ALP plans to restore Centrelink staffing, protect pension

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We’ve heard from the Greens and the Coalition about their plans for older Australians. Today, the Australian Labor Party shares its policies and plans to address your top five concerns.

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Increase the base rate of the Age Pension; consider a universal age pension
Labor established the Age Pension – and only Labor can be trusted to protect the household budgets of pensioners.

The Liberals promised “no cuts to the pension”. But this was a lie. In every single budget, the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has tried to cut the pension or increase the pension age to 70.

Labor fought every one of these pension cuts tooth and nail.

Had it not been for Labor, pensioners and approaching retirees would be far worse off.

The difference is clear. Labor will always protect the pension and deliver better health services for pensioners.

Address climate change
Labor will reduce pollution, invest in renewable energy and take real action on climate change.

After six years of rising electricity prices, chaos and rising pollution under the Liberals, Australians need stability and certainty on climate change policy – that’s what our plan delivers.

Labor is committed to working with business to reduce Australia’s pollution by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050.

We are also committed to 50 per cent renewable energy in our electricity mix by 2030. Renewable energy is cheaper and cleaner – it is the smart thing to do.

Healthcare: better access to medicines and diagnostics, universal dental care, improved private health insurance subsidies
A Shorten Labor Government will deliver the biggest cancer care package in Australian history, with a $2.3 billion investment to slash out-of-pocket expenses for cancer patients, which includes eliminating all out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic imaging, with up to six million free cancer scans funded through Medicare.

Labor will also establish a landmark Medicare Pensioner Dental Plan – giving up to three million older Australians access to free dental care.

This will mean all age pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card holders will be able to access up to $1000 in dental services for free every two years.

More incentive to work past the age pension age without being financially penalised in terms of pension entitlements
Labor supports Australians working for as long as they want, and we support the extended pension work bonus.

From 1 July 2019, both employed and self-employed social security pensioners over pension age will be eligible for the Work Bonus, and able to earn up to $300 per fortnight from work before this income is assessed under the pension income test. Additionally, the Work Bonus maximum accrual amount will increase to $7800.

Easier access to Centrelink resources and quicker responses
Labor will establish 1200 new permanent and full-time Department of Human Services staff around the country, improving waiting times and services that Australians rely on.

It’s clear that Centrelink is in crisis under this Liberal Government.

The Liberals have cut or outsourced thousands of Centrelink jobs, leaving it understaffed and under-resourced. In this time, Centrelink call and payment wait times have skyrocketed.

Labor will ensure that people can receive assistance when they need it – not be pushed further into hardship by long and uncertain waiting times.

What do you think of Labor’s policies? Do they address your concerns? Which do you think will most help you?

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RELATED LINKS

The Coalition’s plan for older Australians

The Coalition responds to your five major election concerns.

ALP announces plan to help older Aussies get back to work

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten launches job creation plan, aimed at helping over-55s.

At least one political party would consider a universal age pension

Universal age pension and review of payment rates on the Greens' agenda.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

177 Comments

Total Comments: 177
  1. 0
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    Working to the age of 70 was certainly mentioned in politics but has remained a rumor whereas the fact that we now have to work till 67 was announced out of the blue by Labor’s Kevin Rudd. So I trust neither side, whatever anyone says, asset and income tests will be tightened further. The only way to win is to become a politician as they seem to be protected from any future cuts. No option for me as a dual citizen.

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      Then Cowboy Jim, say nothing at all as you are NOT a true Citizen of this Country, if you were you would renounce any other Citizenship.

      Raising the eligibility age to 67 yrs is not any different to USA, UK, France, Norway etc., I did note that the countries that have 60 to 65 yrs as retirement ages are also very small with some being considered 3rd world.

      If you have enough money to retire earlier then go for it and do not claim a penny from the Government. Age Pension IS NOT A RIGHT, it is a benefit a burden on the tax paying population of Australia.

      All monies used to fund Welfare, Defence, Family Services, etc come from people like me, a taxpayer.

      So stop you whingeing and moaning if you are getting an Australian Pension consider yourself bloody lucky, because if i was in Parliament dual citizens would not be eligible.

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      If you take out all the dual citizens out of this forum they would not be many people left. Does not mean that you have to claim it, most people only find out when they stand for election like we keep on seeing this time round.
      Personally I would like to see only Australian-born politicians in Parliament. Renouncing your citizenship is not final as you can claim it back at a later stage.

