Australian pensions lag behind

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Today is the International Day of Older Persons. So it is depressing to learn that we rate 61st in the world for income security.

HelpAge International today released its Global AgeWatch Index, ranking 96 countries (90% of the world’s population) according to four key indicators for the economic and social wellbeing of older citizens.

Whilst Australia ranked 13th overall, this was due to our strong health (5th) and capability (2nd) ratings. When it comes to income security we ranked 61st and for ‘enabling environment’, 25 other nations were ahead of us.

Read HelpAge International’s full report here.

Pension poverty worsens

So it’s official. We’re the third meanest country when it comes to pensions and now the worst in our region for income security.

As we head towards 2050 when there will be more people aged over 60 than under 15, it is a cause for great concern to learn that Australia is the lowest ranking country in our region for income security  (61st out of 96 countries) with the highest old age poverty, according to HelpAge International. Those who keep a close eye on the rate of the pension, and how sustainable an income stream it is, will hardly be surprised.

So what does this mean in practical terms for the 4.4 million Australians living on a full or part Age Pension?

The fact that Australian Age pensioners are the worst-funded in our region is particularly ironic when they are being told to be ‘lifters not leaners’ and to cheerfully accept cuts to the pension and an increased pension age.

And there are few prospects of this improving anytime soon, with a social security bill currently scheduled in the Senate which will change the access age of the Age Pension (from 67 to 70) as well as indexation and deeming rates – further reducing the purchasing power of the pension and the number of people who qualify.

My ‘Open letter to Joe Hockey’ (from YOURLifeChoices latest Retirement Update) questions why, as the second nation in the world to introduce an Age Pension, we are now going backwards when it comes to offering income security for those aged 65 and older.

And it seems likely that the opinion of older Australians will be expressed strongly at the ballot box in 2016.

What do you think?

Are you surprised to learn how low on the scale we are for retirement income security? Or do you accept this is needed to help balance the Federal Government’s budget? Will this affect how you vote in the next federal election?

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Written by Kaye Fallick

320 Comments

Total Comments: 320
  1. 0
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    Australia has sunk low in many other rankings as well, including human rights, education, and increasingly, health. Yes, we’re still doing better than third world countries.

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      We are recording Your Post for Training Purposes !!

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      Don’t worry folk. Apart from this being a pile of garbage, by 2050 everyone, but the bludgers who never worked, will have a nice tidy sum of super to help the pension along.

      That depends of course on us being smart enough to dump the National disability insurance scheme, Gonski, cutting the university sector in half, & cutting public servant numbers. If we don’t do these, the age pension might be just a distant memory by then.

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      How did we get into this mess? We were doing so well in the naughties.

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      As I have said a number of times: RETIREES NEED TO FORM A POLITICAL BLOCK AND VOTE AGAINST GOVERNMENTS WHICH PLUNDER THEM. That way the bastards know that they are out if they try it on. The reality is that people complain but continue to vote as they always have….and wonder why nothing changes for them.

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      Only just, Jen – only just. Our costs of living under the false privatisation/global economy are also massively higher, more than one in ten Australians of working age is without a sustainable job and income and thus has little to no future, and the only possible avenue for recovery is in the Banana Republic sale of ‘resources’ – which are pushed through the ‘global market’ sausage machine first and then sold back to us at value added plus freight both ways – even when it never leaves our shores.

      Total insanity.

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      I hope you are being sarcastic, Hasbeen. Everyone with any brains at all knows the old ad with Paul Keating and his ‘wouldn’t you like to retire with $300,000 in the bank’? $300,000 now returns you less than the pension – so by the year 2050, no
      Australian Superannuationist will be living in luxury!

      Superannuation uncontrolled and marketed as just another ‘privatised’ enterprise (when we’ve already paid into our Pension Scheme all our lives) is nothing but Another Big Lie that feeds cronies and mates as ‘ceo’s of the super funds.

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      You are dead right about the sell off of everything which defines who we are Grappler.
      Unfortunately nobody will take notice as the feeding frenzy continues and foreign investors become rich. People will only take notice once everything is gone and foreigners then jack up prices to get a better return. Then the squealing will begin. Game over.

