Friday, November 11, 2005

How much does an accused terrorist cost?

"The Benbrika family is in difficult financial circumstances and are dependent on Mrs Benbrika's social security benefit," an immigration review tribunal report from 1995 found.

The suspect's wife, Rakia Benbrika, asked yesterday if she was still receiving social security payments replied: "Yes I am."

So exactly how much would Mrs Benbrika be receiving?* It's probably none of my business, and I couldn't say exactly, but let's check out what Centrelink has to offer on this.

First of all, we know that the Benbrika's married in 1992, and they have 6 children. This being 2005, the oldest child would be 13 years old. For eas of calculation, let's say all 6 are under 12. I don't know the ages; again, none of my business.

What payments are available?

Let's start with the Parenting Payment: As she is partnered, the maximum she could be receiving is $365.00 per fortnight. This assuming that neither she nor her husband own any assets, and that he does not have an income, either. (I'll address that a bit further down).

Next, we have the Family Tax Benefit - Part A: This is like child endowment used to be (or is that Part B?). Anyway, the minimum rate for each child is $44.10 per fortnight, with a maximum rate being age-based. For children 0-13 years, the maximum rate is $137.06 per fortnight. This is asset and income tested, but for the sake of argument, I'll total both of those up later.

FTB-A is available to all families whether single income or dual income - it is means tested, though, and some people think it's not worth going through all the paperwork for a measly $10.00 a week or so. (I know someone who gets about that much, and reckons it's worth it purely on the principle alone.)

Third cab off the rank is the Family Tax Benefit - Part B: This is for single income families or sole parents/careers. Again, it is income tested. As Mr Benbrika has apparently been receiving benefits for the last 10 years, I think it's safe to say that Mrs Benbrika would be on the maximum rate of $117.60 per fortnight. This is dependent upon the age of the youngest child, and I'm sure that this is not per child. It's only paid the once.

But wait! There's more!

As the proud parents of 6 children, they are eligible for the Large Family Supplement, which with 6 children is an extra $28.56 per fortnight.

How are we going so far?

Okay, let's see what we have.
$365.00 Parenting Payment
$264.60 FTB - A (min $44.10 x 6 children)
$822.36 FTB - A (max $137.06 x 6 children)
$117.60 FTB - B
$ 28.56 Large Family Supplement

So Mrs Benbrika could be receiving anywhere from $775.76 and $1333.52 per fortnight.

No doubt there are a few cries of "Pot! Kettle! Black!" That's cool - I receive benefits, too. I'm a single parent. I have one day a week that I do 'real work' while Magilla is in daycare, and I also do filmwork. That is sporadic, and sometimes paid, sometimes not. In any case, I work around the needs of my child.

I've got no axe to grind with Mrs Benbrika staying home with the kids. If she wants to. I have a sneaking suspicion it's probably because she thinks that it's what a good muslima does. In any case, because she wears a burkha, I don't think it's too much of a stretch to consider her unemployable. Before screaming discrimination, think about how many companies like you to wear photo-id tags? If she's wearing a burkha then that sort of puts paid to the efficacy of that idea, doesn't it?

Other entitlements, in this land of milk and honey, are:

Maternity Payment which currently sits at a $3079.00 one-off payment for each birth, whether live or stillborn. This is colloquially known as the Baby Bonus, and has been around in one form or another for years and years. I received around $800.00 when I had Magilla back in 2002.

There is also the Maternity Immunisation Allowance of a one-off $219.00 payment for each child between the ages of 18 months and 2 years. This is conditional upon the child having completed their immunisation schedule. There are some exemptions, although I personally don't see why anybody should refuse to immunise their child.

Oh, and let's not forget Rental Assistance, and as a Concessoin Card Holder, she may be entitled to concessions on pharmaceuticals, her water bill, the gas and electricity companies have winter concessions, public transport, the cinema, the zoo, and most theatre shows.

But back to Mr Benbrika.

He could be on Disability Allowance, Newstart or other sort of allowance. That would be a fortnightly payment of between $365.00 or $408.20.

I know that we have a great social support network in the world.

I know that there are people who do genuinely need that support - I'm greatly appreciative that I have been able to spend the most important years of my daughter's life with her. As the Jesuits say: Give me the boy and I'll show you the man.

There are also now numerous psychological studies coming out all the time and they all pretty much state the bleeding obvious: The most important factors in a child's first years are continuity and quality of care. If you have to put your child into longday care, that child can thrive providing the quality and continuity are there.

Ideally, I believe that children should stay close to at least one of their parents in the formative early years.

I also worked for years in the corporate world before attempting to make my mark in the filmworld. I paid my way from the age of 17 onwards, so I think I'm entitled to have a bit of a whine about a man who comes to this country, overstays his visa, marries a resident, then proceeds to live off her benefits and then his own.

