It really is time

We are delighted by the robust debate following the first post by Ken. That this post centres on the need for a political party which represents the interest of older Australians delights us even more.

It really is time, debate, political party, seniors, australians, older, seniors

We are delighted by the robust debate following the first post by Ken. That this post centres on the need for a political party which represents the interest of older Australians delights us even more. Because we, too, feel it is time for those who have paid a lifetime of taxes to be recognised as the net contributors to society that they are, rather than the obliquely suggested ‘drain’ on resources common to such terms as ‘grey tsunami’ and ‘problem of ageing society’.

So rather than let Ken’s call to action wither and die on a sub page on this site, we are raising the issue in the following ways:

  • This news item is being emailed to those YOURLifeChoices subscribers who have confirmed their wish to receive a daily news update. If you are not one – email us and ask to be put on this list
  • It is also going on our Meeting Place for further comment
  • And on our Facebook page – we now have 7,100 followers so this should excite further debate
  • We will send this article to each and every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate and ask for their feedback
  • We will publish all comments received from these politicians WHO NEED YOUR VOTE AT THE NEXT ELECTION
  • At the end of this article is a list of each and every member of the HOR and the Senate. We urge you to directly contact your local member and ask them what they are specifically doing for older Australians.
  • We ask you send this feedback to us so we can publish the good work – or the ‘no shows’

And to directly address the question about the major priorities of such a party of Older Australians, our strong suggestion is that it should be focussed on retirement income.

The facts are that the current single Age Pension (plus all supplements) amounts to about $18,000 per annum. The most reliable measure of cost of living in retirement is to be found on the ASFA Retirement standard. The amount for a modest standard of living for a single is $21,930. And this amount assumes you own your own home outright.

As Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton) in the movie The Castle was often wont to say, ‘You’re dreaming!”

So we know the current single Age Pension is at least  $4000 short of a reasonable existence.

Our strong belief is that any party representing the interests of older Australians should start with this appalling discrepancy and work from there.

HOR and the Senate list

Do we need a special political party dedicated to the interests of older Australians?
Yes
No
 
Would you join such a party?
Yes
No
 
A concession membership of the greens is $20. A concession membership of Labor is $5.50-$33 in the Northern Territory. Average fee for Liberal Party membership is $69. So if it was priced at $20 per annum would you be prepared to pay to join such a party
Yes
No
 




