Pension means test is effectively a ‘tax’ on older Australians

Accumulating more savings could work against you come retirement time.

man upset at how the assets test is sapping his retirement income

The heavy ‘tax’ imposed by the Coalition’s toughened Age Pension means test will adversely affect even those with average super balances, according to new research from Betashares in a report published in The Australian.

The income and assets test is designed to coerce retirees into spending more of their retirement savings or invest in risky assets, says the exchange-traded funds provider, whose research questions the validity of Australia’s retirement income system.

Retirees with super balances between $350,000 and $600,000 would derive less income from having these retirement savings than they would if they were on the Age Pension with less than $263,250 in savings.

For each $1 of income a fortnight above $174, the Age Pension payment is reduced by 50c, which Betashares senior investment specialist Roger Cohen refers to as “an effective tax rate for a retiree of 50 per cent”.

From 1 January 2017, the assets test reduces the pension by $3 a fortnight for every extra $1000 in super, which was up from $1.50 before the changes.

Based on the income test alone, someone with $350,000 in superannuation would be deemed to receive $543 a fortnight in income – $369 over the full-Age Pension threshold. When taper rates come into effect, he or she would lose $184.50 in pension.

Similarly, a person with $600,000 in superannuation would be deemed to earn $832 a fortnight and would lose $658 off the full-Age Pension rate.

“Because the pension is means-tested, increased wealth of superannuation assets does not automatically translate to a retiree being better off with more income,” stated Dr Cohen in his analysis.

“The system results in a strong incentive to either spend, or to move investment towards ultra- high-potential returns, with resultant increased risk.

“For a retiree caught in the ‘retirement trap’, additional assets are better off spent, or if they are invested, must generate returns that are well in excess of 7.8 per cent per annum to exceed the pension entitlements that are lost.”

According to 2018 ABS data, the average super balance for men aged between 54 and 74 was $446,000 and $378,000 for women the same age.

“Common wisdom tells us that accumulating more savings through our working lives should result in higher income in our retirement years. However, our analysis shows that for certain people, under the current system accumulating more money can actually produce the reverse,” said Dr Cohen.

“Without considering the eventual policy changes from the retirement income review, our research shows people in retirement can only escape the ‘retirement trap’ if they accumulate an asset base well over half a million dollars.”

Do you think the means test should change? Have you found the toughened test a hindrance to a happy retirement?

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    COMMENTS

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    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    10:07am
    The increased asset test encouraged (and still does) people to spend money on frivolous things like expensive cars, overseas travel and, although not in the frivolous category, extensive renovations in one's own home. I am not greatly impacted but a lot of friends are and some are looking around for more expensive homes just to get the pension card. That card is worth quite a lot and very desirable for someone not minding to be called pensioner.
    Have mentioned before, a modest home and a million dollar place, is valued the same $210'000 for Centrelink purposes. Old people are not stupid otherwise they would not have accumulated assets.
    marls
    27th Jan 2020
    12:11pm
    Mariner
    Don’t forget Australia is basically the only country in the civilised world that means test the aged pension even NZ doesn’t in Germany they are assessed as individuals as both pay taxes in Italy my mother also received part of my deceased fathers pension
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    12:22pm
    marls - same here. My mother got her pension in Switzerland till she died last year. All she had to do is including the pension in her taxation form, same as you say in New Zealand. Australia did not have a means test. The Hawke Govt brought that in after it defeated the Fraser Administration and of course the Lib/Nats won't do away with it. Same as we are stuck with the 67 year age pension. Ireland brought it to 66 and there are moves to get it back to 65. Protests in France because they want to bring it closer to 65 and we here in Oz were kissing Mr Rudd on both cheeks when he announced it out of the blue after the Budget speech.
    Tricky
    27th Jan 2020
    1:43pm
    I am concerned that The Caring Bear @ KCCB has not responded to this debate.

    I am concerned for his welfare
    musicveg
    27th Jan 2020
    1:45pm
    Tricky he may have either been effected by bush fires or is on holidays, lets hope he is okay, even though I hardly ever agree with his comments, we do notice those who have not posted for awhile.
    ex PS
    28th Jan 2020
    9:24am
    He is waiting to receive instructions from the PARTY.
    GeorgeM
    28th Jan 2020
    9:41pm
    I wonder why they call it new research, as this concept has been discussed umpteen times even in YLC - yes, of course both Assets and Income Tests are Pensioner Taxes, with the Assets Test ramped up to nasty levels by the Liberals since Jan 2017.

