Election 2016 – the real challenges of retirement

Can politicians ever really understand the challenges of retirement?

Election 2016 – the real challenges of retirement

Can politicians ever really understand the challenges of retirement? The short answer is ‘no’. There are two insurmountable barriers preventing them.

First up, because of the nature of their roles and responsibilities, they are working full time. They also earn high salaries; almost three times as much as the median income of other working Australians ($67,000), that is, those who are lucky enough to have full-time employment. The base salary of a back bencher is $199,040 per annum.

On top are perks that include commonwealth cars, telephone expenses and family travel.

These entitlements are generous relative to those received by the majority of Australian workers. In addition, the Canberra live-away from home allowance of $273 per night can be double-dipped when used to pay off a negatively-geared Canberra property, as witness the use of this system by former Treasurer Joe Hockey who paid his wife who owned the property. Compare this to the rising number of homeless retirees who have no secure place to sleep either ‘at home’ or in Canberra, and the contrast is stark. Living at the taxpayer’s expense in Canberra is no preparation for understanding most other workers’ realities.

The second barrier to the ability of our politicians to understand the reduced circumstances of a majority of Australian retirees is that the public pension they are guaranteed to receive upon retirement offers two things most retirees will never have – generous and secure retirement income.

Let’s deal with the obvious aspect of generosity first.

According to the Association of Super Funds Australia (ASFA), the average superannuation balance at retirement is $292,000 for men and $138,000 for women. Compare this to a recent federal politician’s payout which saw Bronwyn Bishop retire on $255,000 per annum, for life, and you can’t help but notice the gap. The rules applying to politicians’ pensions have been tightened, for sure – but given their high base salaries, they will still benefit from a payout that others can only dream of.

In fact, our federal pollies are so far ahead of the pack, they can have no idea whatsoever what it would be like to live on a full Age Pension of $20,000 per year, when even a bunch of roses for a friend’s birthday places an unbearable strain on your ability to cover food and household utilities and still live within your means.

The security aspect of the parliamentary pension, however, is even more discriminatory. YourLifeChoices has regularly noted the slow but inexorable shift of the risk of retirement from the state to the individual. Snip, snip, snip at who can access a pension. Fiddle, fiddle, fiddle with the rules of superannuation. This means many entering retirement are precariously balanced on the edge of a possible entitlement. ‘Will I or won’t I get an Age Pension?’ is the big question for 70 per cent of baby boomers as they head toward retirement. Whether the answer is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ today, it may all change tomorrow as successive governments, hell-bent on reducing deficits, move the goal posts again and again, usually without warning and sometimes even retrospectively.

So how can a politician who has a cast-iron guarantee of a secure and comfortable income in retirement ever possibly understand the single greatest challenge for most retirees – living on an income that often doesn’t cover basic household needs?

They can’t.

And that inability to understand translates directly into a lack of empathy. It is actually not their fault if this lack of understanding makes them ignorant. It is up to all of us to help them to see how things work. If retirees want a better deal from the next federal government, it’s time for all retirees to help our pollies ‘walk a mile in their shoes’, Election 2016 is your chance to stand up and be heard. Are you up for it?

What do you think? Can our politicians every really understand the challenges of living on a budget in retirement? If not, how can we help to enlighten them?





    COMMENTS

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    mogo51
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:18am
    I think anyone who is living on the basic Aged Pension such as myself, knows exactly what you are talking about.
    Just last week a Labor MP was gasping at the thought a pension might want to reside o/s so as to have a reasonable lifestyle. What an arrogance.
    This coming from a group that earn 3 times the average worker's salary and then irregardless of their financial position pick up a pension of the same magnitude! It is time all this is reigned in line with the general community. Ths is what happens when you let the lunatics run the asylum - these people are allegedly 'public servants' Armed Hold Up Merchants I say.
    When will they allow genuine pensioners who rightfully worked for their ENTITLEMENT, to enjoy their benefits and not look over their shoulder for the incoming grenades.
    Empathy, not hostility should be the norm. I shudder at the thought of going to Centrelink as do most people. Not because we have anything to hide, but because we feel like tarnished goods.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:59pm
    Mate totally agree with you I am on the same boat only pension ....I had to go overseas to be able to live a decent live ... Incredible I love my country but can not live in it ...
    Ted Wards
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:33am
    Simple solution - change politicians wage into performance based. If they break their promises or don't fulfill them they don't get paid. If their stupid ideas turn out to be really stupid they dont get paid. If they do nothing like most of them, they get nothing.
    Anonymous
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:55am
    Absolutely the right solution, Ted. And a long overdue reform.

    How about we make the aged pension a percentage of the minimum wage, and then politician's salaries and benefits package (total, including retirement benefits) a multiple of the aged pension - payable ONLY if they honour their promises and demonstrate performance that benefits the nation. Other workers are paid on performance. Why not politicians? They should accept the same rules as the rest of the community - INCLUDING an obligation to cut their income by the same (maximum) percentage as pensioners incomes are cut.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:14pm
    I'll give that a Green Tick of Approval :-)
    TREBOR
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:18pm
    I've long advocated a low base salary for politicians - all of whom are then required to go to their electorate and ask of them what their work has actually been worth for each year. Salary at say $60k plus bonus as approved by their own electorate.

    You could squeeze senior public servants in somehow, though they are harder to catch since they are not directly subject to the will of the people through the ballot box.
    Anonymous
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:52pm
    Whilst I agree Ted Wards, who would make the decision as to whether they have upheld their promises? In the business world a line manager usually makes those decisions but isn't a politician's line manager a politician? At the moment we have politicians promising the world and half of Tasmania in order to get (re-)elected and if past performances hold true they will have a reason why they couldn't carry through with their promises.

    The Senate blocked it - The Greens - there was no funding available - The Greens - State governments refused to cooperate - the Greens - unforeseen downturn in the economy - the Greens.
    ex PS
    5th Jun 2016
    12:43pm
    We can put the performance based option to the test now. If you believe that the current government has performed to expectations in regards to their election promises give them another term. If not, ditch them.
    That is what I intend doing, and I will not take their juvenile excuses of the opposition won't let us do as we want as a real excuse. Their stock in trade is political, if they can't negotiate their policies through the Senate they are just proving their political ineptitude.
    Their problem is that they made the act of governing adversarial with their statements about it being the oppositions primary job to appose the government, they made the rules and now find it impossible to live by them now they are in power.
    ex PS
    5th Jun 2016
    12:43pm
    We can put the performance based option to the test now. If you believe that the current government has performed to expectations in regards to their election promises give them another term. If not, ditch them.
    That is what I intend doing, and I will not take their juvenile excuses of the opposition won't let us do as we want as a real excuse. Their stock in trade is political, if they can't negotiate their policies through the Senate they are just proving their political ineptitude.
    Their problem is that they made the act of governing adversarial with their statements about it being the oppositions primary job to appose the government, they made the rules and now find it impossible to live by them now they are in power.
    Phil1943
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:44am
    Our politicians will never understand the challenges of living on the kinds of incomes 'enjoyed' by most retirees - the main reason being, they don't have to. In office they're overpaid; out of office they're generously pensioned for the rest of their lives. I say pay the pollies only while they're working and let them trek to Centrelink afterwards and be assessed like any other Australian. They aren't better than the rest of us so why should they be treated so much better than we are?
    Troubadour
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:58am
    For sure - they are grossly overpaid - $273 PER NIGHT living away from home allowance is ridiculous - that would pay 2 thirds of our rent!! Surely it would be cheaper to have built a 'Pollys' motel for them in Canberra. Then they get cars, travel and other allowances
    We cannot even afford a weekend away - have not had a holiday in years.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:16pm
    Another Green Tick of Approval :-)
    Anonymous
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:56pm
    Now that's thinking outside the square Troubador. Miners are forced to live in Dongas when away from home and schoolchildren are forced to learn in demountables so it would be very simple to arrange a similar style of accommodation for pollies. Naturally a minister or shadow minister would expect to be better housed so maybe a double Donga?

    2nd Jun 2016
    10:51am
    Sadly, it's not just politicians. There are far too many arrogant, self-opinionated ''self-funded'' retirees with neither understanding nor empathy. Of course they are not really ''self-funded'' at all, but just claimed benefits from the taxpayer during working life rather than after - obscene superannuation tax concessions NOT granted to battlers on low incomes; negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions; business and work tax deductions (those grey area claims that were really personal, but they could sneak through), etc. built up their assets, while strugglers battled just to put food on the table and a roof over their children's heads. And now they are scorned and denigrated by the self-opinionated egotists.

    How can we ever hope to achieve a decent living standard for aged pensioners when fellow retirees can't even demonstrate basic human decency and respect?
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:01am
    I don't know what you are going on about Rainey as all these deductions etc are available to everyone. It has nothing to do with human decency and respect. In fact if you didn't take advantage of them you would be just plain stupid.
    KSS
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:39pm
    Whoa Rainey! Sweeping statements or what? And inaccurate to boot!

    Whilst it may be true that there are some self-funded retirees that have done very nicely (and I make no wild claims as to how that may be), there are many more who are just scraping by with an income compatible with the pension but without the extras such as the health care card, reduced rates, travel concessions and all the other benefits that people on the aged pension can claim.

    Self-opinionated egoists? Only if the 'others' are 'green-eyed' monsters with huge chips on both shoulders!
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:13pm
    I have no problems with the self retirees ...one way or another they work hard for their money and do not depend from the government so I am ok with that ..... but are the politicians self funded retirees ????? he he he THEY THINK THEY ARE hehhe
    Kaz
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:52pm
    Self funded retirees are not the issue here - you must pay politicians their worth while they are actively working. Once they stop (ie leave their office, are voted out, etc) we should stop paying them - as happens in any other job.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:56pm
    KAZ ...correct but that never happen because the make the rules .... are you kidding they will not change anything they probably increase their pension ......
    Rae
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:47pm
    I disagree Rainey.

    Worker's are not being paid a fair share of productivity gains and haven't been since about 1975. This is most of our working lives.

    We could have supported the unions, got involved, educated ourselves to the neoliberal rip off going on but we didn't.

    We are still allowing the Elite, including our politicians, to use distractions and to divide us so we are easily overcome and manipulated.

    Your comment is a perfect example of the divide and conquer strategy.

    We should have stopped them when they first sacked Gough and again when the sold off the bank. We certainly should never have accepted the high inflation and interest rates when we had debts nor the piddling amounts now we are living on our savings.

    Right now the plan is to keep stealing our savings.

