Giving Duncan hell

News Corp have decided that Duncan Storrar has to be taken down.

They started with a hit piece on him in The Australian earlier in the week. According to his eldest son, he’s not been a good dad, and has a history with drugs. Not content with public flagellation, News Corp want to make him suffer.

Today, Duncan got a full front page on the Herald Sun; a giant headline screaming “ABC HERO A VILLAIN”. News Corp’s latest nadir in gutter journalism.

There is nothing in the Herald Sun’s “revelations” that justifies the story on him, or a front page headline like that. Duncan has a criminal record, and a history of violence. Unsurprisingly, there are reports that he was also the victim of sexual abuse.

There are likely tens of thousands of people living in Melbourne with histories just like Duncan’s – or worse.

Why then did Duncan deserve a front page hit piece? Because he’s poor, and had the temerity to ask a question of a government MP about the 2016 budget that many people were already asking. When the MP in question embarrassed herself on live television in her response, Duncan got his 15 minutes of fame, and News Corp got a fresh target.

…and then the internet crowdfunded over $60,000 for him.

This is where I question the wisdom of crowds.

It seems like a wonderful thing to do, but Twitter has just delivered the guy into a fresh kind of hell.
A $60,000 windfall is enough to make anyone’s head spin. The dopamine rush from suddenly being handed that much money, over twice your annual income, would be immense.
What he’s not likely to be doing is stopping to think about the complications that come with it.
  1. He’s entered a new tax bracket in a single hit. It’s a $60,000 gift, which means he’s going to have to pay tax on it. He’s got a tax liability.
  2. He now has a much, much higher income than he quoted to Centrelink. So he has a Centrelink debt.
  3. Every person to whom Duncan has owed money, or think Duncan owes them something, are going to come knocking on his door with their hand out.
  4. Every self-righteous person looking for an excuse to attack Duncan has been given a box of ammunition by News Corp

For Duncan’s sake, I really hope someone quickly hooks him up with some good financial counselling, and some long term mental health assistance.

In a few months Twitter will have moved onto the next in a long list of shiny things while Duncan will still be dealing with the fallout of Twitter’s grand gesture.
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