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Never let it be said that Twitter can’t convey a message, a life experience or information within the limitation of the 140 character construct.

Earlier today in the midst of all the kerfuffle about changes to the Sole Parent’s Pension and Jenny Macklin’s response about being able to live on New Start payment of $35 per day, L. K. Giesen, with the twitter handle of @theriverfed, tweeted eleven rules for existing on the Sole Parent’s Pension. These individual tweets of her’s said more about what is being faced by single parents who are faced with this desperate struggle than anything else written or stated in the media today.

I felt moved to put her contributions on one page so others might read them. I hope she doesn’t mind but I found it compelling reading.



L.K. Giesen (@theriverfed)

How to live on the sole parents pension.

1. Live somewhere really cheap & socially isolating w crap public transport. Abt 75% income = rent.

2. Use your $15 petrol/pt money getting to half a doz different shops to get cheapest food possible, non-bulk.

3. Never, ever go anywhere for social purposes. Even if you don’t need to buy a coffee, you can’t afford to get there.


4. Be really grateful that your sister pays for you to have a telephone and your mother buys your child food, if you are lucky.


5. In winter, when the park is out of the question, act like going to the play area at Bunnings is a really fun treat. Add a $2 snag? Luxury

6. Forget about replacing stuff that breaks. Never going to happen. Even if it was a necessary thing.

7. Learn to live w paying bills late.


8. Get really, really stingy. Like counting squares of toilet paper stingy.

9. Get over the shame of buying stuff with 5 & 10 cent pieces

10. Learn to cut hair, make your own bread, and just eat whatever your child leaves on his plate.

11. Finally, try really, really hard to avoid depression. Chances are you won’t succeed and all access to support has disappeared.


Hooray for cuts to sole parent payment



Damn. On #4 it should have been ‘mother buys your child shoes” not food. Budget priorities… Rent, then food for kids, then utilities.


L.K. Giesen, @theriverfed, begins a job soon. I do wish her well.

About boeufblogginon

I am a frustrated cook who is also a lover of all sport, politics, film, TV, theatre and a standard poodle with attitude called Toss.

2 responses »

  1. Alternative/additional rules – for a start.

    1. Be sure to begin your life as a freeloader by owning your house and car, preferably within walking distance of the one school all your kids attend – one that has no dress code so they can be outfitted at Vinnies. Dealing with the stigma of obvious poverty will fit them better for their life to come.

    2. Have as few kids as possible; very small ones. Offload a couple somewhere – anywhere – if you have more kids than you have legs. Possible option is keep more of them but teach them the art of undetectable stealing by working cooperatively in stores, knowing about spy cams and store-detective recognition. This will also serve them well for the future.

    3. Teach them how healthy it is for feet to wear thongs. If you must buy shoes, keep receipts, wreck the shoes at 3 monthly intervals and complain loudly and bitterly when the shop you got them from is full of customers, until you get replacements. Spread this over various shops. You’ll have to. Owners catch on quickly.

    4. Do not allow them to play any sport where they need uniforms or expensive equipment. Chess clubs within walking distance are good. They need that healthy exercise.

    5. Refuse to buy fresh foods and eke out cheapest tins of stuff with fish-and-chips-corner-shop minimum wrap of chips. Let them roam occasionally in Fruit & Veg sections of large stores grazing on items of their choice so they don’t get beri-beri.

    6. Requisition toiletries, toilet paper and paper towels from public loos and fast-food chains – as much as each child and you can secrete on their/your person.

    7. Do not let your kids get sick. Do not under any circumstances get sick yourself. Learn how to wear a track suit with style. If former PM John Howard can do it, so can you.

    8. Resist the temptation to do serious injury to any politician suggesting you can survive on $35/week. Perhaps they have had a difficult childhood. Be compassionate.

    I hope you find these useful.


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