    Do we attack each other or join together to fight them?
    Retired Knowall
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:19pm
    Typical RANT from RAINEY.
    obscene superannuation tax concessions NOT granted to battlers on low incomes; negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions;
    WRONG - these concessions are available to everyone.
    Instaed of posting your dribble....WHY DONT YOU GET A JOB?
    Golden Oldie
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:50pm
    Yes, these concessions are granted to everyone, but, not everyone can afford to use them. When your income is less than or equal to your living expenses (without frills), then buying an extra property in not feasible. Negative gearing means you make a loss on the property, to claim that against your taxable income. If you don't have the spare income to cover this loss, then you are in deep "s***t", getting a tax deduction at the end of the year for about 25% doesn't really help, as you are still up for the rest. Salart sacrifice is great, but imagine earning $60,000 per year, you have a wife and 2 schoolage children, and a large credit card bill, household budget of expense overrun per year, and you try to live on less, ie salary sacrifice $10k per year. Not feasible. Even though these options are available, not everyone can afford them, and to judge these people as spendthrifts is unjust?
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:34pm
    You don't have to wait for the end of the year to get a tax deduction for negative gearing. You just fill in a form and pay less tax every week, Also negative gearing doesn't not have to cost you anything. A property can be cash flow positive but negatively geared. The biggest problem most people have is that they are too risk adverse and won't take on the risks involved.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:12pm
    You are correct in essence Rainey despite the normal suspects towing the party line. Superannuants accumulated their large super balances with the help of ordinary taxpayers. Accessing a tax rate of 14% compared to 49% in the real tax system is a significant foor up. ANd then the EARNINGS of the fund are also taxed at only 15%. A pretty good deal for high income earners....which is why it was put in place and why it was not fixed for several decades: to allow the rich to squirrel away copious amounts of money. Now they want to access their booty in retirement phase. And if they set up their affairs well they may even claim a pension on top of that.
    The voice of the government may be saying 'no, no' but you are on the right track Rainey.
    maxchugg
    4th Jun 2016
    10:31am
    Negative gearing only delays the day when additional tax is paid. You can only use negative gearing on a property which is generating income, which normally means houses. At tax time you declare the income the property produced and also claim as a deduction all of the expenses incurred in owning that property, rates, taxes, maintenance insurance and loan interest.

    Eventually the day will come when properties purchased using negative gearing will be sold, at which point capital gains tax will come into play and what the government lost on the swings it will pick up on the roundabouts.

    Abolish negative gearing and rents will rise and lock people into the renting cycle for longer as they attempt to save a deposit for a house. The apparent answer is to cap the amount that may be claimed by way of negative gearing.

    The point Kaz raises is much more important than negative gearing.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    7:42am
    Maxchugg, you are only partly right. In theory, capital gains tax does compensate for negative gearing concessions, but in practice, too many find ways to dodge tax at both ends.

    Apologies to the hard working savers who've become self-funded despite NOT enjoying the advantages of big tax concessions (and I am one of them, Retired Knowall who clearly knows NOTHING!) and yes, Bonny, concessions ARE legally available to anyone - but in the real world they are ONLY available to the privileged whose health, education, and opportunities allow them to earn enough to take advantage of them.

    This is what I mean by arrogance and lack of empathy. A tirade of responses attacking me for exposing a valid truth and even falsely accusing me of ''laziness''. (I'm still working, Retired KnowNOTHING, and I have a nest egg of savings from years of hard work that will probably mean I will retire self-funded, if I ever retire. But I never got ANY tax concessions. My savings are all from going without, and working 15 hours a day to overcome horrendous disadvantage).

    Empathy means appreciating the challenges others face and recognizing that poor health, educational disadvantage, psychological disadvantage, trauma or crisis, lack of opportunity, etc. forces many into low-paying jobs where they don't earn enough to qualify for superannuation tax concessions, let alone to invest in negatively geared properties or claim business tax deductions.

    The system is geared to the rich. That's an inescapable fact. And battlers DO NOT have the opportunity to benefit from the concessions and rorts that well-to-do enjoy. The law isn't the issue at all, Bonny.

    NOBODY is self-funded in retirement. Either you inherited wealth, or the birth lottery bestowed opportunity or you had a stroke of good luck, and you were positioned - fortunately - to benefit from the public purse during working life in one way or another.

    Many pensioners also had opportunity, and blew it. That's a fact. But many pensioners have had virtually NOTHING from the public purse by comparison with the masses, and they have a moral right to enjoy their share of benefit in retirement.

    My point is simply that those here who continually slag off at pensioners, spitting out lies and insults about ''welfare'' and accusing people of being irresponsible, lazy, bludgers, etc. or suggesting aged pensioners should be condemned to an uncomfortable old age are doing far more harm to this society than arrogant, greedy politicians.

    What we need is unity and universal appreciation of the real world situation. We need empathy for those who have done it tough, and even for those who haven't, but didn't have the brains or discipline to take advantage of their good fortune.

    We need RESPECT (yes, Retired Knowall and Bonny - I'm talking to you!) It is selfishness, arrogance, disrespect, and lack of empathy that is destroying our society, and it's not just coming from politicians. Their conduct is a reflection of the attitudes of those who vote for them.
    ex PS
    5th Jun 2016
    12:54pm
    Rainey, don't look at all self funded retirees as your enemies, I have always taken great care to give support to those who have not had the opportunity to garner enough savings and investments to not have to rely on a pension.
    The real enemy is unfairness that is what all retirees should be banding together to address, if I have enough to live a comfortable life but my neighbor has enough to live a better one who am I to try to drag them down to my level?
    Better to concentrate on bringing about fair change that helps those that need it than to try to take from those who are doing OK.
    Allie
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:56am
    I do wonder how it came about that they are paid such high wages and then can receive a pension when they leave and can also work. Getting a double income. Also what can be done about it for the future as we watch Australia going down the tube with the fat cats feathering their own nest.
    That being said what would we do if we were in the same position. Would we say no and try to change things to make it fairer for all Australians.
    TREBOR
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:31pm
    The idea was that they were taking time out of their illustrious careers to serve the country, and thus had somehow seriously disadvantaged themselves in life, and therefore needed a pension for life the moment they left.
    older&wiser
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:09pm
    Trebor - might be that in theory, but in actual fact, 'taking time out from their illustrious careers'? Very few politicians would go into politics if their income was to drop significantly. There are a high proportion of lawyers, doctors, and business people as politicians, and they often own a business, or have financial affairs set up, set up to still carry on and to cover any financial loss if they go into politics. Disadvantaged themselves by going into politics? - Insult to those who are genuinely disadvantaged.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:14pm
    Don't vote Liberal for a star is the short answer.
    maxchugg
    4th Jun 2016
    1:32pm
    Mick, what's the alternative to Liberal?

    The Greens, who would have us living in caves, then ban lighting fires?

    Labor, and put the people smugglers back into business?

    Anticipating responses to my problem with Labor, those who laughed at the Liberal claim before their election that they would stop the boats were made to look stupid.

    Statistically, 60% of refugees remain unemployed after 5 years, hence the Danish experience that before action was taken 5% of the population consumed 40% of the welfare and national bankruptcy would have been inevitable.

    I will be voting for the Liberals in the House of Representatives, but to ensure that the Senate remains a house of review instead of a rubber stamp, I will be voting for Labor in the Senate.
    Star Trekker
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:57am
    You have 2 chances of changing the attitudes of politicians.
    Buckley's and Nunn.

    Most of them wouldn't have a clue in how the other half lives.
    The only way is to revolt and not vote in any one at all. Therefore to get in they must change their ways.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:36pm
    Dear Mr Pitchforksandfirebrands What a Great Idea !! :-) :-) :-)
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:15pm
    He He I love your comments yes yes only 2 he he

    So who do we vote for ????? I know vote for KSS ...
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:30pm
    Or the Frank Furter Party ! :-) :-) The FFP :-)
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:45pm
    yes ok ok the revolutionary FFP to ensure our country prospers.

    Look Thailand with over 72 million people and has tremendous roads 2, 3 4 and 5 lines except Bangkok but travel around the country is great and you can drive at 140Km x hour no worries because they have the roads to do that ....... but our rich country only do 2 lines at the most then they realize their mistake and pay more to enhance the road (M2 is an example in Sydney) great planning ......

    OK Frank you got my Vote for sure mate .....Let's do it .....NOT A BAD IDEA .... I LIKE IT SERIOUS LET'S DO IT
    I COME BACK TO AUSTRALIA AND WORK WITH YOU FRANK NO WORRIES MATE
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:16pm
    Not at all Start Trekker. If you don't vote they win. What the electorate has to do is stop listening to the right wing media grooming their man and vote this government out. That always works and sends a clear message.
    The longer they're out the less they are to tryi it on if/when they get back.
    Star Trekker
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:26pm
    I always vote, but the candidates in my electorate are hopeless. That includes the siting Independent.
    Star Trekker
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:27pm
    oops. *sitting
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    10:31pm
    I see your point. The issue is that to get rid of the cancer we currently have in government we have to vote for possibly second rate candidates. The plus is that these are unlikely to be owned by vested interests (the rich) so you are weakening the grip on power by sending a Liberal on his way. Ultimately you can always vote whoever out next time around.
    The Senate: well that is a different thing altogether and this is where we can all block the crooked legislation coming from a bad bad government like the one we have. Either 6 squares above or 12 below the line. Pick you order. Deal done if everybody does likewise. That will happen if people ignore the media and remember what was done to them.
    maxchugg
    6th Jun 2016
    10:42am
    The only time the average person has any real influence upon politicians is when elections are about to take place and at this time the swinging voter really comes into play.

    The first thing needed is to put the fear of unemployment into all politicians by ending the pension rorts which are hitting the headlines once again by not allowing access to pensions until the recipient reaches the age for retirement that applies to everyone.

    Next, always vote for the opposition. Unfortunately voting for independents is not the answer because these people almost invariably align themselves with one of the major parties, then enjoy influence out of all proportion as they blackmail the party in government with threats of switching sides.

    Ensure that the Senate is a house of review, not a rubber stamp by ensuring that it is not under the control of the government.

    What is really needed is a decent pensioners union which would mean that it would be a brave government that would launch the kind of attacks on the incomes of retirees that have been features of most recent budgets.
    probins01
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:04am
    Political attitudes to superannuation are, across the board of the major 3 parties, disgusting!
    They treat super savings a s a big pool of cash for them to dip into!
    It is NOT their money, and to top it off, to continually and increasingly penalise those of us who save for our retirment so as not to be a burden on taxpayers, is economic insanity, because all they're doing is pushing more people onto taxpayer funded pensions!

    Our only hope to change the status quo of 'tweedle dumb or tweedle dumber' on the political roundabout, is to use Turnbull's cynical Senate voting ploy against the 3 major parties. In the Lower House, number all boxes on the paper, but place the LNP, Labor and Greens LAST.
    In the Senate, number 6 boxes above the line and exclude the LNP, Labor and Greens completely, or better still, number 12 boxes of your choice below the line, excluding the LNP, Labor and Greens completely!
    This may lead to a hung parliament, but it would force a reduced quota of either LNP or Labor, to work with a Lower House cross-bench of diverse representatives, rather than just the Greens, and it would give the Senate some true democratic diversity to facilitate proper debate with very few party lines to be adhered to. Yes, it can work. It's called democracy!
    Seriously folks, have you seen a 'normal' legislative reading / debate session in parliament? You could swing 100 cats in the chamber! There's almost nobody listening to the debates. The Speaker rings the Division Bell, and all pollies come running in and vote along party lines! Then they leave again while the next bill is 'debated'.
    They take us for complete and utter fools!
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:09am
    I think we have had enough of hung parliaments and hostile senates and people realise this. The LNP will win both houses in the July 2 election.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:33am
    Ignore Bronny....one of the LNP trolls on this website.

