Age Pension ‘generous’, says social services minister

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Social Services Minister Anne Ruston announced a long-overdue cut to the deeming rates on Sunday, which suggested an acknowledgment of the plight of many age pensioners. However, she has followed that up with a comment that the Age Pension is already “generous” and suggests pensioners should be grateful for taxpayers’ largesse.

“It is a generous amount of money that the Australian taxpayers make available to our older Australians,” she told 3AW.

Asked to elaborate, Senator Ruston said: “In terms of the amount of money that taxpayers fund our social welfare system, we put a lot of money into it.”

Her statements fly in the face of earlier concern that “the cost of living has never been higher” which was why deeming rates was one of the first things she looked at after the federal election.

The Opposition and older Australians were quick to respond.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has demanded the Morrison Government apologise for her comments.

“I think age pensioners out there who are struggling, frankly, to make ends meet wouldn’t regard it as generous,” he told 6PR radio.

“They’d regard it as something that they’ve worked for. They’ve paid taxes throughout their life, made a contribution to the country and they should be respected.”

He also said the deeming rate reduction was “too little, too late”.

Opposition Social Services spokeswoman Linda Burney said on Twitter of Senator’s Ruston’s comment: “This shows a real disconnect with the daily lives of pensioners trying to balance their budgets. Older Australians have worked hard, built our country and have a right to dignity and security.”

“Generous? Surely she is talking about the politicians’ pension!” one person posted on Twitter. “So out of touch with reality and she isn’t even old enough to understand what a pension is.”

Another described her comments as “an utter disgrace”.

Many suggested she commit to a trial of an Age Pension to understand the difficulties of making ends meet.

“Another overpaid out-of-touch politician telling people on the pension how things should be!! You wouldn’t survive!” wrote another.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg attempted to douse the flames by focusing on the deeming rate cuts.

“I understand pensioners have challenging times. A number of pensioners do it really, really tough,” he said.

The deeming rates will decrease from 1.75 per cent to one per cent for investments up to $52,000 (single pensioners) and $86,000 (couples), and from 3.25 per cent to three per cent for amounts over $52,000 (singles) and amounts over $86,000 (couples). The changes will take effect from September but will be backdated to 1 July.

Were you offended by Senator Ruston’s comments? Do you believe the minister needs to develop a greater depth of knowledge about the Age Pension?

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Written by Janelle Ward

323 Comments

Total Comments: 323
  1. 0
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    She hasn’t been working five minutes, so how much has she contributed. Yet another one who follows the party and believes it. They are all a bloody joke.

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      The greedy believed the lies from this government in the election campaign. Plenty of money for tax cuts for the wealthy though. No worries.
      People who voted this cartel back in should truly enjoy what they about to receive. This is bit the start. Next cab possibly putting the family home in the assets test. Have to fund tax cuts somehow you know!

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      Anne Rushton another post turtle

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      Liveitup the government didn’t say amything, mo policy statements all the did was rubish labor and their honesty. LNP are not good managers as we are now seeing.

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      LNP are great managers as seen by the increased surplus over the budget.

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      Agree with you Mick….We’ll just get rid of this mob at the next election….forever…

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      Thanks for the laugh LiveItUp. Surplus? Iron ore went up significantly and the government trolls claim the budget is in surplus. IT ISN’T. Wait for more lies when the next says of figures come in. It’ll be Labor’s fault. The it’ll be the Greens. Then it’ll be the world economy. The excuses will never end. That’s what liars do. This government is on the top of the lying list.
      I look forward to the next set of accounts. Maybe iron ore (=the private sector) will work. Unfortunately the government has now given tax cuts and somebody will have to pay.

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      Couldn’t agree with you more Mick, this is just the start from a morally and policy bankrupt cartel. Don’t blame me I didn’t vote for their lies and scaremongering.

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      Yeah. Guess hiw much her pension will be worth when she retires. On top of that, she wont have to worry about meeting a retirement age, an income test, an asset test, her family home being assessed as an asset and she wont even have to worry about super changes?
      Why not? Because pensions are for peasants, not for royalty, i.e. politicians. They are the untouchable, privileged, high class who decide what’s good x us the tax-paying peasants of this Australia Fair of ours!!!

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      Agree Blinky. Pollies enjoy obscene exorbitant salaries and all the perks we know about ! Cos they can!! They are the biggest drain on the taxpayer !!

    • 0
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      they are all blood suckers and descendants criminals who were dumped here and mercilessly massacred the innocent living beings peacefully living here.

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      they are all blood suckers and descendants criminals who were dumped here and mercilessly massacred the innocent living beings peacefully living here.

  2. 0
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    She will never have to live on the pension because she’ll still get undeserved benefits forever. She doesn’t have a clue and never will.

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      retired lady, that’s not her problem that’s why she doesn’t care.

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      Politicians, , ALL OF THEM
      do not care about pensioners, they see them as a burden to the budget.
      BUT, they DO REMEMBER that THEIR pensions are not 9nlt good, but that they will be there whether the budget is balanced or not!!!,

  3. 0
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    Dear Minister Anne Ruston,

    What a load of crap! No one is financing my pension. I was a tax payer for 45 years plus and paid my due taxes every month. If people like you stopped wasting our blood money on unnecessary trips overseas and other “tours” around the country, if you stopped giving yourselves high raises, there would be some money left for the needed. What I am getting is a return of my money (not so wisely invested and used by the federal government).

    Where did you learn Economy? Correspondence School?

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      Don’t forget the Champagne socialist shifty shorten was the highest spender last year, $3 million plus. H really cares about pensioners doesn’t he, sheesh.

