Newstart not enough, but neither is the Age Pension: older Aussies

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With news that an Age Pension increase may be on the way, but no such joy for Newstart recipients, YourLifeChoices sought your thoughts on which one should be given priority.

While 78 per cent of those surveyed in our Age Pension or Newstart increase: which one should be a priority? flash poll said that the Newstart base rate should be increased, only 42 per cent said that should be prioritised over raising the Age Pension base rate.

Eighty-six per cent of those surveyed also said that the Age Pension base rate should be increased. When asked if they would give up an Age Pension increase for a Newstart increase, 52 per cent said ‘no’, 28 per cent said ‘yes’ and 21 per cent said they were unsure.

The survey also revealed that 25 per cent of respondents had been or are receiving Newstart payments.

Currently, Newstart recipients have to live on around $272 a week on average. When asked if this was enough for our members to live on, 87 per cent said ‘no’.

A report released on Friday by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) revealed that all of the crossbenchers of the Lower House of Federal Parliament and key Senate crossbenchers support an increase to Newstart.

“The diverse crossbench’s unity on increasing Newstart confirms just how out of touch the major parties are on this issue, as does polling which finds 68 per cent of the community agrees we must increase Newstart,” said ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie.

“Most people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. It is very difficult to look for a job when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from or how to put food on the table for your kids. For years, people have been telling their story, trying to get the Federal Government to hear them.

“It’s time for the Coalition Government to listen, and most importantly to act now to increase Newstart by $75 per week. 

“The rate of Newstart has not been increased in real terms for 24 years, and since 2014, the Coalition Government has been trying to cut the payment even further. While the Labor Opposition has promised a review of Newstart should it win government, people cannot afford to keep waiting in poverty for politicians to finally act.

“We strongly call on the major parties to work together to urgently steer bipartisan legislation to raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance through the Australian Parliament before the holiday season.

“It’s time politicians righted this long-standing wrong and delivered social justice to people on the very lowest incomes in our wealthy country.

“Many of us are a job loss or a relationship break down away from relying on our social security safety net. We can afford a decent social security safety net and universal access to services by ensuring that businesses and individuals contribute their fair share of tax,” she said.

Chief economist at Deloitte Access Economics Chris Richardson agrees that raising the welfare allowance has to become a priority.

“In Australia, we have one of the highest minimum wages in the world and relative to that one of the lowest unemployment benefits in the world,” said Mr Richardson.

He says adding $10 a day to the existing base rate of unemployment benefits would cost $3.3 billion but would create a bigger economy.

“Of that direct cost of $3.3 billion, because it’s going to people who will basically spend every cent … it tends to have a bigger boost to the size of the economy than some other things do,” he said.

Opinion:  Overwhelming support for over 55s ‘transition’ payment
While older Australians certainly do support increasing Newstart payments, there is a prevailing sentiment that by doing so, the Government would essentially be giving handouts to younger people not making a good enough go of it. So, we asked if it might be a good idea to create a new form of ‘transition’ payment that helps unemployed people over 55. This idea received massive support, with 82 per cent agreeing with the idea.

“Newstart seems cruel for people who cannot find a job and have tried with no success. Maybe age of unemployed is relevant as older ones would be in more distress than a teenager or very young one who can stay home with mum and dad. One size may not fit all. Some older workers who are unemployed are in limbo and using up their savings and super in their fifties and sixties. An employer does not have to state that age is an impediment to getting the job they simply don’t choose an older person. Single pensioners who are renting seem to be struggling, so again individual circumstances need to be considered for elderly people,” wrote Paddington.

“Yes, I agree. And finding myself in the situation – too young for the pension, too old to find a new job – I know quite some people who are really struggling on Newstart. What many people out there don’t know is: To be eligible for Newstart when you are over 55, you either have to apply for 20(!) jobs per fortnight, which is very frustrating, or you can work 30 hours per fortnight as a volunteer for organisations/charities of your choice, which can be very rewarding personally, but sadly not financially. Most volunteers are on some sort of Centrelink payments. Imagine Australia without volunteers!” wrote Ms Logik.

“Both Newstart and Pensions (Age and Disability) are woefully inadequate. I chose to prioritise the Pension as pensioners have no chance of changing their circumstances. For even those lucky enough to have acquired substantial superannuation during their working lives, the only way is down, never up. On the other hand, a young person has something very important on their side – time – time to study, time to get a job and time to save for their retirements. They will receive superannuation all their working lives whereas those now retired received it only since 1992, meaning that current retirees have had some two decades less of superannuation than today’s workers,” wrote CarolAT.

Some YourLifeChoices members feel that our politicians are far too removed to be making decisions about what is enough money to live on at any age.

“You cannot live off an Age Pension if you have rent to pay, food to buy, bills to pay, run a car and have a very, very modest lifestyle even without travel involved. I feel so sorry for people on Newstart allowance. It’s disgraceful, what the Government thinks is enough to live on. Most people on NewStart allowance don’t eat properly. They live on rice alone. Which is very unhealthy. While politicians live off an income of $4000 a week. They have no clue what these people go through to make ends meet and they never meet impossible to live off $272 week. I need $600 a week to live, to pay rent, buy good food, pay my bills and run my car. I don’t smoke, drink, or gamble and have no social life, other than very occasionally I go to an $8 movie,” wrote Enneagram 8.

Sixty-eight per cent of YourLifeChoices members believe Newstart should be benchmarked in the same way as the Age Pension.

“There is no reason why Newstart and the Age Pension shouldn’t be identical. The living costs would be the same. In fact, it could be argued that Newstart should be higher to account for the additional expenses of looking for work, which an aged pensioner need not worry about. Having said that, the Age Pension should be much higher and at least 75 per cent of the minimum wage. The Age Pension should be the benchmark for all social security,” wrote Maelcolium.

“Both payments need to be raised and Newstart should have a rate for those over 55 who have worked their entire lives and cannot find employment, which is comparable to the pension,” wrote MareeIrene.