    Instead of continuous talk (a lot of frivolous comments now appearing on such repeat topics), what is needed is action by Retirees - put Submissions to the Retirement Income Review before 3rd Feb 2020 - it is quite easy if you look at that web page, to submit by Email or Post. Ideally, they should scrap ALL tests and give out Age Pensions to ALL from Age 65yrs and Residency say 15 yrs, with Centreklink removed from the Admin. Tell these jokers in Canberra to give it serious consideration.
    Oldchick
    27th Jan 2020
    10:53am
    Why doesn’t this surprise me from the Government. They let their high-end buddies off from paying little or no tax because that’s where so many of their own perks come from - large party donations, expensive tickets to events, expensive wines, holidays, the list goes on. Meanwhile they don’t care two hoots that many pensioners and low income families are struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. Hit the easiest target. Again. This Government is so out of touch with reality it’s astounding. They go on about getting older people back in the workforce but offer no incentive to do so - particularly for DS Pensioners where the earning threshold is ridiculous - then they introduce this. And people voted for them. Pleased to say I didn’t!
    thommo
    27th Jan 2020
    11:31am
    Correct OLDCHICK. I never voted for the LNP government and never will. Morrison (the charlatan) in cahoots with Abbott and the Greens changed the pension assets test as from 1.1.17 to the detriment of my planned retirement, which resulted in me losing $16K per year. The did this on the pretence of saving the budget bottom line, but they allowed the top end of town to,pay less tax (or none at all) and have allowed the rich to keep the benefits of negative gearing and franking credits which theyre not eligible for, and which is anathema to equitable fairness in our society.
    Morrison and his LNP government are a bunch of cretins and the sooner they're disposed of the better.
    LFC
    27th Jan 2020
    11:58am
    Like you Thommo I was also duded by the changes from 1 1 17. This mob make it impossible for the average Joe to effectively plan for your future.
    Bottom feeders who are callous and calculating, only aiming to serve and protect their own. Seniors and pensioners are fair game unfortunately. The whole "Age" question requires a serious rethink and restructure, as to be honest does the Health System, but SLO MO and his mob will, like the Banking Inquiry, ignore & drag the chain,using every ( any ) excuse to defer. Their fall back now of course is Drought & Fires. Next will be impact on Budget / Surplus so either no change or further slug. All in all a joke perpetrated by both Fed and State LNP. None of us on struggle street are laughing.
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    12:00pm
    Agree thommo although the ALP should never have reneged and offered aged pensioners franking credits either. No tax paid no refund would have been fairer. All it did was point out how really wealthy a lot of full aged pensioners are if you add up all their assets.
    Oldchick
    27th Jan 2020
    3:33pm
    They’ll blame the need for this change, like everything else they stuff up, on “the Mess” the ALP left the country in after the GFC. They completely ignore the fact that we came through that better off than most other countries. Sure, mistakes were made but how long are they going to play the same old tune? We now have the lowest interest rates in our history, slow economy, no consumer confidence and now a blackened charred country with no water and no tourism will be the outcome of all of that. Add in the Coronavirus and the impact that will have on tourism. Their plan, take even more money off the poor people. Must keep that budget surplus!!
    Onemore
    27th Jan 2020
    11:08am
    Once again that dirty word "Deemed" raises its ugly head.
    Tricky
    27th Jan 2020
    1:39pm
    The current DEEMING rates are a TAX on part and full pensioners!
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    3:49pm
    Tricky - full pensioners do not have to worry about deeming rates unless they come into money somehow. You can have $200'000 and still get the full pension.
    Yeah, right!
    27th Jan 2020
    11:29am
    Between 'Smokin' Joe' Hockey wanting us to 'work until our organs can be harvested' and Josh Frydenberg introducing "a tax on retiree's savings of up to 50%," the next thing we'll see is an LNP policy for 'compulsory euthanasia' for those wanting a pension after a working life of 50 to 60 years.

    A 'plague' on all of their Australian Taxpayer funded investment properties and grants to their shooting clubs.
    johnp
    27th Jan 2020
    12:58pm
    Ah " 'compulsory euthanasia'". What a blessed relief from this govt that would be !!

    27th Jan 2020
    11:31am
    Stage II?

    "In politics, nothing happens by accident; if it happens at all, it was planned that way." - FDR.

    So we need to look at the game plan and the end game.... governments respective have started down the runaway train of enforced superannuation as a retirement, first addition to pension, and increasingly as a total substitute. Then before it has had a 'working life' of around 50 years to even start to bite properly - i.e. nobody retiring today, public servants etc apart, is retiring with a full superannuation payment - governments start whining about the 'cost' of social security.

    Apparently nothing else 'costs', but social security does (and LNP are not alone in this). Governments can spend $100Bn in the blink of an eye on some Offshore purchase - money gone forever from the local Budget - but seem incapable of seeing that money spent on social security actually primes the local Economy and thus Budget.

    This can not be anything but deliberate - even elected nodding clowns aren't that stupid.

    So what is the end game?

