George Christensen: Called for a reality check. Photo: Andrew Meares
Unhappy about cuts to health, education or pensions in the Abbott government's budget? You should get some perspective and visit Asia before you complain, according to a government backbencher.
George Christensen, the LNP member for the Queensland electorate of Dawson, has sparked outrage on twitter after he posted a photo of an impoverished child and called for a reality check from Australians and their first world problems.
“Aussies should do a tour of Asia & live like locals to put these 1st world complaints re budget in perspective,” he wrote.
MP George Christensen with Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Photo: Nat Bromhead
The tweet prompted an immediate backlash with one user tweeting “Translation: Aussie battlers should take a glimpse at LNP model for Australia's future”.
Mr Christensen did not taken kindly to the criticism, and replied that Australians concerned about tough budget measures needed to realise how “minuscule” their complaints were on a global scale.
He followed up his original tweet with: "Try getting any serious form of welfare in Thailand or other SE Asian nations."
In a later tweet, the MP, whose electorate is dominated by the mining, agriculture and fishing industries, accused “the lefty twitter warriors” of going into meltdown.
“Sometimes the truth hurts,” he wrote.
Mr Christensen's comments come as the budget slashed $7.8 billion from foreign aid spending over five years.
The chief executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society, John Falzon, said Mr Christensen had it wrong.
Dr Falzon said the public response to the budget reflected a deep feeling of injustice over a budget that “hurts and humiliates” people they care about: young people, older people, people with a disability, single mums and struggling families.
He added the budget was “deeply offensive” to Australians who were fighting a daily battle to make ends meet and survive.
“This budget rips the guts out of what remains of a fair and egalitarian Australia,” Dr Falzon said.
“But, as we can see from the strength of the response to it, now is the time not to watch and weep but rather to stand and fight.
“The government would do well to listen to the people it has set out to hurt and humiliate, as well as to the people who stand in solidarity with them.”
Mr Christensen was contacted for comment.
@PoliticsFairfax Before the election we never had it so bad. Now we never had it so good.— White Rock Vineyard (@WhiteRockWine) May 22, 2014