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      You are dead right about the sell off of everything which defines who we are Grappler.
      Unfortunately nobody will take notice as the feeding frenzy continues and foreign investors become rich. People will only take notice once everything is gone and foreigners then jack up prices to get a better return. Then the squealing will begin. Game over.

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      Then along came JONES !!

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    the problem we have is that we have no way of supplementing our pension, apart from renting out part of our homes, and that can be a problem in itself, most of us were made redundant because of our age, and now Joe Hokey is saying , work till your 70 knowing that no one will employ us, but also knowing that all we will receive is new start which no one could possibly live on, I thought Joe had more empathy and understanding

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      And Everyone Knows what Thought Did ??

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      Look, by 2090 the government will pass a new law compelling us to work until we are 85 and we will wonder what all the fuss was about!

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      RETIREES NEED TO FORM A POLITICAL BLOCK AND VOTE AGAINST GOVERNMENTS WHICH PLUNDER THEM.

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      Yes, but of course ToJo feel that if your humble home is worth more than $500k – a laughable sum these days and in the foreseeable future – it means you have sufficient ‘capital’ of some sort to generate income.

      Totally crazy and of course, not to apply in any way to them.

      We NEED that political bloc and now – well ten/fifteen years ago or even more if you look at history.

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      $500 000 gets you not much more than a block of land in the western suburbs of Sydney. it costs a heap more for a block in any of the inner suburbs.
      We all know that Abbott and his cutthroat front bench are doing their best to include the family home in the assets test so that the government can opt out of paying many retirees pensions. It will come if this bunch is re-elected. Read my lips.
      Maybe that is the way round not getting a Work Choices package in when Howard was in….although I keep hearing the rhetoric of ‘high wages’…applied to average Australians and, of course, not the rich.

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    I think there is a flaw in how the data is analysed when Thailand, Chile, Czech Republic, Georgia, and Romania all rank ahead of Australia in the financial security rankings. Having visited some of these countries it is plain to see the poverty which is endemic compared with Australia.
    What did some one once say “there are lies damn lies and statistics” or something like that !
    Our pensioners are not so bad off when compared in general terms so there must be some explanation as to why our figures look so bad.
    So come on all you bright people what is it ?

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      The Money is (Looks) Great !!! Its what You can buy with it that Stinks !!

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      I agree, we pay high prices for everything. It is cheaper to import what you need if you can.

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      Are you, like me barely scraping through on an age pension. My guess is that everything costs heaps more in Australia. Some don’t use heating during the winter as it costs too much, others have to make the choice of paying bills or going without food.

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      I cut the cord off My heater and Painted Flames on it !! Well the sight of it makes Me feel warm now ! I Think ?? !!.. Im not starving for any CEO ! I throw the Bills in the Air and pay the ones that stay Up !!

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      Get the screen saver fire it has the sound of real fire.

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      I presume that the ranking is based on the pension rate as a percentage of the average working person’s income. If that is so, exactly what is the fortnightly pay packet of (say) a worker in Romania? What is the buying power for the currency in that country and what would you (as pensioner or worker) get for your money? Have the statisticians that compiled these results factored in these details into their results? Would we all be better off packing up and becoming refugees in Romania? Or are we being fed more half baked and less than thorough analysis so some one with a political axe to grind scan scare us pensioners the way Al Gore scared the mutitudes with his Inconvenient Truth movie?

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      Wally, Romanians don’t get a pension. Stay put for the time being.

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      And it is a long boat ride to Romania, too! But I am sure that there are a lot of respondents in this forum that would wish I would go there.

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      And it is a long boat ride to Romania, too! But I am sure that there are a lot of respondents in this forum that would wish I would go there.

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      Genuine prosperity has to incorporate the ration of income/costs of living – on that score it is much cheaper to live in Romania, but you might not have the level of income we have, but that is irrelevant – it is your ability to buy using that income that counts.

      THAT is the argument AGAINST the ‘global economy’. Nguyen Pradesh Li can buy a lot more with ten dollars than we can here…..

      Purchasing Power, Poppets – that’s what it’s all about….. in REAL terms. I can hire a builder in the Philippines for $50 a week…. and if I give him a case of curveza at the end of each week he will think I am a wonderful employer….

      He can eat and at least rent a home….. even buy or build one, and drink beer as well!

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      I know people living there and they are coming to Australia. Things have improved since the iron curtain was removed but they have a long way to go.