What do you think? Should the Government seriously look into creating a new form of payment for over 55s who don’t yet qualify for the Age Pension?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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223 Comments

Total Comments: 223
  1. 0
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    There are no welfare payments – they are Social Security bought and paid for…. now that we’ve settled the playing surface for the umpteenth time – let’s discuss….

    Social Security funding was, and should always have been, kep separate and out of the grasping hands of governments, and then lately, retirement funding should have been kept out of the hands of avaricious superannuation funds.

    Pretty simple really.

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      I recommend a total revamp of the whole social security system…. re-installation of the good bits and removal of the bad….

      It’s Time!! (wait a minute… haven’t I heard that somewhere before…?)

    • 0
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      They are both welfare payment paid to those who have no other means of support. They are paid for the current taxpayers and have not been paid for in any way by the recipients.

    • 0
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      It is not rocket science that working Australians and the bottom end are being squeezed hard. This is showing up in people having tightened their belts to asphyxiation level and now not being able to meet their living costs.
      We need to realise what is happening. no accident. This is money being siphoned away from citizens and being used to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. This is the model being used in several other countries and Australians need to react rather than absorb this.

      We are not just talking about Newstart. This is a game plan and it affects all of us. That’s why now more than ever we need to choose our vote carefully and not be duped by the right wing media grooming currently going on as WE will all wear the results. Of course I expect the normal ‘jobs’ diversion from the usual puppets to be rolled out rather than a discussion of what is.

    • 0
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      Mick Everyone should pay the same rate of income tax no matter how much they earn.

    • 0
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      Yes a 0.05% transaction tax and see whose got all the money? And who screams the loudest about it not being fair?

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      They tried that one years ago with accounts with cheque books. Everyone got rid of their cheque books. If they try it with currency everyone will move to cyrtos instead and they wont get any tax at all.

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      MICK, you accuse me of following the party line if I disagree with you but when I disagree it’s only to correct an exaggeration. You keep banging on about the “rich” getting tax cuts whilst the rest of us are carrying the load when the facts throw up a different picture. The facts are from our ABC so I would presume that they are correct and they show a percentile split into fifths of income. The bottom fifth contribute zero tax as do the second lowest fifth. The middle fifth contributes 3% of tax income, the second highest fifth contributes 19% of tax income and the top fifth contributes 79% of tax income.

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      Agree the 20% of the highest income earners pay 80% of the tax so they deserve a tax cut.

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      You are distorting the facts to make it sound like the top end of society is hard done ny. Disappointing.
      Your statistics hide the fact that the top end make many millions of dollars taxable income every year. Then the tax rate is applied and it is not great surprise that the GROSS tax paid appears significant.
      The way of reporting tax paid should be WHAT % OF THE INCOME IS THIS? That’s what you fail to want to discuss but it is the pertinent question.
      I can see OG having his usual out as well and ignoring the reality that a fair taxation system taxes on the basis of having the propensity to pay. It is quite right and just that very high income earners SHOULD pay a higher PERCENTAGE of their income in tax despite the obvious fact that this would appear to be unfair to them.
      You might want to look at some European countries where people accept the above because they are not greedy self interest people rorting the system for their own mega wealth. The system needs to be fair lest we end up with another America……which the current government and its rich supporters cry out for.

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      No they don’t old geezer. The top 20% of taxable incomes pays 80% of the tax NOT the top 20% of income earners. The two things are not the same and many people with very high incomes pay little or no tax at all due to clever accounting.

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      Really MICK, is that the best reply you can come up with? I’m not trying to make any part of society anything more than it is. The tax laws allow anyone, regardless of income, to claim expenditure used in the course of employment as a deduction from their income. What’s left after the ATO agrees is taxable income. You are muddying the waters by wanting something that isn’t available; the percentage of tax against income as each person or corporate entity is different and a standard percentage can’t be given. I agree that high income earners begrudge the amount of tax they they pay, just as all income earners begrudge the amount of tax that they pay. You are probably one of the very few who gladly hands over your tax share with a smile.

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      Yes Dave R that is correct. Living on cashflow and capital gain is pretty much low tax for very high income earners. It’s why a tiny transaction tax would be more equitable.

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      Rich would only pay a transaction tax once when they take it out of our currency system. The poor would pay a lot more as they would pay it multiple times.

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      If I don’t pay tax on it then it isn’t income.

    • 0
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      What a stupid statement. So wages below the tax threshold are not income? What are they then? Best increase them immediately, because the poor recipient apparently have ZERO income, despite working.

    • 0
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      What a stupid statement. So wages below the tax threshold are not income? What are they then? Best increase them immediately, because the poor recipient apparently have ZERO income, despite working.

    • 0
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      Yes OGR they are income as you are taxed on them.

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      An admissionfrom OG that the small income earners are the e3ngine room of the e43conomy… Lordie, Lordie.. open up dem pearly gates.. Ol’ Rastus’s ‘as seen it all!

      Now, honkey – how do rationalise the highest paid paying the most with the lowest paid copp0ing it more from a transaction tax? What’s your out??

  2. 0
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    For a very large percentage of people on Newstart it’s not a hand up while trying to find work. It’s a life style. No one lives on just the Newstart. There are dozens of charities and govt. departments who feed, clothe, medicate and treat (medical and dental) all for free. Generally, and I do say generally, the Newstart is used to buy smokes, alcohol and illeagal drugs. I know I sound jaded but I work in the homeless community and see the rorts and abuse of the system by men and women who thrive on abuse of the welfare system. Apologies to the many legitimate receivers of help from centre link.

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      I too work in that area and I agree with you. Any more money will only lead to further abuse. I also know of many people who live on Newstart by choice. Most say to me why get out of bed to go to work when you don’t have to?

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      Maybe it’s a good thing that some people don’t want to look for work – it frees up jobs for those who really want one. There are not enough jobs to go around for all the jobless folk in the country

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      I would have to say the people I have spoken to who use this are just using it as a supplementary transition to retirement.

      It is really slave labour however to most who take it on it’s a little income boost.

      Anyone you needs to drive to a place of employment would know the majority of that income would go on travel expenses.

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      Rosret you simply don’t have the means to drive so employment agencies have to drive you. Ever wondered why they have so many cars.

