A loud Twitter chorus has responded to Treasurer Joe Hockey’s suggestion that Australia’s "poorest people either don't have cars or actually don't drive very far in many cases".
The hashtag #OtherThingsThePoorDontDo has been picked up by the Australian Twittersphere, where users are venting their frustration with the Treasurer’s comment.
From "write a thank you note for a bottle of Grange" to "arrange 60K scholarships with nil-HECS for their kids", the growing list of "other things poor people don’t do" is a blunt response to Mr Hockey’s efforts to justify the government’s proposed increase in fuel excise.
#OtherThingsThePoorDontDo write thank-you note for a bottle of Grange— M'Lady Mallott (@mallottk) August 13, 2014
On Wednesday the Treasurer said the Coalition was asking "everyone to contribute, including higher income people" by restarting indexation of fuel excise, a measure Labor has labelled a new fuel tax.
But the Twittersphere appears unimpressed with the comments and is using the newly crafted hashtag to target more than the government’s fuel excise policy.
By late morning on Thursday almost 3500 tweets using the hashtag had been shared on social media.
#OtherThingsThePoorDontDo pretend $10000 in an envelope never existed— Jenna Price (@JennaPrice) August 13, 2014
#OtherThingsThePoorDontDo Walk all over town to apply for their 40 jobs/month.— Sal (@SalPiracha) August 13, 2014
Vote Liberal next time #OtherThingsThePoorDontDo— Alison Templar (@saintsister) August 13, 2014
#OtherThingsThePoorDontDo fly a chef to the USA to cook a meal— meta data pty ltd (@Jokeown) August 13, 2014
Mr Hockey continued to defend the comments on Thursday morning, saying he was "sorry" if they sound callous, but he was merely revealing the facts.
"The fact of the matter is that I can only get the facts out there and explain the facts, how people interpret them is up to them," he said, speaking on Fairfax Radio 2UE.
In response to Labor depictions of him as a "cigar-chomping Foghorn Leghorn of Australian politics", Mr Hockey said he had no regrets about being pictured smoking cigars during budget preparations and had smoked them since he was 16.