What politicians really know about the Age Pension

Politicians have avoided talking about Age Pensioners, so we asked them to speak up.

Politicians’ views on Age Pension

A scan of media releases from key federal ministers since last year’s Budget shows that not a single portfolio considered the financial issues plaguing age pensioners.

Two issues loosely tied to the Age Pension made headlines in the past year – the superannuation incentive for downsizers and whether franking-credit cashbacks should be paid to retirees – but neither spoke to the plight of cash-strapped pensioners because they are less likely to own a home or share investments.

At YourLifeChoices, we are disappointed that politicians seem to be ignoring how tough it is to make ends meet for tens of thousands of older Australians.

Since last May, retirees who are renting have experienced cost-of-living expenses that have risen at a faster rate than the twice yearly indexed increases in the Age Pension.

Why have our politicians been so silent about the growing number of impoverished seniors?

We are determined to hear what the major political parties really think about this and other thorny issues that worry you, as expressed in your responses to our regular surveys and via emails and the Meeting Place.

While planning for this year’s May Budget enters the home stretch, we are putting 10 questions to the Coalition Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer; Labor Shadow Minister for Families and Services Jenny Macklin, and Greens Senator for Western Australia Rachel Siewert to bring their focus back to the issues facing older Australians. Hopefully, their responses will help us better understand their plans for the welfare of older Australians, retirement income, health and support services.

YourLifeChoices is asking for their thoughts on the following topics:

  • proposed increase in pension age
  • scrapping of the energy supplement
  • pensioner eligibility assets and income limits
  • the merit of the downsizing policy to boost superannuation savings
  • potential reversal of excluding the family home from pension tests
  • retention of franking credits by the Australian Taxation Office
  • soaring cost of energy and private health insurance
  • increasing rental assistance
  • reducing superannuation concessions in favour of a universal pension
  • what single policy measure of your party will do the most for the wellbeing of older Australians?

What questions would you put to politicians on the issue of affordability in retirement?

Related articles: 
Will your money last? 
Retirement Affordability Index 
Opposing views on Age Pension





    COMMENTS

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    Concerned
    29th Mar 2018
    10:32am
    What are they going to do about the loading on Health Insurance for pensioners. We could not afford health insurance when our children were growing up, so we are now penalised 62% extra in premiums for ten years. We are now nearing 70 and we either pay this extortion or we do not eat. This is blatant discrimination.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    10:38am
    So you think it is fair that people only take out health insurance when they need it? I don't and that is why the loading is so good.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    10:44am
    Yes I agree. I dropped out 5 years ago because my rent and having a roof over my head was more important. The 2% each year is a money grabbing by the govt. I was trying to get back into private hospital but cannot afford with the rental increases that have been applied in the last year.
    When are the government going to scrap that for older Australians?
    KSS
    29th Mar 2018
    1:18pm
    Concerned, the Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) penalty (2% per year after 31 years old) was only brought in in 2000 and at that time there was an amnesty for all those over 31 who did not then have health insurance. And at the same time introduced the 30% rebate on premiums for those on lower wages and an extra Medicare levy for those on high wages with no insurance. The LHC penalty was and is capped at 10 years meaning the most anyone would pay is 70% above the premium at the time they join.

    You had the opportunity then and every year since to take private health insurance and for whatever reason chose not to. That's fine. But it is not discrimination and you have had 18 years to change your mind.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:27pm
    You only have to have a basic policy to keep your discount so what can be fairer than that.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:37am
    Unfortunately, for many it's not the premiums that are the issue. I dropped my cover - reluctantly - not because of premiums, which were quite affordable, but because of the hideous gap costs I incurred for every treatment. In one year, gap costs for surgery cost me over $20,000. If I'd had no cover, it would have been free.

    A friend whose wife died of cancer recently says that dropping his cover was the best thing he could have done. This man has 4 children and I nearly had a heart attack when he told me he'd dropped his health insurance. His wife took ill months later. He reported that she was in hospital beside his mate's wife - who had the same illness - and received identical treatment from identical doctors and providers. Both wives had the same medicines and out of hospital treatment. They went to chemo sessions together and sat together. The mate, with insurance, had $180,000 in debts when his wife died. The friend who cancelled his had NONE. His wife got EVERYTHING totally free. Same care exactly. Only difference was there was no charge.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    8:54am
    AND that is why so many with private health insurance are nowsaying they dont have it when they go to hospital; especially in an emergency situation. More drain on the public purse but they are quite entitled to be treated as a public patient if they so wish...
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:04pm
    Most public hospitals will now offer no out of pocket expenses if you agree to use your private insurance.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    9:12pm
    No, they don't. None in my area do, and we have some of the largest and also some very small ones. The rule is always 25% of the fee out of pocket.
    Old Geezer
    3rd Apr 2018
    11:09pm
    If you get put into a hospital around here you pay nothing even as a private patient and they sort out all your bills too. There is no 25% out of pocket expenses or anything like that you have to pay,

    I've had cancer twice and haven't had to pay anything at all even in a private hospital for my treatment. Last cancer treatment was over $50,000 according to my Medicare records but it cost me nothing personally and I even got most of my transport costs covered as well.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    12:04am
    You want private? Pay full measure in the privae hospitals and stop clogging up the public system and pushing old ladies on pension to the back of the bus repeatedly, costing them money.

    Private health holders and the medical profession (if I can call these current parasites that) need to hang their heads in shame and give a full apology for their whining self-interest at the cost of those with the least, and in the case of many old ladies, without much real opportunity to actually earn a living apart from raising the kids as a once honourable profession.
    Old Geezer
    5th Apr 2018
    3:25pm
    Trebor unfortunately if I don't go public I don't get treated. However I do get treated a lot better than others as a private patient in a public hospital. I can ask for what ever doctor I require and don't have to take some smart kid who is anything but smart. I owe no one an apology as I pay for the best and I expect the best.
    Oldchick
    29th Mar 2018
    10:39am
    I’m on a DSP and I work my budget out per pension. Last fortnight’s Pension was $894 and my bills totalled $1,677 - before food and petrol. That did include my yearly car rego (which is one of the few bills I now pay annually, most are monthly) and I do have private health insurance because I know I’m going to be facing hip and knee replacements in the not too distant future and I have so many health problems. From the pension I received on Tues this week I have $670 worth of bills so far before food and petrol again. I know everyone says people renting do it even tougher but I have to wonder. Owners have council rates, water, home insurance, repairs and no Government subsidy to help with those bills. I do have a small super but I can’t just keep drawing down on it, but how do people manage with no back up. I’m struggling and I go nowhere and do nothing basically. The Politicians need to realise that pensioners are surviving on less money than they get in lunch money allowance each week. In other words they need to spit out the silver spoon and get into the real world.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    10:42am
    If you can afford private health insurance on the pension then you are doing very well on the pension.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    10:57am
    I work my budget out per pension also but when you Rent and down own a home and rents going up more then what they should it is harder then home owners. Rates are done quarterly - where I lived before which my daughter sold the house for a loss and the rates were only $400 a quarter but I was paying $300 per week rent that is $600 out of my pension and left with $400 a fortnight after getting rent assistance for Electricity, Rego, Insurances, food, phone, petrol for appts which in the end had around $1 left. Homeowners do have more as those bills you are talking about are over a quarter. Since all our public housing is going to refugees, etc that makes us pensioners out in the cold paying massive rents over $600 a fortnight which I will be paying at least $640 per fortnight out of my pension and only $134 rental assistance per fortnight. Work that out. They should be paying at least $200- 250 a fortnight for rental assistance which would mean Pensioners could afford to go on a bus trip or meal out with friends. I could not go out at all no money left.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:05am
    If you think you have it tough now just see what happens when negative gearing gets abolished. I have sold all my rental properties as there are simply easier and better returns to be got elsewhere. Many others are now cashing in too so rents will only go one way as supply decreases and demand increases.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    1:56pm
    I suggest you do as other pensioners here are doing and support Shorten's attack on self-funded retirees, Joy Anne. Drive tens of thousands more onto pensions, push investment away from shares and into property (driving property values and rent UP) and into foreign investment. When the devastating economic consequences are felt, pensioners will hurt far more than they are now. But most of them seem to be too green-eyed and self-obsessed to even try to understand that. Hopefully, you have the intelligence to support better retirement incomes for ALL Australians - including those who are forfeiting $20-30K a year to help the budget
    john
    29th Mar 2018
    3:14pm
    Jansview you are sooooo correct, having cash flow is the absolute need every week. No pensioner thats done the hard yards of 40 to 50 years of work and paid taxes should ever be cash strapped during retirement. The governments have no reasons why things go bad, and they always talk of "we should'' instead of "we are".
    But there are costs we put out into other things that could be forgone before our own countrymen suffer at the hands of an inadequate pension , which put some hard workers on the poverty line , how dare these bastards talk about private welfare.
    Your fortnightly payment should ber$1788.00 .Now all the government has to do is find the money wasting things our nation does and give those monies over towards bigger pensions, that's what after retirement should be about. But we do give a lot to other countries, and other organisations and that is how and where you get the money, to balance the pension to fairnes! Before any one else from outside or that is not as important as your own people. Isn't that everybody who is not an Australian. And that is the real factual problem we obligate our nation toabsolute bulldust things , and leave our own to rot, with terrible terrible condition of poverty , when it should not be that way.
    But all governments have done it ALP and LNP spent the pension fund!
    KB
    29th Mar 2018
    4:02pm
    +
    Jansview Life is a struggle on a pension. If you hip an knee replacements in the then bear in mind that there will be out of charge of such as a pre consult with the anaesthetist and hospital charge of 500 if you pay a lower premium.Get very little back on Medicarefor specialist visits Just had a hip operation and saving up for my other one which needs to be done sooner than later. If I was you I would start saving for the gap costs. Put the money in high interest account. The DSP does go up by 12.00 next week Pensioners did better under Labor Government
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:46pm
    Just spent a week in hospital having the specialists of my choice with no out of pocket expenses what so ever. Got free TV including Austar instead of having to pay $12 extra a day that they charge pubic patients. All visits after leaving the hospital have been bulked billed as well.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:45am
    OG, how come you are the ONLY one who can achieve these outstanding outcomes? Low rates. No gap for medical treatment. Free this. Free that.

    I had health insurance for years and I was NEVER once bulk billed for anything. In 10 years of much higher rates of hospitalization and medical treatment (for myself and my partner - and mostly the latter) with no insurance, I have spent 1/20th of what it cost me in the previous much healthier decade.