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      …and the peasants are revolting in that heartland of capitalism – Hong Kong…..

      Word for today:- Kaputalism – what happens to a global economy when a few self-interested twerps get control over it.

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      The people in parliament are more revolting that them !!

  4. 0
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    I would not read too much into these statistics. Australia has probably the best pension scheme and other forms of assistance for the aged anywhere in the world. No our system is not perfect but it provides a good standard of living for most.

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      Do any of those countries ahead of Australia provide a pension for millionaires?

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      Yeah Right ?? By the few comments I’ve seen so far We are all Rolling in Clover !!.
      And dining at the Ritz !!

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      I agree with you , we do very well thank you. I am no wealthy person, nor disciple of Abbott but I do feel that life at 75 is pretty good. Just keep it up.

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      The Islamic countries don’t even have a pension for the oldies. Come to think about it, do they have any oldies??

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      The best pension system in the world? Not even close niemakawa.

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      Not plush living … but my wife and I manage reasonably well on our age pensions.
      There’s the addage “Blow it all when you’re young and you’ll have blow all when you’re old !” . When laying blame we should perhaps look closer to home – not at our politicians. We shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds us.

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      micky d. I have not heard that saying before but you are making a lot of sense! Obviously unrelated to mick.

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      micky d: you just gave away the secret. This is how my wife and I got on. Frank, as usual, id full of it.
      And “a pension for millionaires”??? Whilst I have to confess that I do not know any millionaires it is unlikely that these folk get a pension. At any rate if that were true then that is why we elect governments: to fix the loopholes. Maybe frank can call his employer Tony to do his job rather than engage in greasing the palms of his rich backers.

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      Well You certainly didn’t look to hard for Millionaires on the Pension !! There are Stacks of them ! And most of them come out of Government so called Jobs ! And others that soon will !

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      don’t think that this is what was being referred to. Parliamentary pensions are not the Old Age Pension.

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      NO !! And never will be !!

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    To Joe Hockey, the pensioners are the ones doing the heavy lifting and you with your with all your entitlements, including over $200000 so far for fuel even for for private use of your vehicle, a $50000 lamb chop dinner in New York, an almost as expensive river cruise in Paris and a junket cruise on Sydney Harbour, are doing all the leaning along with your rich mates. Grossly unfair. You live in a parallel universe and have no idea of how ordinary people are doing it tough!

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      You forgot to SWAGGER Out and GRIN writing that Ruthie ??

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      I’m an ordinary person and I think I’ve got a hernia.

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      Politicians have their own set of rules from which ordinary citizens are banned: off the planet superannuation entitlements (not a contributory one!), generous pay wit increase which do not mirror the rest of society, etc.
      The “heavy lifting” is designed for the poor and struggling average income earners but NEVER THE RICH. I know bullsh** when I hear it.

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      Yes but they gave the taxpayer value for it.

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      You forgot to mention the cigars Joe hockey likes to chomp on! As far as Mick’s comment about who does the heavy lifting in a society, I am reminded of the living standards of the workers in the Soviet Union compared those enjoyed by the Communist Party leaders like Brezhnev. So life in the “Workers’ Paradise” that Lenin promised morphed into something more like the ending of Animal Farm where the Pigs adopted the same life style as the ouster farmer Brown.

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      Our political system is beginning to remind me of that phrase from Animal Farm: “all pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others”. Maybe it appealed to my mathematical mind. Maybe I am just a sick puppy. Who knows.
      You have hit the nail on the head wally. There is a constant struggle in our society between rich and poor, but the rich do have disproportionate power and try it on whenever they can. Such a period of time describes our current times when this section of society are wanting to take it all and turn people into destitute slaves. Frank and Solomon would call that enterprise as anything you ever give to a dirt poor person is not warranted because they do not deserve it.

  6. 0
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    Too true Ruthie…But they must uphold that standard to consume the extra funds in the budget or it makes them appear inconsiderate (almost choked on that one)

  7. 0
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    Have the government really done their sums?…….Has Hockey really considered the repercussions of the pressure placed upon the pensioners…All we can see are the
    politicians living the life of luxury with no second thoughts as to who has to do without
    to accommodate any expenditure they choose to load onto the budget.
    If there are no Pension rises..there has to be some other considerations and discounts
    Fuel is the same price to everyone except politicians.That and many things are provided
    “GRATIS”…..is it because they need it most??or just because as in many things financial
    they are in the position to make it so??You be the judge…and when the time is right
    also the jury .

