Artist Ryan Thompson with his tattoos at the Australian Tattoo Expo. Is getting a tattoo a big waste of money? Picture: Alex Coppel.
Artist Ryan Thompson with his tattoos at the Australian Tattoo Expo. Is getting a tattoo a big waste of money? Picture: Alex Coppel.

Are Gympie’s unemployed blowing their Jobseeker on tatts?

A GYMPIE man has come under fire for suggesting Gympie’s high proportion of unemployed people were “rolling in” money because of the increase to Jobseeker, and blowing that money on tattoos because they didn’t know any better.

Dave Freeman, often outspoken in his comments online, was commenting on an interview with local tattoist and businessman Luke Bishop, whose livelihood was put on hold when he had to close the doors to his Solid Gold Classic Tattoo business because of COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year.

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Since reopening in June the business had “gone gangbusters”, Mr Bishop said. He is booked out until Christmas and his two other tattoists are booked out a month in advance.

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When the story was posted on Facebook four days ago, Mr Freeman was one of several to comment on it, and offered a suggestion as to why the demand was so high.

The team at Solid Gold Classic Tattoo in Gympie which has been busier than ever.
The team at Solid Gold Classic Tattoo in Gympie which has been busier than ever.

“Just maybe it’s a higher proportion of welfare recipients ‘rolling in’ the extra jobseeker payments and not having the brains to do something intelligent with it?” he suggested.

The comment drew swift reprisal, but Mr Freeman was not backing down.

Chris Neilson said: “Dave Freeman you mean spending it in local business’ stimulating the economy instead of hoarding it.....remember when stimulus packages kept us out of the 2008 financial collapse and got Wayne Swan internationally recognized as one of the best economic managers in the world......if you like small businesses staying open, thank the poor people who spent all the money they get and the people that live paycheck to paycheck”.

Mr Freeman said: “Chris Neilson If tattoos is the best the can come up with they have too much money and twisted priorities”.

“All I pointed out is that if tattoos are high on the list of things to spend money on there’s something lacking, and the fact that it seems that Gympie’s doing more of it than elsewhere supports my belief that what’s lacking is thinking, the art which education is actually designed to encourage,” he said.

“The lack of such skills in so many here frustrates the hell out of me, and others I know, because so much potential will end up being misused and the amenity of a small town (city? pfft) lost while the truly simple around here seek the past rather than see the potential of the future.”

Sarah Weir-Smith said that every time she saw Mr Freeman commenting on local news, it was never nice.

Australia Day at the Jockey - Dave Freeman
Australia Day at the Jockey - Dave Freeman

“It’s always something either degrading the town or its citizens. Or it’s your very sad attempt at sarcasm that you “think” is going over our uneducated heads, but mainly just makes you look like an ignorant fool.

“I get it, you hate Gympie. We’re all terrible, backwards human beings and you are by far superior to any single living person. But maybe it’s time to give it a rest? Surely there is something you hate more than Gympie? Yourself perhaps?”

Mr Freeman responded:

“It’s not really ‘hate’, it’s a deep disrespect, and lack of trust and faith in the ‘old school’, who have made it their business to ‘control things’ while having failed to even recognise the future for the entire time I’ve lived near Gympie, 30 years.

“In reality Sarah, I don’t give a toss if idiots want to pay for tattoos when there’s a very good chance they’ll need that money for something real later. I worry about the crime rate when the money wasted now, on so many things, isn’t there when needed. I whistle through life, because I don’t care, it’s up to each what they do, and I laugh at a lot for doing it. But like so many things the article which started this was another ‘only in Gympie’ article and I simply figured it was worth thinking about why.

“But Gympie, generally, doesn’t want to think and as one who believes the search of knowledge is an important part of life I can’t respect that, or apologise for that being the case.”