Daniel Wild Discussing IPA Welfare Research Sky News Australia – 8 April 2024

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8 April 2024
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The Institute of Public Affairs’ Daniel Wild on the Bolt Report to the discuss IPA’s research into Australia’s rapidly growing dependency on welfare.

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Below is a transcript of the interview.


Andrew Bolt:

Before I get to the news of the day, honestly, my daughter went to Adelaide on the weekend and dropped in on the South Australian art gallery. Now, it’s got some good stuff, I’ve been there, Jeffrey Smart, of course, local boy, Hans Heysen, daughter Nora, Ethel Carrick Fox, Joshua Reynolds, Gainsborough, that kind of stuff. But this is what you see in the first room when you go there now, lovely paintings, including Madonna and Child from the 16th century, confronted by a hideous kind of human ape, which is also staring with her monstrous genitals dilated at a more recent Madonna and Child by Bouguereau.

In front of a portrait of King George III hangs what looks like a kind of dead horse, while next to the king is the head of a Black woman glaring at him, this colonialist.

And to complete this assault on beauty by modern identity politics, bearing their resentments and genitals is a statue of a naked transsexual showing their backside to the king.

This is not just contrasting today’s art with the yesterday’s. This is actually a hostile attack by barbarians on their bettors. Joining me are Daniel Wild, the Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs, and Steve Chavura, senior lecturer in history at Campion College and co-author of The Forgotten Menzies.

Stephen, there’s something about you that strikes me as the art’s dilettante. What do you make of that?

Stephen Chavura:

Well, just going for the grotesque. I mean, sadly, once upon a time, art was about the visual representation of the true, the beautiful, and the good. But in the 20th century, many artists and philosophers stopped believing in the true, the beautiful, and the good, and so art really just became about pushing the boundaries, shocking people. Well, even children can shock people, people without much skill can shock people. And art also became about social activism, but never conservative social activism, always left-wing social activism. So now that art has been just unhitched from the objective, true, beautiful, and the good, this is the kind of thing you get, just attempts to shock people, to push boundaries, to create visceral reactions in people. The good news is that there’s a classical school movement emerging in Australia, and they’re going to teach young Australians about true art, that is, the visual representation of the true, the good, and the beautiful.

Andrew Bolt:

Well said.

To me, Daniel, this strikes me as signs of a civilization in decline, you know, gibbering monkeys even gesticulating it up, they cannot understand or reproduce, don’t have the talent. But to another example from the Institute of Public Affairs itself, you’ve put out new research showing an even higher number of Australians now, higher proportion of Australians are in some form of welfare, with the disability, NDIS, welfare, age, unemployment, and you found, in fact, the most welfare-dependent states of Tasmania. Big surprise there, I guess. Incredible 11% of people on some form of welfare, and South Australia, which houses that gallery, 9.9%, nearly 10% on some form of welfare. Does this show what a wonderful place Australia is, looking after the unfortunate, the ill of these, or does it show something else?

Daniel Wild:

Well, we’ve got a real problem, Andrew. What we saw from 2013 to 2018 was actually a reduction to the number Australians on the welfare rolls. About 125,000 got off welfare in that period. But then we had two things. We had the full implementation of the NDIS in 2019 and, of course, COVID and the lockdowns. And what happened with COVID is it severed the relationship between work and reward, and we’ve had a lot of young Australians, not through any fault of their own but through bad policy decisions made at state and federal level, receiving a lot of welfare for a long time without any connection to how that money is generated. When it comes to the NDIS, it’s absolutely critical for those in catastrophic circumstances to get the help, but we’ve just seen an explosion in the numbers, Andrew, particularly for young people with autism and other learning difficulties.

Andrew Bolt:

Sometimes given that diagnosis in order to access benefits when the practitioner may not, and I’ve spoken to a couple, may not actually feel they are generally autistic. It’s the only way to get some help.

Daniel Wild:

That’s right, there is an incentive problem, a policy incentive problem, including a relation to schools. We also know that the government is committed to at least an 8% growth to the NDIS. That’s their goal as a minimum. Now, our economy is only going at 2 1/2% per year in real term, so clearly we’ve got a problem.