    You have made the right call probins01. Vote Independent and put the LNP absolutely LAST. We need proper government, not bastardry from big business with its political Party making decisions for it and against the rest of the nation.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:36am
    That right Mick have a couple of independents sitting in the corner sleeping and collecting their wages as that's about all they will be able to do.
    poorwomanme
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:42am
    Bonney, the sad fact is that if the LNP do get control of the Senate, you will really have something to whinge about.
    The LNP is hellbent on seeing pensions reduced to a standard of living that will leave you gasping, all this so their rich mates can protect their own lifestyles.
    Turnball was the promised messiah but has turned out to be a damp squid who is controlled by the high end of town.
    No-one saw it coming except those business interests who were the puppeteers pulling the strings.
    You can deny this all you like, the facts speak for themselves.
    MITZY
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:44am
    probins01: I like the idea of hung parliaments and the diversity of the Senate. At least it partly keeps the Coalition and Labor in check. There's nothing worse than a party with a huge majority in the lower house where they can run rampant and feed their egos with their power. If there were more independents than currently, it could be a little more interesting watching the circus perform. At present question time is nothing but an insult to one's intelligence!
    MITZY
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:54am
    probins01: Just for the record I've never watched question time for the past ten years but I have a friend who drops everything she is doing to waste an hour of her time. I'd rather be outside smelling the roses. And, at present, it is difficult to turn the t.v. on at all as this electioneering waffle is not half as entertaining as the old wind-up organ grinder! Its just all doom and gloom. We are not half-way through this long campaign and it appears to me that both leaders would do more for the welfare of "dogs" than humans, even the babies are getting less hugs and kisses than previous campaigns.
    probins01
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:56am
    Bonny, I truly hope you're not serious?
    Have you ever seen what I describe above about so-called 'debate' in the legislative chamber?
    It's all smoke and mirrors where all the dirty deals are done behind closed doors and without any accurate public record!
    Then the bell rings and they all rush in for a 5 minute vote along party lines, then they're off again to the next tea party or long lunch!
    How can you possibly think that is in any way better than having a large group of independent representatives who have to openly debate the issues in the chamber before voting??
    margie
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:58am
    Bonny, we already have had hostile senates, so if we have some Independents holding the big boys to account, that may make a difference, hopefully for the better, we have to try something to ensure , that we the people and tax payer may be finally listened to. Also Bonny the politicians are already sleeping in the corner collecting their very generous wages. And Mick I previously was a Liberal voter and will be voting Independent in the senate this election because I have no faith in Libs, Labor or Greens. Not sure why you think LNP are more trollish (pretty sure that's not a word but I like it) than Labor or the Greens, can assure you, I am not a troll.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:05pm
    I'd be happy to see pensions only go to those who need them poorwomanme not to those who don't need them.

    I won't have anything to whinge about because I am fully self funded with no concessions on anything. The day I'll be left gasping is equivalent to a doomsday scenario where I'll just have to grow some more food to survive on my country estate. Maybe get out the rabbit traps and trap a few rabbits, even hone in my fishing skills for a few fish.
    maxchugg
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:33pm
    Bonny, you need another plan because rabbit traps are illegal and rabbits are hard to find anyway.

    Apart from the endless lurks and perks that have been mentioned, another reason why politicians are out of touch is that they have a wonderful, retirement plan in place which provides certainty of income for the rest of their lives, irrespective of what age they decide to reture. Their scheme is so generous that it is a wonder than any of them remain in parliament after they qualify for a pension.

    By contrast the average worker planning retirement factors in every imaginable source of income, particularly pensions and superannuation. But any effective planning is impossible because the government continues to move the goalposts so that luck is the major factor in ensuring that retirement plans remain achievable.

    People cannot reasonably be labelled whingers for complaining about the attitudes of governments who have recently decided that age pensions, once a right subjected to a reasonable means test, are no longer guaranteed as has always been the case in the past. Nor can those who contributed to superannuation funds which promised a certain level of income which is now being whittled away by successive budgets.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:40pm
    Some forty years ago now I realised that I would probably never get a pension and that superannuation was not the answer either. Simple statistics back then told me this and I therefore made other arrangements for my retirement. I knew even back then that super was at the whim of the government so only put in what I had to which wasn't much.

    Even today I catch an occasional rabbit with my traps and have a feed of rabbit stew. I also catch a fish or two for a beach BBQ as well.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:45pm
    If we had no Independents dear Bronny then Abbott and Turnbull would have introduced all of their taxes on the poor and gotten their tax cuts for the rich through. Currently the latter will only happen if Australians are too stupid to see what that is all about and put them mongrels back in.
    I will be voting for Independents. They are the only way to stop the game. As for sitting in a corner doing nothing you did a lot of that Bronny until your helicopter jaunts finally brought you down.
    mangomick
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:59pm
    Many economists are already coming out of the wood work and admitting that during Gillards term many legislations were passed through the house due to good negotiations skills and consensus being reached between the minor parties in the Senate.
    One would have hoped that Turnbull possessed these skills but sadly it looks like he doesn't. LNP want to rule with a big stick and they forget that even if elected they still only represent less than half of the Electorate. They talk about mandate to rule but forget that the Upper House is given the mandate to ensure their legislation is fair for all Australians or in Australia's best interest.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:20pm
    We need a revolution to change them ....let the Army take over for a while then open election .....let's get new young people with fresh ideas ........forget about the usual suspects they should retire and out of politics.
    every election the same people to vote promises broken and the country goes down and down but hey hey hey they are Ok big retirement benefits wowowowowowo VIVA Australian politicians .....Disgrace
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:33pm
    The Navy could have a Bash at it for a While even !! :-) They would then get some Free Islamic Advise for Improving the Country !! :-) :-)
    Kaz
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:01pm
    We can only hope Bonny is wrong - even the big end of town should be considering what their children's future may be if the coalition gained power. We must maintain Medicare for those less fortunate, we must educate all children and young people equally so we ensure all potential is harnessed for a future Australia - one which can lead the way for renewable energy and kind consideration of others, not just for money.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:09pm
    The big end of town is more worried about paying for capital gains tax and tax on their super. The LNP super changes still gives them an advantage over Labor's policy so I can't see them voting Labor. Labor's capital gains tax is also a bigger for them as it means they pay more tax.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:24pm
    Thanks mango. One normally only hears the voices of the trolls posting for their government bosses when discussing previous Labor governments.
    Gillard did get a huge amount of legislation through. Had Abbott not been elected with a media orchestrated propaganda campaign then well thought out legislation would still be guiding the country to prosperity rather than larger and larger debt burdens forced on us all.
    There would have been no massive tax cuts for the rich under Labor. Why would a nation needing to get over the GFC even contemplate that?
    Whilst I am not a Labor voter I have to concede that if I had a choice in the current political environment it would be a lay down misere if I had to choose. That is why Liberal will be last on my ballot paper.
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:35pm
    You've made some very good points there, probins01. Fully agree. I, too, think that independents and small parties do our so-called parliamentary democracy good. It certainly isn;t very democratic when only two parties, coalition and labor, (virtually the same policy parties) are in power all the time. They need someone to pull on their reins at times. My only concern is if these major parties realise they can play a game with us and put up some stooge independents or set up some stooge parties. Perhaps they already do that.

    I certainly fell that the ordinary Joe Bloggs and Jane Smiths have let themselves and their workers down over the last several decades by dropping out of unions or not joining them. If they were only more aware of what conditions were like before unions then they would be committed unionists and be active in the running of their unions so they are not dominated by other guys similar to the pollies. Instead they have been sucked in by coalition lies and/or exaggerations and admittedly let down by some union leaders.

    It's certainly about time that the majority of voters in Australia - and that majority just has to be all the workers at or below the median wage, on no wages or on pensions -"rebelled" by voting in such a way as to diminish the power of the major parties.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    7:56am
    As usual, Bonny is only focused on ME ME ME - chest beating and bragging and ASSUMING everyone has the same opportunities. No empathy. No respect. No basic human decency. This is what's really wrong with society. Politicians only reflect the cancer that infects the power-brokers (many of whom are voters).

    We need to change the way politicians are rewarded. Abolish all retirement benefits and put them on the same scale as the rest of society. And make their salary a percentage of the aged pension, which should - in turn - be a percentage of the basic wage. Link all other welfare payments, by percentage, to the basic wage, and then legislate that NOBODY can earn more than 10 times the wage of the lowest full-time wage earner in the organization they work in. Abolish ALL tax concessions and make everyone pay the appropriate rate for their income category, and tax ALL income earned by Australians or in Australia at the higher of the Australian rate OR the any rate otherwise applicable to that income.

    Recipe for a healthy society! Simple!

    2nd Jun 2016
    11:05am
    So what, exactly, are you proposing, Kaye? I regularly write to politicians - with very little useful response, just form letters full of slick slogans and canned excuses! Voting doesn't achieve much because (a) we are stuck between independents and minors who probably won't get in and award preferences to parties we don't like, or one or the other appallingly similar major party; and (b) in the House, we are restricted to voting for someone in our geographic region.

    If politicians weren't so arrogant and disinterested, and so secure, they wouldn't be so well paid. The fact is that they are a law unto themselves.

    Just how do you suggest we impress a message that we know they've all heard again and again, but chosen to simply ignore?
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:11am
    Join the Knitting Nannas Rainey as they seem to be able to get things done. Ok you may have to do a bit of protesting but they seem to have fun doing it.
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:40pm
    Yes, Rainey, I fully understand you in this matter. I think they work on the principal that if they send out such useless replies or not even bother replying. Or they may do as Angus Taylor in Hume sends in response to petitions something to the effect that he gets many emails including many from people outside his electorate so he can't reply to them unless he knows you are from his electorate - he ignores the fact that I include my postcode and perhaps even my name and address in the petition.
    He's relatively new to parliament but I think he's already developing those same arrogant attitudes - perhaps because he belongs to an arrogant party that represents the top end of town.
    Dallanhk
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:13am
    ........ This is exactly why I don't vote for a 'politician'. A spoiled ballot says much more, but how can anyone actually vote for someone who lives on a different planet to the rest of us?
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:35am
    Vote Independent and have a voice. Shake up the game. That is what is needed.
    Don't waste your vote Dallanhk by doing nothing!
    Lescol
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:36am
    By informal voting or by spoiling your vote you imply that you accept the current situation. Do you really?

    I believe there is time for change My retirement plans have been ruined due to short time decisions being made over an issue you spent years planning for! Their actions are legal but so too will be mine when I vote 2 July ; anybody first and current government last. The other guys get a term or they too get the chop next time.

    cheers
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:38am
    My retirement plans are far from ruined because I'm flexible enough to go with the punches and change things to suit the changes.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:43am
    ANd of course let's not forget the parliamentary pension you are getting Bronny.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:56am
    ...and also those Sky channel appearance fees too.
    KSS
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:52pm
    People have died in the past for the right to vote. People in some other countries today would give their arm to be able to vote at all!

