The language of political denigration: Kevin Andrews and disability pensioners.

We see the same games played in the United States.

Tim Haslett's Blog

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews’ recent announcement that eligibility for the disability pension was to be tightened was a masterful demonstration of political weasel words.

Andrews

Full marks to the speechwriter, it was a textbook example.

The first thing that Andrews did was to reclassify those on disability pensions. He did this by saying young people on the disability pension sat on couch all the watching television. The reclassification or label that comes with this description is “lazy” and this combines very nicely with “young”. So the new label is now “young and lazy.” It’s very easy for the idea of “young and lazy” to morph into the idea of “dole-bludger.” It’s also interesting to understand that and that the new labelling stresses the young and lazy idea and de-emphasises the idea of disability.

Once the re-labelling has been done it is necessary to construct a narrative to support it. This…

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