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      Tactful you are talking rubbish in every way possible. Must be a ON voter.

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      It was Keating’s idea to have this self funded retirement scheme where trillions are heading out of the country to foreign hedge funds in fees and profits.

      The Labor party is about taxation to fund massive welfare projects. Which is very considerate of them. Let’s hear about essential infrastructure projects to fund the baby boomer bulge that is going to be an ever increasing problem for the next few decades.

      As they say, we need to grow the pie not eat it.

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      CJ I like what the Irish did If your work is sitting on a seat all day like public servants etc you will retire at 70, if your a manual worker ie bricklayer you retie at 67

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      CJ I like what the Irish did If your work is sitting on a seat all day like public servants etc you will retire at 70, if your a manual worker ie bricklayer you retie at 67

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      Cowboy Jim…Rudd was overtaken because of his lack of Labor values. He should have been a Liberal with his arrogance and China grovel.

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      Cowboy Jim, Labor raised the pension age because they have a problem with money management. They always think the solution is to get more money from us. 🙁

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      Cowboy Jim, Labor raised the pension age because they have a problem with money management. They always think the solution is to get more money from us. 🙁

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      Adrianus, showing a little bias there? It may surprise you that both sides of politics acknowledged the need to increase the pension age and voted accordingly. Indeed the LNP feels 70 is appropriate, which is why it has not reversed the pension age to 65 and only scrapped its plans in 2018 to increase it. Rest assured pension age will eventually increase to 70 regardless who is in government.

      And you are wrong when it comes to the side of politics that gets most money from us; fact is that since 1995/6, the top 14 years have been LNP and the lowest six years have been ALP. Go figure, facts matter more than opinion.
      https://www.abc.
      et.au/news/2018-05-02/fact-check-is-tax-to-gdp-lower-now-than-howard-years/9705324

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    What a load of utter rubbish. Labor have always said this and done NOTHING!!!!.
    Last time Labor were in power they even looked at privatisation of many of the functions of Centrelink, including payments. They also did this with Medicare for the bulk billing processing. No one was interested due to all the constraints and legislation involved.

    Trust Labor, I would trust the devil first.

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      Looking & introducing are 2 totally different things. However this LNP load of rubbish has lied & betrayed retirees from day one for the past 6 years.
      Trust ALP, possibly,
      Trust LNP, never in a million years.
      Tactful credibility, non whatsoever

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      tactful . . . . Got to agree with you. Would trust NLP WAY before ALP!

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      How foolish, Fliss. The LNP have stuffed this country.

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      LNP consists of one guy at the moment, grinning and blustering and bullying his way to the 18th! Most LNP are invisible. To present them would be a sour reminder for the electorate so hide them away lol. People hopefully have long memories, actually don’t need them to be too long lol whilst Labor has Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek and some excellent guys who present a united front. People are growing more anxious about the environment as well so Greens will be a strong backing for Labor.

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      Hey, Tactful, I don’t trust any of them especially in regard to pensions.

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    Bring in a universal pension for all who have paid taxes for at least 10 consecutive years or more and the extra bumbling staff and all the equipment, offices and infrestructure for Centrelink won’t be needed and it will cost the nation far less for a better result and happier retirees. Labor just likes to spend, spend, spend to turn us into a broke third world country.

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      It’s a far fairer system for all & will save the taxman billions, & those pensioners earning an income will pay taxes same as everyone else & those that are still feeling hardship can apply for additional welfare

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      Yes, then they can get rid of most of the Centrelink staff as they not be needed.

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      Yes, only the very poor on the dole and the very rich can afford Labor. They introduced the triple tax, you pay over 30% when you work, you pay another 30% on your dividend earnings and when you spend the rest, you can pay another 10% in GST. Labor invented the over 70% tax! Shortens triple tax!

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      Ok – most people pay around 25% in income tax.
      GST was brought in by the Liberal Government

      So what the hell are you talking about.

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      Ok, those who pay 30% income tax are not paying 30% on franked dividends.

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      Correct, Mrs Hedgehog, SFR and Theo1943, Universal Age Pension is really the only sane option currently after the 2 Major parties have managed to completely stuff up the system, punishing the savers and earners.