    It matter not one iota to me who you vote for, as long as you vote. Failure to do so does not send any message to anyone except that you are prepared to disenfranchise yourself - and give up any right to comment on the actions of those voted in (or out).
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:04pm
    Whilst true KSS I seem to recall that Germans voted for Adolph Hitler. It does matter who you vote for and the above example is what frightens me about the current government. I saw Abbott try to sell off the ABC because it dared to present arguments from the left. So what do you think those who manipulate to this extent would be prepared to do? Frightening.
    KSS
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:03pm
    Well then Mick, my opinion stands. Vote for SOMEONE not NO-ONE!
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:25pm
    SOmeone being whom KSS? Adolph's understudy?
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:43pm
    Don;t waste your vote, Dallanhk. No pint in doing that. It's far better to vote for an independent or some small party. Put the big parties at the bottom.
    poorwomanme
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:30am
    Why would a politician understand pensions when all it takes them to earn their highly overpaid pension is 6 years compared to around 50 years for the average working person.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:11pm
    :-( :-( :-(
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:22pm
    Mate anybody with a logical answer wins a prize he he he
    Nobody have answer mate is incredible what is happen here I do not believe it
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:38pm
    I'm sure they just like Squabbling among themselves on here Aussie ! :-) Like a Heap of Puppies seeing who can Tear the Slipper into Shreds !! :-) :-)
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:47pm
    Gosh you must be insensitive, poorwomanme. My heart bleeds for these poor B....s who have to work for a whole 6 years to get the same pension (or more) than what most of us get after working for 50 years. Don't you realise they would prefer if they had to work on ly one year for that? Be kind, woman, be kind. LOL
    Stof
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:33am
    I have challenged my local member to an open debate about Superannuation. He refuses. I have invited the television companies as well. I have the ability to add, multiply, subtract and divide. I am not a financial wizz kid. I am an ordinary voter.

    He simply is too scared to participate. this must tell us VOTERS something.

    All I get in response is a party line letter from a staffer.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:42am
    Local paper? Ok, that is a Murdoch rag and they will not print. Sydney Morning Herald?
    Only other option is to find online media outlets like this one where you have a voice which is not censored for political purposes. Also, try the Guardian as well as big business has not so far managed to control content and opinion there yet. Crikey? There are more.....
    KSS
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:03pm
    The Guardian? Hahahahahahahaha!
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:29pm
    One the rich do not own yet KSS. It must gall you that opinion is not censored on that website. I mean that is what happens with most of the other media outlets.
    The ABC? Given the new CEO is an ex Murdoch and ex Goggle person I'll hold fire with that one. It may well be that having been unable to sell it off the rich will install one of their own and strangle an open forum. We'll see.
    step
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:34am
    At the end of the day, I really don't think they care, & that goes for all parties !!!!
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:40am
    I agree they all just tow the party line as that was how they were selected in the first place.
    Lescol
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:44am
    Why should they? After all they get hammered by paid lobbyists who represent organised blocs whereas retirees are disorganised group who don't change their voting pattern.

    hen I vote 2 July ; it will be anybody first and current government last. The anybody guys get a term or they too get the chop next election.

    cheers
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:46am
    That is why we should all be voting in Independents so that the bastards who pervert the political process and serve vested interests are made extinct. The current government is so blatantly bad and so obviously the political arm of the rich that it makes you want to peuk. That's why I will be leaving the LNP off the ballot paper altogether if possible, or put them last at best.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:55am
    Maybe I should vote this election because I'm not too keen on having my electorate taken over by the Greens but who do I vote for that is the question?
    Brue
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:24pm
    I attended a Pauline Hanson One Nation meeting on Thursday . Wow what an absolute positive attitude she has. Her policies to see Australian public first before others. She is a strong alternative to the others who don't care about the average Australian. At last someone who wants to stand up for the average Australian. Pauline Hanson's One Nation will get 1 on my ballot sheet. At least now I have a better choice.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:34pm
    Don't breath easy yet ! :-( They will probably find a way to Jail Her again !! :-( :-(
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:47pm
    You will be voting Liberal Bronny....like you always do. I will be voting Independent because I want to end the corrupt game.
    There is a difference: party hack vs a future where politics is cleaned up in this country.
    Sundays
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:47pm
    I can't think of anything Pauline did 20 years ago excep sprout racist slogans. The Asians we were going to be swamped by, opened businesses and educated their children to become productive members of the community. At least Jaquie Lambie has done a lot of good work for Veterans rights
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:32pm
    Asians have been a success story Sundays and Hanson got it wrong. I suspect she was concerned about newly arrived groups living in "enclaves". This happens but is not a problem if state schools are the medium of education and if the group does not have a deep rooted hate for Australians society. The Asians get a tick on that point. Islamic society I suggest does not and it is to be feared. Not sure what Hanson is running on though. Clearly not on immigration I'd think.
    Empress3
    2nd Jun 2016
    11:58am
    Absolutely correct.. They don't care!
    They spend all those years heads in the trough breathing rarefied air, perfecting arrogance then retiring snout stuck in the trough.
    We really do not know the full extent of their entire "benefits".
    Then you See Bronny at an advanced age taking a job as political commentator.
    My dilemma is who to vote for. They are all tarred with the same brush. I saw one the other night nursing a baby, Turnbull in the pub with the boys.... Give me a break.
    tropic
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:04pm
    I don't understand why so many pensioners just vote for the old establishment. We now have had three years of Libs and the only thing they can think of is cut the pensions and reward the wealthy. They won't punish the rich because they vote for them. There are alternatives in the form of independants and Greens. If just one party has the majority they do what they want without governing. We need multi party governments where good policy has to be negotiated. Obviously the old establishment will tell you that it makes governments unstable. The only thing that becomes unstable is their life style. They actually have to do something for their money rather than just pass laws with numbers. Wake up Australia.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:07pm
    I'm sick of the unstable governments as we have had enough of them in the last decade. Time for some stability.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:49pm
    You won't get that with the current political criminals. Stability only happens when you have good government. A swathe of Independents would bring that and I hope people consider that this is the way to go. And as with all great journeys it always begins with the first step.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:29pm
    Lots of independents sounds like mayhem to me with nothing being accomplished.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:36pm
    No "stability" with the current government Bronny. This lot are a divide and conquer lot intent on class warfare and the transfer of wealth from poor to rich.
    Independents did a wonderful job in the current senate. There needs to be much much more of them. That way a bastard of a government like the current one will not be able to plunder average Australians for their rich benefactors.
    If you saw the latest pathetic electioneering ("a war on wealth"...ha, ha, ha) you'd have to shake your head, complete with the next poster. What a bunch of morons!
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:31pm
    Gosh, Bonney. Stability at any price? The price being pensioner/part pensioner bashing and supporting the top end of town.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    8:01am
    The price of stability is the end of a decent society and the introduction of an animal kingdom in which only the privileged survive. Of course, Bonny wants that - as do most of the greedy, self-serving privileged class whose lack of respect and empathy rates them inhuman.
    Travellersjoy
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:18pm
    Paying politicians a lot of money has attracted too many blow flies instead of people with a social conscience and sense of Common Wealth.

    We didn't even get monkeys.

    Living on the age pension is so far from where politicians breathe the air, they cannot possibly appreciate what it is like to be pauperised in old age by the very system we have paid our taxes to support.

    Everyone polices the poor, no-one polices the 'establishment' because they control the rules.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:22pm
    Compared to the leaders of private enterprise pollies are well under paid. It would not be worth my while to be a pollie as I value my freedom too much.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:59pm
    Are you for real Bronny? Just about everyone understands that they are highly overpaid given the immense damage they do to the country and the large waste of taxpayer funds they rule over....from them!
    Company executives get better pay for one reason only: they own the game and set their own remuneration conditions. And please do not tell me about 'Independent Remuneration Tribunals' or 'performance', both deceptive and thrown in to confuse shareholders and convince them they are doing are good job when it is often cyclical conditions rather than management which sees profitiability increases.
    Rae
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:41pm
    Haha Bonny. I know you don't really believe that.

    Politicians should be appointed from a select group of citizens as we select a jury. There would need to be criteria but all achieving that criteria would need to be available for selection.

    Selection by a random computer program perhaps.

    Good pay and conditions for a 4 year term only.

    And a really good public service to advise and stop any nonsense from going on.

    Get rid of the party ideology and we would be better off in my opinion.

    We don't actually have a democracy at all anymore.
    Anonymous
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:47pm
    I agree Bonny, politicians aren't there for helping people, they're there for a power kick. The CEO of Woolies or Coles is an unknown yet some loud mouthed back bencher has their picture splashed all over the media and their name is repeated over and over. A CEO is paid on performance and what they can bring to their company but a politician is paid to be a politician. No work, noe checks and balances, no need to bring anything to the country nor make any improvements.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:41pm
    Why does your post not surprise me Old Man Frank! The normal rich mans propaganda spiel.
    The truth about CEO pay is that it is a casino because MOST shares in a company are beneficially held. That is other companies invest in companies and CEOs in those companies DO NOT VOTE AGAINST PAY INCREASES FOR CEOs....because eventually they flow on from the company invested in to them.
    It's a fraudulent game of leapfrog which should be stopped but neither side will stop this disgraceful misconduct. Least of all LNP voters who have their grubby snouts in the same trough.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:24pm
    Those Gannets will never know what Hardship is ! That is until the Devil gets his claws on them at the end of their road !!
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:32pm
    Not everyone is afraid of the devil. I am certainly not.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:52pm
    So I've noticed ! :-)
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:01pm
    That's because people who have sold their souls to the Liberal Party are already owned by the devil. No hope for you Bronny. A lost cause. May the Lord have mercy on your soul.
    Rosret
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:45pm
    There is a mathematical formula that is applied to how the cost of living is estimated. MacDonald's know it. They have costed what they think a family of 4 can pay for a takeaway mean and price the food accordingly.
    It doesn't take rocket science to realise the pension is an unreal estimation of today's cost of living and doesn't come anywhere close to covering rent. Governments will put up the rent in public housing the moment pensioners are given an increase.
    In reality it must be hard to keep up with the private sector whose housing market just at runaway levels. The governments need to be looking at flooding the market with affordable housing for lower income earners (under $100K) and start to get the property market off the boil so that the cost of living is at manageable levels again.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:54pm
    Cost of living forecasts are not worth the paper they are written on. Same as the consumer price index. These are both manipulated.
    What do they say about 'lies, damned lies and statistics'?
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:17pm
    When those figures come into the Office Mick, they have a Team in there called the "Double and Halve it Team" !! Which ever will give the Better Result to the Government !! :-)
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:50pm
    A bit like that.
    mangomick
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:47pm
    Think it's a bit unfair to say that all politicians do not understand the challenges of retirement. Take the likes of Ricky Muir and Jackie Lambie. Neither were born with a silver spoon in their mouths and both would know what it is like to budget on a shoe string. One cannot compare all Politicians with the silver spoon brigade of the major parties.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:55pm
    Ask Bronny.
    KSS
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:02pm
    Fairs fair mangomick. Not all in the two major parties were born into wealth and privilege. Some are second generation migrants, some have had to work hard to get where they are and others get there by default and through no real effort of their own. In fact much like the rest of Australia!
    mangomick
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:35pm
    KSS I wasn't inferring that all the politicians in the major party were born with silver spoons in their mouths.I realise that not all come from wealthy families and are basically born to be career politicians. I was making the point that many politicians have done it lean in their time and not all have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths . I only named Lambie and Muir as an example. Mind you though, that is not to say that many politicians don't end up having short memories after their snouts have been in the trough for a while.
    Lescol
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:47pm
    It has been noted that there have been over 4000 changes to superannuation since compulsory super was introduced but still short time decisions are being made over an issue you spend years planning for.

