Today another $321 million was budgeted for “investment” into programmes to help pick up the pieces of our broken families. Some of them may well be good programmes. They may well have clear evidence showing how early interventions in the lives of vulnerable children and families can improve outcomes and save money later on. However the question remains – why do we have so many vulnerable children and families in the first place?
The answer to that question will never be found in government programmes. It has little to do with money. It has lot to do with the wholesale abandonment of the institution of marriage – the foundation of strong family life. Until our leaders are willing to honestly address that question, then we will continue to spend huge sums dealing with the consequences of family dysfunction and failure. This latest installment is a mere few hundred million extra on top of the billions already being spent in welfare, health, education and justice.
What is urgently needed are specific policies to affirm marriage. There is plenty that could be done (refer Action Plan to Affirm Marriage) and without the need to spend much at all.
However it does require political will, and our new PM has so far shown no sign of such will. Instead he prefers to stick with his “social investment” approach. It requires no politically dangerous mention of any real family values – just more taxpayers money spent on ambulances at the bottom of the cliff. They may be faster and more efficient ambulances – but ambulances they remain.