      It should also be noted that Labor is peddling a lie when they say “Labor fought every one of these pension cuts tooth and nail.”. In fact, they sat on the fence in the Senate when the Asset Test changes were being considered, and then voted against it only after the Greens decided to support the LNP ensuring the changes would pass. Further, they have refused to reverse those changes several times, so we know that they actually supported those pension cuts. Tricky hypocrites!

  4. 0
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    Tactful – how right you are.
    Labour trot out this sort of rubbish with constant monotony.
    Nothing precise, nothing factual, nothing practical and no costing whatsoever.

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      No he’s not & neither are you

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      NaB can’t even spell Labor correctly: typical LNP troll.

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      KaL no NaB can’t be a ‘troll’. Trolls would get the spelling right – rookie error!

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      Yes, I agree.

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      Precisely my point – Labour cannot even spell correctly and, it seems, neither can you lot.

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      Check your Dictionary; Labour is the correct spelling of the word, the ALP have simply left ‘U’ out of? Before I’m accused of being an LNP troll by some! you a wrong.

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      You are a thick lot, aren’t you?
      Australians spell the word “labour” meaning toil, work & child-bearing.
      Americans, (& the spell check on most computers) spell it as “labor” “harbor”, etc.

      The Labor Party has always been spelt like that, to distinguish the two meanings.

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      ummm Hoohoo, ye have made a booboo; the Labor Party has not always been spelt without the ‘u’.

      In fact historically ‘Labour’ and ‘Labor’ have been interchangeable until relatively recently. It was founded as the Australian Labour Party in 1908 but many preferred the modern spelling Labor. Some attribute this change to the influence of American-born King O’Malley. The Federal Conference resolved to use Labor in 1918 however there are examples of spelling Labour as late as the 1950s.

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      Not enjoying this piece of humble pie, despite how hard I earned it!
      My only excuse is, I was born after the 1950’s.

  5. 0
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    We paid taxes for a combined 99 years, not dual citizens and have had to fight for the age pension. How many “Fat Cats” who have been in Parliament can claim that they and their spouse paid taxes for the same amount of time, entitling them to their “golden handshake”?
    Neither Major Party gives a toss about the Aged in Australia.

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      Agree with greygeek. I fought for the age pension and lost, now in my 70s and just generate enough income to survive on about equivalent of centrelink aged pension. Politicians receive non-means tested pensions and perks which are exorbitant and not available to the plebs.

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      Why do so many self funded retirees gripe about being forced to eke out an existence when they have the resources to improve their quality of life but choose not to spend them?

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      Yep agree Farside, I don’t whinge, I just use what I have.

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      Agree, greygeek, time to turf out as many of them as possible.
      3 Million+ Retirees (being around 20% of the electorate) can make a difference, noting that 44 (out of 151) Lower House seats are currently on Margins of less than 5%. At least, vote OUT all the non-performers!

      The best thing to do in the current situation is to be assign preferences very logically & purposefully – I recommend a strategy as follows:

      Put as No. 1 for your favourite candidate (supporting Retirees preferably),
      Put your No. 2 as the alternative one who you think can win and who may be acceptable to you,
      Put all extremists at the end (including opportunist Independents claiming to be able to fix Climate Change), and
      Put the remaining in between such that the sitting Major party MP is definitely below the alternative Major party candidate (just above the extremists).

      If enough people do this, you will a) know you did your best, b) hopefully the useless sitting MP will lose their seat, and c) maybe even your preferred candidate has a chance to win.

  6. 0
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    Good to see positive policy with initiative

  7. 0
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    Self funded retirees earning less than the old age pension may beg to differ on this story.
    It is wrong that Labor seeks to remove franking credits from those who earn less than the pension whilst leaving them in place for those who pay tax, no matter how small that is.

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      You are wrong again Mick. The ALP has exempted pensioners from the removal of franking credits. That’ full or part pensioners.

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      Mick, and those few self funded retirees earning less than the pension should be spending some of their resources to lift their quality of life.

      It seems there are fewer affected by removal of franking credit refunds than the noise might suggest.

      https://theconversation.com/its-hard-to-find-out-who-labors-dividend-imputation-policy-will-hit-but-it-is-possible-and-it-isnt-the-poor-116370

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      maelcolium – I think you are talking about retirees who are on the pension, not self funded retirees who receive not $1 of pension. That is the problem. They are a target.
      Allowing those who earn sufficient income to actually pay tax to access franking credits whilst denying those who are struggling is not a good policy. More like what you might expect from a top end of town government.