    That said, recent surgery for my partner wasn't available in a reasonable time frame so I opted to pay for private treatment. It cost $9000, and the Medicare rebate was $990. If the specialist bulk billed, his income would be about $2000 per hour, but he insists he needs $9000 an hour to run his practice! What disgraceful greed! No wonder the nation can't afford the cost of health care.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:06pm
    That's another positive for bring on the OAP. No medical bils.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    9:10pm
    Wrong on that one, BigBear. My partner would have suffered for another 3 - 4 years to get it done for free as a pensioner. We opted for private treatment this time because it was well worth the cost to get timely relief.
    maxchugg
    2nd Apr 2018
    12:34pm
    When I had surgery as an insured patient, after I arrived home I thought the bills from doctors would never stop. Yet I knew of a number of cases of people having identical surgery in a public hospital and they didn't pay a cent. BUT:
    A friend of mine had health insurance all of his working life, but could no longer afford it when he became a pensioner. I needed eye surgery and it was done on both eyes within about six weeks. My friend needed the same surgery more urgently than I did, he waited three years for one eye to be done, then two years extra for the second.
    The politics of envy have seen the government concession on health insurance premiums reduced, yet people who had insurance for all of their working lives should see the concession increased to allow them to retain their insurance, in recognition of the massive savings that have flowed to governments by those who have funded their own healthcare costs for several decades.
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2018
    9:02am
    Wait just a minute, Maxchugg. SOME of those who didn't have insurance have imposed NO burden on the health system at all, because they either paid the cost of private treatment themselves, or they didn't seek treatment.

    I bailed out of private health because of the gaps. With a disabled partner and a child and a chronic health condition myself, I simply couldn't cope with the bills that came in after every treatment. Seemed we were cows to be milked. The moment we mentioned health insurance, up went all the costs - I suspect to the actual cost + the insurance rebate. Now I can't get insurance. It's just completely unaffordable. Yet overall, I've probably cost the government a tiny fraction of what most people do, despite suffering ill health. I had insurance for much of my life, and I paid for private care for most of the time I've been uninsured - partly because I opted for alternate medicine often.

    The system is broken and there are no simple fixes, but the key to fixing it is to somehow end greed and selfishness. The problem is entirely ''I should have more because...''' It's at every turn. Until we change that mentality and start addressing what's good for society, we'll continue to go backwards.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    10:40am
    It is all about welfare including OAP now so much if you are not an OAP you are now considered a real mug. Time to look after SFRs instead of those on welfare who are the biggest drain on our budget. Enough will never be enough for those on welfare.
    Topcat
    29th Mar 2018
    1:36pm
    Biggest drain on the budget eh? would you like to back that up with facts because I’ll go head to head with you to prove otherwise. You seem to be a very opinionated, self absorbed person. I have witnessed your comments on this platform for a while. Your arrogance is nothing short of rude. Why can’t you ever say anything nice - you obviously relish the idea of putting people down it probably gives you a feeling of superiority however all it shows is your lack of respect for your fellow man.
    Topcat
    29th Mar 2018
    1:36pm
    Biggest drain on the budget eh? would you like to back that up with facts because I’ll go head to head with you to prove otherwise. You seem to be a very opinionated, self absorbed person. I have witnessed your comments on this platform for a while. Your arrogance is nothing short of rude. Why can’t you ever say anything nice - you obviously relish the idea of putting people down it probably gives you a feeling of superiority however all it shows is your lack of respect for your fellow man.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:40pm
    Yes welfare is the biggest drain on the budget and what does the government get for it? Nothing but a lots of whingers wanting even more for doing nothing at all.

    I don't have to prove otherwise as the facts speak for themselves. I pay you take it is as simple as that.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:03pm
    Tomcat, do you deny that aged pensions are costing the nation a lot of money? If so, where do YOU think the money comes from? Manufactured by good fairies, perhaps? Or dropped from Santa Claus's sleigh maybe?

    I have to agree with you about OG's comments generally, and his attitude to the less affluent, and I suspect there are far bigger drains on the budget - superannuation tax concessions for one! However, he is right about one thing. Those NOT drawing an aged pension in retirement are mugs, and being treated appallingly. And it seems a lot of pensioners want them treated far worse.

    We need MORE incentives for people to strive to be as near to self-funded as they possibly can achieve. Policies like Shorten's (and, for that matter, the cruel and dishonest change to the assets test by the LNP) only serve to push more people into hardship and push the cost of pensions UP. Benefiting the less wealthy self-funded so they remain self-funded ought to be a major priority.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    4:20pm
    Us and them just the way the government likes it.
    Linda
    29th Mar 2018
    4:31pm
    I think the costs associated with so called welfare depends on how one looks at things. When very successful people and companies can and do hire lawyers and accountants to find every last deduction and instruct folks on how to organise their investments and savings to reduce tax down to totally nothing, that comes at a cost. How many pay 10 percent on all their income into sales tax? Those using welfare, that is who. Consider all the volunteers out there, working for free, what they do would be very expensive for our nation's budget.

    When we all just think of ourselves and our own little patch without seeing the importance of those costs that keep our society civil and fair then what can end up with is more crime, more social dysfunction, true ghettos (something Australian's know little about) except for the original folks who lived here. These issues can cause costs in other ways.

    If you made your packet by going to extraordinary efforts to avoid your contribution to this country then why not consider putting something back.

    Pensions are costing this country a lot of money but what about that 7 percent that was paid in extra tax, where has that gone? What about how the big end of town can control the end of the road superannuation by charging excess fees and giving advice that profits them at the expense of the person who owns the superfund.

    Banks are costing Australian's a lot of money, Government is costing Australian's a lot of money. Like it or not we are all in this together and should and need to think and act accordingly. When rents go up and folks on the lowest rung can't find a shelter to live in something is terribly wrong.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    6:52pm
    Gosh, lot of ASSUMPTIONS there, Linda. Are you suggesting that all SFRs avoided tax so punishing them now is justice? If so, you couldn't be more wrong. Yes pensioners paid that 7% tax. So did the self-funded retirees, but now they are being attacked for saving the budget tens of thousands a year. They don't get a pension. They don't get concessions. And now they are going to be taxed 30% regardless of their income, just because they invested in Australian shares. Pensioners won't pay it. Most people with wage or business income or rental income sufficient to offset it won't pay it. The wealthy won't pay it. People with more than $1.6 million in super won't pay it. The ONLY people who Shorten is targeting are low-paid employees contributing to super and poorer self-funded retirees who don't have enough assets to generate a living income.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:11pm
    OG at the time when I sorted out my affairs so I could go on the OAP I was a little concerned I may have done the wrong thing. However by the our government and our opposition want to treat SFRs I realise I have made an awesome decision. If you can sort out your affairs to get OAP go for it mate you won't regret it.
    ancal
    2nd Apr 2018
    1:12pm
    I feel I must reply to Old Geezer and I wonder why he is so openly offensive to some people on here. I did taxation for 35 years and seen individuals and business both go down in some circumstances and wonder where he is getting all his info from that he is quoting on here and I wonder what his wage or income was??
    Old Geezer
    3rd Apr 2018
    11:02pm
    Ancal I can't remember what my income was when I had a job as it was so long ago now. All I remember that it was quite a good income for the time.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    12:10am
    Pensions aren't costing the nation anything - it is the theft of the pension fund by politicians and their using that funding where it did not belong that is costing the budget money.

    Wake up, people - EVERY aspect of government spending is a 'cost to the economy and the nation' - and it is only a lying ideology that chooses to single out the bought and paid for retirement funding for pensioners, and only fools who follow that line.

    Do we really need a 'corporation' with overpaid 'board members' who might meet once a week to rubber stamp the work done by public servants - to build submarines - when we already have a Department of Defence Procurement fully staffed?

    Stop whining about pensions and other genuine social security - and start looking at the blatant theft that is going on with your money to suit old mates and party colleagues booted out by their electorate for not being goddamned good enough....

    Governments have no right to set up 'jobs' for failed politicians...
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2018
    10:50am
    Okay, Trebor. Then if pensioners aren't costing the nation, SFRs are effectively paying up to $40K a year in ''tax'', and SHOULD get their franking credit refunds.

    This constant attack on them by pensioners is causing a lot of hurt and ill-feeling and destroying sympathy and support for pensioners. It's sad that some are so obviously green-eyed and nastily wishing hurt on people for no better reason than they are jealous - and it clearly IS jealousy, because none of their arguments make any sense and they can't answer valid questions with logical responses. There's no fairness or respect evident in their comments. Just anger and spite that others MIGHT have more than they do - and they don't even know the other's circumstances.

    I agree completely that pensioners are entitled. I also agree that politicians are greedy and evil and dishonest. So why are we not uniting to sing ONE SONG, instead of attacking one another?

    I championed pensioners and the disadvantaged when OG and Bonny attacked them unfairly. But I'll also stand up for the SFRs when the like of Kathleen and Misty attack them unfairly - because we should ALL be focused on the same objective, and not spitefully bullying others out of envy or based on unvalidated assumptions.
    Cranky
    29th Mar 2018
    11:06am
    I wold like to start a campaign to bring individuals of a married couple into line of what single pensioners are paid. For far too long individuals of married couples have been treated like people on the dole and are paid more than $230.00 a week less than single aged pension's. The saying that two (2) people can live cheaper than one in all bull dust and we all know it, but nothing is done to improve the conditions of individuals of married couples. In probably 90 per cent of cases single pensioners are living more than one to a house hold and in many cases singles pensioners are supported by family members. The cost of a married couple are in most cases double that of pensioners receiving the single rate as in most cases individuals of married couples have two lots of medicines, costs double when they go out some where and other costs are double yet individuals, as I said before are treated like people on the dole. Every time there is a pension rise individuals of married couples are fall further behind as their rise is far less than those on single age pension, and further, why should people in some cases on the single pension as they never paid taxes in their life, and in most cases of married couples, both have contributed to paying taxes etc., and are still doing so with GST on almost everything you buy. I worked for over sixty years, and I feel that I paid my dues in order to receive the single rate of pension, and further, when I was still working Center Link claimed that half my income was my wife's so she didn't receive the full pension, but when I filled out my tax for the year the Taxation office claimed that my income was all mine and as a result I was taxed as a single man, and this went on for over ten years past pension age as I did not get a full pension until I was almost 76 years old. I am proposing that all individuals of married couples have their pension increased by an immediate of $150.00 a fortnight and further increases until such time as all individuals of married couples are on the single rate of pension and that there be no more "DISCRIMINATION" in this regard. There are also hundreds of couples living in de-facto relationships and yet they still receive the single pension. As far as I am concerned a "Age pensioner" is an age pension whether single, individuals of married couples, or those living in de-facto relation ships and should all be treated the same. Can you just imagine how much the Government is saving every year by "DISCRIMINATION' against individuals of married couples. Max Jackwitz (Grumpy)
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:09am
    Rubbish it costs the same for 2 to go out for a meal as one person. Just buy one meal and ask for a second plate and share. We do.
    adbob
    29th Mar 2018
    12:12pm
    @Old Geezer

    So that's how the Old Geezer fortune was put together - not shrewd investing as you have previously had us believe.

    That must have been you ahead of me in the pub the other day, ordering one glass of beer, and a straw for the missus.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    12:14pm
    Wasn't me as I don't use straws as they are bad for the environment.
    Gammer
    29th Mar 2018
    12:44pm
    Cranky, as a single aged pensioner let me say that my single pension has to cover home maintenance, rates, gas and electricity, motor vehicle expenses, etc. all of which are the same as that for a couple on the pension. Yes, you have double the food, and two on private health cover (if you do have it) but you have two pensions not just one.