    It’s time for another change on 2 July; anybody first and current government last. The new guys get a term or they too get the chop next time.

    The vision is to cut the nonsense. Give all people of retirement age the full pension and tax ALL income in the normal way. Simple. This gets rid of the bureaucracy associated with monitoring the current ineffective system and puts everyone on an even footing. Also you are not punished for saving to supplement your retirement as is happening in the current political climate.

    cheers
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:58pm
    We are currently in a perverse game Lescol. The current government is attacking all rights of average citizens and also trying to divert attention from the theft of public money from the top end of town.
    If voters put this crowd back in then God help all of us as we may end up with a 14% GST on top of a whole pile of new taxes. Some of this has already been run under the lie of "Budget Emergency" but much worse will come if our dumb electorate buys the media propaganda campaign of lies and deception.
    We live in interesting times.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:01pm
    Thank you to all the Australian people who contributed to Superannuation Funds :-) I am now Comfortably Retired in Barbados with these Contributions !Chow ! And Goodbye !! :-) :-)
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:23pm
    Agree with you, Lescoi and Mick.
    Needy not Greedy
    2nd Jun 2016
    12:59pm
    Shorten's statement that he can't reverse the decision on the assets change is all pure bullshit, the thing he CANT do is win government unless he grows some balls, reverses it and takes a bit of backlash from Turncoat and the Greens, if not a lot of voters are going to slot Labour to the bottom of the page with the other two and vote for Independants, just seen the shorts to a new movie release, Independance Day The Resurgance, could that be an omen!!!
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:03pm
    What a Crocks Nest this Country is now !! :-( :-( :-(
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:53pm
    Got a point there Needy. But please put Lbor second last if you are going to do that. Last spot needs to be reserved for this government.
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:27pm
    Yes, Needy, of course Labor could rescind the decision on assets changes. but of course they will sit back happy in the knowledge that it was the other mob that made the new rule (and Labor supported it).
    And that's right, Mick. Keep last spot for the current mob - one of the worst lots we've seen s far as seniors are concerned.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:09pm
    Can someone please explain to me why politicians get so much when they retire ????? like Bronwyn B ( $255,000 per annum) ???? Are they a different race or come from another planet ??? or different colour or different that any one of us that work for over 45 years and very hard ???????

    Why them have a much much better financial future than us ?????? ...why big this differences ???????

    I will send you $1.00 if someone can give me a logical answer
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:42pm
    If Bronny lives for another 20 Years she will have Half a Billion of your Money !! :-) :-) :-)
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:50pm
    No 20 years no way .... she is overweight and will have problems soon because she eat too much ..... she have our money to spend in all the local restaurants and pubs he he he
    or or or maybe the P....machines ???? or Casino Yes yes
    Marius
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:20pm
    Aussie, the answer to your question is simple. Always remember the 'Golden Rule', " Those with the gold make the rules". Apologies to the Wizard of ID.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:30pm
    Yes Marius ...UR correct .....so let's form a political party to make the changes for a better country ...and live within or closer to our means ....because at the moment we are the same as USA no difference at all ......we have lost our beautiful Aussi way of live
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:55pm
    No guys....her helicopter will crash because of her weight. Eh Gad....we'll then need to fund a state funeral.
    In a more serious vein Aussie the answer to your question is that they can behave like they do and thieve public money because they have ABSOLUTE POWER. That is the travesty.
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:32pm
    Because, Aussie, they made the rules and the rules look after them. Simple, isn't it.
    TREBOR
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:13pm
    What more needs to be said.. except boot the lot out at the next election.
    particolor
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:45pm
    WHY Wait !! France didn't once :-) :-)
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:56pm
    Personally I like the Marionette Antoinette method.
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:33pm
    I'll hold the basket! LOL
    Needy not Greedy
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:18pm
    Come on Aussie, do you expect Bronwyn to catch a train or bus like the rest of us? Mate she's a chopper girl, at $8k a time, three flights and her normal annual pension would be gone! and those chopper blades play havoc with her hair, there's another couple of hundred bucks, if I win send her the dollar cobber.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:37pm
    He He ...Yes mate a Train she does not know what that is ...probably she may think is a new type of Pizza ..... bloody hell mate is incredible ....so what to do ....nothing we can do ....can we ??? people in this country have to learn to be more aggressive to the political environment and work for a change and prosperity of the country not just to have a job
    Alexii
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:35pm
    If only there were still a Concorde flying - we could send her on it.
    Polly Esther
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:44pm
    I'd like to share a joke I just read in local news rag, some of you may have heard it, others will not have. I thought it hilarious.
    "A politician dies and arrives in heaven. St Peter isn't sure where to place him. "Spend one day in hell and one in heaven," he says. "Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
    When the politician arrives in hell, it's a golf course. All his friends are there.
    They play golf and dine on lobster. The devil is a friendly guy who tells great jokes.
    Next day the politician returns to heaven and spends 24 hours with a group of people contentedly playing the harp and singing. When the time comes, the politician chooses hell.
    So back he goes, but this time hell is a barren land covered with waste. All his friends are dressed in rags, picking up rubbish and putting it in bags.
    The devil greets the politician. "I don't understand," stammers the politician. "Yesterday there was a golf course and we ate lobster and had a great time."
    The devil smiles. "Of course!" he says. "Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted for us!"
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    1:53pm
    THANK YOU THANK YOU .....I love it Can I copy and send to some of my friends I need your Ok to do that because you wrote it
    Please let me know
    he he he good one
    Polly Esther
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:22pm
    No it is not mine, there is no copyright on it. I read it in a newspaper which is available to thousands to read. Do what you wish with it.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:59pm
    Wonderful. Love it. So true but one does have to keep in mind that no government I can ever think of came even close to the current one. Truly a group elected in hell.
    taylah
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:15pm
    Why cant we have the same system as UK pensions that is everyone who has worked gets a pension no means test. Income tax is paid o f course on gross earnings if over certain amount. Just think how everyone would spend if they knew of this security and what a boost to the economy. Added bonus no centrelink staff to pay and no centre link staff to be so grumpy and unhelpful.
    Rae
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:49pm
    That would just be far too equitable and fair taylah.

    It would boost the economy far more than a company tax cut will and be far cheaper into the bargain.
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    7:17pm
    Hey great idea ..... but sorry this is Australia and we MUST feed the politicians well so they can have a large pension in thanks for their fantastic services provided to us .....Sorry your idea is good but will never happen here Ummmmm bloody politicians
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:33pm
    Defined benefit pensions, your leaders respond

    Tuesday, 24 May 2016

    IN February this year, CPSA wrote to Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Greens Leader Richard Di Natale, asking them to consider the position of defined benefit pension recipients in light of the 10 per cent cap on the amount of their defined benefit pensions that were exempt from the income test for the Age Pension.

    CPSA's letter provided a list of defined benefit pension recipients who had lost substantive amounts in Age Pension payments as a result of the ten per cent cap.

    Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten have responded.

    Responded? Well, not really.

    Let's start with Mr Turnbull. He referred CPSA's letter to the Minister for Social Services, who in turn referred it to the Branch Manager of Rates and Means Testing Policy, deep in the bowels of the Department of Social Services who stated:



    As part of the 2007 Better Super package, changes were made to the calculation of the 'deductible amount' for tax purposes. Social security rules were automatically affected at the same time because of a link to the income tax legislation. The change in calculation had the unintended result of persons with service prior to 30 June 1983 having a significant amount of their funded employer contributions included in the 'deductible amount' of their pension for the purpose of the Age Pension income test.

    A critical factor affecting the size of this anomaly is the number of years of services prior to 1 July 1983. For example, a person with eight years of service prior to 1 July 1983 and a deductible amount of 10 per cent prior to 2007 would have had their social security deductible amount increased to 30 per cent from 1 July 2007 only because of the change in the income tax legislation.



    In other words, for those defined benefit pensioners who worked before 1983, their pension was set up with a 10 per cent exempt amount. Then the unintended consequence in 2007 meant that the tax exempt amount went up, in some cases to 60 per cent, but typically to between 20 and 30 per cent.

    People retired with the higher exempt amounts and now the Government has corrected its mistake. The manager implies that most people affected signed up to/agreed to a 10 per cent tax exempt amount all those decades ago, so grandfathering would be inappropriate. The manager goes on to say:

    The measure has impacted approximately 47,900 of the 140,000 income support recipients who have a defined benefit income stream. Of those, 46,350 recipients have had their income support reduced, and 1,570 recipients have had their payments cancelled.

    Mr Shorten, like Mr Turnbull, did not respond but referred CPSA's letter to a social policy adviser, in Mr Shorten's office. The adviser assures CPSA that

    Labor does not see defined benefit pensioners as necessarily well-off or 'fat cats.
    Rodent
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:15pm
    Dear FM

    its intertesting that the same person from DSS -Rates and Means Testing Policy that has repied on this issue is the same person I have been receiving Letters from (on behalf of Minister)
    His Initials are A.W.
    Rae
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:02pm
    Wonder if he knows where the money went?

    If you dig into the funds it was really very strange returns.

    They can keep saying the funds are funded but look at the annual reports and accounts and they are underfunded by billions.
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:34pm
    The Voice cont
    The adviser goes on to say:

    ... it is generally accepted that changes made to retirement policy will involve significant lead times or 'grandfathering' provisions. In this case, the Government rushed this legislation through the Senate with the support of the Greens, therefore grandfathering provisions were not given proper consideration.

    To be clear the Greens supported this measure when it came before the Senate in June 2015. Labor reluctantly decided not to oppose this measure as we could not block the legislation from passing the Parliament. While I understand that it does not help your members' situation, this measure will see income from defined benefits treated in a similar way to income from other superannuation funds. This means that pensioners with similar levels of income will all be treated in the same way.

    We are still waiting to hear from Mr Di Natale.

    Read the full replies:

    pdfReply from the Prime Minister82.38 KB

    pdfReply from the Leader of the Opposition51.83 KB
    Aussie
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:11pm
    How many people receive gov assistance now (in numbers) .... maybe we can form a political party even for those in overseas .... we may be a lot of people with great ideas to make Australia great like it was years ago.

    THINK ABOUT it ....maybe is possible why not we are old but still kicking hard .......

    maybe we are about over 150,000 or more recipients that can vote ....that is the beginning we need a young person to do the hard work and represent us as united force .....

    WE CAN DO IT ....... YES WE CAN .....
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:58pm
    Labor has lost a lot of votes just by saying it will not reinstate the school kids bonus. This is a big topic with mothers groups at the moment.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:07pm
    Your troll Bronny. What an imbecile!

    FM: hot off the Press. Arthur Sinodinos stated on Sky News today that superannuation would be "up for negotiation" after the election. Of course Turnbull tried to put a different spin on it but the statement was clear: this promise is already dead in the water and just waiting for the election to be over before being thrown in the bin.
    Sound familiar? Abbott mk II.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:47pm
    I guess you must then be Muslim Mick by making such a statement.