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      I agree with you MICK, only aged pensioners are exempt from this rotten attack on those who have carefully followed the rules and are now about to have their income reduced. Those who suggest that if income is reduced it will make one eligible for a part pension don’t understand the system. Eligibility for an age pension has two criteria; assets and income. A person could have assets over the threshold which include shares to provide an income but if the income is reduced, the assets remain. The proposed tax is supposed to attack the “rich” but will disadvantage retirees more than it will disadvantage the “rich”.

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      Correct. Its a bad move and likely comes from the next generation believing if you’ve got a quid you should spend it looking after yourself.
      My only question is where do I send the bill for the many thousands of hours of work and time it took to gain the assets my wife and I have and also the time taken to manage them. These are not things the average man did, who in most cases lived life to the full. That’s probably the unfairness.
      Whilst I wish Labor to put this current government out of its misery I’ll be looking into getting an Independents Party going if Labor abandons average people and the Fair Go it says it intends to implement. What the voter puteth in the voter can also puteth out.

      Bill beware! Don’t sell out the nation like the current despots have done!

    • 0
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      Mick and Old Man, Shorten also said that any SRF who is not in receipt of an aged pension as at March 2018, will never receive their Franking Credits even if they receive aged pension at a later date.

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      Labor’s proposed changes to franking credit refunds will affect 4% of the population.

      The irony is that under Labor, it’ll be the very rich, greedy ones who have organised their affairs (Family Trusts!) so that they DO receive maybe only $1 of OAP per fortnight, which qualifies them for a Health Care Card, discounts on transport, shopping, movies, car rego, Council Rates, etc., etc., AND THEY’LL ALSO GET FRANKING CREDIT REFUNDS, because they pay some tax.

      Meanwhile, the well off SFR may be caught in the FCR net (only if they’re not paying tax) yet they are not as rich as those others mentioned above.
      Many reasonable SFR (I have 5 siblings in this category) are perfectly happy that they shouldn’t receive Franking Credit Refunds, the revenue sourced from working taxpayer’s contributions, when workers on the same income as they are not able to access these perks.

      I think older Australians have to consider what incredible advantages we’ve had, compared to younger working Australians. For example:
      – We had free University education, while they have debt even before they’ve started their careers.
      – We had jobs for life if we so chose, while young people have to deal with an increasingly casualised economy with very little income security. This also means it is very difficult for them to secure a mortgage.
      – We were able to buy real estate, which in many cases (mine for example), has set me up for life. After buying our first (cheapest in town) home, we didn’t have to work any harder to increase our wealth – we just let the real estate boom make the money for us, increasing our equity so we could buy the nice home we still live in.

      But some older people are just plain greedy, & it’s usually the very richest ones.

    • 0
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      Mick – your old sparring partner here – you are correct in your understanding re franking credits for self funded retirees – one point not addressed was a circumstance I know of – when I was working and getting a very high salary I transferred my shares to wife who stayed home to look after kids – I did this because the franking credit refund was greater than the tax deduction I got (and I was on highest tax bracket as I was on the highest earnings.
      I have friends who manage their own self funded arrangements and they could lose more than $9k a year – I am a little more fortunate as I only stand to lose a little over $3k as I have spread my investments.
      What I don’t like most about this proposed policy is that industry super funds and union funds will be exempt – it should be all in no exemptions

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      All this argument about franking credits – which I do not receive, by the way – demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of the subject.

      Franking credits are made available to people who have received dividends WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAXED. Removal of the credits then, is double taxation.

      Some also seem to be supportive of Labor removing the subsidy for private health premiums. The cost this financial year is estimated at $6.5 billion made available to around 11 million people. So what will happen to the “saving” of $6.5 billion when an additional 11 million people stop meeting the cost of their medical treatment and rely upon the public system where they will pay nothing?

      The politics of envy are destroying our nation!

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      All this argument about franking credits – which I do not receive, by the way – demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of the subject.

      Franking credits are made available to people who have received dividends WHICH HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAXED. Removal of the credits then, is double taxation.

      Some also seem to be supportive of Labor removing the subsidy for private health premiums. The cost this financial year is estimated at $6.5 billion made available to around 11 million people. So what will happen to the “saving” of $6.5 billion when an additional 11 million people stop meeting the cost of their medical treatment and rely upon the public system where they will pay nothing?