    If you choose to eat out, take holidays, etc then obviously you can afford it (I can’t) but there are definitely many aspects where two can live as cheaply as one - you are just not considering the big picture!
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    1:37pm
    Don't believe OG's agitating trolls. He just loves being a pain in the area where the sun doesn't shine. When we all say White he will say it's Black. When we say it's Day he will say it's Night, and so on. Just one of those trolling irritating agitators. There's always one in every crowd.
    He sold all his rental properties, he stated here in his comment. So it sounds like he is well off and can't be a OAP. If he is on OAP, mind boggles how? If he's not an OAP, he understand "Jack sh^t about the hardships that OAP's have to live with just to survive". Frankly, judging by all his stupid irritating trollying comments,OG is full of horse-sh^t.
    AutumnOz
    29th Mar 2018
    1:38pm
    Agreed Cranky, both individuals in a marriage should be receiving the same amount as two single people on the age pension.
    As it is a married couple on the age pension are a lot worse off than they should be as the only thing that is cheaper for two than one is the rent, the married couple share the cost of rent, the single pays it him or her self.
    Other than rent every cost is doubled for the married couple, and the assets allowed are a lot less than for a single person. It is a very unfair system in my opinion.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:41pm
    Wow what a lot of whingers who get to live well for doing virtually nothing.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:11pm
    I have to agree with the assertion that married couples suffer grossly unfair discrimination. Singles can share and get two single pensions, and have all the benefits of being married. Many who are actually in de facto relationships (though not honest about it) draw two single pensions but live as a married couple.

    Yes, rent is usually more expensive for singles - though there is no fair way to compare because being part of a couple may well impose a need for significantly more expensive accommodation. For example, my partner suffers C-PTSD and cannot live in close confines, so we have to have a stand-alone home with good clearance from neighbours, whereas I could happily live in a tiny home unit or flat, or even a large caravan.

    I could live on 1/4 of what it costs to live as one of a couple, because my partner has high health, care and diet needs.

    It is NOT as simple as those who want to make trite generalized assumptions would have us believe.

    Perhaps the rate should be the same for singles and members of a couple, but pay a little extra to those singles who can PROVE they are living alone. That would certainly be fairer than discriminating against honest couples.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    8:56am
    go to any coffee shop and note the demographic of those in there...my local is always full of grey haired people having coffee, cake, meals...any time of day you care to go there. Not all retirees are doing it hard.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:14pm
    Agree Radish. The only coffee I get is the free one from the Golden Arches with the cheapest item on the menu. The coffee I got the other day was just so good and in a very nice mug too. Golden Arches certainly look after us seniors.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    11:08am
    I am very worried about the Pensioners as I am one. I pay massive rents over $600 a fortnight for the last 4 years and now $640 per fortnight after increases in rental. The highest rental assistance is $134 per fortnight. This should be at least 200-250 per fortnight depending on the rent you pay.The govt have given all free housing to refugees etc and the pensioners have been attacked by our Govt over the last year or so. Even with prescriptions, if you can't take generic then you are punished by paying extra for the genuine script. I cannot take generic makes me violently ill that is because of the compound and I know many who cannot. Then on 1 script I have the govt have decided to change from a 7 day packet with the main tablet taken on day 1 and calcium 6 days to taking away the 6 tablets and only supplying the 1 main tablet a week for 4 weeks at the same price and if we need to take the others we have to spend twice as much like my Dr said disgusting as the extra tablets Caltrate are around $16-18 each 2 months. Just so the Govt can save money. This is another expense put on pensioners.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:13am
    Sounds like mind over matter to me with not being able to take generic prescriptions. This has been proved by a study done in a nursing home. Every time I go the doctor I come away with a handful of scrips too but I never get them filled if I can't see the need to take them. Remember many people are like kids unless they are given a lolly (script) then they think the doctor is no good. It saves me a fortune.
    Jezemeg8
    29th Mar 2018
    11:11am
    I would like to ask what can be done about the high cost of maintaining disability aids such as mobility scooters. The tyres for mine cost $110 EACH, then there are the tubes, and when I'm unlucky enough to have a puncture (I had 3 at one time last week, it seems that some people find it amusing to lay tacks etc on bike paths and footpaths), I have to pay an $80 call out fee plus new tubes and cost of labour to get it fixed. I recently received information on getting puncture proofed tyres, which would cost me nearly $1700 for a set including having them put on! Who on a DSP or aged pension can afford costs like this? Without my mobility scooter I would be stuck inside 24/7. Considering the size of a mobility scooter tyre against that of a car tyre, plus the weight it's required to work under, it's a total rip off.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:19am
    Buy a broom and install it on the front of your scooter and that should fix the problem.

    Scooters should be banned on footpaths as they are nothing but a hazard to pedestrians. People on scooters don't stop and look like pedestrians at crossings as they think they have right a way and just dart out in front of cars. It is a wonder more of them as not dead right.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    11:20am
    Those tyres are cheap. Be careful what tyres you get. I replaced 2 tyres within 6 months after buying my scooter as they were very low grade. Buy a stronger tyre and around the same price but you have to shop around. I have a disability scooter also as I don't drive my car much and could not because of medication for over 2 years.
    I also know that the batteries are over double the price of a car battery I was lucky to find a Battery place that let me pay off each fortnight for my batteries. Also the same battery place let me pay off recently a charger which was $250.
    They are Central Batteries Brisbane. They are extremely helpful and not sure but probably could get tyres at a reasonable price. Don't go to Battery world as they are very expensive.
    Jezemeg8
    29th Mar 2018
    11:26am
    Old Geezer, I'm sorry you think that about people who require mobility scooters... I've travelled behind some pedestrians who are incapable of walking in a straight line, stop suddenly for no reason, and dealt with the hazards of others emerging from shops without so much as a glance to either side. I too would prefer to travel on the road but it's illegal for us to do so. I've also survived being broadsided by cars leaving properties with concealed driveways.
    I like many others, don't assume right of way, I ALWAYS stop and look everywhere before crossing a street. I WAIT until cars are actually stopped, even when I'm facing a green walk signal. Many drivers don't seem to know that we are actually classed as pedestrians.
    Stop lumping the actions of a FEW to all, that is not the case. I've witnessed many more careless pedestrians and drivers than mobility scooter users!
    Jezemeg8
    29th Mar 2018
    11:28am
    Joy Anne, I'm sorry, in what universe is a set of 4 tyres for $1700 CHEAP?? I don't buy inexpensive tyres and I don't buy from battery world either, the batteries simply don't last.
    Sen.Cit.90
    29th Mar 2018
    11:47am
    Hi all above,
    When reading 'Old Geezers' comments, perhaps you should consider them with the contempt they deserve. My opinion, he is only 'Shit Stirring' please excuse the coarse language.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:47am
    Scooters are a big problem where I live. We have an accident at least once a week where someone runs over a pedestrian and there are skids marks at nearly every crossing where cars have skidded to a stop trying to miss scooters. People around here fail their driving tests and then get a scooter and drive it lie they drove their cars with all the issues that caused them to fail their licence. After being hit by a scooter and taken to hospital myself the sooner they are banned the better.
    Jezemeg8
    29th Mar 2018
    12:02pm
    Old Geezer and others, I'm sorry you were hit by a mobility scooter, are you sure you didn't suddenly appear and walk into the path of a scooter, or perhaps stop suddenly or even change direction suddenly in front of a scooter user just trying to get to his/her destination? I've been using a mobility for over 20 years now and the ONLY accidents I have involved being broadsided by vehicles leaving properties with concealed entrances, and the driver wasn't even looking where he/she was going. Not all who use mobility scooters are old either, when I first started using one I was employed as a PCA, and needed one to get to my jobs, before that I was walking everywhere.
    The sooner EVERYONE learns a little commonsense, looks both ways before stepping out of shops for instance, NOT suddenly coming to an abrupt stop for no reason, or suddenly changing direction without first looking behind to see whether one is about to walk into the path of a scooter the better. There may come a day when you too, Old Geezer, needs to lower yourself to use a mobility scooter just so that you can meet your daily needs. Sadly it is only then that many truly understand the hazards we scooter users face on a daily basis.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    12:41pm
    I was sitting on one of those seats on the foot path reading a paper when an idiot on a mobility scooter ran into me. Don't be silly enough to say I shouldn't have been reading the paper and watching out for idiots on mobility scooters as that's what we all have to do now.
    KSS
    29th Mar 2018
    1:25pm
    Why are you driving on bike paths?
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:29pm
    Nay I'd rather be dead then have one of those mobility scooters myself.
    Puglet
    29th Mar 2018
    7:29pm
    OG some of your comments today seem to be designed to be hurtful, which is disappointing. On my daily walk I always pass mobility scooters, other walkers, dog walkers, cyclists and those ginormous baby strollers. Usually we seem to manage it all safely, probably because most of us behave with courtesy! I always ‘give way’ and usually I am rewarded with a smile and thanks (or both). I’d prefer not to require a mobility scooter but if I do then so be it! I’d like a purple one with a cattle prod to poke people who are mean to others.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    7:39pm
    After being actually run into by one of those mobility scooters going about 3 times as fast as the rest of those moving obstacles you mention and having so many near misses with idiots riding them I have every right to make people aware of how dangerous they are. if they could only go as fast as most people walk then that would be a big improvement to the safety of others but some travel as fast as 20 klms an hour.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    8:35pm
    Ebergeezer Scrooge:- Get that scooter off the footpath and meet your fate on that crowded road filed with maniacs who can't stand a vehicle doing 10kph... Bah... HUMBUG!

    If you got run into by one - watch where you're going... elderly don't have fast reactions as a rule...

    They should do a charge in line to make sure they get you next time... (M-wah-ha-hah!)
    Jezemeg8
    30th Mar 2018
    10:01am
    KSS, mobility scooters, like pedestrians are allowed on bike paths! As I travel many kms every night ministering to people who survive on the streets, often the bike path is the only means of getting from point A to point B. No, to answer the next inevitable question I don't receive payment, and no, there is no extra expense to me at all, listening to others costs nothing!
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:18pm
    Oh no I don't have to share bike tracks with mobility scooters now too. I wonder if they know which is their left from their right sometimes when they deliberately pull out in front of my bike. Most are death too as they can't hear my horn. Yes I had to replace my bell with a louder horn but it made no difference.
    Jezemeg8
    1st Apr 2018
    12:55pm
    VeryCaringBear, I've been using a mobility scooter now for over 20 years, and I am not deaf (I think that's what you mean not death). I've encountered both cyclists and pedestrians that don't know their left from their right too, and who pull out or step into my path without so much as a backward or sideways glance, and then of course tell me I'm going too fast!