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      Geordie, do you also understand the social failure that has led to people pursuing that life style? Nobody wants to live like that. Humans have an innate desire to be successful, respected, and engage in useful endeavour. It’s part of our makeup. Those you speak of have had those innate qualities destroyed by suffering as a result of abuse, injustice, and major failure on the part of society. If people stopped condemning and punishing and looked for ways to GENUINELY help, the so-called ”rorts” could be dramatically reduced. But that’s too hard. Condemning and victimising is far easier and more convenient, and it boosts the self-esteem of those who consider themselves superior.

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      Rubbish OGR. Most of them want to live like that by choice.

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      OG, you ARE the problem. People like you, who refuse to even try to understand the social torment and injustice that drives people to accept failure and social exclusion cause all the problems in society today. NOBODY lives like that by choice unless they feel there is no other valid option – but many do see no other option, because of the abuse, cruelty, deprivation and intolerance of the a-holes who assume superiority and pass vile judgements.

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      OGR I’ll leave you to dream on.

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      I have never met anyone who says they like being on Newstart, most would love help to better themselves and live like a “normal” person. They only fall into the trap of alcohol and drug abuse to mask their misery, and turn to crime to make ends meet. Do you want more crime? Or more money spent on the economy?

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      Hahaha – noe I’ve heard it all
      Bludgers on newstart only drink & do drugs to mask their misery

      Good one musicveg

    • 0
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      Way too privileged and arrogant to recognize truths, Lothario. If you’d ever walked in their shoes, you would think very differently. Musicveg is correct.

    • 0
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      Stop talking rubbish Rainey
      I have been on the dole. Actually saved money while on it

    • 0
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      Just visited Port Arthur today – bet all those prisoners chose the crime lifestyle to get a feed… your comment is frankly bizarre, OG….Lothie? You SAVED money while on the dole? You double dealing cheater, you… how long ago and under what circumstances?

      Clowns to the Left of me, jokers to the Right… here I am, stuck in the middle with you, Rainey….

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      Yeah – someone on $325 a week can afford to endlessly swallow down bourbon and cokes at $7 a shot…. (jesus god)….

    • 0
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      Trebor I bet most of those in Port Arthur today are pensioners too. They are the only ones who can afford the time and money to go to such places. Jut wait to the cruise ships come in and then you cant move for pensioners.

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      Actually no – tradies, truckies, tourism operators and people who work at Port Arthur .. couple of vineyards and a distillery. Probably quite a few pensioners around the traps, it being a very oceanside area…..

      The only pensioners I met at Port Arthur were visitors – a farming family from Wagga and a couple of others including a Hong Kong lady and her daughter….

      The cruise ship is in there today – 3-5000 people…. yangs… might do it myself next time… with the disabled ex, an extended golf cart was available – drop you off and then pick you up at an appointed hour – doesn’t run you around on a tour, but very reliable and friendly.

      Some really nice people working there…. some down from Sydney for a new life… refos ….

    • 0
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      From memory you have to be able to walk unassisted to use the tenders to get ashore at Port Arthur.

    • 0
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      It’s very clear OG and Lothario are contemptible ignorant arrogant people, completely lacking in empathy and far too privileged and overpaid to understand life in the real world.

      It’s a well established fact that addiction – whether to drugs, alcohol, or to a no-work lifestyle – is caused by resorting to unhealthy habits to mask pain, including severe emotional pain. The people these vile over-privileged creeps condemn have suffered. They have been tortured and abused by a cruel society, and if the self-appointed judges weren’t the perpetrators of the abuse originally, a-holes who judge and condemn feed the sickness with their ongoing abuse and torment. Vile and disgusting! Sadly, only certain types of social wrong entitle folk to protection. Some – like the sexually abused, children stolen from families and denied love and care, and children abused and deprived in institutions – are now getting very belated recognition and even minimal compensation, but it’s way too little, way too late. And sadly it isn’t putting an end to the vile abuse and torment. It’s just making a few perpetrators and pollies feel good.

      There but for the grace of God go you, OG and Lothario. One can only hope you are suitably punished in the next life – if there is such a thing – for your heinous crimes. There is nothing more vile and contemptible in our world than the SCUM who assume the right to judge and condemn others.

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      Rainey – I had a very difficult abusive childhood. It has left many scars and I am prone to addiction as a result. Its been a constant struggle , but I’ve used my troubled past to motivate myself to succeed
      I think I am a better person and successful because of the abuse as I have used me experience to make me stronger, more ambitious and driven instead of take the losers option and opt out of society

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      I don’t believe you, Lothario, because if that were true you wouldn’t make the vile statements you make. You would have understanding and empathy. People who know what real suffering is don’t trample on those who haven’t been able to overcome the challenges they faced. They understand that some are able to rise above hardship – perhaps due to a fortunate opportunity or a good influence or some innate strength that others simply don’t have. I was among the fortunate. I had a good influence in my life and was taught how to impress the people who could open doors. Life was very hard, but I did okay. Those I work with who haven’t succeeded as well simply didn’t have the breaks I had. They were kicked in the guts when they were down, instead of being given a hand up. Decent people understand that and show respect and empathy.
      If you were prone to addiction, Lothario, you would know that addiction results from attempts to mask unbearable pain, and you wouldn’t judge. Therefore, it’s patently obvious that you are being untruthful.
      And people who genuinely had difficult and abusive childhoods and are left with scars and battling addiction don’t earn huge salaries and drive a Mercedes Benz. Or at least if, by some amazing luck, they do, they would never boast about it on a forum where others are reporting serious struggle.

  3. 0
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    The whole system needs to be revamped and social security payments should not be in the hands of politicians who use promises of increased payments and/or special bonuses as electoral bribes. I remember Howard granting all age pensioners a one off $1,000 payment shortly before an election.
    For now though regarding the plight of many unemployed over 55’s and our very low job search payment made to these people many of whom will not be able to find employment due to their age I would suggest an immediate increase in their payment to an amount half way between the unemployment payment and the pension payment, in other words a transitional payment rate.