    • 0
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      Well said Aussie Tuca

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      Absolutely correct, AussieTuca, this Minister is clearly still wet behind the ears, and let out a secret which the Libs are meant to share between themselves. Not smart enough to trick us yet! I did hear she was previously an adviser in AustralianSuper – wonder what kind of advice they got from her?

      If she is concerned too much money is spent on social welfare, I guess she can start by going for Universal Age Pension with NO tests, and only based on Age (65 years) and Residency (say 15 years), paid directly by the ATO, and cut down expenses in a massive way by shutting down a major part of Centrelink. Secondly, they can scrap all special politicians pensions, past and present, such as over $300K for Abbott, over $250K for Bronnie Bishop, Ruddock, etc, etc.

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      AussieTuca wondered “Where did you learn Economy? ” … Uni of Southern Queensland

      https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=243273

  4. 0
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    Is she related to Joe Hockey?

  5. 0
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    The adjustment to the deeming rate is great for those age pensioners who own their house and apparently have a stash of money in the bank! What about the poor old pensioners who are lucky to be able to switch the heater on after they have paid the rent. So who cares? No one except those affected. This is so very typical of the arrogant Australian way. The RICH get RICHER and the poor can go jump in the lake and drown!!!

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      yes Dennis this is the crux of the matter, most and that includes me receive no benefit from these changes, though I have no reserves I am lucky to receive a little extra and only have apart pension, there is no way anybody can live on the basic pension only, utility and all the costs of surviving in a modern world take that without talking about food and warmth.

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      That message needs to be got out there so the young can stop spending and save for their old age. Yes it will collapse the economy. There are always consequences. The LNP has one policy. Stop Labor. They are giving themselves more income with the tax cuts. That’s all it’s about.

  6. 0
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    Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, probably has no idea of what the cost of living is as she is fed and clothed by those pensioners who have allowed such as her the wealthy salary and perks she now has! I think she is arrogant, selfish and very uncaring toward those who built this country for over 50 years in the workforce, they are owed by the workers of today who build the future for the pensioners of tomorrow!

    Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, does and should not be holding her portfolio with that attitude toward the people who she serves; let’s get it right, she works for us, comprendo?

    • 0
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      I’m afraid they have all forgotten that they work for us. They only see politics as a means to become rich. We seam to be making a lot of rich politicians. None of them are qualified to hold any portfolio. They pay mega dollars to people to tell them what to do. They don’t even consult us when they sell our assets!

    • 0
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      Yes, they work for us, but sadly, according to their contract we must wait three years until the next election to sack them.

      I spent 62 years in the full time work force, accumulated a few dollars and get a part pension.
      We need a universal pension payable to all residents over pension age and cut the perks to pollies and public servants. That would save billions.If they want more,they can save for it the same as the rest of us.

    • 0
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      I second that Ahjay. A brilliant solution

  7. 0
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    We rent and for those who think we are given a helping hand with rent relief, it isn’t true for us in community housing. The state government took away our rent relief that the commonwealth government gave us supposedly to build new housing for the homeless which is also a load of crap. Someone like this woman should not be in that position as she obviously has a biased view of pensioners.

  8. 0
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    I’m not a pensioner but I am equally outraged. She hasn’t got a clue. The politicians stole the money OAOP pensioners saved through their taxes and now they sit back knowing they themselves are well provided for in retirement and and decide others have to do it tough because they can’t manage the economy.

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      Yes Hawke and Keating stole the OAOP that pensioners saved through their taxes and then had the hide to say “It was a recession that we had to have” when interest rates for a housing loan rose to 18%. Then Under Gillard we got the highest paid Politicians in the Western World….. that is where our money went.

    • 0
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      Sure it was Fraser who took off with the Welfare Fund.

      The Liberal Party was created to stop Labor governing. They have no other policies and so often need to sell our assets or take our money to fund themselves. It’s really that simple.

    • 0
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      Lynch and Fraser transferred the balance from the welfare fund but it had already been dead in the water for more than two decades. Some suggest the fund was originally a ruse to raise more income in the aftermath of WW2 because it was never set up correctly to track contributions and payments. Over the years the fund evolved into a complex accounting exercise that prompted Menzies to streamline the process by amalgamating the levy into the tax tables in 1962. There is no evidence the 7.5% levy even continued beyond the subsequent review of the tax tables. It would be interesting to comb the archives to see if there is any mention in the cabinet or treasury papers to see the extent to which it featured in later decisions.

    • 0
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      Which just proves you can’t trust anything politicians say or do.

    • 0
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      Rae, we have always known deep down that pollies were loose with truth and ethically flexible when it came to commitments, however it is not an excuse for naivety and wilful misunderstanding when we think they are doing something to benefit us. Political misrepresentations over the years together with lack of scrutiny and general absence of civics education has not done us any favours.

  9. 0
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    Typically arrogant LNP vermin. Put her on the Age Pension!

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      Intellego, Morrison’s mantra, fair go applies if you have a go and if you don’t seek to “take” a contribution.

      Those are the LNP policies.

    • 0
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      Sure you would. What for a day, a week? What happens when something breaks down or needs replacing. Where are the cash reserves? We’re savers and live on a budget but can honestly say that we would struggle on the OAP. You must be a troll

    • 0
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      My response was to LiveitUp whose comments on being able to live on the OAP seem to have been removed.

    • 0
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      Yes it looks like if you disagree with anything here your comments get removed. That’s not very democratic at all.

    • 0
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      Intellego,there are plenty of ALP vermin, shifty shorten, the bill we cannot afford for a start.

    • 0
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      Well… LIU/OG – when you post garbage.. it just gets taken out…..

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