    COMMENTS

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    Grateful
    22nd Mar 2012
    10:41am
    Great to see "something" moving on this issue. We should all participate to the extent of our individual capabilities.
    But, please do not ignore the discrimination shown to married couples with their significantly reduced individual rate of pension compared to the single rate. Yes, I strongly agree that single pensioners are grossly underpaid and a significant increase, as was paid by the previous Labor Government, must be a top priority. Pensioners are also great consumers, by definition, the vast majority spend nearly all of their pension every fortnight, so, what a great stimulus to the economy any rise in the pension makes to the benefit of ALL Australians. MUCH MUCH more than pink batts!!!!
    But, please do not ignore the married couples in this debate. Especially married couples who pay rent. Couples receive $5,000 per annum less than 2 single people. Yes, they have 'savings" by living together, but, nowhere near $5,000 per annum.
    Every individual pensioner is eligible for a pension, so, why, just because a person is married should their RATE of pension be substantially reduced?
    That IS discriminating against marriage.
    So, let's all get aboard this, hopefully, new power in Australian politics and let's get something done.
    Ed.
    justme
    22nd Mar 2012
    11:58am
    With the ageing population such a party can only grow.
    If part of the mining tax is used to offset an increase in super for workers,
    what's wrong with a part going into a fund like the Future Fund to help with pension increases.
    Then maybe the pensioner additional income penalties could be graduated similar to the income tax scales up to the cut off point.
    Multidisab
    22nd Mar 2012
    12:08pm
    Another suggestion I would like to make is to strongly lobby for more help for those pensioners who due to sickness and its consequences (including war veterans who have made themselves vulnerable and feel unheard,) already live a very impaired life. To wait each fortnight for the next pension payment is so strong a habit now that an accident with a medical bit of equipmen will cost me more than I can afford yet I cannot be without the medicine.
    I don't understand the 'Safety Net' - I really need a scooter instead of a wheelchair but the local government does not "do this anymore' without giving an explanation about 'why not'.
    My tiny savings go up and down with large dues ie car registration, it is like riding the waves, like surfing, and watch out for sharks! :(
    The loneliness can be a real hindrance, every government agency I need to deal with is encumbered with (in ACT) a huge amount of bureaucracy, to which I am allergic, because I do not think like a bureaucrat.
    A dose of mental ilnness is also something I need to ride the waves about and learn to manage, so I am wholly busy trying to stay as well as possible yet the struggle to do this can be so hard because of limited finances. When can I go on a holiday, get out of this place, and meet other people?
    So many issues belong to this one party that I feel sub committees should be set up to deal with the various flows of unmet need in the whole of the aged population.
    I could make a list, and will do that when I feel a little better.
    jules135
    22nd Mar 2012
    12:25pm
    Having just read that the English government has cut pensioner subsides and also cut taxes for higher income earners, I am fearful of what could happen here.Those subsidies for medical necessities and power etc. are often the difference between being able to buy food or not in any given week. Every pensioner needs help, whether they are single or a couple, own their homes or are renting. Not very retired person has been able to get their house fully paid off and unlike renters there is no help for them other than a small rate reduction. It is time for us to get active and do whatever we can to support a pensioners party.
    aquatrek
    22nd Mar 2012
    12:46pm
    Hi - One of the most disgusting failures in our governments is dental health. I was assessed last May 2011 and then put on a 'code 3' 18 month waiting list. I cannot chew with my olde 'past its use by date' denture and if I do then the gum becomes irritated and infected. Yesterday I managed to 'whinge like a pensioner' enough to be upgraded to a 'code 1' - another 3-4 months wait for a voucher to compensate for provision of a denture replacement. There are hundreds if not thousands of pensioners in positions worse than mine and those will undoubtedly increase as the population ages. Past governments, Federal and State, have kicked this football around for so many decades there is now need of a new ball !! Maybe a Pensioners Party kicking a new dental ball around could achieve societal change for the betterment of all and I would be happy to part with $20 towards that new ball.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:21pm
    I'm 68 and, since I was diagnosed with a 'chronic' disease (diabetes 2) 3 yrs ago, I have been given free dental TWICE on a 'Care Plan' to the total value of $8,500; that's $2,125 annually. Initially I needed new partial dentures but now all I need is 3 fillings.
    Wouldn't it be MUCH MORE SENSIBLE to GIVE ALL SENIORS a 'Referral Form for Dental Services under Medicare' to the value of $2,125 every five (5) years?
    What happens to the balance of whatever monies are left after my 3 fillings? Does the dentist cantact Medicare to advise that only a small portion of the allowance has been used (doubt that!) or what?
    Multidisab
    22nd Mar 2012
    1:15pm
    Thanks Aqua, I too have this problem, and we need a new team hat knows how to play hard ball with present insufficient support and care for them who are in the greater community regarding dental care. Australia ranks as one of the lowest country in the Western world because of lack of adequate care. It is the same with hospitals; in 2000 I had to wait for a year for a heart operation, however it turned out really successful. But a waiting list of 18 months is like the never-ending nightmare that so many of us live with.