    • 0
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      Sorry Dave R, your memory has failed you. Howard did give cash payments to pensioners but never to the amount you have claimed. The difference with Howard and Rudd giving handouts was Howard was dividing a surplus whereas Rudd was borrowing money to make the payments. Rudd handed out more than Howard ever did.

      In the 2001 budget Howard and Costello gave a one-off payment of $300 to everyone of age pension age. In the 2007 budget there was a one-off bonus to seniors of $500 each. There were other payments to ex-POW’s, carers, to people receiving the family tax benefit. In 2009, Rudd gave either $1040 or $1400 to pensioners.

      Note to MICK; not spouting the party line, just correcting a misstatement.

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      I saved all the money from the Rudd giveaways and now that account has well over $10,000 in it and interest rates have been quite low since that time so we must have been given many thousands under the Rudd government.

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      You’ve never accepted government handouts, OG – you said so… you are stumbling over your stories again… but that’s OK – we still care about you.

      OM – both parties are pork barrelers to the max – however – Rudd’s ‘gift’ to the pensioner at Christmas was an economy stimulus.. and most was spent immediately back into the economy as planned …. Howard Costello’s $300 was to compensate for the GST so pensioners would not be disadvantaged… and if Rudd was borrowing money to pay that $1040 or whatever it was because Howard Costello sold off the family farm and cut revenue… entrenching underlying revenue debasement….

      Very poor economic management in a boom time…..

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      Costello cut revenue ????
      Hahaha
      Not only did he grow revenue, he eliminated crippling interest costs

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      You mean selling off the income bearing public utilities wasn’t selling off the farm and thus reducing long-term revenue? Well.. buggar me!

      Every ‘government’ that has sold off public utilities for short-term pork barreling is now finding itself cash-strapped… living proof is the beloved LNP having increased debt by nearly three times what it was when they inherited it… and at a time of miniscule inflation (ostensibly)… so they can’t claim the existing debts falling due, such as pensions and unemployment etc, are the cause of this….

      Perhaps you’d like to enlighten us, Lothie??? You seem to know it all…… give it to us chapter and verse…. tell us peasants how the LNP have done such a wonderful job….

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      I wont waste my time attempting to explain. It would just be wasted on you

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      Costello’s overly-generous gifts – 80% of which went to the richest 20% – were the cause of the deficit blamed on Labor. Labor inherited a mass of unaffordable obligations to overfeed the wealthy, and winding them back too quickly would have resulted in them being thrown out immediately. When it became obvious these handouts were unaffordable, Labor was thrown out so that the handouts to the rich would continue.

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      Rainey the cartoon character is back in action

    • 0
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      Nothing to say so out comes the personal comment, Loathie? Your style sounds amazingly familiar…

    • 0
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      I got lots of gifts from Rudd but none from Costello.

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      Costalot was too busy salting away your billions into his future fund….. not yours or the nation’s….

      Grand Theft Canberra.

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      I got nothing from Costello either, OG – NOR from Rudd (who excluded anyone forced to live on their savings). But that proves NOTHING. Costello handed out billions to the wealthy. Actually, I very much doubt that you got nothing from Costello, OG. But you continually lie about everything – as proved by your constant contradictory statements.

  4. 0
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    If privacy laws could be amended to allow Centrelink to look closer into peoples private circumstances instead of relying on what people admit to at interview then I believe there would be a lot more funds to spread around.
    How many people are claiming benefits at the single rate when they are in fact living and presenting as a couple. How many solo parents with kids are claiming benefits as a single when they are indeed in a relationship, and the same for those on any type of benefit. The problem is because of privacy laws nothing can be done about it, Centrelink cannot look into your private affairs ,they cannot park outside your house with cameras or enter your house to check on sleeping arrangements. What all people have to realise is that those funds come from the taxpayer not the gov. Revamp the whole of Centrelink so that if you are ripping off the system you either pay back or you do time.

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      Centrelink is mean enough.

      I had a story related to me just recently.

      A couple in their 90s were receiving the OAP and related card benefits.

      The wife died and Centrelink determined the husband didn’t qualify anymore so he lost the card benefits and any payments.

      Because he didn’t have a Pensioner card anymore he applied for an Opal travel Card – which he received.

      He then did the sums and felt he was entitled to a small amount and the pensioner card. So he rang Centrelink.

      The lady said, “Sure, come in anytime.” So he did.

      On arrival the receptionist said,”No, you need to make an appointment. Come back tomorrow.” So he did.

      The receptionist then said, “So you did come back.” mmm
      However you need a birth certificate. So he went home and came back again after making a new appointment.

      A different person then attended to him. He handed over his 1929 Victorian birth certificate. – and the man said, “We can’t handle Victorian birth certificates in NSW do you have an extract?” Which he did.

      The man then said, ” Sorry, the system can’t handle DOB before 1929!”

      So the husband then wrote to his local member of Parliament and finally he got a small remuneration each fortnight but more importantly the pensioner card for medical and travel expenses.

      So Opal cancelled his travel card as he had a Pensioner card. Except. A few months later the government changed the thresholds and he lost his pensioner qualification and the pensioner card.

      However now he has to reapply for the Opal Card!

      So the only people who really scam the system are much cleverer than the average person and Centrelink are trained at being really horrible.

    • 0
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      Don’t talk to me about Opal cards. I was going to Sydney awhile back so added money to my Opal Card. Because I didn’t use my Opal card within a certain period of time they refunded the money back to me. So when I did eventually use my Opal Card it would not work. So I held up the queue at the turnstile until someone came along and worked out the problem. I just kept trying it every few minutes until help arrived. I was then given a free opal card for my journey due the system inconveniencing me.

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      rosret- 1 -what a load of rubbish, if they were rec pension at couple rate, she dies thence is entitled at the single rate which is more than half couple rate. 2 -anyone can walk into a Centrelink office state their business and tak.e a pew. 3 -they accept 100 points of proof just like any other gov dept including birth certs from any country, they acc mine. 4 -At 90 yrs of age this guy would not be writing to anybody so dream on.Centrelink staff are trained to leave no stone unturned if you are applying for a DSP and you can fold paper napkins then you can seek employment folding paper napkins. Thats not how I think, thats how they think.

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      There s a report that claims 70 a day are being caught out claiming single rate when they should not be.