    I have my views - anyone??? Anyone??
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:05pm
    (Hmmm - since I posted a 'protected species' piccie, my posts all stick.... hmmmm ..)
    musicveg
    27th Jan 2020
    1:34pm
    Get rid of the girl Trebor, you are looking like a dirty old man.
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    1:41pm
    Don't be a sourpuss - you can put a carrot or pumpkin up, musicveg.
    musicveg
    27th Jan 2020
    1:47pm
    Mariner it is about respect of women. You might not respect my carrot or pumpkin either.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:03pm
    I believe the avatar came from a copper trawling online for old perverts chasing young things - spammed me one time wanting to know me better... anyway - it gives you all something to think about... with my usual avatar I just keep disappearing from the board and such - this one works....

    Just enjoy the view as you work... it'll come to you, this love of the land and all it contains ...as sure as your name's O'Hara...
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    3:52pm
    musicveg - I shall respect her, even in the morning, that is if she had not killed me.
    Smarn
    27th Jan 2020
    11:33am
    It’s very disappointing that successive governments make retirement harder. For goodness sake, aged people who have had the foresight to save for retirement should be applauded not derided.
    Onemore
    27th Jan 2020
    11:43am
    I wonder if that income they are talking about is from all of what I have in annuities, allocated pensions, savings etc.?
    Will my 2013 Commodore suddenly be worth a fortune to them? Maybe I should start whittling away my savings, maybe get someone to install electric windows to the car, or would that make it more valuable?
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    11:57am
    I understand why Hockey was shipped off to Washington. He was a fool.

    He and Cormann not only managed to make smoking cigars really uncool but also pretty much destroyed the Superannuation system with their means testing using deeming( dreaming made up nonsense ).

    I was in a compulsory scheme and nobody can explain why my 48% non concessional income stream id deemed as only 19
    0%. I've been asking since the budget and not one person can explain how it is fair and why it doesn't mean saving non concessional amounts is now a very bad bad idea.
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    12:03pm
    Should read 48% non concessional deemed as 10%. Why?
    johnp
    27th Jan 2020
    12:56pm
    Is that Cormann or Con-Man ??
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:18pm
    Yes, john, it did look remarkably like Conmann... der Cormannator...
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:19pm
    Masy one ask why such Johnny-come-latelys are running our nation and its economy on our behalf? How much grounding does he have in The Australian Way?

    https://i.imgflip.com/3nb0bb.jpg

    (my creation)...
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:05pm
    Hockey left town with a lynch mob on his heels... afraid to come back, too...
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    6:22pm
    Are you allowed to ask TREBOR? Perhaps it's been a very sly invasion and the invaders are now making up the rules. Heaps didn't pass the s44i clause and some are possibly breaching s44ii. Commercial in Confidence, On Water Matters, Home Security with it's own Black Guard and all that jazz. It would not be the first or last time that sort of thing went on.
    Rather than the Cook Statue I'm surprised they haven't raised a statue of Eric Campbell on the Yarra.
    Misty
    29th Jan 2020
    7:53pm
    TREBOR you are wondering why Johnny -come -lately pollies are runing,(or not) our country?, well maybe you had better ask all those quiet Aussies who voted them in what they think of them now, this govt goes from one debacle to another, the Sports Rort the latest episode.
    Billv
    27th Jan 2020
    12:12pm
    Well, it's been a month or two since the last pensioner bashing by the Govt and so here we are again.
    I'm really sick and tired of living in a stressful situation. Maybe what the Govt really wants is a mass suicide of pensioners. Or maybe, we should go on a killing spree of politicians, this would really save a lot of money. Just once I would love to live my final years in a peaceful no stress relaxed environment. Can't see that happening though.
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    12:28pm
    That spree won't happen Billy. Remember they took our guns from us in 1996 after the Port Arthur incident.
    Billv
    27th Jan 2020
    12:36pm
    Doesn't need to be guns, but the thought of it was a little calming
    OldEngineer
    27th Jan 2020
    12:45pm
    Those giant razor blades on high wooden stands like the French revolutionists used don't require guns to work...
    Get the tumbrills rolling

    John
    Billv
    27th Jan 2020
    12:47pm
    Oh, I like it
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:01pm
    We're gonna need a bigger and better guillotine... a fully automated one... faster turnover = higher productivity.... but less employment ... hmmm - this needs thinking through...
    Billv
    27th Jan 2020
    1:04pm
    Well, we are pensioners so we can take turns. Share the load.
    ChristineS
    27th Jan 2020
    1:21pm
    Rather than consider desperate measures as described by various posts here - why not just stop voting for the Liberals and Nationals?
    Captain
    28th Jan 2020
    4:38pm
    ChristineS, because there always idiots who will vote for idiots.
    johnp
    27th Jan 2020
    12:55pm
    Both the LNP and Labor are like the nazis. The LNP got in power thru lying, cheating, bullying and conniving. Labor lost as they are like the bumbling guards in hogans heroes, unable to explain their policies clearly !!
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:03pm
    So true... however, as above - nothing happens in politics by accident - obviously Shortenski The Rich didn't want to explain it simply and easily - Labor WANTED to fumble the ball....

