ?

  34. You really want me to break that down to the nuts and bolts of reality ?

    No I don’t, and here’s why.

    I was thinking about it taking my constitutional walk in the park from which I’ve just returned.

    Storrar pretty much invited ‘them’ into his life, which wasn’t smart. Nevertheless the press should not have gone there. Clearly they have caused him substantial harm which can never be undone.

    There is another problem of logic at work here. The story of one example, in this case the one he used from his own life, illustrates his case, but it doesn’t make his case. It’s arguing from the particular to the general, which is verboten.

    The same is true in reverse. Whatever the press say about him is one case, and doesn’t prove any generalisation.

    And the same is true about the case of your neighbours.

    It’s why we need sociologists and economists, although they too are not always scientific.

    BTW, Kelly O’Dwyer, to her credit, took up his general point. It’s just that her answer was a bit thin.

  35. Is that fair dinkum the greens leader was paying the Nanny under $4.00/hour ?

  36. Apparently board and lodging was costed at $300 per week and she was only meant to work 26 hours.

    I think Di Natale took the advice of his accountant or whoever without thinking about it very much.

  37. We must also recognise its a company tax reduction, not a rich people subsidy.

    a sum of money granted by the state or a public body to help an industry or business keep the price of a commodity or service low.
    “a farm subsidy”
    a sum of money granted to support an undertaking held to be in the public interest.
    “she was anxious about her Arts Council subsidy”
    a grant or contribution of money.
    “the position is generously rewarded and benefits include a mortgage subsidy”
    synonyms: grant, allowance, endowment, contribution, donation, bursary, gift, present, investment, bestowal, benefaction, allocation, allotment, handout; More
    a parliamentary grant to the sovereign for state needs.

    Bill needs to be honest as to what a subsidy is, to date he hasn’t.

  38. I doubt that you understand the nuts and bolts of this Jumpy.

    The reality is that by allowing higher income people to gain ground on the lower income disadvantages the lower income doubly. First the lower income is already struggling and there is no justification for assisting a higher income first. Secondly, the higher income will use the gain to push real estate prices higher, and that puts the lower income into further stress from higher rent.

    Your Libertarian platform is that the low income is contributing less to the economy than the high income as evidenced by the income so the high income deserves prior consideration. That is the near zero empathy take on life which fortunately our community by and large rejects.

    Here is something to think about in relation to helping the poor


    I’m organising for a friend with a long experience with statistics to start using Hans Rosling’s GapMinder software to illustrate how the NeoLiberals hijacked global wealth as Jacob Hacker very succinctly illustrates in his essay


    To see how wealth was shifted from the pockets of the many to the pockets of the few against the time line of pivotal political decisions is going to be very illuminating.

    Further more I think that it will be blatantly obvious that the greed of the Low Empathy elite has exacerbated Global Population Growth (along with Global Warming) by the means that Hans Rosling demonstrates in the video, or rather the negative of it.

  39. Bilb, Libertarians don’t want Government assistance for middle and upper income folk. They want Government to piss off out of it and have rewards realised by those most willing to seek them.

  40. Brian, had Abbott done that, what would be your response ?
    Not as calm I’m guessing.

  41. Anywho, dwell on that if youse wish, I’m hitting the fart sack and won’t be online again till Friday at the earliest, workin.


  42. Jumpy, what Libertarians want is no taxation and no regulation, for themselves, but regulation, policing and user pays for everything for everyone else.

    Ain’t gunna happen.

    NeoLiberals have gone way too far, get ready for the pushback.

  43. Brian, had Abbott done that, what would be your response ?
    Not as calm I’m guessing.

    I’m always fairly calm.

    Abbott and Di Natale are entirely different people and it’s pointless speculating on how I’d react. I really don’t know. Anyway, here is his defence.

    Strikes me he was in effect making a cash profit out of charging $300 for “rent, meals and sundries.”

Comments are closed.