Twitter Is Having A Whole Lot Of Fun With Joe Hockey Today

#JoeHockeyFacts and #OtherthingsThePoorDontDo are both trending.

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It started yesterday, when Australia’s celebrated poor people expert, Treasurer Joe Hockey, appeared on morning radio to defend his government’s proposed rise in the fuel excise.

The Opposition had argued that the budget measure would hit low-income families the hardest, but Hockey disagreed: “the poorest people either don’t have cars or actually don’t drive very far in many cases”.

Unfortunately for Hockey, saying poor people don’t have cars or drive cars is a bit like saying women don’t study law or dentistry — in that it’s a self-serving generalisation about a vulnerable group, which is also demonstrably wrong.

As Fairfax points out, a 2001 research paper from the Parliamentary Library showed that “petrol and diesel excises are regressive in that people on low incomes pay a higher proportion of their incomes in the form of excise than people on high incomes, given the same level of fuel use”.  More recently, a June 2014 submission to the Senate Economics Committee from the Australian Automobile Association cited research which indicated that “people who use their cars most frequently are in the outer metropolitan areas and rural and regional areas where there are lower incomes, less jobs, and little or no access to public transport”.

Joe Hockey — a multi-millionaire with $10 million worth of property, and a millionaire for a wife — defended his comments on 2UE this morning, using the word ‘fact’ three times in one sentence like some kind of wizard of truth. “The fact of the matter is that I can only get the facts out there and explain the facts, how people interpret them is up to them.”

Naturally, Twitter is having fun with all this.

The first hashtag to spring up was #OtherThingsThePoorDontDo. The idea with this one is to cast your mind back to all the things the Abbott Government has done, which a poor person couldn’t get away with.

This one is my favourite:

#JoeHockeyFacts is fairly self-explanatory: incorrect facts about an entire group of people who don’t have a voice in politics.

Yep, that’s all in order. Thanks again, internet!