    I believe your claim that you are a careful cyclist, so do likewise with me and the many other mobility scooter/electric wheelchair users in this world who actually do know how to manage their appliances safely in this modern world. There are always SOME in every walk of life that chooses to do what is wrong or dangerous, but that doesn't mean that EVERYONE affected is the same! Perhaps the mobility scooter you claim to have encountered didn't have mirrors, I have two, one on each side of me, so I can see and avoid collision with people approaching on both sides of me. Perhaps even "all the mobility scooters" that you've encountered are the same one! I too have had to install a loud air horn on my scooter because pedestrians etc paid no attention to the one that is installed, and yes, that too made no difference! So there are problems everywhere!
    jackie
    29th Mar 2018
    11:15am
    Of course politicians don't know about the Age Pension and they don’t want to know.

    Their pension is not means tested, quadruple the amount and they can earn large sums of income with it. The psychopaths don't care about the rest because they think everyone else are just plain stupid to not be a politician too.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    11:22am
    Totally agree. POLITIANS PENSIONS AND PERKS MUST BE STOPPED. THE POLITIANS SAY IT THE END OF ENTITLEMENT BUT ONLY FOR US NOT THEM.
    marhold
    29th Mar 2018
    11:23am
    DEEMING RATES! unfortunately we sold our permanent home long before the new rule came in (were already on pension) Apparently you can now put up to $300000. into super and so any money we got from the sale is with the bank (not in shares - dont want to go down that track) The money invested with banks is no where near the rate at which it is deemed that we receive. This is so unfair for all pensioners.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    12:28pm
    Yes, Deeming rates. They do not reflect the low rates being paid by banks. If people have money in the bank, and many pensioners do. Centrelink can distinguish where Assets are held, and if in a bank then the deeming should be the bank rate. It’s unfair to say Pensioners can get a better rate of return. Many are too sick, too old, too conservative or not as savvy as others.

    Also, the change to the taper rate is more detrimental than the change to the Asset thresholds
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    12:44pm
    Deeming rates are too low as you can get at least 3 times that rate if invested well.
    KSS
    29th Mar 2018
    1:30pm
    I do have some sympathy over the deeming rates (if not actually affected by them). However, it looks like interest rates will be on the rise shortly so the gap should start to reduce soon.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:46pm
    Hopefully they will increase deeming rates as well.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:17pm
    OG, you are being very egotistical and nasty, failing to acknowledge that deeming rates favour the privileged who have better investment knowledge and capacity to chase good returns. Both deeming rates and asset thresholds and taper rates are grossly UNFAIR to the less financially educated and those who are too old or sick to cope with chasing investment returns.

    Once again, it's cater to the privileged and stuff the rest. And of course you support that callous cruelty because you are privileged.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:31pm
    Unfortunately deeming rates will go up as interest rates rise because they are worked out on what the government believes in the mix of investment a pensioner should have and believes that parking money on deposit is lazy investing and they should not have to tolerate that.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:19pm
    Deeming rates are awesome as you are only assessed at the deeming rate no matter what you earn.
    Joy Anne
    29th Mar 2018
    11:28am
    OLD GEEZER. Well that might be for you. But I do know many cannot take the generic because of the compound and it has been mentioned that it is a cheap version and does upset people. I have experienced that and my Dr has agreed. I have researched it thoroughly.
    I cannot take generic and the cause is not mind over matter. The compound interacts with other medication.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    11:39am
    Do you really need to take that poison anyway? Maybe it is the drug itself that is causing the problem.
    Grazza
    29th Mar 2018
    11:37am
    They Must include the value of the home in the means test! It's disgusting that there are people with 2 million dollar houses receiving the pension, whilst those of us with houses worth 20% of that and shares/savings worth less than 1 million are ineligble.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    12:36pm
    The family home is not an Asset. It does not generate income unlike shares. Many in Sydney and Melbourne have very modest homes which are worth over a million. The same house in regional Australia would be a lot less. You can’t make people sell their family home just because it’s worth more than yours. Not their fault prices have gone up.

    However, maybe a cap of 2 million subject to inflation would stop people over investing in houses to qualify for the OAP
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:11pm
    Family home is an asset as I don't see too many people getting them for nothing.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    1:22pm
    House is already in the assets test to the tune of about $203'000.
    Non home owners are allowed to have that much extra in assets.
    My place is not worth all that much more here. OK, raise the cap higher but allow for a higher pension payment.
    Or, give those people with houses worth more than $5 million the pension but take the money back when they die so it does not go to
    the next generation in full. That is really behind the Govt's plan to
    soak pensioners. Many live on a shoestring to hand over their assets to their offspring. It all adds to the great wealth divide people always talk about.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:26pm
    I just can't understand why anyone would want live on a shoestring for someone else to squander their assets after they die.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:35pm
    There are many things you can't understand from your narrow-minded and self-serving perspective, OG.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    2:43pm
    I guess that is one of them then.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:21pm
    My family have already got their inheritance so won't be much left in my estate now.
    palmerb
    29th Mar 2018
    11:43am
    Our problem is we do not speak or vote with one voice and therefore become an easy target. Shorten recently underlined this with his attempt to steal the franking credit and the libs by taking away part pensions last year.
    Divided and conquered over 65s will remain
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    1:11pm
    Yes. All should unite to demand Universal Pension say at Age 65, without Asset, Income or Partner tests, and Funded by reducing Superannuation concessions, reduced negative gearing, Minimum Tax (20-30%) system for large companies and the wealth.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:41pm
    Couldn't agree more, George. But it won't happen. Politicians and their mates ARE the wealthy. Their mates run the companies that dodge tax. And NONE of them give a hoot about retirees, because they retire filthy rich on the money they rip off us.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:43pm
    Sadly, neither will retirees all unite. Too many selfish, self-serving pensioners who can't think past ''he has more than me - take it off him and give me more''.
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    11:22pm
    Never say "it won't happen", OGR, that's defeatist (I know you trying to be realistic, but propagating that view becomes defeatist).

    All sensible retirees must be encouraged to keep pushing for Universal Pension, and also turf out all existing seat-warmer MPs who won't support this by putting them last in preferences. I believe that is the essential 1st step to shaking up the system - especially when pollies who haven't been there for 8 years lose their seat they also lose their fat, undeserved pensions (without asset or income tests).

    Retirees as a group can cause a lot of damage especially in marginal seats - they just need to WAKE UP.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:32am
    I agree, George. I just wish I knew how to wake up those who can't think past ''poor me'' or ''he's got more, take it off him'', and those who swallow political propaganda without any attention to facts, much less common sense.

    If only people would stop focusing on who has what and who gets what and start focusing on what's good for the nation as a whole, we could create a force to be reckoned with and turn this country around.
    tisme
    29th Mar 2018
    12:59pm
    the pension is not enough, stop upping the age for retirement. stop ripping off unpaid carers so they can have a retirement
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:10pm
    If the pension is not enough you are not living within your means.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    1:48pm
    Old Geezer is right till it comes to health matters like insurance,
    lot of people are in trouble because of recurring costs. Without needing a car you are certainly in front. Singles in commission flats are doing OK where I live, always the form guide in front of them and a beer handy. Most complaints I get from the smokers though, the
    ciggies could be cheaper for the old folks, their health damage has already been done.
    KSS
    29th Mar 2018
    1:51pm
    Caring for family members comes with the family territory. As it does with marriage!
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:28am
    And government policy should support and assist both, because family is the basis of a healthy society, and in-family caring saves the budget an inestimable fortune - not just directly, but by relieving the costs that can never be calculated such as the cost of increased mental illness, higher suicide and addiction rates, higher rates of family break-ups due to stress, higher crime rates resulting from addiction and desperation, higher bad debt rates... it goes on and on and on and on and on. We are spending a small fortune on uneconomical and psychologically detrimental caring arrangements, and we are encouraging marriage breakups by offering financial benefit to those who choose the less responsible and socially and economically beneficial lifestyle options.
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    1:09pm
    Good list, however would like the Question about Universal Pension to be worded more strongly otherwise they will avoid it by saying it is not affordable. Say,
    Individual Universal Pension based on Residence only (15 years) - without Asset, Income or Partner tests, and Funded by reducing Superannuation concessions, reduced negative gearing, Minimum Tax (20-30%) system for large companies and the wealth, and use of the Future Fund by putting aside & investing the 7.5% tax component charged since 1946.
    Just Cruising
    29th Mar 2018
    1:25pm
    Early days for my wife and myself on the pension. We track our weekly living costs very closely and have done for the past 4 years. This is what they are living on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. Plus we own our own house.
    WEEKLY COSTS
    Food & laundry etc $266 ( eat little meat but eat healthy so maybe a bit high)
    Health Insurance $98
    Phones & Internet $45
    Motor Vehicle (1) Fuel, insurance etc $87
    Council rates and water $82
    Clothes $22
    Gas & electricity $32
    House insurance $22

    Total $654
    So total is before things like holidays, eating out, gifts for families. Based on these figures the future looks bleak on 100% pension. Very reluctant to give up health insurance so into the savings we go of which we do not have a lot.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:32pm
    $100 a week in food should be more than enough and you only need one set of clothes a week so a box of washing powder lasts years.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    1:41pm
    OG! Very unhelpful. I wouldn’t want to sit next to someone who hadn’t changed clothes in a week! Especially if subject to Qld humidity. Just cruising said he has to review the food bill, but we’re skirting around the edges here. It’s tough on the OAP
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    1:41pm
    One set of clothes a week ?
    Bloody hell OG
    Lucky I don’t have to stand next to you
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:45pm
    Yes one set of clothes a week and a bath when I need it maybe every second week. You wouldn't even know it if your stood next to me as it's mind over matter where people just think they are unclean if they don't wreck their skin but constant washing. No matter we have such lucutive industry in skin products.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:33pm
    Good grief, Just Cruising. I live in a VERY high rates area and my rates and water are only $57 a week. Food and laundry etc. $200 a week, and that's high because I have to feed 5 grandchildren during school holidays due to them being in very difficult family circumstances, and my partner has extensive special dietary needs. But we eat very well and keep very clean on $200 a week despite those extra costs that most retirees don't incur.
    Phone and Internet is expensive in our area at $89 a month for an all-inclusive package, because we have poor coverage. That's less than $25 per week. House insurance, gas and electricity costs are similar - a bit less for the latter as we have solar. Our big cost is the car, because we have to travel extensively for health care. It costs about $120 a week for fuel alone, plus about $20 for registration and insurance.
    With no health insurance, our total costs run out to about $500 per week, not including leisure activities and gifts and - the real kicker - disability aids, medicines (which we pretty much avoid) and specialist treatments, which run to the tens of thousands per year.
    I have repeatedly analysed our comparative situation if I had kept up private health insurance and comparisons ALWAYS prove we are better off without it, in spite of high costs. The gaps were crippling.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:39pm
    Oh, OG, now I know who you are. That stinking, egomaniacal scumbag who gets around our area in filthy rags raiding garbage bins for food. No wonder it costs you so little to live!
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:07pm
    One gets some awesome stuff out of those bins. It is amazing what gets thrown out and ends up in landfill.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    3:20pm
    OGR, I’m also on the Sunshine Coast in a Duplex. Our rates and water are $86 a week and that’s after discounts!
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:34pm
    My rates and water are about $30 a week and I live on a block that would normally have 8-10 houses on it. I get no discounts.
    Kathleen
    3rd Apr 2018
    10:36pm
    We eat very well on a lot less than $266, some weeks it is only $100, other weeks a bit more and some of the other bills are less as well. We do have private health cover bit for less than quoted. My specialist bulk bills including any hospital treatments. We do not drink or smoke or eat out. Even a cup of coffee is a waste of money. Weekly is the best way to manage the bills not pay big amounts from pensions but rather have the money already saved.