    I'm hearing that a lot of changes will be made to the LNP super proposal before it becomes law.
    MICK
    3rd Jun 2016
    8:27am
    Of course Bronny (Frank?) you would slur. That is what your coalition government does well. Gutter behaviour.
    Of course this government will make "a lot of changes" to its superannuation policy. Just like Paid Parental Leave in the last election.
    I can see it all post election should the current cutthroats win: 'the electorate doesn't like the policy so we are going to drop it and just keep the section pertaining to working Australians. Budget repair!'.
    You Bronny and your employer are so predictable. Or was that evil?
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:40pm
    The above Letter is from The Voice to Mr Turnbull and Mr Shorten. You can access it directly if you wish. I will post the totally unenlightening reply from a backroom member of Finance after this. He is saying they accidently made a change as long ago as 2007 that they are now fixing. How retrospective is that? Next they will be taking the system back to 1900. Labor says they approved the change to Defined Benefit Pensions because the Greens were going to. The Greens did not approve those changed they approved the changes to the Assets test. It tells you they did a deal that Labor would approve one set of cuts and the Greens the other so that people could not choose one over the other when it came time to vote. They succeeded. Now people will not vote for any of them.
    I do not know how many of you have written directly to the Parties about the 2015 changes but even if you have done so in the past it is most important that you do again. They must get a barrage of clear and persistent feedback from us on our objections to them. You will have noticed that they are wavering on the present changes to high end super because of objections and backlash from the well off and Financial Institutions. There was no media or institutional backlash on behalf of the ordinary people on small pensions and lump sums who had scrimped and scraped to save for retirement. Now is the time for each person his/her family and Trebor’s cat to be heard. It is mid way in the campaign. If sitting down and putting something together is laborious just cut and past from the letter I posted on Monday or other sources. Please make your displeasure loud and clear to the right people so that they will be under no illusion as to why they will not get your vote.
    Sundays
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:05pm
    I agree FM, but sadly few care about people receiving Defined Benefit Pensions. They fail to realise that they were partly funded by people contributing compulsory after tax dollars when many could ill afford them. When they brought this change in, Military Pensions were exempted. why? While not denigrating the work of ex servicemen why treat them differently to retired police officers, or nurses for example. A political deal that's why. The latest worry for those receiving a defined benefit pension, is the talk of including it in the Asset Test for Centrelink . Even though it is not an asset in the true sense as you cannot withdraw cash, or pass what is left to your estate. I was advised of this latest thinking by a Canberra friend. They would use actuarial values similar to those used when there is a marriage split.
    Rae
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:23pm
    The truly frightening aspect of defined benefit schemes was the appalling lack of returns over time. In a compulsory scheme.

    I created a spreadsheet that showed the actual individual contribution of an ordinary nurse or school teacher would have bought 8 houses over the period the fund managed to create a lump sum a little over $400 000. This was from 1970 to 2010. A 40 year period.

    Those 8 houses would now be worth conservatively $4 million and return a weekly income of about $3200. And be available to pass on to the estate of the public servant.

    When you look at direct investment into indexed share funds the situation becomes even worse.

    Also if you study the current annual reports there is an underfunding of several billion dollars even when declared 'funded'.

    I actually believe going back to 1900 with a fine tooth comb, forget the propaganda about how fabulous the thing is supposed to be, and find out the actual facts.

    How do you make 3% year after year? I've asked before and the answer is total silence.

    Where did the money go? Was it incompetent managers, fees and charges or government interference?
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    2:52pm
    I tried to copy the letter from the Public Servant to the Voice but it downloaded as a picture that I cannot paste. It would take time to convert it to a word document.
    Log on to The Voice [voice@cpsa.org.au] and you can find it there.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:08pm
    Software around for that.
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:03pm
    We need to explain to Politicians that while our short term memory may not be quite what it was there is nothing wrong with our long term memory. We know that retirees have contributed for a pension and that it has been stolen from most of us by the Legislation of the Fraser and Hawke Governments and now the Abbott/Turnbull and Shorten Governments are back to complete the theft by stealing the part pensions of low income self funded retirees. They are promising to spend the billions that have been paid in to cover pensions on pet projects not on their core responsibility which is first and foremost to cover the pensions and aged care for which the money was contributed.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:10pm
    Got nothing to do with what is fair and right. Got everything to do with betrayal, coming after average citizens and making calls in the absence of accountability.
    Sundays
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:12pm
    You are right, politicians will never understand. I hate the way they continue to fiddle with people's retirement plans. In the 18 months since my husband retired, there have been at least three detrimental changes to his part pension. I hope that the Liberals get a shock at the next election. It happened in Queensland when Campbell Newman was ousted after one term even though he held the largest majority
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    3:15pm
    I agree Sundays

    2nd Jun 2016
    3:39pm
    Good article, Kaye, but it still comes down to NOT BEING INTERESTED in residents', citizens', the women and men on the streets' well being, their troubles, everyday struggles. I totally DISAGREE WITH YOU about their lack of understanding making them "SEEM" ignorant. It is their RESPONSIBILITY AS PUBLICLY ELECTED OFFICIALS to make it their business how the people in the community are fairing. Their gluttonous government grunters DON'T WANT TO KNOW about how the general public is living and are ONLY interested in themselves and getting re-elected to a VERY COMFY position where they can continue to live off the public carcass like the parasitic creatures they are.
    In regards to how they can be enlightened, the hackneyed cliche of "leading a horse to water" fairly well sums it up - that horse has to be THIRSTY to drink, as the politician has to be INTERESTED to learn - AND THEY ARE NOT! It is as simple and as pathetic as that.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:13pm
    The difference between hard working ordinary people and the well to do is that most average folk TRUST governments to 'do the right thing'. That is their first mistake. The second is they do not severely punish governments who are lying bastards serving vested interests rather than our country.
    BElle
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:27pm
    I have concluded that Bonny is an Android set up to take the opposite view to most others.

    No real person could be that lacking in empathy.

    If he/she is not an android then surely they are aware that all pensioners are not all Baby Boomers. A large number of pensioners are in their 80's or 90. These people did not have the benefit of Handouts, Grants, Endowments, Rent assistance, Child Care, etc certainly not Superannuation. Their income would not have enabled them to save for day to day items, let alone their Aged Pension requirements. Neither did they have the benefit of education into their 20's. University was for the elite, not the ordinary person. The vast majority of these people were just hard grafters, living thru the depression, WW2 and rationing.

    A dose of reality is called for, or just simply ignore these ignorant rants.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:22pm
    Yes a T-800 Model 101.
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:15pm
    How do you know I am not in my 80s or 90s? I have now been retired for 25 years. I didn't get any of those benefits either.
    Anonymous
    2nd Jun 2016
    6:18pm
    Bonny, who really cares?
    Rodent
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:53pm
    BElle

    Very well put, a significant number of Pensioners do fit in the circumstances that you wrote about.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:14pm
    Spot on Belle. A mosquito running right wing BS and pretending to be blond. That you Frank???????
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    8:38am
    True, Belle, but it's not just older pensioners. Many younger retirees didn't enjoy any handouts, grants, endowments, rent assistance, child care etc. OR superannuation. I didn't, and I'm only just over age pension eligibility age. I struggled against hideous disadvantage and worked 15+ hours a day 7 days a week in crap jobs on minimal pay, living very frugally to save so that hopefully my retirement would be more comfortable than my early years.

    Now the greedy, selfish privileged are telling me I am ''wealthy'' (with way less total assets than most Australians, and a savings nest egg only just barely over the Jan 2017 threshold) and shouldn't get either pension or benefits, despite the fact that if I quit working I'd be far worse off in income terms than any aged pensioner, and I have very high costs to support a disabled partner who has high health and care expenses.

    So I'm supposed to drain my savings and then live out my final years in misery on a pension that will cost the government far more than a small part pension in earlier retirement would cost them, forfeiting all the benefits of 5 decades of hard work and frugal living. I thought this society believed in reward for effort? What's the point of a capitalist society and incentives to work, save and invest if it's all taken back when you retire?

    Of course, I could just go on a costly cruise and let the taxpayer reward me with $180,000 (over 10 years) for every $100,000 I spend. Now THAT'S a good deal (for me - not for the nation!)

    Politicians, lobbyists, and half the society need a dose of common sense and logic, as well as a strong dose of reality and a few strong history lessons.
    Needy not Greedy
    2nd Jun 2016
    4:51pm
    The DSS Rates and Means Testing people all use the same A.W pseudonym when signing replies on behalf of the Minister, God knows why, maybe it is something to do with security to protect them and family etc, I was informed that the practice is wide spread throughout the government departments, based on the reply I received to a simple enquiry it may be short for A Wanker.
    Rodent
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:28pm
    Hi Needy Not Greedy

    You may not be correct, A.W. Is a real person at DSS, his name is Andrew Whitecross and I have communicated DIRECTLY with him.

    Either way everything he has told me , or written to me about regarding the Pension changes has not made me feel any better about the Inequities and Unfairness of these changes
    Rodent
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:34pm
    Needy, not Greedy -just a bit more , extract from Media

    During a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra last night, the department's Andrew Whitecross said if pensioners drew down on assets to qualify for the pension, they could be left worse off
    LiveItUp
    2nd Jun 2016
    5:45pm
    So A W is not a clever as I thought. Of course someone with less money is worse off but society is better off as they haven't paid as much in pensions.
    MICK
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:15pm
    And a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Time to take another helicopter ride Bronny.
    LiveItUp
    3rd Jun 2016
    7:04am
    Enjoyed the helicopter ride to one of my freelance jobs last night. Awesome seeing the vivid lights as I flew over the city.
    Rae
    3rd Jun 2016
    8:17am
    How many changes to superannuation rules have we had? I read it was about 4000 odd.

    Maybe it is time to accept superannuation simply doesn't work for most people, denies them funds for living and investing but fails to return anything like market earnings.

    Self managed funds can make decent returns but only those with more than $200 000 benefit and that is very few.

    Defined benefit contributors have been disadvantaged more than most. No tax concessions, very poor returns and forced to live on approximately 60% of after tax income all their lives.

    This was the very reason Howard set up the Centrelink arrangement to allow some acknowledgement of that discrimination by allowing the non concessional amounts paid to be discounted.

    It is such a small amount of people and money the only reason I can see for the change is a blatant attack on public servants who are often unionists which are the LNP enemies as far as LNO ideology goes.

    When Philip Snowden stuffed up the British economy in his budget of 1931, John Maynard Keynes commented,

    " The incomes of well to do have been cut by 2.5 to 3.5%. The school teachers are cut by 15% in addition to the extra taxes they will have to pay. It is a monstrous thing to single out this class and discriminate against them merely because they happen to be employees of the government."

    That is exactly what our three major parties have done. Discriminated deliberately against their own workers.

    The LNP, ALP and Greens simply can't be trusted to provide fairness or to examine the facts before decision making. That is unacceptable in any government.
    MICK
    3rd Jun 2016
    8:30am
    The only "freelance" jobs you could get Bronny are with the Liberal Party of Kings Cross.
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    7:31pm
    Hi all this is the reply provided to Mr Bob Jay of the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association by Andrew Whitecross.
    Many of the assertions are simply wrong. How insulting to say that Australian retirees have not contributed for their pensions when they ave paid a 7.5% levy throughout their working lives for that purpose. He is claiming that Australia is so backward it is the only developed country where retirees have not contributed for their pension, totally ignoring the scheme set in place by Ben Chifley and Robert Menzies. He is wrong about the amount of contribution made to defined benefit funds. It has nothing to do with pre 1983 contributions. About 40% of the fund balance at retirement came from personal contributions. The remainder came from employer contributions which were much less than they were supposed to be and from investment returns which as Rae said were abysmal.
    This is the reply
    "AUSTRALIAN Government
    Department of Social Services
    MC 16- 003490
    Mr Bob Jay
    Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW Inc
    Level 9
    28 Foveaux St
    SURRY HILLS NSW 2010

    Dear Mr Jay

    Thank you for your letter of 26 February2016 to the Prime Minister,
    The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, regarding changes to the social security assessment of
    defined benefit income streams. Your letter was referred to the Minister for Social Services,
    the Hon Christian Porter, as this matter falls within his portfolio responsibilities.
    The Minister has asked me to reply to you on his behalf.