    We need a whole new crop of politicians with a different slant on life ... on all sides... at least Lambie knows something about the rough end of the pineapple... and she does listen...
    ChristineS
    27th Jan 2020
    1:23pm
    Labor had policies they took to the last election, well thought out, but no one bothered to read them, the lying Liberals just ranted on with lies and stupid people believed them. Labor might not be perfect, but they are more likely to help those who need it than the Liberals.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:09pm
    Well - craw-fishing about franked dividends, and splitting 'interpretation' between pensioners and others and so forth - instead of sticking to a well-explained policy - was fatal.

    One in - all in - either abolish franked dividends to stop the confusion and obvious rorting, make individuals, trusts, companies, private super funds and so forth pay their way and obey the rules - and the Budget would be in permanent black.

    You gain income - you pay income tax.... end of story.
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    6:33pm
    Exactly TREBOR. I was happy losing franking credits until rich people, pensioners, churches and so forth who pay no tax were to be exempt from losing that refund. It was way too class warfare , unfair in my opinion, I think they wanted to lose the election. Otherwise why do that silly franking thing for less than $6 billion. Makes no sense.

    They could have just said no refund of provisional tax or paying provisional tax for shareholders and argued that's what everyone else in the world does. Let people sort out their own bloody taxes not have some company they are invested in do it for them. Duh! How dumb an idea is it really?

    It may make the Accounts look good for a tad but as most of it is repaid anyway why trouble the company, tax office and individual and corporate taxpayers for a damn fool idea.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    9:59pm
    You could be right, Rae - Labor didn't seriously want to win that election - they certainly came across that way. Next question is why...
    inextratime
    27th Jan 2020
    12:59pm
    Get divorced, split the asset base in two and apply for a singles pension. Touche' !
    Olde
    27th Jan 2020
    1:17pm
    But 'Inextratime', by the Family Court shenanigans, on divorce the female will get approx 2/3rds of the assets, while the male will get approx 1/3. So who comes out in front.

    Oh Sorry, I forgot, I'm in modern day Australia. The woman will come out on top. It is why most men do not get out of marriage and divorces are initiated by women to the tune of around 80%.
    Onemore
    27th Jan 2020
    1:23pm
    inextratime, and if you go through with this great idea and the divorce is granted and she says "seeya"?
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:29pm
    So true, Olde - has it dropped from 86% of marital relationship break-ups are initiated by the woman? Only 80% now?

    Just one of the issues and attitudes that have Invaded™ this nation under a PC/social studies hegemony, that desperately needs to be fixed before a total disaster is upon us all.

    I looked - over twenty years ago now, into why 'governments' would actively pursue policies that would, literally, emasculate the mainstay of Western society - the loyal, hard-working, decent man... the only reason I could see was that have a female-dominated workforce made them more malleable and 'better' followers - whereas men would object - and quite rightly given the track record to date - to the kinds of changes that have been pushed through, the kind that effectively move employment towards serfdom under a New Robber Baron approach to society, where the old and thrown-out Master/Servant relationship holds sway, and the common herd have no real power.

    This permits the 'beta males' in politics to totally control all those rogue Alphas out there - and to be surrounded by a harem of adoring women. Look how many businesses these days have a man owner and female staff - a harem that he can display to the Alphas suffering in the Glass Gutter... the one from which they can look up at everything passing them by, but can never touch it... look at politics and the beta-doinated Labort party - a few top blokes - a harem of adoring females to show off to the world.

    No wonder Labort sold out its roots for forty pieces in slashed sided sheath dresses...
    Olde
    27th Jan 2020
    1:53pm
    Trebor it is too late. This Country has been dismantled. Yesterday for example complete domination by immigration, indigenous, and women focus. White males. We did nothing, Contributed nothing. White men have been excommunicated from being within the Nation.

    'Diversity' !!!!!!!! The terminology for authorised discrimination.
    Olde
    27th Jan 2020
    2:04pm
    Will add, I (we) are retired, self funded. ie self sufficient, and will pay tax until the day we die under 'asset definite'. And full price for every day living expense like land rates, water rates, electricity and medication. 'Opal' is the only escape clause.

    All that for being diligent in my working career and a white male family provider. Given less time with kids for being the bread winner. Oh and I as a white male have been 'identity' charged with discrimination because I worked and sacrificed my life in that manner. That is the 'protected species' makes the allegation on the basis of 'diversity'.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:12pm
    Agreed - I sounded the knell when I resigned from the CPS over the installed version of 'equal employment opportunity' - which was blatant discrimination and started the rot - and has continued to this day. I had the integrity to state precisely why I was resigning, too.

    That was in the 1980's.... since then many other things have passed through with hardly a protest - all in the best good for the most - and the country and its social and economic relationships are all in ruins.