    29th Mar 2018
    1:27pm
    Overhaul of the pension scheme

    Universal pension for all and tax everything including the pension when income is above a certain threshold

    Simplify the system and halve the administrative costs as well as reduce the pension burden on the budget
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    1:36pm
    Yes!
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    1:57pm
    Absolutely the ONLY sensible way to deal with the cost of retirement. If only the selfish morons in power would wake up to reality instead of focusing constantly on feathering their own nests and selling their self-serving political lies!
    4b2
    30th Mar 2018
    9:41am
    Could not agree more, but include all politicians in the same scheme. They are so good at making these decisions when they are not affected.
    Just Cruising
    29th Mar 2018
    1:46pm
    But I agree with OG about not leaving it to the kids so why wear smelly clothes.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:49pm
    I only change my clothes when they do smell not because I think they might. I suppose you wash your bath towel too every time you use it.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:52pm
    Did you cruise companies have to limit towels so that people don't use so much water?
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    1:47pm
    Some help for self funded retirees would be helpful. People who have done without so they could have a comfortable retirement shouldn't be seen as an opportunity for quick cash for the government. We don't claim the pension , the least they could do is not make it harder for us.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    1:51pm
    Agree. It is certainly getting harder for us to have a comfortable retirement.
    Just Cruising
    29th Mar 2018
    1:54pm
    The bottom line for me is to leave reasonably within my means but I am not going to live in misery just so my kids can spend my money. Wash towels every 3 days in humid QLD, wifes orders!!!!
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    2:11pm
    Sounds like an awful lot of unnecessary work and expense to me.
    Adrianus
    29th Mar 2018
    2:14pm
    Just Cruising, you know you can always do what I do and get a job? I do 'dial a hubby' a couple of days a week. Just odd jobs. But I still need to turn my undies inside out to get a couple more days out of them.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    2:22pm
    Do people actually still wear undies? So that's why I see so many people scratching their posteriors. Undies?
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    4:13pm
    Oh dear I will be all day trying to get those revelations out of my head. That's just nasty.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:31pm
    Now you know the secret of who wears undies.
    Tib
    29th Mar 2018
    8:21pm
    Kill me now.
    Travellersjoy
    29th Mar 2018
    2:20pm
    A game show that puts a bunch of politicians in a house for a year with only the age pension to live on should be a hit with the public.

    I am surprised Channel 7 hasn't thought of it already.
    Whoops, not in Murdoch's interests to expose his tame dogs to such public attention, to say nothing of the pressure.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    2:25pm
    And who would run the country?
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    2:36pm
    Wouldn't prove a thing. They would just spend happily, knowing that they had assets and retirement benefits to cover their excess spending and could afford to run up big short-term debts if need be.
    Topcat
    29th Mar 2018
    2:31pm
    Oh dear - I asked for facts about welfare being the biggest drain on the budget however all I got was comments from ‘old geezer’ saying that ‘he pays me’. I wonder how her came to that assumption as I never said I was receiving any welfare payment. He is indeed a very clever man but you know what they say about ASSUME? And might I add I’m still waiting on those facts. All very well to say ‘they are the facts’ - perhaps Mr Old Geezer was a politician in a previous life.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:50pm
    Nay wouldn't accept the job as it's too lowly paid for me to sit and snooze all day.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    2:39pm
    proposed increase in pension age
    -70 sounds fine if people can be still employable. The problem will be “if they can be still employable between the age of 67 and 70. If they can’t what then? Newstart? Disability pension?

    scrapping of the energy supplement
    -Ok scrap it, but increase pensions by the $14 per fortnight

    pensioner eligibility assets and income limits
    - Why should an old age resident of a $1.5 million dollar home be on a full age pension? They shouldn’t be. We all know that many are asset rich but cash poor. Well, they need to sell up, find somewhere else to reside cheaper like in a regional city and sustain their lifestyle off the balance of their home disposal funds. Taxpayers should not be funding those who have the means to cash in on their $1.5 million dollar homes and living the life. I think, a threshold of the value of the residential home be included in the Assets Test if, it’s worth more than $1 million on the market.
    - Currently a single OAP can have $150,000 cash in the bank and not be subject to full pension reduction because of the Income Test. Any cash over $150K (approx) is subject to the Income Test resulting in pro-rata reduction of the pension payment. Sounds fair to me.

    the merit of the downsizing policy to boost superannuation savings
    -Some countries have a policy that at retirement age you can only withdraw 25% of your Super and the balance of 75% is spread out to 120 withdrawals (.63% per year of the balance). Considering that life expectancy is increasing such funds might go dry within 10 years of retirement. It’s a poor solution and not an incentive to throw money into Super.

    potential reversal of excluding the family home from pension tests
    - Refer above

    retention of franking credits by the Australian Taxation Office
    -Don’t know enough about this area to comment

    soaring cost of energy and private health insurance
    -Absolute rip off. Thanks to past and present government’s privatisation policies.

    increasing rental assistance
    -For the poor and needy $69 per week (current rate) is of some help. But, rents go up by more than $1,30 the current March 2018 increase. It’s a disgrace! Renters are being forced out on the excuse of renovations and then properties are rented out at much higher rent…to foreign students…

    reducing superannuation concessions in favour of a universal pension
    - Universal pensions must be 100% of the minimum weekly worker’s income as in some other countries.
    -
    what single policy measure of your party will do the most for the wellbeing of older Australians?
    - Universal retirement pensions must be 100% of the minimum weekly worker’s income indexed annually.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:24pm
    Abolishing franking credits.

    Say I earn $18,000 a year.
    If I get it in interest I get $18,000,
    If I get it in capital gains I get $18,000.
    If I get it in rent I get $18,000.
    If I get it in dividends I get $13,000 paid by the company and $5,000 I get it back from the ATO when I file my tax return.

    Say I earn $100,000 and including $18,000 in investment income.
    If I get it in dividends the company gives me $13,000 plus gives the ATO $5000 in tax. Say my tax is $25,000 a year but because the ATO has $5000 sitting there for me already I only pay $20,000 in tax.

    What Shorten want to do is cut my income to $13,000 if I only have $18,000 income by not giving me back the $5000 the company paid in tax for me.

    However if I earn $100,000 I will get the $5000 deducted off my tax and only pay $20,000 in tax like I do now.

    I don't think this is fair at all but as people think I am rich because I don't put my hand out for welfare it is OK to not give me back the $5000.

    That is why many more will be looking at ways to get on welfare as they will get the $5000 back.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    3:48pm
    The first part is correct. The marginal tax rate for taxable income between $0-$18,200 is 0%
    Second, part is not correct, Shorten can not give you less than the $18K.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:56pm
    HS if I have an income of $18,000 from dividends then the company gives me $13,000 and pays the tax off $5000 on my behalf. I now get the $5000 back so get the whole $13,000.

    Because I don't pay tax Shorten now wants to keep the $5000 so I only get an income of $13,000 from dividends.

    However if I get the $18,000 from any other source I get to keep the whole $18,000.

    Yes Shorten wants to give me only $13,000 from my dividends.

    Now can you see how wrong his plan to keep franked dividends really is?
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    4:11pm
    If $18K is your only income Shorten can not give you less. I don't care how it's structured on dividends. The marginal tax rate is what it is ! You get the $13K and you get the $5K from ATO. You stated that on $100K you get the right amount. Therefore, you are wrong with your theory on dividends being such a low and only income of $18k on current marginal rates. However, if Shorten intends to cut the marginal rate down to $13k for all tax payers then I see what you mean. Then you get taxed on the $5K. If that, for some reason is true, then no one will vote for Labor. Shorten might be shortsighted on some things but not when it comes to votes.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    4:17pm
    Unfortunately I am right HS. Shorten plans to keep my $5000 that the company paid as tax on my behalf. It has nothing to do with cutting marginal rates at all. I get taxed on the $18,000 which is zero so I will not be entitled to receive a refund of the $5000 tax paid.

    I know it looks like it makes little sense and that is why many people don't understand how inequitable this tax grab is. Just from what I have heard if Shorten brings this tax grab in then there will be a class action as you simply can't have one class of asset being tax differently to other classes.
    HarrysOpinion
    29th Mar 2018
    4:23pm
    Then, not one person in their right mind will vote for Labor
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    4:37pm
    Exactly. That's why he has backed down and is allowing anyone on welfare to have their franking credits refunded. However he has totally ignored SFRs who is some cases are already worse off than those on welfare but will now have another cut in their income.

    Many of those who lost their pension due the change in asset test would have bought shares to increase their income and now they face a further reduction in their income due to this inequitable tax grab.

    Worse still it will put further pressure on house prices as people upsize so they can get back on welfare.

    The wealthy are laughing all the way to the bank on this as Shorten is telling everyone that it will only affect the wealthy. As most people have no idea what he is talking about hey just blindly believe him until their super or managed investments drop in value due to this tax grab.
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    6:47pm
    HS, for once OG is absolutely correct. And it's actually far worse for many than his example shows. You clearly have no idea how the system works and what the impact will be of Shorten's cruel and grossly unfair changes. And beyond the unfair hurt to self-funded retirees, it will hurt workers on lower wages, slash investment in Australian companies, put more pressure on housing prices, drive companies to try harder to minimize tax, and generally have devastating economic impact. Anyone who thinks it will help the budget is wearing blinkers.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    6:55pm
    Agree OGR my example was only a small part of a much larger flow one from this tax grab. Another one is the effect of this tax grab on SMSFs so much so that is will in a lot of cases it is not be worth having one's money in super as any tax gains will be wiped out plus some.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    7:29pm
    Just been sent a email with the following included.

    Chris drove the point home on who was affected when he asked the Prime Minister:

    “Can the Prime Minister confirm that under the Government's policies a wealthy retiree couple will get a cash bonus from dividend imputation despite the fact that they have $2.9 million in super, have $290,000 worth of Australian shares, draw $120,000 a year in super income and receive $17,500 a year of dividend income and pay no tax? How is it fair that they will get a cash bonus from the Government of $7,500?”

    Does Shorten actually believe this couple will leave their money in Australian shares?

    I certainly don't.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:10am
    But... but... but... hang on a minute. Under the stupid ALP policy, the answer is YES. That wealthy retiree WILL get his cash bonus, because $1.3 million of his $2.9 million has to, by law, be in accumulation mode and therefore taxed, and he can offset his franking credits against that tax. His tax, assuming a 9.5% return on his super (which would generate about $120K a year on the pension portion) would be more than $18,000 a year, so his tax reduces to about $500 a year and he's lost nothing!