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      Yeh I bet its been ramped up since the rainbow vote, how many same sex couples have been flying under the radar and posing as singles for the single rate of benefits x2 when in fact they are a couple. But as I said before Centrelink can only ask the questions they cannot follow you around with cameras like an insurance company investigates compensation claims.
      In fact instead of going on the rock and roll I might volunteer for this position 15 hrs a wk for about 500 a f/n. Great work if only allowed.

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      I fully agree with you, almost a grey hair, and I also think that the privacy laws only help those who are rorting the system. I have no fear of Big Brother as I carry out my life in a manner that won’t attract any penalties. I have nothing to hide from authorities, therefore nothing to fear. I worked in debt collection for a time and the privacy laws back then, although only minor compared with today, meant that those owing money could move and not be found. Prior to those privacy laws, Department of Transport files and CES files could be accessed, although incurring a fee, but those debtors could be tracked. The result was more debts written off and interest rates for honest people raised to cover the bad debts.

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      Honest people pay more due to the dishonest people hiding behind privacy laws.

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      yeh and my three gainfully employed kids are paying for them all including O.A.P.s thru their taxes so that when they reach 67 they can have a rest and hold their hand out as well

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      Always amuses me how the greedy rich who avoid taxes, extort, pillage and plunder, and manipulate to get benefits they neither need nor deserve are the first to slander the poor guy on Newstart and claim he’s a bludger.

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      OGR if I do that why aren’t I on the OAP?

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      Last time I did a tax return the ATO auto-filled every part including any bank interest.. Centrelink is linked – there is zero need to permit Colonel C’Link any more access to anything…

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      I’d like to see that report, OG… yo’ gotta link dere, Bro??
      What was it now – 70 a day being caught out getting single when they shouldn’t…. 490 a week – say 500 for round figures…..52 weeks in a year… 26,000 a year… jeez.. soon they’ll have every pensioner on couples….

      Lessee now…

      “The government-funded age pension is still an important source of income for the majority of older Australians after retirement. In June 2017, 2.5 million people aged 65 and over received at least a partial age pension, representing 66% of older people. This rate has decreased over recent years, declining from 75% in 1997, when 1.7 million older people received any age pension”

      https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/older-people/older-australia-at-a-glance/contents/social-and-economic-engagement/employment-and-economic-participation

      Where’s that link, OG? Who ‘reported’ this and what are the details? A pensioner separated for a time can be deemed ‘single’ – is this really about people reverting to couple pension once reunited? Is this just another beat-up from the pensioner/retiree hater lobby using false figures of poor old people separated by long term illness and getting home together again?

      Details, son – details… empty words mean nothing….

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      OG this is not a government report nor does it give a breakdown of the figures quoted, in Donald Trump style this is faked news & you should be ashamed of yourself for quoting same.

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      It’s happening, 1984. I know folk who are doing it. But it’s because the system is unfair and cruel to honest folk that people resort to dishonesty. If the system was sensible and fair, there would be no need. Punishing people for remaining in relationships, saving and investing is the cause of all the problems. Make the aged pension universal as it is in all other civilised nations and the problems would end.

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      I noticed it was not a government statement…. just a blog.

      Anyway – it rapidly moves away from the alleged subject matter and int the realm of just throwing figures around :-

      “More than 70 people a day are cheating the system, with figures showing 26,346 individuals failed to declare they were in a relationship for the 2017-18 financial period. This resulted in more than $61 million worth of overpayments that now have to be repaid to the Commonwealth.

      Some cases were found to be genuine mistakes and oversights, but many were deliberate acts of fraud that were detected by members of the Department of Human Services’ specialist fraud and compliance teams”.

      Was this using the good old automated system of demand with menaces? Did someone change the rules?

      26,345 people – $61m – around $2000 each…. maybe if that blog can be believed.. though in an election year I doubt it. Yo’ god some secondary verification dere.. coupla more positive sources.. from da government perhaps?

      I’m touring Tasmania – haven’t got time to chew you asses all day – C YA L8TA!

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      Ask for proof and when provided come of with b/s.
      Par for the course for your type

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      You got a direct government link? In history you need a primary source and then secondary and tertiary for any acceptance of a story…. only blogs get away with single source, real or imagined.

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      Almost a grey hair. I am not lying!
      What is allowed and how he was treated are two entirely different things.

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    I’m 3 mths short of 58 yrs, have endured a back injury for the past 8 yrs that’s unaffordable to rectify by surgery. Due to draconian changes to Disability Pension eligibility requirements, I don’t qualify.

    11 yrs ago when my wife got a ” modestly decent paying job ” I chose the ” home – dad ” option; thus receiving parenting payment for 3 yrs before it was summarily cancelled ( 2010 ) due to legislated sunset clauses, with no prior notice. It also was subject to deductions based on my wife’s fortnightly income. Regularly I received half my payment, less than or none at all.

    4 yrs later due to unexpected illness, my wife was briefly hospitalised & off work for 2 mths, so at age 55 I subsequently applied for social security support & after going thru the grist mill, was foisted onto Newstart & the putrid firehoops that followed. Despite providing requested updated evidence re my back injury, again I wasn’t deemed enough of an invalid for the D. P.

    The last 4 yrs have been the worst experience ever personally. Faithfully reporting the wife’s income via phone, completing online courses to make myself acceptably ” employable “, jumping thru useless job application hoops & finally being cut off again by aforementioned legislated criteria, ” because my wife earned too much over 26 weeks “. Is it any wonder I chose ” NOT ” to go thru that again.

    Have I worked when it was available? Oh Hell Yes!! And proudly enjoyed being a taxpayer whenever doing so.
    The Transition Payment concept for those 55 yrs & over is a brilliant idea & should be set at the Aged Pension level. + it ” should never be ” subjected to any deductions/conditions whatsoever, due to a partner’s income. There’d be less competition in the job market resulting in economic improvement, unemployment levels substantially drop as younger folk gain jobs & become taxpayers, etc.

    But no. Treasury Boffins & their political masters toss that in the ” Too Hard Basket “.