    I got a quote a few days ago for a full set of new dentures: $3500. I now need to find someone who is willing to put mew on their waiting list as part of the scheme. Another dentist gave me a set of dentures that does not work at all. Sinxce then he has stopped doing this - but is was more tha lab that was careless, and that's where a lot of money goes, with very poor results. We need much more!!!
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2012
    10:32pm
    Have a look at my reply to aquatrek.
    I had huge dental problems prior to being diagnosed with diabetes 2, and like you was on a waiting list for a dentist, just for fillings. The dentists work was so bumpy in my mouth that the claws on my partial dentures broke; I was then sent to someone to fix that and he did such a poor job that the claws broke again. I went to another 'free' prosthetist and he was extremely rude to me, refusing to even look at someone elses work. In tearful, angry, agony I went back to the initial dentist who tried to fix the problem but couldn't. I was 'beside myself' in disbelief that anyone should be treated so appallingly. I know how you and others feel, and something has to be done.
    MAC22
    22nd Mar 2012
    1:25pm
    Thank you to Your Life Choices, Kay & Ken, for this update on being prepared to assist us by being part of a mainstay for ACTION. Whoopeee!!!!
    As I said previously, and I know there are others who are interested in being there to support those worse off then myself, in working towards becoming a strong group of actioners (if that is such a word). I am excited (you probably can tell), and encourage all of you to participate in this great opportunity to unite with our favourite Your Life Choices magazine. Respond to the survey to see how many of us wish to participate and may we all go from strength to strength. FIRST STEP TO ACTION!!!!!
    robmur
    22nd Mar 2012
    2:45pm
    The so called March pension rise is a joke. How is the rise calculated? The CPI is one way. I thought also a percentage of the male basic wage was another. Does anyone know? Let us assume it is the CPI that is used. Consider the rising costs of electricity and gas. Australians pay 12c. a kilowatt hour for electricity compared to 9c. in Canada. Since 2007 Australian power prices have risen by 40% and will contue to rise dramatically come July 1 when the demon Carbon Tax kicks in. Despite some compensation, the tax will send prices for everything sky rocketing. Look at the current price of a litre of petrol in Melbourne at the moment - close to $1.60 a litre. If you are fortunate to have private health cover, beginning next month the average increase will be about 5%. Despite Coles and Woolworths bashing us about their prices being down, the price of essential food items, particularly meat has just gone crazy. I'm positive, who ever works out the pension increases based on the CPI must be using an out of date figure. No way do the current price increases reflect the increase in the pension based on the current CPI figure. The areas I've mentioned that have increased dramatically since the 2011 September pension rises are surely not being calculated correctly in the 2012 March increases. It will be very interesting to see what increase in the pension will occur in September 2012 once the dreaded Carbon Tax has begun to strangle the life out of very existence. Pensioners don't whinge, we just want to live our lives in some sort of comfort without having to skimp and save to just exist. As well, ask any ALP federal government politician as to why Australia is donating $600 million to other countries to support their so called fight against carbon pollution. What a joke. Someone has to be accountable for the excessive rises in the cost of living here in Australia.
    ngaires
    22nd Mar 2012
    2:59pm
    If my memory serves me right it was initially Bob Brown who raised the problem in the Senate and on national radio about how greatly single pensioners were disadvantaged back in the days of the Howard Govt. In the Senate he advocated at least a $30/fortnight increase was needed. This was finally delivered by the Rudd Government. I think we do need to have someone on our (the pensioners') side in parliament to keep reminding the communitiy at large that we are still an important part of Australian society. Having paid our dues and taxes and having raised our children over decades past, many of us still contribute by working in voluntary services in spite of financial hardship. Justification for all pensioners to receive a fair and reasonable pension so they can live a decent life is going to require regular reviews and we must ensure that this happens! Without whingeing and whining we need to have our voice heard! We need an advocate who cares about our plight and is prepared to work on our behalf. The Life Choices' action to start a collective voice is a great start, let's keep it going!
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    4:45pm
    That $30 raise turned out to be a white elephant for housing recipients in NSW. All other states waived the 25% grab on every increase we get except NSW who said we will wait a couple of years then grab it back. They did!!!
    Another huge problem is the PBS. All pensioners have to pay for 62 scripts (I believe) before they then become free for the rest of that year. Married couples can mostly do this, but single pensioners cannot, unless like me you are chronically ill. Then as it rises each year it is becoming harder to get there. This is very, very unjust. We singles should only have to pay for half of the married rate.
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    4:53pm
    Where do we click to be put on the list for daily news updates?
    Drew
    22nd Mar 2012
    4:56pm
    Hi Terri,