    The role of the Age Pension in the retirement income system is to act as a safety net payment
    designed to support a basic, acceptable standard of living, particularly for those with few
    other resources. The Age Pension is funded by taxpayers, and targeted through the means test
    to those who need it most. As a non-contributory social payment, eligibility for the
    Age Pension is not based on past income or contributions, or taxes paid during a person’s
    working life.

    You raised a concern about the 2015-16 Budget measure to cap the deductible amount that
    may be claimed against a defined benefit income stream. A defined benefit income stream is
    a pension paid from a public sector or other corporate defined benefit superannuation fund
    where the pension generally reflects years of service and final salary.

    From 1 January 2016, the level of income from defined benefit income streams that can be
    excluded from the income test (the ‘deductible amount”) is capped at 10 per cent. The deductible amount is designed to reflect the return of personal after tax contributions (the person’s own capital), if nay, made by the employee to their defined benefit income stream. The measure relates solely to the social security income test. It does not impact the taxation assessment of defined income streams.

    As part of the 2007 Better Super package, changes were made to the calculation of
    ‘deductible amount’ for tax purposes. Social security rules were automatically affected at the
    same time because of a link to the income tax legislation. The change in calculation of the
    deductible amount had the unintended result of persons with service prior to 1983
    having a significant amount of their funded employer contributions included in the
    ‘deductible amount’ of their pension for the purpose of the Age Pension income test.
    ?
    A critical factor affecting this anomaly is the number of years of service prior to
    1 July 1983. For example, a person with eight years of service prior to 1 July 1983 and a
    deductible amount of 10 per cent prior to 2007 would have had their social security
    deductible amount increase to 30 per cent from 1 July 2007 only because of the change in the
    income tax legislation.

    The 10 per cent cap is designed to address this anomaly, regardless of the level of defined
    benefit income.

    As such, it is not appropriate to grandfather the deductible amount for existing income support recipients who may have benefited from the anomaly. The start date of
    1 January 2016 reflects that correction of this anomaly7 should occur as soon as possible.

    Defined benefit income streams will continue to not be assessed under the social security assets test.

    The measure to cap the deductible amount of defined benefit income streams at 10 per cent
    has impacted approximately 47,900 or the 140,000 income support recipients who have a
    defined benefit income stream. Of those 46,350 recipients ahve had their income support
    educed, and, 1570 recipients have had their payments cancelled.

    Further information can be found at www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/news/changes-to-
    the-assessment-of-defined-benefit-income-streams or by contacting Centrelink on 13 2300.
    Your members may find it useful to arrange an interview with a Centrelink Financial Information Service officer by contacting Centerlink on 13 1200 to discuss their individual circumstances.
    These officers are specially trained to provide financial information and information on the income and assets tests.

    Thank you again for writing.

    Yours sincerely


    Andrew Whitecross
    Branch Manager
    Rates and Means Testing Policy
    22 April 2016"
    SGW
    3rd Jun 2016
    11:01am
    No mention of their taxpayer pension
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    7:33pm
    Kaye, Thank you very much for this article.
    FM
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:04pm
    National Seniors Question Candidates on Policy

    National Seniors will kick off its election campaign with a forum on Tuesday, 7 June, when members will have the chance to quiz candidates in the marginal seat of Brisbane.

    Around 150 people are expected to converge on Brisbane’s City Hall to roll out the tough questions to Liberal candidate Trevor Evans and Labor’s Pat O’Neill, as well as The Greens’ Kirsten Lovejoy and Senate candidate, former rugby league great Glenn Lazarus.

    Other forums will be held in the Victorian seat of Chisholm on 16 June, Hindmarsh, South Australia on 22 June; and Hasluck, WA, on 23 June.

    Light refreshments will be served and members will be given a free t-shirt to wear at the forums, if they choose. To register your interest in attending the forums, click here.

    National Seniors is also urging members to ‘rate their local candidates against key issues. An election scorecard is included in the June/July issue of 50 something magazine, due to hit letterboxes next week.
    Lescol
    2nd Jun 2016
    9:18pm
    I am not presently in Oz but shall be before 2 july. The vision is to cut the nonsense.

    For me, this and every future election will be about treatment of retirees. I believe in entitlement of a full aged pension free of the present asset testing. The KISS principle. As well Australian tax is paid upon all income. That means, if going OS, 31% will be retained in Oz, the recipient lives a better live and Centrelink can perform it's proper role. cheers
    Alex
    2nd Jun 2016
    8:54pm
    Yes FM, let's make this an election about pensions and superannuation. The changes all sides of politics trying to make will leave a lot of people in the next generations with nothing in retirement as politicians push the line that providing for old age is not something the state should be concerned with. We go back to the era when people who had worked and supported themselves all their lives had to apply to live in crowded filthy workhouses in old age. Let's at least try to leave a decent retirement system as a legacy to the next generation. Let's not let politicians rip it apart any further. Somehow in our watch they have made life very difficult not only for us but for the next generations with the huge increases to the cost of education and increasing lack of job security. Let’s start calling them to account and say enough, no further.
    MICK
    3rd Jun 2016
    8:45am
    If there is a pensioner's party on the senate ballot paper which is not a coalition front then we should all choose this party in the first 3 spots whilst putting the current government last or not even at all.
    Let's make this happen. Spread the word.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    8:23am
    I keep hearing politicians talk about what the next generation will inherit. The best thing we can give our next generation is security that they will enjoy comfort, care and respect in old age. Nothing matters more in a society than confidence that when you can no longer look after yourself, you will be properly cared for and treated with respect.

    Sadly, this society has lost sight of what matters most in life. We need to identify the politicians who understand that how the aged are treated is the measure of society's health, and vote for them.

    2nd Jun 2016
    10:47pm
    There are politicians that have tried to live on the pension..... for a week, all agree its very difficult, but at the end of the week they go back to their priviliged lives, so its all been an interesting exercise, nothing more.
    MICK
    3rd Jun 2016
    8:47am
    The reality check does not work as they would treat it with contempt and I dare say not even abide by the rules for even one week.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    8:20am
    It's a stupid experiment that proves nothing. There is a huge difference between living frugally for a week - or even up to a year - knowing full well it's temporary and you have savings or other income to fall back on in a crisis, and living permanently on a low income with no backstop for emergencies.

    They are so out of touch that NOTHING will ever give them even minimal comprehension of what life is like for strugglers.
    SGW
    3rd Jun 2016
    10:49am
    Search change.org for a petition to scrap politicians perks once they leave Parliament
    MacI
    4th Jun 2016
    6:57am
    There has been a lot said for months on this forum about the injustice of the Aged Pension Assets Test to be introduced 1/1/2017. I've searched the ALP websites for their policy on the Asset Test but found nothing! They opposed it when the bill was introduced in 2015 but will this to go the same way as the Schools Bonus Payment!

    The media has been so focused on the LNPs Super policy that the ALP is flying under the radar. Please will a reporter somewhere ask the hard questions of the ALP and their Super and Aged Pension policies so we know where they stand.

    If anyone here can show me where to go to find their policy on the Asset Test I'd be grateful.
    Rodent
    4th Jun 2016
    8:40am
    Dear GotTheBlues

    Happy to help, but I suggest that another Poster - Rainey may respond soon. There is confusion re Labors intentions. Yes they apposed it in Parliament last year. Bill Shorten and Chris Bowen made unclear statements recently saying Labor would not REVERSE the Asset Test changes, they would have a REVIEW.

    Prior to Shorten and Bowen stating anything LABOR had NO policy position, I know this because I have been in regular contact with Jenny Macklins Office (Shadow Minister) about Labors intentions and NO policy position existed UNTIL Shorten and Bowen said confusing things in the Media a few days ago.

    Based on what Rainey posted I have been following up with Jenny Macklin's office to check what the LABOR position/Policy ACTUALLY will be, so far no reply, but it will arrive next week.

    More later, if needed, as I am sure Rainey will comment
    MacI
    4th Jun 2016
    10:47am
    A "review" sounds suspiciously like the ALP has no intention of doing anything about reversing the legislation. I'll take their statement about not reversing the changes to the Asset Test as meaning they support this change.

    As things stand it seems to me that there is little difference between the major parties in regard to Super and Aged Pension policies. The LNP will tax earnings on Super balances in the retirement phase of over $1.6M at 15% whereas the ALP will apply 15% tax on earnings above $75K. The ALP infer that this will only impact Super balances over $1.5M which is a deception. In 8 of 10 years my Super fund would have earned a return greater than $75K on a balance less than $1.5M. In most instances far less than $1.5M. In one year the return was 18.64%. At 18.64% a balance of $402K would return $75K.
    Anonymous
    5th Jun 2016
    8:18am
    There is total confusion. Many Labor MPs are saying there will be a reversal BEFORE Jan 2017 - and adding that there MUST be. The issue is too critical to the economy and too much economic damage will be caused by delaying (as anyone with a brain has already concluded!)

    Bill Shorten has, disappointingly, said it's a second term issue as 'we can't fix everything straight away'. I have written him again pointing out that leaving it to second term will likely mean hundreds of thousands have already made irreversible changes to their situation that drive pension costs through the roof. People are already moving to more costly homes, booking costly renovations and extensions, booking costly cruises, downscaling saving plans, etc. It's not a case of being greedy or selfish. It's a case of necessity to protect the future these people worked so hard to sure up. Not only will many be far, far worse off than full pensioners after Jan 2017, but when they come back onto the pension later - WITHOUT their savings - they will be paid at a much lower rate because of changes to testing methods and the abolition of the clean energy supplement.

    The issue that those not affected don't seem to get is that you simply cannot make policy that assumes a 7.8% net investment return when the average return is 5% (and many are getting much less). It's not greed or selfishness for someone who has gone without lifestyle to save $825,000 to expect to be as well off - at least - as an aged pensioner without drawing savings that they put aside for future years. The current STUPID DESTRUCTIVE policy forces people to either live on LESS than the aged pension, spend up big and be richly rewarded with a higher return than they can ever achieve by saving (increasing 6 monthly, and with much less risk than investing), or let their hard-won savings be slowly drained away to the exclusive benefit of OTHER PEOPLE.

    Why, precisely, do the green-eyed and arrogant here assume that it's okay for a select group to have their income slashed by up to 25%, while if any other group was similarly attacked there would be a riot in the streets? Just because some people saved for their old age, it seems everyone assumes it's fine to strip them of their savings. But don't touch superannuation. Don't put taxes up. Don't cut pensions. No. Just take 25% of the income of those who saved, and then wonder why pension costs go up because people stop saving. Only an idiot can't see the urgency of reversing this nonsense policy.