      The politics of envy are destroying our nation!

    • 0
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      maxchugg, the dividends received have not already been taxed or had tax paid on them. They have been paid from company profits that have been taxed. The paid dividends carry a franking credit that can be applied against the recipients income so the dividends are only taxed once.

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      Farside, we have a difference of opinion. I think the Stock Exchange agrees with me:

      Franking credits and the system of dividend imputation were introduced to stop company profits being taxed twice. Previously, a company would pay tax on its profit and then sometimes distribute this tax-paid profit to shareholders, who would pay tax again.
      Shareholders now get a tax credit for tax the company has already paid in Australia. This means companies with revenue solely from outside Australia usually do not give out franking credits because they would not have paid tax in Australia.

      https://www.asx.com.au/education/investor-update-newsletter/201805-how-franking-credits-work-and-who-benefits.htm?icid=O~C~~~~investor-update-lee~ASX~~201805~~

      Also, the ATO also appears to have come down on my side:

      Dividends paid to shareholders by Australian resident companies are taxed under a system known as imputation. This is where the tax the company pays is imputed, or attributed, to the shareholders. The tax paid by the company is allocated to shareholders as franking credits attached to the dividends they receive.

      https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/investing/in-detail/investing-in-shares/refunding-franking-credits—individuals/

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      Farside, we have a difference of opinion. I think the Stock Exchange agrees with me:

      Franking credits and the system of dividend imputation were introduced to stop company profits being taxed twice. Previously, a company would pay tax on its profit and then sometimes distribute this tax-paid profit to shareholders, who would pay tax again.
      Shareholders now get a tax credit for tax the company has already paid in Australia. This means companies with revenue solely from outside Australia usually do not give out franking credits because they would not have paid tax in Australia.

      https://www.asx.com.au/education/investor-update-newsletter/201805-how-franking-credits-work-and-who-benefits.htm?icid=O~C~~~~investor-update-lee~ASX~~201805~~

      Also, the ATO also appears to have come down on my side:

      Dividends paid to shareholders by Australian resident companies are taxed under a system known as imputation. This is where the tax the company pays is imputed, or attributed, to the shareholders. The tax paid by the company is allocated to shareholders as franking credits attached to the dividends they receive.

      https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/investing/in-detail/investing-in-shares/refunding-franking-credits—individuals/

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      not so maxchugg, I agree with the explanations given by the ATO and ASX however I disagree your interpretation and am confident it will make sense to you if a challenge ever reaches the courts. You should read the explanatory memorandum to the original legislation, it is consistent and the principles are clearly stated.

      You quoted “Franking credits and the system of dividend imputation were introduced to stop company profits being taxed twice”, in other words the profits are taxed one time only. Please note the original legislation did not mention company profits going tax free, which is what happens when tax refunds are given to non-taxpayers.

      This principle is why the ATO explains the franked amount of dividends paid or credited to a non-resident are exempt from Australian income and withholding taxes i.e. taxed once. Franking credit attached to franked dividends cannot be used to reduce the amount of tax payable on other Australian income and a refund of the franking credit is not available.

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      Farside, you state that“the dividends received have not already been taxed or had tax paid on them. They have been paid from company profits that have been taxed. The paid dividends carry a franking credit that can be applied against the recipients income so the dividends are only taxed once.”

      Somehow you want to argue that the dividends have not been taxed while admitting that they come from company profits that have been taxed. By what process of logic do you argue that removal of access to franking credits will not amount to double taxation?

      Also, if someone else pays your tax bill for you, does that make you a non-taxpayer?

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      Farside, you state that“the dividends received have not already been taxed or had tax paid on them. They have been paid from company profits that have been taxed. The paid dividends carry a franking credit that can be applied against the recipients income so the dividends are only taxed once.”

      Somehow you want to argue that the dividends have not been taxed while admitting that they come from company profits that have been taxed. By what process of logic do you argue that removal of access to franking credits will not amount to double taxation?

      Also, if someone else pays your tax bill for you, does that make you a non-taxpayer?

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      correct maxchugg, the company profits have been taxed. The dividends distributed to investors have not had personal tax paid on them and are taxed as investor income. So as not to tax the company profit twice, the grossed up dividend is assessed as personal income and a franking credit for the amount paid by the company is credited as tax paid.

