Ageing population no burden

Australia's ageing population is not to blame for the nation's rising health bill.

Ageing population no burden seniors

Speaking after a seniors forum held on Tuesday at Hamilton in Victoria, the Shadow Minister for Seniors, Senator Bronwyn Bishop, said she was determined to remove the public’s perception that the ageing population is to blame for the nation’s rising health bill as they contributed to only 20% of the increase. Senator Bishop pointed to the contributions which have been made by this age group to make our country what it is today. She wants to see greater public appreciation of their achievements and wishes to dispel the view of seniors being a burden on our system.

With forty per cent of Australian voters over the age of 50, Senator Bishop said that this age group is a “vital voice” that “no government can afford to ignore”. Senator Bishop also raised the issue of age discrimination and said she was on a mission to make it as unacceptable to be ageist, as it is unacceptable to be sexist.

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Comment - Those who made Australia great

Senator Bronwyn Bishop made several valid points at her recent seniors forum meeting. The age group now classified as seniors helped build this country and made it what it is today. So with forty per cent of Australian voters aged over 50, why do their voices so often fall on deaf ears?

One answer is that the over 50 age group is under represented in Australia. The policies we see coming out of the two main parties are targeted towards families while the Greens and, to a lesser extent, the Sex Party have policies which appeal to the younger voter, leaving no party representing the interests of the older voter.

These forty per cent of voters defended our country in World War II, started businesses and families and built our country to be a world leader in medical research, mining and technology. Yet, despite these and many other contributions, the general public and the current governmental system views the over 50 age group as past their expiry date. Instead of investing in the now so that this age group can enjoy the final decades, years, months of their lives, governments are investing in facilities around the age group dying with the main wins from the last budget revolving around improvements in aged care.

There needs to be a greater investment by the State and Federal governments into the ageing population of Australia through increased pensions as single age pensioners are currently living on $85 per fortnight below the poverty line. Governments also need to step up to the plate on dentistry and provide greater access to cut-price appointments with shorter waiting lists.

Are Australia’s seniors given a fair go? Would a ‘grey party’ be the answer to the representation problems or does there need to be one party which represents every demographic equally?


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    26th Jul 2012
    Again someone is suggesting a grey party, and although there were heaps of comments and support, nothing happened to support ourselves previously. Personally, I feel we should be speaking with the COTA organisation which is there for Seniors/Pensioners. up and reap the rewards, free membership, discounts etc, and they represent seniors/pensioners and speak on our behalf representing us.
    26th Jul 2012
    Checked it out, Mac22 and while it looks good, it is not free to join. $32 single and $42 double, payable each year. Just one more example where the single person bears the load. The benefits mentioned only really apply if you are able to spend yet more money.

    26th Jul 2012
    Isn't it amazing the number of people and oragnisations who claim to be helping older people while actually ripping us off.
    26th Jul 2012
    Try Apia for the perfect case in point - I complained bitterly to them about their rates and they fobbed it all off by saying that they were just an 'agent' of a larger insurance org. Yet their advertising sucks in hundreds of thousands of 'over 50's' who think that they are getting a 'fair go' = bullshit.
    Nan Norma
    26th Jul 2012
    Talking of organizations ripping off, the Public Trustee is one. They charge $260 a fortnight to 'manage' a pension.
    26th Jul 2012
    Love Bronwyn. But, has she heard her much younger Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, saying that "welfare", including age pensions, must no longer be taken for granted??
    26th Jul 2012
    For the life of me I cannot understand why us over 50s are broadly classified as 'welfare' recipients. Many of us are not. Many of us have worked all of our lives without high levels of university education and consequent higher pay packets, things which were just not the norm at that stage of Australia's development. Many of us feel the much politicised latter day 'family' is unrepresentative of us and our contribution. The disparity of advocacy groups lack cohesion and none have enough individual voice to be heard. Hopefully none of us will fall for the Aged Care measures proposed. They are an insult to the greater number of us.
    26th Jul 2012
    What exactly is the 'poverty line' Drew ?
    26th Jul 2012
    This should give you a bit of an insight -