    I am strongly in favour of making pensions affordable and sustainable. Limit them based on income. Fine. NOT on some unrealistic ethereal guestimate of someone's wealth that has nothing whatever to do with their capacity - in the real world - to support themselves through up to 3 decades with no income.

    I will continue to lobby Shorten to wake up on this issue. I heard from an LNP supporter that Turnbull quietly admitted error on this policy and committed to reviewing it immediately they are re-elected. (I won't hold my breath - and I won't vote LNP based on that idle hint of an undertaking!)
    Retired Knowall
    5th Jun 2016
    10:07am
    There will be strong opposition to changing Super Rules as it will effect the Pollies hip pocket directly. I would suspect that if an analysis of the current Pollies Super accounts was undertaken it would reveal that most if not all would be negatively impacted. So changes will be their last resort but long needed.
    The ALP policy looks the most fairer.
    MacI
    5th Jun 2016
    2:31pm
    Retired Knowall. I don't see how you come up with the view that the ALP policy is fairer. As I explained in my previous comment the ALPs policy of taxing earnings on Super over $75K is a con. They base their claim that only retirees with more than $1.5M will be impacted by assuming an average return of 5%. Firstly 5% as an average return over the long term is conservative. Even so, the average return is meaningless in determining who will be impacted. Over the last 10 years my fund's Balanced asset mix returned an average of 7.2% and an annual return as low as -15.1% and as high as 18.63%. In this latter case a balance of over $402K would generate more than $75K. Of the last 10 years there were two years that had a negative return and hence no tax would be paid under the ALP policy. For the remaining 8 years the following are the balances that would have returned $75K: $591K, $852K, $525K, $1.26M, $515K, $402K, $921K, and $945K.

    Many in this forum vehemently complain about the change to the Asset Test for the Aged Pension and it doesn't look to me like they will get any joy out of Labor rolling back the change. Given the greatest impact of the Asset Test will be on retiree couples with between about $500K and $1.2M they could well be hit with a double whammy if Labor is elected. I'm surprised that there has been so little comment about this.
    KB
    4th Jun 2016
    11:35am
    There is an election occurring soon. Write or phone your local MP and all other candidates and tell them your concerns. Candidates want your vote. Vote for the independents in the Senate/Your voting paper is your greatest chance of letting politicians you are disgruntled and worried about retirement issues/
    FM
    4th Jun 2016
    3:39pm
    The problem is GotTheBlues that in a review they may reduce pensioners/retirees income and assets further by increasing taxes on super as the Australian Business Council is pushing or including the family home in the assets test so that destitution becomes the criterion for the pension.
    Rodent
    4th Jun 2016
    4:59pm
    ALL some interesting numbers for the Jan 2017 Pension Changes , these may even be in your Electorate?




    State Estimated number of pensioners with reduced pension (rounded to nearest 10) Estimated average reduction in pension ($/fn) Estimated number of pensioners who will have pension cancelled entirely Estimated average reduction in pension ($/fn)
    NSW 74,740 $135 30,750 $188
    VIC 59,400 $132 23,750 $190
    QLD 43,870 $133 17,040 $190
    SA 17,380 $130 5,920 $189
    WA 19,570 $131 7,290 $191
    TAS 5,840 $130 2,020 $194
    NT 510 $129 200 $188
    ACT 1,960 $128 1,010 $178





    TOP 15 ELECTORATES WHERE PART- PENSIONS WILL BE REDUCED:

    Electorate Estimated number of pensioners with reduced pension Estimated average reduction in pension ($/fn)
    Lyne 2,610 $131
    Gilmore 2,500 $130
    Flinders 2,480 $134
    Corangamite2,450 $135
    Mackellar 2,390 $139
    Menzies 2,380 $138
    Paterson 2,370 $135
    Cook 2,290 $132
    Deakin 2,260 $136
    Mayo 2,180 $128
    Robertson 2,170 $134
    Chisholm 2,160 $134
    Indi 2,160 $129
    Boothby 2,140 $130
    Hindmarsh 2,120 $133



    TOP 15 ELECTORATES WHERE PART-PENSIONS WILL BE CUT ENTIRELY:

    Electorate Estimated number of pensioners who will have pension cancelled entirely Estimated average reduction in pension ($/fn)
    Mackellar 1,200 $188
    Cook 1,120 $187
    Menzies 1,100 $185
    Deakin 1,080 $183
    Paterson 1,040 $191
    Corangamite1,040 $187
    Flinders 1,040 $188
    Gilmore 980 $181
    Chisholm 970 $178
    Bradfield 960 $179
    Lyne 930 $186
    Robertson 910 $190
    Goldstein 900 $190
    Berowra 870 $186
    Mitchell 860 $177
    Rodent
    5th Jun 2016
    8:59am
    Dear all

    Apologies for the way the numbers appear that I posted about Electorates, I am sure most people will understand. Happy to identify a link for anybody that wants to know ALL the Electorates in more detail.

    Meanwhile those attending the National Seniors Election Forums might want to read their submission first. It is what National Seniors proposed to the Senate Select committee last year , BEFORE the bill was passed- Just Google - this

    Jun 19, 2015 - Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs. PO Box 6100 ... National Seniors Australia submission to the Social Services Legislation. Amendment ... Legislation Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Pensions) Bill 2015.
    FM
    5th Jun 2016
    3:26pm
    Thank you Rodent
    Rodent
    5th Jun 2016
    3:37pm
    Rainey

    I have read with interest your latest comments, . I am still waiting a reply from Jenny Macklins office. Meanwhile I thought I might UPDATE my Pension Asset Spreadsheet to reflect the Percentage change between todays Pension and the likely payment rates as at Jan 2017. I took notice of your 25% figure, but its worse than that!!

    Guess what ? in PERCENTAGE LOSSES OR GAINS Terms the SINGLE HOME OWNER is really SHAFTED. At $500k in assets the Single Home Owner LOSES 71.3% of their Pension after Jan 2017.
    Compare this to the Single Non Home Owner at the same $500k in Assets who GAINS 10.4% in Pension, and the Couple Home Owner at the same $500k in Assets LOSES 6.20% in Pension and the Couple Non Home Owner at the same$500k in Assets LOSES ZERO % in pension.
    I have been banging on about this for a while, but when you express it in % terms its even more startling how the Single Home Owner is SHAFTED by these changes.
    Might get mentioned at the National Seniors Forum
    Rodent
    6th Jun 2016
    8:21am
    Dear GotTheBlues

    I refer to the last part of your post yesterday

    "Many in this forum vehemently complain about the change to the Asset Test for the Aged Pension and it doesn't look to me like they will get any joy out of Labor rolling back the change. Given the greatest impact of the Asset Test will be on retiree couples with between about $500K and $1.2M they could well be hit with a double whammy if Labor is elected. I'm surprised that there has been so little comment about this".

    As one of the so called "complainers on this Forum your statement is INCORRECT. My offerings are always about FACTS, not about myself. I bang on about Fairness and Equality of the changes, because they are NEITHER.

    Firstly you don't say if your Couple are Home Owners, or Non Home owners, which is very important. But the greatest impact actually falls on a Single Home Owner, COMPARED to all other Pensioner Types with Assets between $300k and $550k. For Instance note this which I recently posted

    Rainey

    I have read with interest your latest comments, . I am still waiting a reply from Jenny Macklins office. Meanwhile I thought I might UPDATE my Pension Asset Spreadsheet to reflect the Percentage change between todays Pension and the likely payment rates as at Jan 2017. I took notice of your 25% figure, but its worse than that!!

    Guess what ? in PERCENTAGE LOSSES OR GAINS Terms the SINGLE HOME OWNER is really SHAFTED. At $500k in assets the Single Home Owner LOSES 71.3% of their Pension after Jan 2017.
    Compare this to the Single Non Home Owner at the same $500k in Assets who GAINS 10.4% in Pension, and the Couple Home Owner at the same $500k in Assets LOSES 6.20% in Pension and the Couple Non Home Owner at the same$500k in Assets LOSES ZERO % in pension.
    I have been banging on about this for a while, but when you express it in % terms its even more startling how the Single Home Owner is SHAFTED by these changes.
    Might get mentioned at the National Seniors Forum
    MacI
    6th Jun 2016
    9:09am
    Dear Rodent, I could have gone into the various connotations of single homeowner, single non-homeowner, couple homeowner, couple non-homeowner in regard to the impact of the Asset Test. I thought about doing so but it has been well covered by you and others on the forum.

    My main point was about the duplicitous way in which Labor's Super policy in regard to taxing Super in retirement is presented and my surprise that little attention has been given to this on the forum. Under Labor's policy a retiree whether single or as part of a couple, whether they own their home or not, will be subject to tax on relatively low Super balances - not on balances of $1.5M as inferred by Labor.
    Rodent
    6th Jun 2016
    12:11pm
    Dear GotTheBlues

    Understand your perspective,
    Thanks
    Rodent
    6th Jun 2016
    3:59pm
    Rainey

    Re your post about Pension Confusion
    "There is total confusion. Many Labor MPs are saying there will be a reversal BEFORE Jan 2017 - and adding that there MUST be. The issue is too critical to the economy and too much economic damage will be caused by delaying (as anyone with a brain has already concluded!)

    I got this pathetic reply from Jenny Macklins office.

    No Labor has said is we can’t commit to reversing the Government’s changes to pension assets test.

    However we understand the situation this cut has put pensioners into – and that is why we will be undertaking a review into the pension means test in government.

    Basically we can’t commit to reverse the specific changes the Government made but we’d like to do a review of the whole pension means test to ensure that it is as fair as possible.

    My view is Labor are not interested, they must have bigger fish to fry.

    And just to be a bit Political, which I am not , God help the Country if Xenephon, Greens and some independents get a Balance of power in the Senate
    Johnno11
    8th Jun 2016
    11:07pm
    Why do all you guys call them politicians? I call them Scummies. Most of them. Both major parties have screwed this "Lucky country" which used to be a land of opportunity. That's why migrants came here in droves. This great country of ours is surely being destroyed by the years of incompetent management and that includes the top end of the beauracrats whom every one keeps forgetting. The " Yes minister" brigade remain in power irrespective of which scummy party you vote in. These too are the uglies of government providing poorly based advice which is bolstered by "contracted advisors". And to add to our woes are the mafias who control the scummies. We all need to be mindful whilst bestowing acollades of congratulations for years of abysmal incompetent management of our beloved country that we give recognition to those working behind the scenes also.
    The major parties have, for far too long been interested in their own internal power mongering. They don't have time to manage a great country like Australia.
    kentucky
    9th Jun 2016
    1:54pm
    Won't worry me won't be here in 90 years.
    kentucky
    9th Jun 2016
    2:02pm
    As older Australians, you’ll represent the largest proportion of voters at Election 2106, making it all the more important that the issues that affect you are put to the fore in the coming weeks of campaigning.
    MiteMike
    2nd Jul 2016
    7:21am
    I heard an idea some years ago I think sounded reasonable - A polly can ask for any payment they want, BUT at the next election an extra section on the ballot paper asks for public rating of their performance and if they do not stack up --THEY PAY BACK EVERY THING THEY RECEIVED! --
    Star Trekker
    2nd Jul 2016
    10:19pm
    I'd agree to that


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