In a land known for giving everyone a fair go, I think he's had more than his share.
I have yet to read any report of what he has contributed to the economy. Well, apart from insurance fees exploding due to fear of possible terror attacks.

*Please note, I have taken the figures from the Centrelink and FamilyAssist websites - they are part of the public record and freely available to anyone who wants to have a look. These are also just estimates - they do not take into account any income that Mr Benbrika may have actually earned. The protrayal of him as someone unwilling to earn a living may be inaccurate, but it is also widespread in the MSM, and it is this I am basing my assumptions on.

Then again, maybe it's just that he feels entitled to it.


At 10:26 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Well, that's why they come here. Countries like ours are great for people who want to have as many kids as they can, even if they have no means to support them. We've got lots of homegrown ones who do that, and here we are importing more. This creep's got six and another on the way. Keysar Trad's got nine, and "too stressed" to work apparently. Not too stressed to do PR for Hilaly and ilk though.

nilk, the only problem I have with welfare for single mothers, is for the no-hoper ones who make a career out of popping out kids to god knows which bloke, and never having done a single day's work in their lives. They are an atrocious example to their kids, and we're seeing many cases of 2nd-generation bludgers who do the same because that's all they ever saw mum do - pop out kids for more money. I don't have a problem with your welfare use, nor for the battlers who fall on hard times and need a temporary helping hand. You've contributed in the past, still do, and will in the future. That's what our social security net is for.

Reading about this Benbrika scum, he came here on a tourist visa, and basically never left. I'm sure he never had any intention of honouring the temporary permit to come to our country. Reading the AUSTLII database, you can see hundreds of such cases. We might have stopped the boats, but we still get them. Lying their way in, one way or another, to hop on the gravy train. And then spit in our faces.

At 10:37 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

We all know career bludgers. I know one family who is onto their 3rd generation. Out of 4 kids in the 2nd generation, only one, the son, went out and made a name for himself, and he did it in style. He's got his own business and deterined not to head down that pathway.

All he has to do is look at his own family.

There are times when I am so over social security, but, again, it means that I can stay with Magilla until school. If I had a partner to support me, then I would still stay home with her for this early time, but I miss earning a living and having control over my life and finances.

And I'm certainly over the crap I have taken from family members who have been nagging me to put her in longterm care since she was about 5 months old. Wean her up and ship her out and go get a job.

Heh. This is the last situation I ever expected to find myself in! Just goes to show that life is full of surprises. :)

At 11:05 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Stay with Magilla til she goes to school. That's a great outcome, for both of you. I lived in Canada when I had my two. They're not so family-friendly when it comes to single-income two-spouse families, so I worked, after 6-month maternity leaves. Had great nannies but I missed out on a lot. I quit work when mine were 6 & 8 years old because I just did not want to miss out on anymore. By then, I'd built up enough contacts in the industry to do contract work, from home, or at their site but school-friendly hours. Best thing I did.

I like the fact that my kids have seen me contribute, as well as the struggle to balance everything. They learn by example. I think it's awful that some kids only see the worst from their parents. We can't really blame them when they grow up to sit on their arses and demand from the government (taxpayer). Why are we importing more like that?

This Benbrika leech got in on the spousal visa track. I got my hubby in on that. It seemed like the standards and rules were pretty stringent, so I can't believe this no-hoper got in. But then, he basically forced his way in. Overstayed, then married some woman who had citizenship. In my case, I was overseas, so they had the option to close the door on us. Benbrika basically kicked the door in, and we rewarded him for it. That's gotta stop somehow. YOu should not be able to sponsor a spouse so easily. We give overseas potential migrants such a hard time. I know a lot of them. They tell me stories of 2, 3 year waits and masses of documentation-gathering and stress. These are all people who work and pay taxes. And yet, bludgers get in, day after day. Problem is, if we tighten the rules even more, we scare away the good ones. And keep getting stuck with the rubbish.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

That's the thing that gets me about Benbrika - his wife is Lebanese-born, and had only had her own residency for a couple of years at most. They apparently knew each other for a few months before getting married.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't lerv at first sight.

So we have an immigrant family that have effectively contributed nothing to our country.

Regarding those who try to migrate via the correct channels, I agree it's bloody hard. And it's hardest of all if you're white and english-speaking. The amount of money you have to cough up before being considered, yet as you say, these bludgers get to go past go and collect $200. Again. And again. And again.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

From what I can gather, Mrs. Benbrika was on social security and they were dependent on that. To me, that is not someone who should be sponsoring a spouse, whether it's a man or a woman. The whole point to sponsoring someone from overseas is that you can support them. To me, that should mean that you have had a job for at least a couple of years, some assets. Not welfare! Obviously our immigration standards are lacking. Maybe, hopefully, they've improved since then. I know, through the stories of migrant friends, that it's become increasingly difficult over the past 5 years. So hopefully we're shutting the door to more future Mr. Benbrikas.