      I’m pretty sure you know whether or not you are taxpayer. Who pays the tax bill is regardless so long as the tax is paid.

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    Most retired people will be at least $120.00 worse off when Labor gets in. This is the amount most retired people will lose to the Labor regime from having their franking credits stolen. I am sure that many people with SMSF funds are not how much they will lose. We are going to stop our private health insurance and let the taxpayer pick up our bills from now on.

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      Franking credits stolen? That’s an outright lie. The ALP has guaranteed that all pensioners will be exempt and continue to receive their franking credits Most retired people don’t get franking credits – it has been quoted at 50,000 in the next decade of 2.5 million pensioners will be affected.

      I’m sick of hearing this nonsense about pensioners tax – don’t you realise how much this LNP Government has taken away from aged pensioners by stealth?

      Check the facts here

      https://theconversation.com/its-hard-to-find-out-who-labors-dividend-imputation-policy-will-hit-but-it-is-possible-and-it-isnt-the-poor-116370?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%209%202019%20-%201304512168&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%209%202019%20-%201304512168+CID_a66c19be91ec6b48d539eae8cfb68baa&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Its%20hard%20to%20find%20out%20who%20Labors%20dividend%20imputation%20policy%20will%20hit%20but%20it%20is%20possible%20and%20it%20isnt%20the%20poor

      and stop spreading lies.

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      I so agree with maelcolium Please get your facts straight and stop fibbing and scaring people
      Also Lucky you to have health insurance so many Pensioners cannot afford that choice soglad you can.

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      Ok…Get over it, you need to cut back on greed, not food.

      Australia can no longer continue to fund welfare to the rich introduced by your John Howard.

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      “most retired people” haha, did you talk to all of them, millions of people. I don’t believe there are that many who will be affected and the ones that are can spend down some of their investments to finance their life. If the FC affects them so much they must have a large amount invested to get that much FC in the first place.

      Just a lot of whinges who have had it too good for too long, all thanks to Howard splashing money around when the country was awash with money from mining. He gave away so much in benefits and now trying to pare them back is near impossible.

      And if you have investments in shares they are a risk, and this is one of those risks coming home to roost, there’s no guarantee that companies would keep paying dividends or how much anyway, play with fire and you can get burnt.

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      Got rid of the shares and still pay private health. These SFRs should just join the common people, get a part pension and use their money to keep health insurance. Use your money wisely not foolishly and if you use a bit more on yourself your pension payment goes up. If you cannot beat them join them!!
      Now I have no problem looking up share markets and can concentrate on the form guide if I want to. My mates are all part pensioners and some are on the full pension (not ideal) but mostly we are happy and grumble a bit about the pub putting the price up every 6 months. Not a bad life overall as long as the health holds out – that’s where the private health insurance comes in. A lottery one pays into but hopes not to win.

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      Ok, are you really complaining about just $120? Is that pw, pf or pa?

      Whatever, as maelcolium states, you must be fairly rich if not receiving Franking Credits is going to affect you.

      And I wonder, will you really give up your Private Health Insurance?
      Most people as entitled as you can’t bear the thought of mixing with riff-raff commoners. Imagine if you were put in a hospital ward in a bed next to a poor person, or dole bludger or someone who serves coffees on Sundays (who’ve lost Sunday penalty rates because of the Liberal “regime” policy)? Oh the indignity!

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    They don’t just need to restore the staff numbers. They need to fix the software program that is so badly flawed – along with myhealthrecord, school cloud reporting systems, the census etc…. Are they? Doubt it.

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      When was the last time you were in Centrelink? Have a look and you will see rows of empty desks. If you do visit and finally see someone you get directed to their phones to make a call or told to contact them through a computer which they also will provide. They are not allowed to take certain queries that the powers that be decree can be dealt with over the phone or on the computer.

      When did you last try to phone Centrelink? You wait for an hour to talk to a contractor who takes a message and promises someone will contact you in ten days. In the said ten days you receive an an email with their phone number on it to ring them. So you hop on the merry go around again and I guarantee you the same thing happens again and again.

      Centrelink desperately need more educated and informed staff to handle the increasing number of enquiries.