    There are petty brushfire wars between every social group in this nation - and those who fuel them are riding at the top on an ocean of cream.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:13pm
    .. send not to ask for whom the bell tolled - it tolled for thee!
    inextratime
    27th Jan 2020
    2:57pm
    Onemore - Whoopeedooo !!!
    inextratime
    27th Jan 2020
    2:59pm
    Olde, the court only decides if there is contention over the asset split. In divorcing both parties gain by receiving a singles pension and their super can reduce to each being under the asset limit.
    Olde
    27th Jan 2020
    3:09pm
    Inextratime, that is correct. If the male does not agree to a 2/3 to 1/3 split (as per solicitor advice), then it will go to court and be a 2/3 to 1/3 split.

    May be we need to re-visit all our PC driven Social issues. Presently men are in a divorced state. Divorced from Society. All at the behest of women. Superannuation the bias is only one thing. It is Universal.
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    4:13pm
    You do not have to get divorced to achieve that. Two people who have been married since 1984 are still living together on single pensions, have no assets, both getting rent assistance and pay their respective rent out of 2 different banks. So far so good and their income is roughly $1000 each a fortnight and they live rather well but still complain that the pension is not enough. All you have to get is guts and no visible assets - should they ever catch up with you only empty pockets to show. Cannot get blood out of a stone, eh?
    Greg
    27th Jan 2020
    6:28pm
    I know a couple, still married, still live in the same house but they both get the single pension as they are living "separate lives". They do dislike each other but there's still only one lot of utilities to pay, insurance, etc - it's not right.
    Old Fella
    27th Jan 2020
    1:23pm
    We have been retired since 2011,(Aged 65 & 67) and retired with Super and some savings. Our weekly earnings per Super is the same as a retiree on full Government pension. As such we experience the same income restraints and choices as Gov't funded pensioners. We also experience the notion of not having been advantaged in our retirement from and through years of hard work, Super and other savings . or if you will, we feel punished and somewhat short sighted that we did not spend and enjoy all our working life income at the time so as to share common circumstance with those eligible and surviving (Just) on a full Gov't pension. I see around me less full time employment, no growth in Wage earnings, more inequity and more Corporate greed in our Society. Then the one pleasure I have is the realization that my remaining lifespan will never see fully the expanding misery, and Social upheaval yet to come.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:14pm
    I have grand-children - I see it as a grandfather's duty to future generations to stop the rot....
    Old Fella
    27th Jan 2020
    1:23pm
    We have been retired since 2011,(Aged 65 & 67) and retired with Super and some savings. Our weekly earnings per Super is the same as a retiree on full Government pension. As such we experience the same income restraints and choices as Gov't funded pensioners. We also experience the notion of not having been advantaged in our retirement from and through years of hard work, Super and other savings . or if you will, we feel punished and somewhat short sighted that we did not spend and enjoy all our working life income at the time so as to share common circumstance with those eligible and surviving (Just) on a full Gov't pension. I see around me less full time employment, no growth in Wage earnings, more inequity and more Corporate greed in our Society. Then the one pleasure I have is the realization that my remaining lifespan will never see fully the expanding misery, and Social upheaval yet to come.
    Tricky
    27th Jan 2020
    1:33pm
    The current DEEMING rates on fixed term cash deposits is a TAX on Senior Australians!

    A hypocritical LNP government is further punishing Senior Australians either on full or part pensions.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:15pm
    The work of a trice to simply calculate on genuine earnings from retained accounts - the ATO has all your details already and has no trouble adding your interest income to total income - straight from the banks.

    Deeming is one big lie to take you to the cleaners.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:16pm
    If you were putting in a tax return every year - your actual earnings from interest would be taken into account... funny how that doesn't seem to work when you don't put in a tax return...
    musicveg
    27th Jan 2020
    1:40pm
    From P189 The art of growing up by John Marsden:
    "We should not permit the dead hand of tradition to hold us back. We should not be ruled by our predecessors if only because they were dealing with vastly different circumstances and condition. The loudest shouters in Australia are the violently angry conservative commentators trying to defend their closed minds"

    Time for change, me thinks, we need to progress and move forward, and get a Universal pension happening asap. Would save millions of dollars just from not having to do the paperwork.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    1:46pm
    " violently angry conservative commentators" ... like the ones protesting the loss of a Golden Age pre-1788?

    Been mooting a Universal Pension for ages now... good to see the idea is spreading or has at the least, been lying dormant in many minds until the true challenge is put up... change to reality or perish.

    What are your details in the way this would be handled on the ground? I say Pension remains untouched by extra income, but income is taxed, and that includes fringe benefits and deemed extra freebies that the rich seriously enjoy.
    musicveg
    27th Jan 2020
    1:49pm
    Yes pretty much what you say, tax any income above the pension.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    2:00pm
    The nuts and bolts will always be tricky... some will 'scape the lash, and others will be drawn in for very thin reason... always been that way.. nothing is perfect.
    Captain
    28th Jan 2020
    5:06pm
    musicveg & Trebor, as I have said for years. Throw out the old tax regime and bring in a new system. I have discussed this with several politicans and get blank looks. It is all too hard for them to comprehend.

