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Sit in the corner while we rob you

By Peter Saunders - posted Monday, 16 April 2007

The commonwealth Government is to spend $2.5 million on a campaign telling parents not to smack their children.

It has recently come to my attention that some of you are still smacking your children when they are naughty. I do not approve of this. I admit that I've changed my mind on this issue. I didn't used to think there was anything wrong with smacking naughty children. Indeed, I used to smack your children when I had custody of them in my schools. But I've stopped doing this and now I think you should stop, too.

I have therefore decided to start nagging you about this. I intend to spend $2.5 million on an advertising campaign, so that whenever you go to the cinema, turn on the television or open a newspaper, I'll be there, wagging a finger at you until you start to rear your children in the way I think you should.


Of course, I have no money of my own to pay for this advertising campaign, so I shall be using yours. As usual. For I am your government and I am here to tell you how to live your lives.

Actually, since I have your attention, I'd just like to say how much your behaviour has been disappointing me of late. Last year I had to spend $138 million of your money trying to get you to see things my way, but some of you never seem to learn, no matter how much I nag.

Take smoking, a dirty, disgusting habit. I keep telling you that every cigarette you smoke is killing you, and I've gone to a lot of trouble filming rotting lungs and cancerous mouths, but do you listen? You're still out there, behind the bike sheds, puffing away as if you know best.

And your diet; really! What's the point in me spending all that money inventing Vegieman to tell you what to eat when so many of you are still not packing five vegetables and two pieces of fruit into your daily lunch boxes? Some of you, it seems, just will not be told.

Then there's the matter of seatbelts. Don't you realise you can go through the windscreen if you crash your car and you're not strapped in? Every holiday I go through the same thing, telling you how I'll take away your licence if you don't put on your belt, but do you listen? Do you?

And while we're on the matter of driving, I've spent a fortune on advertisements explaining that if you drive faster, it takes longer for your car to stop when you hit the brakes. I know this is hard to understand, but you really must make more of an effort to pay attention.


And those of you at the back of the class, stop hitting each other! I will not put up with bullying, which is why I've recently had to spend even more of your money explaining you should not be beating each other up at home.

Really, you are all so stupid and irresponsible. It's a good job you've got me to tell you how to live your lives. You should be grateful. In almost all other countries governments don't care enough about their people to force them to vote. Imagine if I were that permissive with you lot! Knowing you as I do, many of you would probably choose to go to the footy or do the gardening on a Saturday if I wasn't behind you, forcing you to go down the polling station. Where would you be without me, chasing you all the time?

You see, I am your government, which means I care about you and I know best what is good for you. It's my job to nag you and boss you around. That's what living in a free and democratic country means: I force you to vote, then I take your money, then I use it to tell you how to live your lives. You'll thank me for it one day.

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First published in The Australian on April 10, 2007.

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About the Author

Peter Saunders is a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Independent Studies, now living in England. After nine years living and working in Australia, Peter Saunders returned to the UK in June 2008 to work as a freelance researcher and independent writer of fiction and non-fiction.He is author of Poverty in Australia: Beyond the Rhetoric and Australia's Welfare Habit, and how to kick it. Peter Saunder's website is here.

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