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      You’re assuming Hockey and his cohort give a damn about average Australians.

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      Does any Australian politician give a damn about the average Australian? Well maybe in the six weeks or so before an election. We all hear how they profess to care about the public until they get their snouts in the trough. Then the promises are blown away with the wind, never to be heard about until the run up to the next election.

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      Spot on, Wally – and don’t forget the obligatory ‘Black Hole of budget’ that EVERY incoming government finds – just not is such a virulent fashion as the current lot of sellout numbah crunchahs with no heart and the intellect of a university quadrangle political ranter….

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      Hong Kong knows how to put on a DEMO When they are PEED OFF !!

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      Wasn’t Guy Fawkes the only completely honest person that entered the Parliament building?

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      I wonder what happened to Him ???

  8. 0
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    Yes that is a surprising result BUT on reflection maybe not. Our rent has just gone up by a fair amount, which has taken care of the small pension increase we have just received !! Yes, we are grateful that the increase covered the rent increase, but it would have been nice to have had that little extra. The future is of great concern to us as we both get older – as one pension now covers our rent, so could not afford it on just one pension.

  9. 0
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    If anyone is interested to click on the link “full report here” they will find some glaring mistakes. Our pension was introduced in 1908 not 1900 as claimed. Our rate of pension and benefits far exceeds the $18,072 claimed. But if it helps the cause lets keep quiet about it.

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      As I am not on the pension I cannot be sure about the facts Frank, something you rarely dwell on. Good to see some concrete here. So is the $18 072 an average? I mean there are a lot of single pensioners in the cohort. I do not profess to know. Do you?

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      YLC reported on the recent Centrelink pension increases in one of the September bulletins. $18 K is about $4 K below the current single pension which may give an idea of how old (and out of date) the data is that they used to compile their report.

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      Pension Watch claims to have extracted the amount from CentreLink’s web site sometime during 2012 and states it as $1506 per month.
      I don’t think we can get an accurate answer on how much it is because the system has become so complex now. I do know we have had 2 increases to the base rate in the last 12 months.

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      Please list our perks….

      We get Medibank – so does everyone else… we get a reduction of some dollars on our power bills and free rego and licence here. that’s not a great heap – and without rental assistance the pension rate is (rummages online)… $854.30 x 26 = $22211.80

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      You’re not going to tell me that you’re on the pension Frank. Next Solomon will be on welfare. I’m cracking up at the thought.

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      Not yet mick. The garage sale went ok and I got my money back from the government.
      You were right about the Bank not processing it in reasonable time.
      My claim went in 28/4/14. The bank said the process would take until 5/9/14.
      I contacted the bank’s unclaimed money section they lied to me telling me the claim would be sent to ASIC in 2 days. They also lied to the local bank manager because she received the same assurances.
      According to ASIC records the claim was received by them on 28/8/14 and a RBA cheque sent to my bank on 4/9/14.
      This is not incompetence or a lack of knowledge by bank employees (unsure about the extent of knowledge of local manager?) This is premeditated lies. I have the written communication to support my view.
      I know I’m off subject but thought you should know.

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      Yeah right Frank.

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      I got my money on 24/9/14. So it will be roast lamb this Sunday.

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      I will not comment on Your Lamb as it May Offend !!

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      I’m not easily offended. I may cook it out doors if I’m well enough?? Rather than make a big fire I will put it in the camp oven in a small but glowing hot ember type fire. Toss in 4 or 5 vegetables should do it. Probably have a glass of red wine, haven’t had one of those for a while, while I twixt my gaze between the lamb and the sunset.
      Yep that’s what I’ll do.

  10. 0
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    Well you know what Tony and Joe say…if your not going to be happy with how much they are going to give you for the pension don’t give up work. And if you are already on the pension still don’t worry……. at least they are keeping you safe from terrorists………..

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      Funny. I am not at all sure that the so called “threat” from terrorism is not the build up to the next election so that people vote for them. This is the way morally corrupt political parties behave.