    A flat tax rate of15% on companies and workers, including the self employed would most probably lead us to a surplus within a few years. Universal pension for all and tax all income (including super earnings). Of course the above system would need to be fleshed out further to ensure rates are OK and not too high or low.
    morrowj1122
    27th Jan 2020
    2:53pm
    I agree OldEngineer. We need another 1789.
    JoJozep
    27th Jan 2020
    3:31pm
    Topic: Exposing ScoMo’s lies during the election.

    Here I have to say, ScoMo's ascension to the throne of the LNP, by destroying the only Liberal I would have voted for (Turnbull) is breath taking, and to prove his ego, took on the labour party at the election, and won. How

    By lying and glossing over the truth. He used time worn tactics over and over – destroy your opponent and stuff considered debate and policies. He was backed by the world’s greatest arsehole liars – Murdoch and Palmer. They spent millions on a hate campaign, that greedily absorbed by today’s trash press and advertising machines, worked overtime day and night for months to discredit the Labour Party. The Labour Party suffered because they were too honest, and didn’t use the same slimy, low life and greasy tactics of the LNP.

    Has anyone noticed if anybody in the press have said a good word about Bill Shorten and Turnbull? I haven’t. Shame on you bastards who are self serving and have one focus, to live your life of good luck in being born with a silver spoon up your arse, are smart, but the laziest bunch of no hoppers that exist on this planet. That’s what I think of your debating presentation and performance. Bill Shorten’s problem was he was too condescending. The LNP tore him down like they did Fisher.

    What the LNP did to pensioners is rarely mentioned. (We can’t have bad press here or someday pensioners will march on Canberra and demand these low life liars go and stuff themselves in the desert).

    Wake up pensioners. You fought wars (for nothing sadly), to keep Australia the leading nation on earth, and you are scared of this bullying egotistical ScoMo?. He would rather spend 60 Billion on a dozen submarines that are already out of date, and pay an overseas country than improve social good in this country shame on you (LNP), you bastards!

    Geese, I do get worked up when I come across liars and I make no apologies.
    musicveg
    29th Jan 2020
    2:47am
    Yes the people were fooled and are still being fooled. Who are we going to trust? The Government is being run buy big business, media moguls and billionaires throwing their cash around when the timing is right.
    mancub1967
    27th Jan 2020
    3:50pm
    I am so sick of this constant harassing of Pensioners by this government, when will we rise up instead of just letting them do this.
    mancub1967
    27th Jan 2020
    3:50pm
    I am so sick of this constant harassing of Pensioners by this government, when will we rise up instead of just letting them do this.
    johnp
    29th Jan 2020
    8:06am
    Agree mancub. But how to go about it ??
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    4:04pm
    All this attack on oldies reminds me of a Greek immigrant living in a housing commission unit in Carlton, got into it shortly after arriving. Told me to not save money for housing in this country - just be happy living in the inner city and take all the benefits but build a decent house overseas and do not tell them about it. Now and then he showed me pictures of the building and one day he reckoned he had enough of the place and went back to Greece. In those days you could get the pension from Australia with no problems and that was worth a lot of drachma. Wonder how many did the same but of course with the Euro our pension is not worth that much anymore.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    10:03pm
    Wouldn't doubt it for one second, Mariner...
    Paddington
    27th Jan 2020
    6:06pm
    How can you get a full aged pension and have a couple hundred thousand dollars? People could spend down to a small reserve for emergencies. Same goes for the super! The pension should be for people who have little and usually need to rent as well unless in a modest home. The funds should be going to those who are really struggling like homeless oldies or ones who are going without their meds and food. It is sad to hear some stories on here whilst others are figuring out how to milk the system whilst having capital and super and backup funds. No wonder governments are scheming to try to force people to use their own money first.
    Rae
    27th Jan 2020
    6:53pm
    There is absolutely no reason a sovereign government could not support every retiree. Look at the huge billions they spend on all sorts of unnecessary goods and services.

    Why should the person who saved the couple of hundred thou be punished while the one who saved nothing gets a free close to $800 000 advantage.

    Everyone should be treated equally.