    Conversely, the SFR who has only $900,000 in super and no other assets (other than a modest home) LOSES his credits and suffers a reduction of 30% of his income.

    Unfortunately, the ranters here who are calling franking credit refunds a ''rort'' and screaming for the blood of SFRs, won't bother to read the above and pay attention to facts. They would rather believe the idiotic lies of ALP politicians who pretend to care about pensioners. And no, that's NOT a political comment, because I hate the LNP with a vengeance and until the ALP came out with this nonsense, I was tempted to vote for them. Now I'll definitely be looking for the right minor party or independent.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    30th Mar 2018
    2:30pm
    OGR they are a couple and can have $1.6 million each in super so the whole $2.9 million is in tne pension phase and pays no tax.

    Also super and individuals are taxed as separate entities.

    If that couple had $2.9 million in super each and took the excess over $1.6 million out of super they would not lose a thing.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    9:07pm
    Which reinforces my argument, BigBear, that Shorten is a bat-eyed fool and anyone who endorses his nonsense policy is supporting indulging the rich and bashing honest, struggling savers who try to benefit the nation by being self-funded. But seems we will never educate the Kathleens, Knows-a-lot (doesn't!), and some of the other rusted-on ALP supporters who can't shift their focus from political loyalty to actually examining the policy and its threatened consequences and making an intelligent decision to oppose IT, though not necessarily the party touting it. It IS possible to write to politicians and tell them you want to support them but they got it wrong on this issue. And it IS possible to show some decency and respect to others, rather than insulting them.

    Clearly, Shorten is LYING about the policy hitting the wealthy. Or else he is just plain inept

    29th Mar 2018
    2:54pm
    Here are my thoughts:

    proposed increase in pension age:

    NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Many are physically or mentally unfit for work before 65, and making people work longer just means fewer jobs for younger folk. A comfortable retirement - while still young and fit enough to enjoy it - should offer the strongest incentive there is to work hard, save, and be productive. The current system is killing productivity by depriving people of fair reward for their efforts.


    scrapping of the energy supplement

    Yes, but accompanied by a significant increase in pensions.

    pensioner eligibility assets and income limits

    REMOVE the GROSSLY UNFAIR assets test. Pension should be universal as in other countries, but if not then test only income and deemed income - at REALISTIC rates.

    the merit of the downsizing policy to boost superannuation savings

    What RUBBISH. Downsize the massively unfair superannuation tax concessions to the rich and give more to lower income workers to boost their super so everyone can retire in reasonable comfort.

    potential reversal of excluding the family home from pension tests

    NO. Abolish the assets test. It is patently unfair and economically unsustainable as it incentivizes manipulation and cheating and disadvantages honest and responsible behaviour.

    retention of franking credits by the Australian Taxation Office

    The existing policy is correct. Any change would be both patently unfair and economically very detrimental, driving investment out of Australian companies, creating stronger incentives for companies to avoid tax, driving property price rises, and driving more retirees onto pensions.

    soaring cost of energy and private health insurance

    Has to be a priority to reduce both - particularly health insurance, which is now an unconscionable scam. delivering no value

    increasing rental assistance

    NO. Homeowners SHOULD be better off than pensioners after sacrificing for decades to pay off a mortgage. And they have high costs for rates, insurance, maintenance, etc. that are not being acknowledged. Give EVERYONE a pension that allows for a modestly comfortable lifestyle - ignoring assets completely - and thereby restore incentives for people to strive and be responsible for themselves to the greatest extent possible.

    reducing superannuation concessions in favour of a universal pension
    ABSOLUTELY. SHOULD BE PRIORITY NO. 1. Concessions favour high income earners and do nothing to reduce the cost of retirement generally.

    what single policy measure of your party will do the most for the wellbeing of older Australians?

    Abolition of the Assets text - and preferably a universal age pension with NO MEANS TEST.
    Hardworker
    29th Mar 2018
    4:12pm
    As usual very sensible comments by OnlyGenuineRainey.
    GeorgeM
    29th Mar 2018
    11:38pm
    All very good responses, OGR. Now we just have to find who will adopt these policies!
    I would add a point regarding how to afford the Universal Pension (as they will claim it is unaffordable) - Ensure all Companies and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes by implementing Minimum Taxes without allowing shonky deductions.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    5:01am
    I have to wonder about the claimed cost of a universal pension, George, given the huge revenue potential from fair taxation of retirement income and the massive economic growth that would inevitably result from a more sensible pension system.

    Where the huge saving comes in, and I doubt any politician has paid attention to it - because they seem to focus on historical figures and ignore the future impact of policy changes - is the reduction in people manipulating and reducing assets to secure a pension and benefits. Allowing workers and savers to benefit fairly from their efforts would drive a massive change in mentality and lifestyle, leading to more people investing rather than divesting and thus driving economic growth. Improved incomes among the responsible retirees and greater security would enable more spending to drive growth.

    The Commission of Audit claims that the number of self-funded retirees is NOT increasing, despite superannuation improving the capacity for retirees to self-fund. Gee, I wonder why? Both the government and opposition are harshly punishing people for saving to be self-funded, and richly rewarding those who manipulate to achieve the ''sweet spot'' that delivers high income from a combination of pension and investment income.

    While the STUPID politicians continue this ridiculous attack on the self-funded, and pandying to pensioner lobby groups and ''think tanks'' that CANNOT THINK, of course the cost of pensions will keep rising.

    Despite considerable evidence of selfishness and envy from some who seem to think those who work hard and save well should hand over everything so those who don't can be equally affluent, there appears to be far more intelligence among a handful of posters on YLC than among all the politicians, think tanks, research groups and advisers combined!

    Politicians need a huge wake-up call. If you punish people for being SFR, fewer people will be SFR. If you reward manipulators for claiming a pension they don't need, more manipulators will claim a pension they don't need.

    And if people STOPPED the stupid ranting about who is ''needy''' and who isn't and focused on the issue - which is economic prosperity that benefits EVERYONE - we might actually resolve some of this country's problems. But it seems we simply cannot shift the focus from ''I want'' or ''I need'' or ''he's got more than me, it's not fair'' to WHAT BENEFITS THE NATION AS A WHOLE.

    I am repeatedly accused of ''whinging'', and assaulted with all kinds of insults and accusations, but very few bother to note my comments that I am still working - years after attaining retirement age - and nothing I say is motivated by self-interest. I'm doing fine and I'll continue to do fine because I'll probably work for a very long time. My concern is for the future of the nation.

    Having experienced extreme hardship for an extended period, I have great sympathy for the genuinely needy. But our system is driving greed and a welfare mentality. The best way to help the genuinely needy is to drive economic growth, and you CANNOT do that by bashing the workers and savers and rewarding the manipulators and the irresponsible.
    Sundays
    30th Mar 2018
    9:05am
    You’ve made some good points. However, are people who aim for the sweet spot really manipulators. Is it perhaps more a view that says, I worked hard all my life, I paid a lot of tax,I saved and didn’t access any welfare payments. There was no such thing as baby bonus, paid maternity leave, Family Tax Benefit, child care rebate, first home buyers grant etc when we were young. We were promised the OAP when we retired. Others who didn’t work and save etc get it, why am I missing out. Therefore, I think I am entitled to some govt assistance in old age. A part pension will improve my life and is my reward. I think you will find this thinking is very prevalent. The system is flawed!
    Sundays
    30th Mar 2018
    9:28am
    Also, OGR way back money was deducted from wages, set aside to pay the OAP. Then when compulsory super first came in, it was touted as a form of saving to supplement the OAP. People work within the rules at any given point in time, it doesn’t make them manipulators. In our case, we get a small part pension because of some grandfathered rules where not all our income is counted. We didn’t manipulate anything, didn’t even know until we were told at a retirement seminar. Big picture, maybe we shouldn’t, reality why would we knock back something we qualify for. A universal pension is the only way to have a level playing field
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    9:00pm
    I assure you tens of thousands do DELIBERATELY manipulate, Sundays. And most of them are far, far better off than struggling SFRs, yet Shorten wants to bash the SFRs and reward ALL pensioners. My point is that if this continues, we'll have no SFRs and the already overloaded pension system will collapse. Yes, a universal pension is the only way to have a level playing field, but I doubt I'll see it in my lifetime. I predict things will get much worse for retirees before we see any improvement.
    Sundays
    31st Mar 2018
    7:12am
    I suspect that struggling SFRs like you might be in the minority. The only SFRs I personally know are people who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth, inhertited money or were on a good wicket like Politicians, and Senior Public Servants. I have a friend who has never worked a day in her life. She just married money straight from Uni, and got a good divorce settlement. These people will just restructure their affairs. No way, would they ever go near Centrelink. The class war is alive and well in Australia
    Sundays
    31st Mar 2018
    8:28am
    And there has been a not so subtle campaign over the last few years to include the family home in the Asset test, or Deem it. It’s a softening up process. Eventually, it will come in, and then the OAP will only reward those who have not saved.
    OpMan
    29th Mar 2018
    2:59pm
    Seriously folks I'm not retired yet but if this is what I have to look forward to, rude and negative comments like those of Old Geezer, I think I'll work 'til I drop. No adult conversation to be had here.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    3:16pm
    You are right I am one of those SFRs that pay our own way for everything plus extra to make up for the concessions that welfare people get. I get to pay the government and don't get even the smell of coffee for my contribution. Shorten now wants to take $400 off me a week because I am foolish enough to be a SFR and not on welfare. So those on welfare will not only be a big drain on the country's budget but will be an even bigger one on my budget. Can you afford to lose $400 a week?
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    3:50pm
    come now Opman - dont be a snowflake
    I dont see any rude comments just healthy debate and some very good points being made.