Andrew Bolt:

Stephen, what’s more frightening about those figures which Daniel has mentioned is that we’ve had this increase on people getting welfare despite the fact that we’ve got a very, very low historic, well, in terms of the last 20 years, unemployment rate. We should have many fewer people off welfare. Instead, we’ve got more on it. How does that work?

Stephen Chavura:

Because it’s got a lot to do, as that excellent IPA report says, with the NDIS. It’s just been a cost blowout over the last few years, and Labour have promised to rein it in, and they’re going to have to take to it with a razor. Just in 2023, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission estimated that 15 to 20% of NDIS payments were actually rorts. The NDIS has become notorious for bogus providers doubling and tripling service fees, turning the NDIS into just sort of a bottomless pit of money. So that’s where a lot of the problem lies.

Andrew Bolt:

Yeah, it is. And Daniel, every dollar I earn here tonight, half of it goes to the government. I don’t mind if it’s going to needy people. I mean, I give private donations as well. But seriously, when I see this kind of stuff, I’m thinking, “What on earth?”

But I want to go to another thing, a story today, feeds into this welfare mentality, accusing our universities of not looking after foreign students enough, right? So it says we’ve brought in, universities have brought in more than 200,000 fee-paying international students just this year, but they only have dormitory accommodation for 40,000, and private training colleges, they’ve got no accommodation all for the 150,000 foreign students they’ve brought in here. Federal Education Minister Jason Clare was calling on the university to provide more housing for these foreigners, saying, “Universities benefit significantly from international students. They should have a responsibility to help house them.” But Daniel, why do they have just an equal responsibility to house all the country students that come to the cities and fighting, or even just poor parents, poor families trying to get into housing that immigration squeeze them out off?

Daniel Wild:

Well, look, the international system is a rort for universities to make money at the expense of domestic students and at the expense of the quality of education and at the expense of housing. They’re putting immense pressure on the local housing market rents, and everything is going up as a result of that. We did some research last year which found that rents had gone up by about a thousand dollars a year because of the pressure of international students coming into the market. Now, I’m not blaming those students, because they want to come here for a better life. It’s the university that is the problem, and the government’s not doing anything about it. They have the policy levers, but they’re blaming everyone else but themselves.

Andrew Bolt:

But it’s extraordinary, Stephen, isn’t it? The government says, “Oh look, universities should build more housing for international students.” What about the local Australian ones?

Stephen Chavura:

Precisely. And the problem is, though, there’s far more money for universities in international students. They pay their fees upfront, they pay more than local students. The universities see international students as dollar signs, and the thing is, Labor’s policy is to actually increase the number of students in universities over the years. The Australian Universities Accord Report has said that it wants 80% of Australians by 2050 to have a university degree. It wants by that time also to double the number of university placements. That is just going to exacerbate the housing crisis. Labor’s plan for the universities will make them even more crowded than they are right now. They’re going to become, therefore, over-bureaucratized. Over 50% of university staff are actually bureaucrats, they’re not actually academics, and so there’s no point giving more money to universities to offset a shortage of international students because it’ll just go to an oversized bureaucracy. They don’t know how to spend the money, and the standards of the universities, because the international students will keep coming in, will continue to get lower under Labour.

Andrew Bolt:

And of course, the federal government was saying, Daniel, last year that universities have got to do more looking after international students or students generally, and if they were going to fail, they should come by with more assistance and all that. I mean, it is a factory and it’s not a training ground.

Daniel Wild:

It is, and it just gets to the bigger problem of our migration system, and you’ve been talking about this for years, which is they bring in more migrants, whether it’s international students or otherwise, to pump up the headline GDP figures, but it does nothing for the person on the street as GDP per capita, a better measure of the quality of living, continues to go backwards, and this is just yet another example of that.

Andrew Bolt:

Absolutely true.

Stephen Chavura, Daniel Wild, thank you very much to you both.

This transcript from Andrew Bolt Report Sky News Australia from 8 April 2024 has been edited for clarity.

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