A person would need to be naive beyond belief to have thought the Prime Minister expected bouquets instead of brickbats when he announced Tuesday's decision to limit the permanent JobSeeker increase to just $3.57 a day.
Described as a "measly" amount by the Australian Council of Social Services' Jenny Goldie, the increase was also marked down by Deloitte Access Economics' Chris Richardson. While welcoming the fact the payment had been increased, he said it should have been more.
The increase certainly fell well short of the $75 a week being mooted by Deloitte in 2018.
Ms Goldie was more forthright. Noting Australia's "dole" was the lowest in the OECD, she said the government had "lost its opportunity to be a government that stood up for human dignity" and that "it is a heartless betrayal".
While there was a broad consensus across the community that the pre-coronavirus payment level had been "brutal and inhumane" the government had chosen not to listen. "This will distress millions of people," she said.
Ms Goldie's claim a consensus exists cannot be dismissed out of hand given that was exactly the phrase Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe used when he said an increase was a "matter of equity".
"I think there is a wide consensus in the community that the previous level should be increased permanently and I've said on previous occasions that I would join that consensus," he said.
While Mr Lowe did not name a specific figure it seems unlikely that $3.57 a day was what he had in mind.
While the ALP, which declined to lift the the basic unemployment benefit between 2007 to 2013, reacted predictably, deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles did raise a pertinent issue during question time.
He wanted to know how many of the 1.2 million Australians now on JobKeeper will lose their employment, and therefore be forced onto a base income of $43.57 a day, after the end of March.
It's a good question and one nobody, inside or outside of government, has an answer for. It is of intense interest to hundreds of thousands of people working in hard-hit industries such as tourism, travel, and the performing arts, who have no idea how they are going to be able to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads once that lifeline has been withdrawn.
Tuesday's announcement, replete with reiterations by the PM of Ronald Reagan's favourite line that "the best form of welfare is a job", and statistics suggesting this is the largest single dollar increase in the basic unemployment allowance since the 1980s, will be seen by many as proof the age of "we're all in this together" has ended and that the Coalition is reverting to ideological type now it believes the worst is over.
Quoting Milton Friedman's most famous acolyte on the one hand, while apparently taking pride in the fact that a succession of governments have forced millions of Australians to subsist in poverty for almost four decades is an unusual tactic.
This is particularly so given the government responsible for robodebt is quite happy for the tax office to let businesses inadvertently overpaid an estimated $50 million under JobKeeper keep the cash.
There are many in the community who will see Tuesday's announcement as a cynical attempt by the Coalition to set itself up so it can go into the next election saying it did increase the allowance without actually doing so in a meaningful way.
If that is the case then this was a very dark day for our society's poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable members.