    Send an email to webmaster@yourlifechoices.com.au and I will make sure you are put on the list.

    Kind Regards,
    Drew

    22nd Mar 2012
    4:59pm
    I'm not getting into this debate.
    I am trying to contact yourlifechoices. You ask us to contact webmaster@yourlifechoices.com.au but when I put that as an address I get a message back telling me that I am being tricked with the use of 'webmaster' and so won't send it. I just want replies to two (2) questions I have asked you over the past 3 months.

    22nd Mar 2012
    5:00pm
    Why are all the pictures male? I am female.
    Drew
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:05pm
    Hi Pipple,

    The profile pictures are set as the default which is gender neutral. Would you like to request a type of image you would like and I am happy to change it for you. If you would like to change the profile photo yourself, this can be achieved in the members area - http://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/member/edit

    Thanks,
    Drew
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:14pm
    Pipple..I just updated my picture with a pastel painting I did, looks better than that head neutral or not!!!
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:15pm
    Thanks webmaster Drew for pointing out where to do it.
    Anonymous
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:38pm
    Thanks terrib, really love your painting. I tried to add a photo just now but couldn't make it small enough to send! Typical computer illiterate! I did amend my name, though (I think!).
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:40pm
    Pipple...I didn't adjust mine, it was a full size picture & it resized automatically.
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:46pm
    By the way thank you for your compliment Pipple, sorry I didn't thank you first time.
    terrib
    22nd Mar 2012
    5:43pm
    I have just read in the local paper online that our member Justine Elliott has announced the new increase saying "how much it will help the pensioners" omg she has to be joking! She goes on to say that in May there will be $338 per year coming our way for the clean energy package. I wonder how much we will really get for those in government housing in NSW as I expect the gov. will want their 25%.
    MAC22
    23rd Mar 2012
    8:52am
    We appear to be moving away from the topic and the relevant information re key members and partys' contact details in government. Still looking for people who are committed to taking ACTION on this by speaking out to their represdentatives and any other contacts that are relevant in your community. Letters to the editor in the local paper, pensioner organisations, be a guest speaker at various community meetings and state what is happening and asking for further support by your community. Join up on this site that Kaye has organised for us and answer the survey..........Kaye, have there been many who have done the survey?
    Anonymous
    23rd Mar 2012
    10:16pm
    If you go back to the survey and fill it in again you will see that 34 have done the survey (before I just did so, again, there were 33).. so that is not many at all. I do wonder how many members of this site bother to really read it, but judging by the handful of replies to these community blogs, it appears to be too few.

    23rd Mar 2012
    10:36pm
    I posted this reply to terrib, but I want others to read it too. See also my reply to Multidisab.
    I'm 68 and, since I was diagnosed with a 'chronic' disease (diabetes 2) 3 yrs ago, I have been given free dental TWICE on a 'Care Plan' to the total value of $8,500; that's $2,125 annually. Initially I needed new partial dentures but now all I need is 3 fillings.
    Wouldn't it be MUCH MORE SENSIBLE to GIVE ALL SENIORS a 'Referral Form for Dental Services under Medicare' to the value of $2,125 every five (5) years?
    What happens to the balance of whatever monies are left after my 3 fillings? Does the dentist contact Medicare to advise that only a small portion of the allowance has been used (doubt that!) or what?
    terrib
    24th Mar 2012
    4:06pm
    The free dental plan is for pensioners with a chronic illness. It is just over $4000 every 2 years. I have used it but as far as I know there is no accountability. I did not receive an account stating what work had been done and how much it came to, even if there was any money left from it. Once the treatment that time was finished I was not told there was any money left over. I asked but was not told. There is now talk that it will be taken from pensioners and allotted to schoolchildren. Why? I do not know as I believe children get free dental care anyway. I may be wrong about that but that is what I understand. This is the trouble there is no accountability anywhere. When are we told anything? Majority of times one finds out about assistance from friends or neighbours as the various departments especially centrelink never tell you when there are allowances to be had. Keep em in the dark is the motto.
    terrib
    24th Mar 2012
    4:14pm
    MAC22 I am very willing to help in any way I can. Once I have the op I may have 12 months recuperation time, so could do computer work, phone calls etc.
    Had reason to phone the Minister of Housing yesterday, what a debacle. Don't know who I ended up talking to but was told T "keep it short" so I tried to but got absolutely nowhere. He was not listening so ended up saying he would ring my local housing office & get them to ring me. I had already done that if he had listened, what I wanted was HIS help. If that is what happens when you ring these people I am not sure we would get anywhere except round the mulberry bush.


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