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      Someone should compile a book of centrelink stuff ups and inhumane actions.

      I know of one journalist who wrote,” the short goodbye” about the current system of Centrelink and privatised job providers.

      We hadn’t quite got to slave labour back then like we have now.

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      A book of al the lies told to Centrelink would make much better reading. Some of the things I have been told are truly inventive.

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      But then, you know an amazing array of thieves and liars, OG.. one is left to ponder the circles in which you move….. and the fact that lying down with dogs gives you fleas….

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      now look who’s getting personal and insulting
      hypocrite much ?

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      Truth hurts, Lothario? OG is constantly telling us about the alleged cheats, liars, bludgers, gamblers and drunks he knows. Seems he associates with the scum of society. But then, judging by his meanness and nastiness, and his claims to live on fresh air and run around naked, I doubt anyone BUT scum would ever want to associate with him.

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      ROFL.

      I guess that’s the price I pay for being the poorest of my friends.

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      Ah – so it’s not a sin to slag people – but it’s a sin of hypocrisy to give back in kind after enormous provocation?

      Methinks you have no firm grasp of yourself, Lotharian…. take to the hills for three or four days and meditate on yourself… consider your views… review your views… self-criticise and cleanse your soul….

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    Trebor.
    No one on average wages has paid enough tax(around $3-400,000) in their lifetime to cover their age pension payment for life.The people that did pay more tax are not entitled to a pension and are now mostly self funded (excluding x public servants who are on defined benefit pensions).

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      Except the money we conglomerative paid in taxes for the pension should have been invested in projects that generated wealth and growth in our nation.
      The same can be said of self funded private scheme that have returned so little in comparison to an exploding property market.

      We are in trouble and the retire superannuation scheme is going to become a bigger issue as more and more baby boomers retire. Coupled with that the next generation can see it is flawed and aren’t putting anymore in super than is absolutely necessary.

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      I agree. Families today earning less than $60,000 get more in benefits than they pay in tax. Many people on the pension would not have paid nearly enough tax to pay for it at all.

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      Defined benefit fund members bought units after tax. They did not get the 9% guarantee but did get an employer component. It was still very expensive. Anyone who saved that much for that long after tax would have quite a big lump sum.

      There was nothing to stop people from saving except their spending habits.

      Anyone working an average income job for 45 years would have paid around $600 000 in taxes.

      My job had few deductions and I paid the 36% level.

      The only time I didn’t was during a period I was farming. Great deductions there. Business people often paid little tax at all.

      Rosret is right. We are in trouble. The income producing assets our high taxes built have all been sold and the proceeds squandered or paid to the politicians brokering the deals.

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      That’s how a progressive tax system works old frt. AS long as self funded retirees can earn at least the equivalent of the old age pension the system is fair. When they do not it should be topped up….something the current ratbag government will not have a bar of as they come after all but the wealthy with a blood lust on steroids.

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      Mick what happens when interests rates are 17% and self funded retires earn twice the old age pension?

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      Oldfrt, I believe that the tax paid in our working life went to pay for welfare/pensions whatever for those entitled to them. Those funds were never set aside for our old age. The welfare/pensions being paid now are paid for by the current taxpayers (God bless them) and that is what is causing some angst. Whereas in our days there were 4 taxpayers for each welfare/pension recipient, that ratio is changing and future projections are that there will be 2 taxpayers for 3 recipients.

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      Don’t listen to the BS Old frt.
      Taxes went to infrastructure, bureaucracy, welfare and waste.

      We all know that well off Australians do not want to pay pensions because they have their own schemes and have no need of the OAG. They put away money over a lifetime with political handouts which they refuse to call what they are: rich man’s welfare.

      We all know that well off Australians do not want to fund Medicare. Same deal in ‘The Land of the Free’ (not). That is somebody else’s responsibility.

      We all know that well off Australians do not want to pay unemployment benefits because ‘those lazy bludgers’ should ‘find a job….even if there are not enough jobs to go around, which is the case.

      We all know that well off Australians do not want to fund public education because they have their own system.

      We all know know that well off Australians do not want to fund Medicare. But they insist on using public hospitals for nix.

      Ok OM, don’t get me going! Your take on society is the typical rich man crying poverty and you fail to EVER consider that a society is made up of all classes and it is not your right nor the right of the top end of society to take everything and leave the rest of society destitute. That is not what team players do and believe me when I say countries are teams where EVERYBODY has a part to play and money (THE MEANS OF EXCHANGE!!!) to contribute. You know full well that a PROGRESSIVE TAXATION SYSTEM was put together to make sure everybody could survive. Your model is the American model where the 0.1% own 90% of everything and the rest can go whistle. You should be ashamed of yourself. Disreputable man who needs to go live in Syria or Iran. You may feel comfortable in such a place.

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      Never ceases to amaze me how deceitful and ungrateful people like Mick are

      High income and wealth individuals are carrying this country by funding 80% of the tax take

      Yet Mick continues to spread his bulldust propaganda on behalf of his thieving socialist mates

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      Gee MICK, you have really gone over the top this time. What you have said bears no resemblance to my post. If you get someone to read it to you you might suddenly realise that all I have said is that taxes go to pay welfare/pensions for current recipients. There is no mention, nay, not even a hint that anything has been said about classes or any end of society. Australia is, above all, an egalitarian society where Jack is as good as his master. You are entitled to an opinion but you seem to not realise that others also have the same rights and they don’t have to agree with yours. Why would you suggest that a Caucasian Christian move to Syria or Iran? I note your union bully tactics are seeping through; can’t dispute the argument with logic so attack the messenger with personal abuse.

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      I can understand the argument that those that worked and paid tax should be able to claim the OAP, but, how do they justify paying the OAP to those that have never paid tax?
      Do the sums and tell me how long it takes to spend the amount of the tax paid before the bucket is dry.

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      Price Waterhouse have designed a new tax system for Australia. It includes a flat tax of 30% tax on all investment income. Another win for high income earners.

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      That money paid in by everyone, in a fund and invested, would pay7 everyone a pension on the proceeds… it doesn’t just sit there, oldfrt… it is supposed to be used for investment in solid infrastructure for this nation, with a long term return from the borrowing agency, called interest….