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      Well I guess if you go back and look at Senator Joseph McCarthy searching for a communist under every bed was quite profitable politically for him for some time.If Abbott was so determined to uphold the safety of the Australian public he would put more police on the beat. More people are murdered in Australia by home grown nut cases, depraved individuals and drink drivers than any Muslim Jihadist. if we hadn’t followed Bush blindly into Iraq to begin with we wouldn’t have this problem on our shores.

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      You micks need to do some research! Do you know where the Islamic State is?
      That’s right, it’s a global operation with headquarters in Syria. The headquarters for AFIC the Halal food certifiers who tax vegemite is in Saudi Arabia.

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      Frank it’s called ISIS………. Iraq/Syria Islamic State. They are not headquartered in Syria. They have gotten where they are today because a lot of ex Sunni Iraq Army personnel are training them. I don’t need to research the fact that Bush did not have a UN mandate to invade Iraq in the first place and we shouldn’t have followed blindly (still no WMDs found) and if Iraq hadn’t been invaded and left in one hell of a mess politically,ISIS which is made up by traditional Sunnis’ , who want there own caliph state, wouldn’t have got out of hand and we wouldn’t be running around like chooks with our heads cut off looking under beds for terrorists that shouldn’t exist.

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      They tax Vegemite? Right – that’s it!

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      Yep that’s why they are trying to get even with us. Should never have sent them that vegemite to start with.

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      You crack me up Frank. I wonder if you know where Tasmania is. South Island of NZ?

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      There are enough loonies around to make a case for Australia needing to be alert for a terrorist threat. BUT, where do the anti terrorist laws end? Will the increased “snooping power” given to government agencies to save us from threats of terrorists be used against us in the future? Or, who protects us from those that claim to be our protectors? There is also the “straw man ” theory where our wannabe saviours create the illusion of a threat ( the straw man), scare us with it and then go over to the “straw man”, knock it to pieces and then claim to have saved us all from the “threat” that the scarecrow allegedly posed.

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      Wally, forget the straw man. Lets just deal with the facts. 60 Ozzies went off to fight in the Jihad supported by 100 that we know of. With some of these new laws a task force was formed and having on the job success within 36hrs, not the usual 2 weeks as under the last government.
      Do you recall Captain Emad? He was the people smuggling kingpin and part time trolley boy operating in Canberra under the nose of Chris Bowen.
      He came and went at his leisure while Chris Bowen and his mates were hamstrung by their own incompetence.
      How many like minded extremists did he bring in? 160? 1060? 10,060? 100,060?
      Even 100,060 would be only half the number who illegally entered Australia thanks to a corrupt Imigration Dept. ( Refer to Fairfax report.)
      Oakeshott said “One thing has always puzzled me about Captain Emad. If people smuggling was such a lucrative business, then why is he working as a trolley boy?”

      Now that’s why we don’t need more so called Independents mick. The good captain had real estate assets in Sri Lanka and was also on CentreLink welfare.

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      You crack me up Frank. First you diverge into an immigration debate and then you start quoting liberal media stoolie Laurie Oaks whose reporting is rarely ever balanced. And to cap it off you tarnish one Independent whilst ignoring the glaring problems from your own political party. It reminds me of the rebuke Jesus issued to the Pharisees when he said “why look at the speck in your brother’s eye when you ignore the log in your own” (or something like that).
      I hate deceit Frank but your posts continue to run the same way.
      Whilst I continue to promote the end of the current debacle in our parliament by the election of Independents (heaps of them) you will not get perfection….but you will see an end to continual corruption and the sell out of the nation. That is what needs to happen. Tell Tony I am after him!

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      Laurie Oaks is Labor man just as the Pope is catholic. Any suggestion that he is a Liberal media stoolie is laughable.
      mick, I don’t have a political party. Your speculative nonsense is immature.

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      Funny but every time I hear Oaks he is challenging Labor. Ok, maybe warranted. But so is the liberal side of politics as they are dirty. If you went through election funding as occurred with the NSW government you’d have mass resignations.
      My speculation Frank centres around the fact that continually spout Abbott slogans with rarely any shred of evidence or any argument which provides any credibility to your position. I suggest you are trolling, but of course this is hard to prove in cyber land.
      As I keep saying to you: provide some facts and not just third hand tripe which you pass on as fact.

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