My friend’s husband didn’t ‘lose’ his entitlements – they were taken and spent by the company as it was going down the gurgler.
An entitlement is “a guarantee of access to something, such as to welfare benefits, based on established rights or by legislation”.
If you can ‘lose’ them, then they are not a guaranteed guarantee.
The topic of ‘lost entitlements’ has been a sore enough point over the years that Peter Reith, Industrial Relations Minister under Howard – and no friend of working Australians – proposed a scheme to protect them.
He suggested two options, one funded by taxpayers, the other an insurance scheme funded by premiums levied on business.
But the idea that business should pay for the workers’ entitlements spent by bosses did not get past the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
So when workers’ entitlements are swallowed up by business, taxpayers foot the bill.
The important thing about entitlements is you mustn’t feel entitled to them. That creates a ‘sense of entitlement’, the view that “one has a right to be given something which others believe should be obtained through effort”.
And our new Treasurer, Mr – ‘The Age of Entitlement is Over’ – Hockey, is out to do his bit to undo the excesses of previous governments, but specially those of the “socialist” governments which created “a huge array of entitlements for selected classes of individuals, particularly and ironically employees of government and members of unions”.
Mr Age-of-Entitlement is right about it being ironic. In fact, it’s doubly ironic, coming from a man whose salary has been on the public purse since at least 1996.
And whose entitlements, when he retires, would, if they were rolled out to the rest of us, truly and ruly send the nation bankrupt.
But watch this space. In his ‘Age of Entitlement’ speech, Mr Age-of-Entitlement put up various actions to end the ‘fiscal nightmare’ we are apparently living through.
One of these was to phase out “defined benefit schemes…whether for public servants or private sector employees”.
A ‘defined benefit scheme’, to quote the Australian government’s description of the superannuation provisions for our parliamentarians, “means that the member's entitlement is, in general, a multiple of years of service and a percentage of salary. In other words, the amount of benefit is fixed by a formula rather than by market returns on investments made by the fund”.
So, Mr Age-of-Entitlement, how about starting in your own backyard?