Please, please God, let that be so!

At 11:42 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

It was 15 years ago, and as they say, the past is a different country. (I have no idea who, but it's pretty accurate).

With people like Benbrika and Al Hilaly spouting off, more silent majority are becoming restless.

I don't know if you saw in last thursday's paper a photo of 2 of the wives of a couple of the accused down here in Melbourne.

That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen.

How on earth would you pick either of them out of a lineup? I'm all for a person wishing to be modest, but hiding your face away isn't modesty.

I consider it deceitful; what do you have to hide?

Than again, on another level, maybe the world is so bleak that you have to hide away from it.

Regardless, no human should have to live closeted away from the world and human contact.

The Lubavitcher(sp?) jews are also extremely modest - the women cover their hair completely, and only their husbands see it.

You can be modest and still a part of society.

If you are allowed and want to, I guess.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Ugh! What a horrible picture. It's clearly not about modesty, but about control and treating women like chattel. It's ridiculous that they should walk around like that. I don't ever remember seeing anything like that when I was younger. Only in the past few years has this 'walking letterbox' outfit become de rigeur.

It's a political statement. It's saying "hey! there are lots of us and we want you to know it". Nothing more. You can be modest without wearing a tent.

If men have a problem dealing with anything less, then that's a mental problem THEY have and that should not be tolerated. If they expect their women to be shrouded like that, then you wonder what they think of the rest of us. No, not the ones with crop tops and hip huggers, but the regular women.

Given their view of women who don't shroud themselves - i.e, she's a whore, go ahead and rape her - this sort of backward 7th Century Arab costume should be banned.

At 8:26 PM, Blogger Caz said...

nilk - there are a startling number of people who refuse to have their children immunized, and those same people ALWAYS believe they are perfect and caring parents, while believing that everyone else is irresponsible, negligent and ignorant. It pisses me off enormously, because the ONLY reason their own children don't end up seriously ill in hospital, or dead, is because they are getting free ride protection via the parents who do the right thing by having their children immunized. Actually, it infuriates me. Spinning the dice with a childs life? Bloody shameful.

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Jai Normosone said...

I don't know if I have the words to describe how much I HATE the payment of MY money to bludgers who want to escape persecution but then bypass a dozen countries to get here. A family who WORKS for their income can't afford much more than 2 kids in Europe (unless really well off) but the bludgers spit out social debt after social debt and they get handed money. That's not racism talking - that's justice being trampled on!

But then, I also hate the dickheads who say that label me as racist for saying such things. Actually, no, I don't hate them - I just thank my self discipline for not grazing my knuckles on their STUPID jaws.

I also detest the idea of the baby bonus as it means that so many more women are going to be beaten up until they hand over the money and THEN the bludger will piss off. Either that or they use the money for a holiday or a pedigree dog or something else wasteful like that.

Grrr-rrr.... >:?

At 9:40 AM, Blogger MathewK said...

I don't have any problems with people living off the dole, because they have large families, but to live off the tax payer and then profess hatred of the very system that supports you, earns you a one way ticket to somewhere else where you don't enjoy the same support.

As for the mobile post box, islamic dress code, how does anyone know it's a woman, i cannot understand how they cope in the middle east, its just crazy.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

True, Olivia. It's almost classic enabling behaviour on the part of the women.

It's one thing if they are living in Iran, or Pakistan, for example, where the penalty is too high.

Living here, however, there is no excuse to cheerfully don the sack and proclaim to everybody that you are now a doormat.

I don't care how many women tell us and themselves that it's liberating. It may be individually, and they may like the idea of walking around knowing that nobody can see them. It's the baggage that goes with it. Good old 4.34 does it for me every time.

It's like walking around with a big 'HIT ME' sign stuck on your back.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Jai, I don't mind the baby bonus - it can come in great handy at a very.... trying... time.

I think it should be given in installments, though. There are families where the money wouldn't be going towards the family, but towards the drugs, or alcohol, or gambling, or toys for the parents.

Or, alternatively, the government could hold it in trust for the kid. God knows they keep enough money stashed away from us in superannuation.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger Nilk said...

Jai, I don't mind the baby bonus - it can come in great handy at a very.... trying... time.

I think it should be given in installments, though. There are families where the money wouldn't be going towards the family, but towards the drugs, or alcohol, or gambling, or toys for the parents.

Or, alternatively, the government could hold it in trust for the kid. God knows they keep enough money stashed away from us in superannuation.


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