    Retirees have the right to be pissed off when slimey politicians like Shorten want to rip us off
    Hardworker
    29th Mar 2018
    4:08pm
    Come on OpMan you are not yet retired so you don't understand how scary it is to have fat cat politicians changing the goal posts on you every 5 minutes. We just want to be able to enjoy our retirement, the fruits of our labour. Most of us have planned all our working lives for retirement, unlike most of the younger set who only start looking at their finances when they get into trouble. Plan on becoming a self-funded retiree as the government has been telling us all for years that their won't even be an aged pension in the future.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:41pm
    Now we are SFRs the government and wannabee government is trying it's hardest to take it off us and give it to those who failed to provide for their own retirement.
    john
    29th Mar 2018
    3:03pm
    I think I can make a good point here , and the government needs to sit up and take notice.
    I don't consider my situation desperate, I 'm retired on a part pension of 77 dollars a fortnight I have a employee super pension as well, my wife is part time teacher.
    But we are far from cashed up. Many pensioners who seem comfortable , maybe simpy surviving after all the costs of things rising, even when you own your home. If you are a middle class average older Australian couple you are more than likely to be short of cash every week. Even when things are paid. Like bills obligations.
    I sit in amazement at the stories of people who are under superannuated , and are living on a couple pension , if they do not yet own their house or if they are still renting, then I do not envy their lifestyle, and I WOULD SAY THAT THIS IS OBSCENE IF THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WORKING ALL THEIR LIVES, and how they survive is beyond me, because as I said we do OK but we too get short of cash, even with a part pension and some other small income.
    So the bottom line to this dilemma is easy, the basic old age pension is much much too small. It has too many hoops to jump through to get, I in fact took nearly two years to get the 77 a fortnight with forms etc and wound up having to apply twice , because I wanted a pensioner card for bill cutting. It was one of the most frustrating times I have ever put up with.So my answer is this, good quality people and ENOUGH of them in centre link to do the job, a good rise in the OAP , A GOOD RISE!!!
    With enough good employees at centrelink the terrible waiting and feeling uncomfortable is really horrible in these places , fortunately I only had to go about 4 times but was there hours. Of course some of the customers can get very angry, they do, but its because of the under funding of this government operation, why is it so , that governments cut cut cut services.And pensions is a service that we pay for all lour lives. If it was privatised the result would be devastating.
    Hardworker
    29th Mar 2018
    3:46pm
    I agree with Cranky that whether married or not, individuals should be paid separate pensions. It is impossible to prove whether two people living under the same roof are actually in a de facto relationship or just friends sharing a residence due to financial difficulty and Centrelink has already had at least one of these cases that went to court and the Judge said "there are a variety of living arrangements". Everything needs to be brought up to date and made less complicated. I am all for husbands and wives receiving single pensions paid into their own separate bank accounts. Let them sort out their individual contributions to the household, physical and financial, themselves just as singles do living under the same roof. As for all the other issues Your Life Choices would like us to comment on - how long have you got! Each party that gets into government just complicates things further and now it has all got into such a big mess that it needs a complete rethink. Transparency in donations to political parties would be a very good starting point. Any changes they make need to be very gradual as it is criminal in my opinion to change the goal posts after people have retired and also very difficult to alter strategies at the last minute for those about to retire. If they decide to count the family home in the Assets Test it should only occur at the very top end and would be disastrous, and very cruel, to those who have already retired. This is a very lazy way out of the whole issue.
    Hardworker
    29th Mar 2018
    4:00pm
    I do not agree with everything Old Geezer says but he is right about one thing. As with the recent Assets Test changes SFR and those people who are well into retirement, own their own home and are in fairly good health can probably manage on the full aged pension plus dividends from keeping some of their shares. Anyone on the borderline with divest themselves of the majority of their shares and go on the full Aged Pension. For all the effort this policy will take, the government will not make much gain. Why do they keep attacking pensioners? Because pensioners are an easy target and they are not willing to attack big business to pay their fair share of taxes.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    4:48pm
    Add to that the proposal not to refund franking tax credits for people with no income and you have a real incentive for people to find ways to get onto welfare.
    Just Cruising
    29th Mar 2018
    4:38pm
    Just adding to my weekly costs discussion. This would be a normal weekly cycle for myself and my wife.
    Eating 3 meals at home per week for two
    Breakfast $4.40
    Lunch $5.60
    Dinner $16.00 include beverage and something sweet.
    That’s $26 day by 7 days equals $182 per week in home eating.
    Add to that the luxury of 2 cheap $7 bottles of wine a week equals $14
    Then the sheer luxury of going out once a week for coffee and cake equals $20
    Again another luxury say fish and chips on the beach once a fortnight at 50% cost is $12.00
    So weekly food only costs of $228 before laundry and personal health items. It is not hard to get to $266 per week for what we would call a comfortable life. Then you start to add little pressies for the grandkids outside of birthdays, easter, Christmas let alone extended family. Then add Christmas extra food!!!
    Our living costs are what we call “having a life”
    Anonymous
    29th Mar 2018
    5:23pm
    Wow JustC
    Thats excellent - less than $14,000 a year for 2 people to have a comfortable life
    Youre doing great
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:28pm
    We spending $150 a week at the most on food and groceries and that for 4 adults as we have 2 young people living with us at present.
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    5:29pm
    Just received my electricity bill and it was $160 for the last 3 months.
    Sundays
    29th Mar 2018
    7:48pm
    Are those young people allowed to shower, and wash their clothes OG?
    Old Geezer
    29th Mar 2018
    7:55pm
    They are the reason for my high electricity bill with all their showing and clothes washing.
    TREBOR
    29th Mar 2018
    8:25pm
    Short-sighted, self-serving government with both parties looking after their own interests first and not those of the nation.
    Ginaus
    29th Mar 2018
    10:43pm
    They wouldn't have a clue... that is .... they bloody well know that it'
    s hard to live on the pension .... take from the pensioners and give to the Muslims....
    Hairy
    1st Apr 2018
    3:41pm
    Too true it’s a disgrace
    ancal
    1st Apr 2018
    5:05pm
    Oh so true. We must tell the pollies
    ronloby
    30th Mar 2018
    9:15am
    Why don't these so called pollies think about other people beside then themselves. They have no idea what the pensioners are going through. Their forever pension makes them upper class even after they retire. All they do every day is try to make sure they are ok forever and forever and bugger everyone else! They can't even agree on any problems and attack each other just to make their day.
    4b2
    30th Mar 2018
    9:37am
    Health Insurance since the common fee and a 75% rebate was scrapped is turning into heath insurance for the wealthy. I would like to see a web site of Doctors and Hospital costs and GAP payments for all conditions. I think many Australians would then drop out of Health Insurance. Why do they need annual increases? So they can pay their investor dividend's and increase their profits. Scam Scam Scam.
    Old Geezer
    30th Mar 2018
    11:01am
    All you do is ask if the doctor charges the scheduled fee. Most will say yes and if they say no say you will think about it and let them know.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2018
    8:57pm
    None that work in major Brisbane hospitals charge the scheduled fee. There is ALWAYS a 25% gap - minimum. Good luck getting a service bulk-billed. You will wait a very long time.
    Hardworker
    31st Mar 2018
    10:27am
    The 75% rebate is based on the Medicare Schedule fee the government is prepared to pay for that service, not what the doctor charges for the service which is probably closer to what the AMA schedule recommends. This is the reason there is now so much distance between what the patient pays and what you get back from Medicare. The government does not keep the Medicare Schedule fees up to date in this regard and freezes these fees whenever it likes, forcing the doctors to charge more and more. Penny pinching to those it chooses and being generous to their mates. If you had studied to be a doctor you would want to be paid appropriately for your services with appropriate pay rises. The government has created a blame game between doctors and their patients when in actual fact the buck starts with them. The private health insurers are just like any other insurance company they are out to make a good profit. The not-for-profit health insurers need to cover their costs but more and more people are getting sick and medicine is becoming more costly also due to more advanced equipment and procedures. It pays to eat healthy and stay away from the mountain of junk food, including soft drinks and juices full of sugar. Of course some unscrupulous doctors will do operations or treatments on you that are unnecessary just to appear to be doing something for you. My mother allowed a doctor to do an operation on her foot that was absolutely useless but she had to pay the surgeon, assistant, anaesthetist, xrays, medications and the hospital - criminal! We all need to inform ourselves more and be responsible for our own health and decisions. I met a nurse once who had had the same doctor do 3 back operations on her and she still wasn't right. She was about to let him have yet another go. If a doctor had not fixed the problem after 3 goes I would be choosing another doctor. There is now a lot of information on the internet as long as you are careful about the websites you access. I know the medical profession doesn't like ordinary people doing this but you can be a lot more informed about your complaint and know the questions to ask your doctor if you do. A specialist of mine wanted me to come back and see him every 6 months even though he told me there was no cure and no research being done into my complaint. Of course I would be up for a few hundred dollars over the schedule fee each time as he was a highly qualified specialist, and for what - a nice little chat! I have found out more about my complaint from the internet than I ever found out from him. Think first before you part with your money. Your own life can be much improved if you keep it for yourself.
    Anonymous
    31st Mar 2018
    5:13pm
    Hardworker, I agree that anyone who studied to be a doctor is entitled to expect to be paid appropriately, but I think $2300 an hour is more than appropriate for a very simple procedure, and $9000 an hour is just obscene greed. The problem is that doctors have lost sight of reason and obligation to serve their patients and are now seeing patients as cows to be milked. They've lost their integrity and ethics. Once upon a time, people trained as doctors because they wanted to help sick people and contribute to society in a positive way. Now they just want to hoard gold.
    Elisa
    30th Mar 2018
    8:47pm
    I have one major request: That the Government gives aged pensioners the amount of the minimum basic wage. This is the amount they themselves deem necessary for one to live on. Why is it that a pensioner would eat less, use less heating/cooling, fuel and clothing (among other everyday needs) than anyone else? Surely our taxes, paid for over 35 years, would cover these costs. The aged pension is not a hand-out. It is what our promised reward for many years of hard (often back-breaking) work and often going without to pay off our homes, feed and clothe our families, school our children and prepare for retirement. If not then give us the same pension as Politicians get! We are deserving of that as we have worked many more years than any politician has, with no lurks and perks and no financial rewards, other than our hard-earned basic wages. We deserve better!
    Anonymous
    31st Mar 2018
    10:52am
    I suppose the Govt reckons APs need less than the minimum wage because they will not have to get up to work, buy acceptable clothing and footwear. Transport to and from work is also not needed and when the pension was thought about way back a car was certainly not included in the equation.
    I do use less money on quite a few things since I retired but I question the argument that a married couple uses less than 2 singles. The wife has different interests to me. The notion that 2 people sit in the same room, having one light on and maybe the wireless comes from the time when Moses was a boy! Even my parents had their own lives.
    ancal
    31st Mar 2018
    9:41am
    Once again we are talking about bandaids. Politicians put bandaids on every problem the people bring up, weather it be Health or Pension increases and many other things. We have to go back to the natural cause of all the rising costs of living. Put your local Politician on notice! If they are not prepared to talk to you and listen, put them out! Ball tampering only hurt the people involved, Politicians decisions hurt every person, so think about it.
    Jan
    1st Apr 2018
    5:10pm
    I agree, Cranky, people shouldbe treated as individuals when it comes to the pension. We could also cut down on the money spent trying to prove that people are in a relationhip. Who cares? It costs the same for two people to live in a house whether they are two individuals or one part of a couple.
    ancal
    1st Apr 2018
    8:01pm
    I agree Jan, There is so much talk about mental health and bullying, and yet the stress put on worried pensioners does not do there mental health any good. And Centrelink sometimes made me feel like I was getting bullied. The Minister seems to be lying when they say the wait of phone calls is only so many minutes and yet we are told that there are 33million unanswered calls. Some one is not telling the truth, but not one Politician is interested.
    GrayComputing
    2nd Apr 2018
    11:09am
    NOTE TO ALL MPS and Super rich support teams and robots

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVERV AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    For the retired and retiring people in your electorate do you think they really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules

    Do you or other MP like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do you as a compassionate person let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    You even stand to lose your chance at government unless all these criminal asset tests for a pension are dropped now.