    Most of the problems we have now is due to judging who should and should not be included.
    Paddington
    27th Jan 2020
    9:04pm
    Rae, there are some who are in dire straits who comment on here and describe a life of destitution going without basic things like meds and food and heating.
    Why would someone with so much want to see these people continue to suffer?
    How is it an advantage when they are not getting what they need?
    You cannot treat everyone equally? So, give more money to people who are doing fine when a certain percentage are not doing okay.
    $800,000? Many on here cannot even imagine that figure!
    I agree many billions are wasted on submarines and opening more mines, etc.
    Life is not equal so equality does not exist. People get sick, lose employment, have little education, are not endowed with the ability to earn high wages, etc.
    I still believe in spending down to the pension because someone renting with no savings cannot compete for goods and services and need more help.
    Have enough to cover things like cataract surgeries and other old age needs. But that does not require over $200,000.
    Mariner
    27th Jan 2020
    9:57pm
    Paddington - just because you seem to have nothing you should not judge people who have been careful and saved a couple of thou of dollars. A mate of mine earned twice as much as myself all his life and 37 years ago he proclaimed that he will not want to have any money at 65. True enough and now he gets $1000 a fortnight and I am on a part pension because I do have some money. I prefer my way and you might prefer the other. It is just not a good example for the people coming after us - the more you waste the more you are going to get out of the system.
    Mariner
    28th Jan 2020
    10:39am
    Paddington, imagine the figure $800'000. Most home owners on this site living in capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney are sitting in houses worth more than that. Not everyone is poor in this country and yes I am paying out a lot more than I am getting in and one day I might be on full pension. Private health is $5270 for 2 people, and just to live in this unit is $8000 a year (body corp and council rates). Not complaining but really $200'000 is not much to show for savings over 50+ years. Cataract surgery behind for one of us, private health paid for it, so got something back.
    JoJozep
    27th Jan 2020
    6:12pm
    Dear Old Chick,

    Above you quoted "the mess the ALP left us in after the GST". This is where the LNP and Murdoch Press twisted the real storey, by quoting "The insulation Disaster due to ALP incompetence" I know you meant the opposite that the press, blamed the ALP for the disastrous "Pink Batts" saga.

    Absolute Rubbish! Pink Batts in themselves are totally harmless, and you couldn't even get them to burn, let alone electrocute someone. Lies! As an Architect at the time, doing works at the time and the ALP spending money, helped our economy get through the GFC without hardly a murmur. Everyone was spooked by the deaths of young, inexperienced laborers, and the Murdoch press did everything to discredit the ALP as though they were solely responsible.

    I spent my lifetime supervising thousands of house constructions, and often checked employees essentials regarding certification, experience and qualifications. I had many words with unscrupulous employers who would employ anyone at any price and ignore building standards. I can't imagine, young inexperienced lads would be set free stapling aluminium foil backed insulating blankets in a ceiling without checking the house power and turning off the supply. But then, they didn't need to be electricians. BUT - their bosses needed to know regulations and they are the ones to blame.

    1) Aluminium backed foil wasn't the correct insulation for ceiling spaces above the ceiling plaster. Again it was easy to install, didn't have to be cut to fit between ceiling joists and more expensive than Pink Batts. This is were greed comes in, after all the government paid.
    2) There was no checking whether the house was wired according to regulations. In Queensland, regulations were lax in 2008. It is illegal in Victoria for homeowners to do their own wiring without getting a clearance certificate from an electrician. Who knows what some of these houses had.
    3) Most of the cases I read about was caused by the problem of stapling aluminium foil backing onto ceiling joists. This disaster happened because the lad holding the metal staple gun wasn't earthed, nor probably the roof sheet or the wiring itself. I heard nothing about this in the press.
    4) This material was designed to go under metal roof sheets or tiled roofs, not ceilings.
    5) Using incorrect materials isn't and wasn't, Julia Gillard's fault.
    6) How come none of these so called fly-by night employers were never prosecuted that I know of? Did the press keep this quiet?
    7) I feel so sorry for the affected families of these young, inexperienced laborers, but I denounce the press for blaming the ALP, when greedy, fly by-nighters weren't even mentioned, That was the LNP way- degrade all the good that Julia achieved and play up some problem issues.
    6) Thank God, the ALP was running the country in 2008, or we would be a third rate country, as we seem to be heading towards now the LNP are in charge.