    Anything below 'comfortable' is poverty.
    26th Jul 2012
    Thanks - it is a contentious 'calculation' as the figures are set from a females perspective [?] and there are many many different permutations in lifestyle. Gillards calculation of $0.07 for standard households seems to be a pretty ridiculous statement to make re the carbon tax impact.
    26th Jul 2012
    COTA membership is well worth it. For $32 dollars (single) you get their excellent magazine, ONE COTA six times a year and most of their informative and often life changing seminars are free. I have just done Challenging Ageing one day over four weeks and it was most worthwhile and there was no cost. COTA Victoria's email newsletter is also great value as it is up to date and issued every fortnight. It too is free and you just go to website and click on E newsletter.
    26th Jul 2012
    I am sick and tired of people blaming the older generation for being dependant on welfare, most of us are not, we have all paid taxes, some for 50 years and over, so I do not feel in any way guilty at receiving some help from the government. I keep hearing about the amount of money spent on "asylum seekers" and dole bludgers and what they receive, most of them have never worked a day in their life in this country, yet they are given plenty. Time to toughen up the rules and give help to the people who made this country the great country it was before this Labor Government got control and started handing out money to all and sundry.
    26th Jul 2012
    I must agree with Janie, I worked all my life from about age 14, I as in Engineering for 32 years and ran my own business, I got sick (through no fault of my own and lost everything because the Government required me to use what I had before I could get help, everything went downhill very quickly from there), over the years I paid big taxes both from the business and privately, but I am now dependant on a disability pension because I am unable to put in more than an hour or two a day IF I could get a job, being dependant on a pension is not being a bludger, I simply do not have another avenue to follow, dependant I am, a door post I am not, this Government would do much better if it listened to the older generation so they don't make the same mistakes as those who went before them (the mistake that all Governments seem to make every year) but they won't because like all that went before them, 'THEY ASSUME THEY KNOW IT ALL' and when you assume you make an ASS out of U and ME
    26th Jul 2012
    Well said "lasaboy" I couldn't agree more, I also started work when I was 15 and worked till I had children then did part time work when they were older, without the help of child minding which is now subsidised by the government.My husband had his own business for over 40 years, and paid plenty of tax, worked very long hours and never had any help from the government. Now that we are both retired we are able to enjoy some of the fruits of our labour, with self paid superannuation, which took a big hit in the GFC, but we still lead a very nice life, because we planned ahead, never expected to be given everything, we actually worked for what we have.
    26th Jul 2012
    When you own an asset it is yours untill your death when you pass it on to your children.
    We older people inherited the assets of this country from our parents, grandparents and back further if you are long term Aussies. How dare people speak of us as recieving charity because of the pension. They presume too much, we still own the assets of this country that our taxes and the taxes of ancestors before us paid for. Untill we are dead and gone the younger ones are using what belongs to us, we are recieving our rightful dues, after we are gone then, and only then can they speak of owning what used to be ours. We should be proud and let them realise this and they should respect both us and the generations before us that made this country great with much hard work.
    26th Jul 2012
    I fail to see how "The Aged" are responsible for 20% of the overall Health Bill, at this time. Retired people of , say over the age of 65, have never been healthier. Except for 90% of those who smoke, who do contribute much more percentage than those who don't. ( Not only lung cancer, either, but that's another story). I've never seen so many different strains of Flu or sickness in the overall comunity since "The Boat People" have been let in to the country, "Willy Nilly". Nor, the influx of imigrants from third world countries and the middle east. The trouble is that, we cannot say this, as it is POLITICAL INCORRECT, according to B.S.Acedemics and Government Lackey's. Well I'm saying it and my address is on there for all to see, on the internet.
    26th Jul 2012
    As self-funded retirees both in our seventies, my husband and I will probably never be any drain on the public purse. We have managed to achieve this through a lifetime of working, while raising three children ( who are now themselves tax-paying working people); our jobs were not what you would call high-wage positions - my husband a tradie, myself a nurse. My health is good, his less so but that is covered by private health insurance.
    26th Jul 2012
    Surely people who are on aged / invalid pension should be paid minimum wage or same as maternity payments, age is with us all , but I think that receiving the $ 500 approx per week to be on maternity leave is a joke , except is no laughing matter except those who receive it , and high earners as well , If they cannot afford to have the baby , which we all hope is by choice , then dont , and young people say oldies are a drain on funds
    I am widow , still work full time & hear all this in my office
    [email protected]
    26th Jul 2012
    I can be proud to say that I am a self-funded retiree, never been given any social benefits from the government like dole etc. since I arrived here in 1975. Now I'm retired, I am getting a pension from my own money thru superannuation. It doesn't look like that I will be entitled to any Centrelink benefits since I am above the income threshold to qualify for age pension.
    26th Jul 2012
    Very True, I come in1967 and now 66yrs old ...the youngsters have got all the mod corns to
    help them.We had no mod cons but we used are noggin.
    28th Jul 2012
    Us oldies are under-represented because we are all fiercely independent and follow our own political party with a passion. Any attempt at organizing an ‘old peoples’ party’ for all won’t work IMO, but it could work if a ‘seniors party’ was set up for Labor supporters and another one for the Libs. I could see myself happily joining such an organization if it would help my party to win votes, as long as it didn’t cost me anything.
    28th Jul 2012
    Seniors need champions like Senator Bronwyn Bishop. Who the hell else is speaking up for seniors?
    28th Jul 2012
    It really pains me to hear comments like "we will never be a drain on the public purse." Give me a break!
    30th Jul 2012
    Thank goodness we have one government member that is beginning to see the light. However we will never change conditions for older people until we change our attitudes to older people. While many of the younger generation are happy to call on older parents for emotional,physical or financial support, it is not the same in the work place. There is a wealth of wisdom to be learnt from the older generations while new ideas keep us oldies young in spirit. Like most seniors I am fiercely independent and have worked all my life. However when I do need help, I do not wish to be treated like a second class citizen.
    Great granny
    31st Jul 2012
    ............and no one has mentioned all the volunteer jobs that we retired elders do, if we were all to stop the country would grind to a halt! While I worked voluntary I watched the young just walking around doing nothing and 'falling asleep' on the secondhand lounges while supposedly 'Working for the Dole' - most of them haven't had a job since picking up paper in the school ground as a punishment! I believe the young should go into the army if they leave school with no job - my grandson joined the army and I'm very proud of him. He's now got a trade.

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