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    Millie
    2nd Apr 2018
    1:44pm
    I am concerned about the Assets Test and the effect in particular, on the single pensioner.
    The threshold of allowable assets is totally unrealistic for a couple and for a single pensioner it is much less. Many people assume that asset amounts quoted are cash that is readily accessible. This is not so. Assets include basic household necessities, cars etc etc. If a held asset happens to be an investment property, this can easily exceed the allowable threshold for assets. This is where a single pensioner is severely disadvantaged. A couple owning the same investment property, has a higher allowable threshold and the value of the asset therefore does not have the same impact as it does for a single pensioner who is allowed much less. Surely, it would be fairer to apply the Income Test rather than an Assets Test to Seniors. It must be remembered too, that today's Seniors during their working life contributed via taxes and in so doing supported Seniors in the past - and rightly so. I strongly believe that an Aged pension is an entitlement, certainly not welfare. Seniors should not be treated as second class citizens and their small income, however derived, be targetted.
    ancal
    2nd Apr 2018
    4:58pm
    Millie, You are so correct and not only did our taxes support the pensioner before us but also the Politicians and still paying for their incompetence and their allowances. We all have to band to-gether and get our local Members of parliament to answer our questions or get rid of them
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2018
    8:53am
    The assets test is patently unfair and a massive disincentive to saving for retirement. It's creating more pressure on the government to pay pensions because it's punishing people for saving and investing. It's STUPID. They should be testing income only, but include deemed income on ALL assets - including the family home - to stop people plunging money into non-returning assets purposely to get a pension. Set a generous threshold - say $750,000 per person - and all non-returning or very low returning assets over that limit are assessed at a fair deeming rate except if there is a genuine reason why they can't return at the deemed rate. Then assess actual income plus deemed income on the non-returning assets. Stop advantaging people who can earn high returns. That's unfair. And stop advantaging people who dispose of assets deliberately to get a pension they don't need.

    Of course a universal pension and taxing retirement income would be better, but given that's not going to happen, the above is far better than the rubbish unworkable system that applies now.

    I don't agree with you re singles vs marrieds, Millie. A couple should be allowed to own more than a one person. They do have greater needs. Actually I think it should be double. Singles can share and co-own just as easily as a couple, and all the current system does is punish people for staying married, and that's not good for society.

    3rd Apr 2018
    11:07am
    There is only one way to fix the massive national debt and that is to stop dealing with problems with ineffective bandaids and overhaul the entire system to change the mentality in society.

    I wrote to the Federal Treasurer about how pension entitlements were discouraging saving and pushing the cost of the OAP up, and recent changes/proposed changes made it worse. I noted that claimed savings were based on assumptions that people wouldn't change their behaviour in response to changes - but that is an unrealistic assumption. The savings can't happen because people do thing differently in response to changed rules and environment, and then there are flow-on effects. His response was that in considering a budget measure, they rely on mathematical computations from historical data. They do not have psychologists involved to advise on likely behavioural changes and they don't have the ability to factor in the consequential outcomes of change, so they simply assume that all will go on as it was an $X spent in a certain way will be saved. They KNOW that's not reasonable, but they don't have the ability to do anything else. No wonder things are in such a mess!

    Common sense dictates that if you keep hurting people who work and save and rewarding people who don't, you will have more who don't and less who do, and the budget will suffer further strain. Until the IDIOTS in Canberra recognize that fact and tailor the laws accordingly, we will continue to go backwards.

    Yes, an aged pension rise is needed. I signed a petition accordingly. But FIRST, the pension system needs a total overhaul to stop punishing people who work and save and provide strong incentives and rewards for being self-funded, or as close to self-funded as is achievable. Sadly, the pensioners who whinge the most are the first to cheer attacks on the self-funded. They don't seem to get that the self-funded are contributing tens of thousands to the budget every year, and less of them and more pensioners means less money to go around!
    ronloby
    3rd Apr 2018
    12:16pm
    They don't know much about pensioners and they don't CARE one little bit. They will retire on their thousands of dollars per year so why care about other Australians who helped get Australia where it is to-day. Let them live on pension rates for 6 months then they might, I say might think about where pensioners are at in the cost of living. Also why do people classed as refuges get twice the pension per fortnight compared to Aussie Pensioners?
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2018
    10:23pm
    Many of them lived on far less than the pension while saving, and now the stinking greedy pensioners want them robbed of their savings. Put a sock in it, ronloby. When pensioners start having some decency and respect for the people who are contributing tens of thousands annually to the national budget, and acknowledging that they have a right to enjoy the proceeds of their hard work, they might get a lot more sympathy and consideration. I've been the champion of pensioners and the disadvantaged, as I'm sure OG will attest. But I'm done with the appalling greed and selfishness. Frankly, I'd like to see pensions cancelled for a year and let the selfish suffer and beg for charity. Than maybe they will wake up to themselves and stop biting the hand that feeds them.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    12:14am
    It's not possible, OGR - to live, pay off a mortgage, and invest, while raising three kids as a widow - on less than the pension, or as your stated yesterday, on sometimes less than minimum wage.

    You are leaving plenty out here....

    I'm seriously beginning to wonder about you... just like OG and Bonny... too many stories that simply do not add up.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    5:30am
    I've long been supportive - but your waging war with pensioners over their rights has broken the strand... now you're writing to politicians and saying that pensions are destroying the nation and pensioners are bludgers, and that these same pensioners are now attacking you directly - when the reality is that the government of two parties is doing whatever attacking you see and pensioners have nothing to do with it in any way.

    That belief is bordering on paranoia and delusion.... get a grip and stop dividing yourself against yourself. It's not helping your cause in any way.
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2018
    10:35am
    No, Trebor. I'm NOT saying that at all. I'm saying that this argument that pensioners should be favoured is not fair. Pensioners paid tax for decades and deserve their pension. I agree with that. But guess what? SFRs paid tax for decades too, and now they are saving the government up to $2 million over their retirement by being self-funded, yet people are saying they shouldn't get a small tax refund. Where's the fairness in that?

    I would NEVER wage war on pensioners, but I am extremely angry that people like Kathleen and Misty seek to deprive hard working Australians of fairness and a reasonable lifestyle, just because they chose to save.

    It IS possible to live, pay off a mortgage and raise kids on less income than the unemployment benefit. It isn't easy, but it's possible. I did NOT leave out that we built our own home, living in a shed for 5 years; grew all our own food, made our own clothing and furniture, and renovated an old car bought from the wreckers for a song. We sold the home we built for a big profit (with no labour costs, and fortunately some healthy inflation of land prices at that time) and then bought old dumps and renovated them and sold for profit. Okay, we were lucky to have a couple of thousand in savings to buy that first block of land - having both worked and saved since age 15. That was probably our saving grace. That, and being very resourceful. We swapped home-grown vegetables and home-made sauces for meat. We begged hand-me-down clothing to cut up and make over, rather than buying fabric. Volunteers at Vinnies saved zips and buttons and laces for us. We joined bulk buying groups and labor-swap groups to get appliances and car repairs done for free.

    Yes, it IS possible, Trebor. Sadly, our living costs now are high because we simply don't have the physical strength to do those things anymore. But I am angry that some would now deprive us of the benefit of having done it. Sorry if I have offended. It was not my intent at all. But I was deeply offended by Kathleen and Misty's remarks. And I'm heartily sick of those who seem to just want to see anyone who has a little more than them hurt.
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2018
    10:57am
    BTW. Please DO NOT misrepresent me, Trebor. You are etter than that! Read what I said. I did NOT ever write to politicians saying pensioners were bludgers or were destroying the nation. What I said was that if we keep punishing people for being responsible and trying to be self-sufficient, we will have more pensioners and a higher pension bill. Sadly, it's pensioners who will ultimately suffer most if that happens. I said SFRs are saving the nation money, and they are. They paid tax. They are now effectively contributing up to $40K a year to the taxman. They are as ENTITLED to their tax credits as any pensioner is to their pension.

    I asked that politicians NOT favour pensioners over low-income SFRs when making policy, because it's detrimental to the country to do that. And it encourages manipulation to claim a pension that isn't really needed.

    And I ask that pensioners stop bullying SFRs and wanting them hurt, because that is also detrimental to the nation. And working on ASSUMPTIONS about someone else's circumstances risks being brutally unfair and even cruel.
    DaveL
    4th Apr 2018
    8:55am
    With all the talk Health Insurance, no one mentions the biggest cost. Medicos. Sprecialist cost $140, medicare refund about $70. Tell me where the cost is.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    5:37am
    Government policy in steadily eroding the refund for treatment and thus burdening the sick with extra debt long before Fat Joe's dismal 'co-payment' scheme. That and the greed of doctors who should, in many cases, hang their heads in shame at the way they treat those with the least as if they should be punished for not paying private health.

    Again - those who want to pay private should pay the lot and not use the public system in any way, thus breaking the log jams in the public system ... plenty of private hospitals out there to cater to their problems.

    Then they could boast about how much better they are doing it all on their own... without telling lies over their massive subsidies.

    Easy solution - just like dividend imputation - cancel it forthwith in its entirety and let each entity work out their own tax (and hospital/medical costs), without the guarantee that the ATO will hold 30% of their investment in trust so the company can't do a runner. Let's put the risk back into the shares market so as to winnow out the wheat from the chaff... and see how many want the kudos of being 'self funded' and the right to be smug about their 'superiority' then.......

    Socialism sucks, neh? Nor more socialism for the companies and investors - stand or fall on their own merits alone without the public funding they so despise.
    Zach
    4th Apr 2018
    9:28pm
    Old Geezer are you John Howard in disguise
    ancal
    4th Apr 2018
    10:32pm
    Zach, John Howard was a man and not like what I see in Old Geezer.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    12:12am
    .. but a short man... with short legs... and a long ego.... it's called small man syndrome and is highly toxic to everyone else...
    Old Geezer
    5th Apr 2018
    3:21pm
    No but I have met him a few times over the years. I have also met many pollies of the other colours as well.
    TREBOR
    5th Apr 2018
    12:02am
    Who cares what politicians think about the aged pension? They only need to apologise for The Stolen Contribution and then make amends by paying the bill as it falls due and in full and proper measure commensurate with that Stolen Contribution.

    Otherwise the retirees might just like to see the nation burn to the ground and them allowed to do things their way instead of Captain Cook's.... etc....
    ancal
    5th Apr 2018
    8:10am
    Good thoughts. We all have to band to-gether and show that they, the Pollies, are incapable of being straight with the truth and the public
    Old Geezer
    5th Apr 2018
    3:20pm
    If you are collecting the welfare (OAP) does it really matter where it comes from?

    Nope just whinging again for the sake of it like most of those on welfare do.
    SKRAPI
    18th Jul 2019
    6:10pm
    TRLUBLE IS AUSSIE THE OTHER SIDE IS WORSE EVEN MORE SCARY


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