    Good Night!
    Elizzy
    27th Jan 2020
    6:43pm
    Yes, but remember, Mariner, that in Switzerland the pension you receive is dependent upon the contributions you have made (to AVS) during your working life. Citizens who have had a patchy work history don't get the maximum pension and are obliged to make separate claims to be able to pay rent, utilities and the compulsory health insurance (there is no equivalent to Medicare). 30% of Swiss pensioners make top-up claims. Swiss super (second pillar) does not generally produce enough income to provide a pension much above the poverty line. I could go on.... However, glad the system worked for your mother.
    Mariner
    28th Jan 2020
    8:52am
    Thanks Elizzy. I am well aware of the system, was part of it. We all paid in a certain percentage of income and as long as we have paid in never mind how much we earned we get the same maximum pension (Currently CHF2350 per month). So a millionaire and a council bin man get roughly the same; the millionaire however has got all his other investments and still gets his pension. In 1978 I received a letter from the consulate asking me to leave the Swiss system as the 2 countries were signing an agreement to the effect Swiss in Australia will get the Aussie pension and Aussies in Switzerland will get the Swiss one. Time worked in the 2 different countries will be acknowledged so there would be no gap (patchy work history as you have mentioned). All that changed when the Hawke Govt changed the OAP into a welfare payment. A school friend having worked 17 years in Sydney and now living near Zurich was told she would not get a brass razoo for the 17 years because they put the means test on her; so for the rest of her life she will always be 17 years short in her pension, at the present $A370 per month. I should have stayed in the Swiss pension system but was to far behind to rejoin when the Aussies changed their mind.Women still retire at 64, although the Govt would like to change that. It has to go to a referendum but who wants the missus working a year longer?
    BillF2
    27th Jan 2020
    6:55pm
    Trebor asks the question 'what is the end game?' There are two possible roles for government, whether state or federal. They can either serve the people who elected them, or they can serve themselves with the money of the people who elected them. As I see it, if the government is serving the people, it is doing a lousy job, and always has done. This leaves us with the alternative, and all the measures to control the finances of retirees can only be seen as a method to control the population. Many totalitarian states use the military and security services to control their people, but in our 'democratic' society it is done by financial means (and security services). The result is the same. Those in power get all the money and wealth by doing a reverse 'Robin Hood'. And it's not just the elected muppets, but the anonymous policy makers and their mates behind them.
    Anonymous
    27th Jan 2020
    10:38pm
    Take two jelly beans - this is why I use terms such as ' despotism of poverty'.... a guaranteed way to keep the peasants in line is to make them hungry and thus amenable to accepting anything to feed self and family.

    It's such a shame my country has come to this... a Banana Republic in which the only thing increasingly on offer is a day's work picking the bananas... hence the rise of part-time etc.
    Mad as Hell
    28th Jan 2020
    12:12am
    The 2017 changes to the Pensioner Assets Test were for the “ budget emergency” by stealing $500,000,000 p.a.from part pensioners. No other demographic has had to contribute to the “budget emergency” Yet politicians on the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme (those who entered parliament before 2004) are entitled to at least $134,000 p.a.which is not means tested, income tested or age tested. Those on the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Scheme cost tax payers $1,000,000,000 p.a. have not had to contribute to the “budget emergency”. How good is that.
    Mad as Hell
    28th Jan 2020
    12:25am
    I found this article by William Summers interesting.

    https://williamsummers.blog/2019/03/15/the-truth-about-parliamentary-pensions/
    GeorgeM
    2nd Feb 2020
    12:26am
    While I already knew about this, and have mentioned it often, this article is good and should be a must read for all Retirees and Pre-Retirees - just to understand where these hypocritical leeches come from when they decided the Asset Test changes. Warning: Just have a bucket handy to collect the puke when you read it.
    musicveg
    2nd Feb 2020
    12:48am
    $43 million dollars from taxpayers per year!! These people do not have any sympathy for those doing it tough. Imagine if even half that money was spent on providing better housing for the poor and increasing pensions, newstart and other allowances to lift people out of poverty. These people have way too much money and who says they work a full year anyway, like to count up the hours they actually put in. Should be only paid by the hour on contract like so many other's these days with any extra's.
    musicveg
    2nd Feb 2020
    12:50am
    Meant to say without any extra benefits like paid holidays etc.
    ex PS
    28th Jan 2020
    9:32am
    Oh well, I guess we'll just have to book another overseas trip to reduce our Assets and legitamately reduce our tax liability.
    If this is a ruse to get us to spend more money in the country and help the government reach their fake surplus, I refuse to play their game.
    I have no problem paying tax, if we want stuff we have to pay for it, what I have a problem with is a government that says it is against more taxes and then introduces them through the back door and calls them something else. They are too gutless to tell the truth.
    Mariner
    28th Jan 2020
    10:28am
    Yes ex PS, you've got it right. Just like the rules to remain the same for a few years!
    fairplay
    28th Jan 2020
    12:51pm
    Just a general question does anyone know how Clink assess income from allocated pensions for 1. Aged Pension
    2. Low income Health Card if you do not qualify for the pension ie is it actual income you take or deemed income, as the difference could be considerable
    Ginaus
    28th Jan 2020
    6:19pm
    Why doesn't the bloody Government lay off the Pensioners... they should be looking at their own Superannuation...
    cupoftea
    28th Jan 2020
    7:21pm
    G The government does not have to look after there pension the Cayman islands do that for them and money comes right from the Taxpayer its a joke and idiots put them in
    cupoftea
    28th Jan 2020
    7:21pm
    G The government does not have to look after there pension the Cayman islands do that for them and money comes right from the Taxpayer its a joke and idiots put them in
    Ginaus
    28th Jan 2020
    6:19pm
    Why doesn't the bloody Government lay off the Pensioners... they should be looking at their own Superannuation...
    Misty
    29th Jan 2020
    7:54pm
    They have to get the money from somewhere to keep their Surplus promise.


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