Ruth Tangiiau Mavé: Allowances debate hits sore spot

Friday June 26, 2020 Published in Letters to the Editor

Yes, the Spouse Allowance was discussed in Parliament, and understandably the Members of Parliament are upset with the reporting, because now the public know it exists and will continue to exist in the 2021 Budget, despite the financial destitution taxpayers are facing, and they’re not happy.

The spotlight falls on all MPs, not because of what was asked, but because of what wasn’t asked, by anyone in the room.

In the Public Forum it’s the first asked: Why was this question asked at all in Parliament, when there are more important issues to discuss? Why didn’t someone, stand up and say “I move to suspend this and all non-essential allowances for the upcoming Budget.”

Imagine a genuine, caring, supportive Government facing the same question. An MP for the people stands and says: “These are unprecedented times, our countrymen are suffering huge financial difficulties, I move we review our personal allotments and suspend them until further notice, and give it to the old and vulnerable who only received $400.”

It’s seconded, followed by inspired discussions of enthusiasm and goodwill, they all get motivated and someone says, “I move we donate our 45 per cent wage rise and give it to the long-service Police officers.”

Cheering and clapping ensue, another stands: “I move we take $12 million from the $71.4 million destined for Government personnel and give it to the nurses and teachers, effective immediately.”

The room is electric with love and compassion because they realise, people don’t care how much they know, they want to know how much Government cares.

Miraculously, confetti falls and a brass band can be heard playing a rousing song.

None of this happened that day, everyone, on both sides remained silent. Nobody said: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what can you do for your country.”

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