      Price Waterhouse are wanting to force investors to pay more tax??? How odd…..

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      money paid in by everyone, in a fund and invested,for retirement is called super – thats why it was introduced

      As for your post –
      **coughs** (bullshit… bullshit)….

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      Super isn’t for everyone, Lothario. It’s yet another rort for the greedy rich. Huge tax concessions for high income earners to load their coffers with money they don’t need, and nil or almost nil for the battlers who genuinely need help. Situation normal. Stinking greedy prevail.

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      Rainey – are you Trebor’s female alter ego

      I’m beginning to think so – you both remind me of cartoon characters

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      You remind me of a kid who reads too many cartoons and has nothing of value to add to any conversation… sprung, methinks… and a name like ‘Lothario’ … what a dreamer….

      (Lothario…**snuckles under armpit** .. public derision and laughter were the cure for olbaid/diablo.. another dreamer filled with hubris and an unwarranted feeling of superiority while having nothijng to o0ffer… perhaps you are one and the same?)…

      Just because free-thinking, intelligent, and capable people see things in a very similar way does not mean they even know one another, Loathie… I’ve never met Rainey or Mick or OG or Rosret or anyone else here.. but we all share some views…

      Your mistake (among many) is assuming that anyone with a differing view from yours is a dimwit and should be treated with scorn and contempt by you (of all people – you’ve proven nothing here yet!)…… but you only make that false assumption because you cannot follow the reasoning of others… nor do you display respect for them….

      Indeed, sir – you are a failure… and a troublemaker….

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      The truth hurts the rich and the posts from the usual suspects is what it is. Smoked slamon anyone? With champagne?
      What a deceitful lot you are. Rich men doing business and supporting the worst government in living history!

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      OM – having calmed down I may have gone for the jugular. Apologies if I have been too tough but I keep reading the aristocratic lineage into your posts. If you believe looking after those less fortunate than us is a burden then you may consider how the well off might feel if their glass castles were taken from them. It can happen to any one of us and life has a way of cutting some of us down to size at times.
      Perhaps I should have simply appealed to some deep rooted empathy in you but I’m not real sure there is any.
      Unions? I was forced to belong to one for 20 years but as a member. Never a representative….although some days I think I could do a better job than some. In case you have not realised unions are a shadow of their former self for the very reason that representatives became lazy and some acted with disregard for a fair go for the other side of humanity. The side that wants it all. They paid the ultimate price. Their jobs.
      I suggest unions are better represented today for the most part.

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      None so blind – Keating cunningly INTRODUCED superannuation… AFTER governments respective had already stolen the fund that should have been the basis of a national superannuation scheme….. hardly a gift, eh?

      It seems that handed a piece of gold you would label it bullshit if it was not from Costello’s hands…

      Me? I’m about to razz Bill Shorten about the current mode of Labor….. and advise him in no uncertain terms that should his party win, it is only by default and not on the value of their policies for ALL.

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    New start is a pittance and I have no idea how folks manage on it, what with looking for jobs/ paying for transport also a computer — –as most job searches are done on a computer these days — ALL pensions need looking into as it is abhorrent that people are expected to live on such a pittance — when you think those bludgers in the Government spend what a person gets on a FULL pension they spend on one Luncheon!

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    Old Geezer: I have posted this before, but I will post it again for your benefit and in an effort to limit your continual bleating over “welfare” and “its bludging recipients” and their drain on the public purse.

    After WWll, the Australian government set up a fund specifically to save for current and future issues for unemployment, sickness and the aged pension. Everyone contributed as part of their tax burden and the amount they paid into this fund was shown on their annual Group Certificate as a value separate from the actual income tax they had paid.
    This fund was set up at a time of full employment and reasonable interest rates and it grew and grew into a massive fund simply because there was little demand on its resources. That was until Malcolm Fraser came long….you remember him Old Geezer, he was a LIBERAL/NATIONAL PARTY Prime Minister. Well dear old Malcolm decided there was no need for this huge fund to continue and so he took all the money from this fund and rolled it into Consolidated Revenue and subsequently spent it. In effect, this LIBERAL/NATIONAL PARTY Prime Minister stole from the future of all Australian people as if it still existed up until today, it would go a very long way to covering the very costs that you continually bleat about.
    Because the legislation setting up this fund was not rescinded, the Group Certificates of all Australian wage earners continued to show these two figures for many years. I am unsure whether the legislation setting up this fund has actually been rescinded or otherwise, but some time ago Group Certificates have since morphed into Payment Summaries.
    I was reminded about this sad story and the heinous actions of this former LIBERAL/NATIONAL PARTY Prime Minister the other day, when I heard another unfortunate former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, speaking about setting up special funds to fund care of the aged when their SuperAnn ran out.
    So Australian people having need of income support are not bludgers or a drain on the public purse. They are simply taking back what Malcolm Fraser and his government stole from the Australia populace.

    And in addition OG, regarding your comments regarding people preferring to live on Newstart. Rubbish. You say that you work in this area, but to date you have maintained that you are a self-funded retiree who can live off a very small amount of money, the equivalent of NewStart – you cannot have it both ways. I have worked with governments of both political ideologies and I can assure you that there are few people who rort the system. Yes, there are a few who do this but I can assure you that the vast majority of recipients of Newstart would far rather have a paying job but are brow-beaten by the system into depression and low self-esteem by submitting application after application for jobs for which they never gain the courtesy of a response, let alone an interview. This applies as much to younger people as it does for over 55s, most of whom will never be given the opportunity of working again, despite any excellent qualifications and practical experience they may hold.
    So rather than keep tipping the bucket on those needing a helping hand, try a little humility coupled with a lot of empathy for a change.

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      That was last century and it’s about time you forgot about it. We are now in a new century with mew rules.

      Yes I do work as a volunteer when I am asked in lots of areas as I expertise in many areas of finance. I work as a volunteer as I don’t need any extra money and I want to work on my terms not those of others.

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      No OG we are not going to forget about it new century or not.

      Maybe we take the Future Fund to compensate. That would be fair.

