Election 2016 – do you care?

Last week we reported on the Election 2016 policies of the two major parties, that focus on retirees. We asked you to respond with your thoughts on these policies – which you supported, which you didn’t and why. So read on for a sneak preview of how retirees will vote in Election 2016.

What matters most to you from the following 10 major retirement issues:  

  • Climate change and renewable energy
  • Immigration
  • Retirement income
  • Royal Commission into banking sector
  • Health including Medicare, PBS benefits
  • Housing affordability
  • Taxation, personal and company
  • Communications – NBN rollout
  • Employment for mature workers
  • Is there a Minister for Ageing?

 

Those which are of most concern to YourLifeChoices members are retirement income, health and the economy in general, but what did you have to say about all of the issues? 

Climate change and renewable energy
The members of YourLifeChoices have tended to dismiss climate change science as unreliable or unbelievable.

“It’s a wonder climate change scam is even on the list let alone at the bottom!”

So thumbs down to both parties on this policy

Opinion was more equally divided on the subject of renewable energy, as the following two quotes indicate:
“Coal will still be with us for a while. How long depends on how well the industry and governments back renewable energy, as well as the rate of development. I already have a few bob in lithium interests and am seriously looking at a possible better one: graphene. We live in exciting times that are being held up by the old guard looking after business but it’s all coming. Hold onto your seats.”

“Labor and the Greens have been jabbering on about renewable energy since Rudd was PM. During the six Labor years under Kevin and Julia, Kevin had a solar panel subsidy program going. When too many people signed up for it, Kevin scrapped it. “

And thumbs up and down for parties on this one.

Immigration
Members of the site were not very enthusiastic towards either party’s policy on immigration.

Double thumbs down.

“The HOMELESS Before Immigration!!”

Retirement income
From the comments made, the common perception from our members is that there is a lack of equity in retirement income. No party was a ‘winner’ on this issue.

“Among all their plans, have any of the parties a PLAN for allocating an adequate portion of GDP to fund pensions and care for the elderly? The portion of Australian GDP, 2.9 per cent, used for that purpose is miserly. It is significantly less than that of all other developed countries. The parties have been asked to provide their plan for funding pensions and aged care and they have not. They have been deliberately evasive and when pushed have declined to offer anything to seniors. Mr Shorten said categorically he would not be increasing the Age Pension (Q&A 13/06). Seniors have borne all the cuts of the last three budgets. These cuts were constructed by the Liberal Party and supported by the Labor Party, the Greens and Nick Xenophon. Only the other Independents opposed them.”

“But the worst feature of the current system is that it totally destroys and harshly punishes endeavour, responsible planning and frugality – UNLESS that approach to life results in high net worth (around $1.5 million for a couple). The asset test thresholds are way, way, way too low – especially as they take no account of age or special future needs. And when you look at what relatively high income earners can get in pension benefits, it becomes apparent that the system is heavily skewed against those of the disadvantaged who have taken some initiative and planned and saved for old age as best they were able.”

Pension age also got a mention – and increasing it, as we know from our surveys, is not favoured by 70 per cent of our members:

“I disagree with most of what is proposed especially doing nothing about the tax rort of negative gearing on old houses and raising the Age Pension age to 70 which IMO is crazy.”

Royal Commission into banking sector
Despite many Australians believing that our banking sector leaves a lot to be desired, a Royal Commission didn’t strike a chord with YourLifeChoices members 

Health – Medicare 
Member comments on Medicare are very negative towards the concept of any changes, so Labor gets a thumbs up on its policy on Medicare, while a lack of trust in the Coalition’s intentions gives it a thumbs down.

“Do I believe they won’t privatise Medicare – NO.”

Housing affordability
While many may look at negative gearing and discounts on capital gains tax as being incentives for the wealthy to invest in property, there was a concern that if investors stopped buying houses, not only would the property market stagnate, but there would be fewer rental properties available.

Not a policy that will see Election 2016 decided but perhaps the Coalition just edges this one.

“The big question is will investors continue to buy new homes knowing that they can only on sell them to home owners or cash investors? The return on housing is not good unless you can get capital gains. So if housing stagnates then will investors still invest in houses or find somewhere else to put their money? That is what happened in the 1990s. If investors don’t continue to buy new houses, which they may not, then rents will only increase further.”

Taxation
This is the one issue where YourLifeChoices members are united – behind neither party. Short-sightedness of consecutive governments that have failed to create a stable and structured tax system, for both business and personal taxation, is a complaint made by several members. So, while both parties may consider themselves to be good economic managers, you simply don’t agree.

“I am not an economist but I imagine if the above were looked at in depth and as one package, not piecemeal, (even if it took three years and a billion dollars) there would be a decrease in business and personal tax if all parties paid tax on income earned. There would also be an increase in pension rates.”

NBN
It’s costing a fortune to deliver an NBN that, by all accounts, isn’t going to be anywhere near as good as what we were initially promised. So, should the major parties be focusing on getting it right? Not according to YourLifeChoices members, who had nothing to say on this issue.

Mature workers
Working to 70 or even 67 is not a popular suggestion amongst our members and the policies of both parties fail to hit the mark with anyone. Of more concern is the issue of working all our lives with little to show in return.

“The system heavily favours the privileged who can achieve strong returns on their investments and the healthy and capable who can continue to work a little, do their own home maintenance and personal care tasks without help, etc. Those who suffer most are the underprivileged who have special care and medication needs due to ill-health or disability, the uneducated who lack the knowledge and confidence to invest well, and those who have become extremely risk averse due to crisis, trauma or severe deprivation in earlier years.”

Minister for Ageing
There’s little interest in whether or not either party plans to have a Minister for Ageing but maybe if we gave the position more weight, we would all be better off.

So, there you have it. Many of the issues that the major parties believe will influence your votes actually don’t even register in terms of interest. It seems that your requirements for a good government are actually quite simple – keep us healthy, enable us to have an adequate income in retirement and get the economy in order.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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