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      OnlyDaughter, OG’s first sentence – like all of his posts – evidences his arrogance and contempt for those in need and those who have suffered social injustice.

      Of course you are right. Humans have an innate desire to engage in productive endeavour and to earn respect. They WANT to work. But when society bashes them about badly, they lose their trust and confidence in the system and withdraw from acceptance of social norms and society’s demands of them. If there were a lot more recognition of the causes of people’s problems and behaviour, rather than focus on condemnation and punishment, we could go a long way to resolving social problems. But people like OG prove conclusively why the problems will continue to get worse. OMG! Who would want him volunteering in any area? With his arrogance and nastiness, he would not be genuinely helpful to anyone, but rather to great harm.

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      Malcolm Fraser was more interested in giving money to his black mates in Africa than leaving some in the pension fund. He gave us that horrible Mugabe fellow in Rhodesia.

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      You can lead an Old Geezer to water, Only Daughter, but you can’t force him to drink of the waters of truth and reality – he chooses to avoid those….

      No matter how many times you explain it in small words to him – he simply does not wish to listen.

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      He thinks that a thief should not be forced to repay what he has stolen….. well – we the people don’t allow some mythical ‘statute of limitations’ for some crimes whilst acting as a servant……

      BTW – what about that Future Fund that Don Pedro and Don Juan spirited off to a tax haven to ensure their never-ending income from us? When is that coming home, OG, and taking its rightful place in the National future Fund For All – as Howard and Costello should have been doing with their resources boom money instead of throwing it around on tax cuts to the unworthy?

      Beeziness eez good in El Grande Republica Da San Austrodor – eef you hol’ zee kees to zee National Treasury an’ you make zee rules yoursel’ for yoursel’ an’ your compadres…

      Howard and Costello acted like any Central American dictator – robbed the national treasury and salted billions away in a tax haven…..

      Criminals all….. we’re gonna need a bigger guillotine…

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    both payments cannot be woefully inadequate, most agree one is obviously less woeful than the other; it just depends who you ask.

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      Both payments are only meant for the basics of living not for luxuries as well. If you want luxuries you should have saved for them.

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      Only the lowest and nastiest egotistical SCUM subscribe to the view that the disadvantaged deserve nothing more than the basics, OG.

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      OGR that what welfare was designed to do but people now expect luxuries so are very disappointed.

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      OLd Geezer, when the age pension was introduced a private car was a luxury, today it is a basic right for many people. Yes I saved for luxury but that that does not mean I have to spend my savings on necessary things instead of a pension a non saver is getting. My pension is for necessities and my savings for my luxuries. Just go sit up top and feel superior if you like. Some people are more self righteous than self funded.

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      cowboy jim I agree with what you are saying and that is the exact reason for arguing for the universal pension, no asset or income test like they have in first world countries like NZ (leaders not followers)
      I want and will get thru my own study and knowledge of the system a full or close to a full age pension as since even before the super guarantee came in I put into a pension fund and saved ,we both salary sacrificed till it hurt and when the day comes they want us to actually rec less than someone else, go figure.
      By the way Nick Bruining has updated his book (don’t panic) and is a superb read and it will become a retirees bible

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      Cowboy Jim my savings get spent on the necessities of life.

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      Double the pension now and double unemployment benefits…

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      @Trebor, doubling both pension and unemployment simply increases the gap between the two payments.

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      So what? It isn’t the gap that matters. It’s that the payment is adequate to sustain the lifestyle to which the recipient is, in a DECENT civilised society, reasonably entitled.

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      @Rainey, you are nothing if not consistent with putting the hand out for more money from the welfare bucket – greed is good, right? The gap matters because in a decent, civilised society someone has to pay for it. Lifting the net for those on the bottom should be the priority, so the question is how much is an adequate and sustainable level for unemployed, disability and pension recipients alike.

      Doubling both payments without rational support is policy nonsense but for argument’s sake doubling Newstart puts it about $100 a week above the current pension, which most also agree should be higher. An increase of that order should be enough for the Pensioners if it is good enough for the unemployed; pensioners do not need to be paid anything like $900 per week from the public purse, which is more than some low income tax paying workers make, that would result from doubling the pension and increasing the burden upon taxpayers.

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      Farside, I don’t get any kind of pension. I get nothing from what you wrongly call ”the welfare bucket”. But the ”greed is good” mentality is the mentality of the rich, who are too selfish to acknowledge that others have the right to a reasonably comfortable life. Someone has to pay for poverty too – and ultimately the whole of society suffers for it, but mostly the children. If the greedy rich paid their way fairly, there would be ample to provide a decent lifestyle for all.

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      @Rainey, I’m not suggesting you receive a pension personally (you have made it clear many times that you you have overcome many obstacles, self made, caring for sick yada yada yada), however you do advocate hard for the pensioners. I’m just saying that the unemployed and unemployable are experiencing more poverty than the pensioners and should be prioritised in divvying up the welfare bucket. Greed is not restricted to the rich and indeed many wealthy are generous in terms of charitable support and helping to improve the lives of those less fortunate than themselves. I share your sentiments about poverty and it being a social problem however poverty is not alleviated just by taxing the rich but also by prioritising those who need relief most.

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    Not All Unemployed Receive New Start or Government Incentives for Prospective Employers to Employ.
    New Start no Matter How Small in Monetary Value and Job Placement Help, IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.
    {;-(

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      Exactly. Just ask those kids who leave school and can’t get a job but because their parents earn too much they get no welfare until they are 22.

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      Older Australians OUT NUMBER THEM
      Young Kids Have Education Options. At 22 receive A BENEFIT :WOW At least They Can Have.
      Still Better Than Nothing.
      Older ones IS OUT SIGHT OUT OF MIND

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      At the Battle of Arnhem 1944, Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart received his food ration for one day – a boiled sweet – I’m sure that was better than nothing…

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      But wait… OG. According to you, there is nobody who genuinely ”can’t get a job”. You claim jobs are out there in abundance. So why shouldn’t parents support their ‘bludging offspring”?

      Then again, maybe this is just another case of OG changing his story to suit his current desired argument. He never has had any interest in truth or fact, let alone respect for others.

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