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      They DO need to restore staff numbers! Agree with maelcolium…I go into my local CL office and I have never seen more than 5 out of 14 desks being used at once. The office actually echoes.Also need better trained staff. A few months ago, I was being ‘served/helped’ by a staff member who had been in his job for over 20 years (I asked him). But I had to explain to him about the work bonus. Even then they gave me wrong information and took weeks to sort it out, and that was only after my pushing and making a pest of myself. What concerns me even more is the fear of them coming back to me in years to come with a Robo Debt. They made so many mistakes, I actually gave up my casual job as I did not trust them, especially when my accountant, and a friend who works in finance, told me CL were underpaying me. I don’t believe a word of what BS says. Just saying anything to make people ‘feel’ good.

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      Rosret…You need to continually update the software programs on your own system too. I do acknowledge they do regularly have glitches in their systems. I could be because they are using cheap IT Labour.

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      sunnyOz, not much chance of you being chased by a robodebt call provided you keep Centrelink informed of changes in circumstances, which was the root cause of most calls. I suspect any future campaign will have better oversight and management of flagged cases before resorting to robodebt.

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    I will be backing Labor as they are more concerned with Pensioners than The Coalition and yes the Aged Pension was introduced By Labor. Pensioner Dental scheme fantastic ideas as is restaffing Centre Link. As for so called pensioner tax that is not true a Lie told by Liberals. It is not a tax at all. It only effects those who receive dividends ie franking credits and it is money for nothing. Oh yes it will effect me but I still totally back it as why should I receive this handout that is costing tax payers so much. I am convinced the Labor party will always be there more for Pensioners especially those who are not self funded.

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      Kas54…I voted yesterday for Labor.

      I am so over Australia’s regression during the past 6 years.

      Liberal cutbacks to the poor and tax cutbacks to the rich have tripled our debt. The sheer arrogance and ignorance by the entire Liberal Party members are sickening.

      A Government that can’t take responsibility for its own actions instead of using blame games and denial will never move Australia forward.

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      depends how much you get in franking credits, mine were $700 and I never claimed them. Now have sold the shares, Labor does not want me have any and I play the game. Different for SFRs who rely on them because they retired with that income in mind. I feel sorry for them and for them I hope ScoMo gets back in. Doesn’t affect me much as I have never trusted the advice before I retired. Was told I could be a SFR and then GFC arrived and that was after I retired. Now I just make do with what I have got and any benefit coming my way. Bill’s dental payments I do not need as my insurance pays those bills and I do not have a waiting line at the public dental hospital. Many people today with dental problems never wanted to waste money on dentists during their working lives. “As long as I got one tooth left in my gob so it looks good when I smile!!”

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      Cowboy, only those SFR with tax free self managed super funds. They rely on them because we subside them. Read some of the submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry. Lots of stories on cutting back on overseas holidays and selling holiday homes. The SFR I feel sorry for are the ones with same amount of shares in their own right and not a super fund. They have to pay tax and although they can offset the Franking credit, they don’t get it all back.

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      don’t worry too much over the plight of the SFRs, every change has winners and losers. The losers just have to dust themselves off and make the best of the cards dealt them. Many seniors have had to adjust to a new reality after the GFC and the gamut of life events they did not anticipate happening to them.

      That said, if SFRs have the resources to spend to improve their circumstances then they are still doing better than pensioners, and have the full knowledge the safety net is there if/when they need it. I am confident it would be more valuable to affected SFRs to wind back the reduction in the assets test and increase in the taper but nobody is asking for this.

      Who was it who said “reduce support to pensioners with higher levels of assets who have greater capacity to support themselves”?

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      Cheers to you Kas54 – if only more people were like you!
      Unfortunately for the Liberal Party, their only policy is self interest. Thank heavens there are many people out there who are concerned about Australian society & other Australians, not just themselves.

      And well said, Jackie “I am so over Australia’s regression during the past 6 years. Liberal cutbacks to the poor and tax cutbacks to the rich have tripled our debt. The sheer arrogance and ignorance by the entire Liberal Party members are sickening. A Government that can’t take responsibility for its own actions instead of using blame games and denial will never move Australia forward.” You hit 10 nails on the head!

      Australia can’t afford more of this Liberal ineptness & arrogance. We need leadership to be forward-looking, not clinging to the past & only batting for the wealthy while wedging out the common Australian. We could become the lucky country again – shared by ALL Australians. The Liberals’ vision is for a nasty, grasping, us vs them USA-style society, but we are so much better & richer than the US, on every level. Let’s save that, not follow the sheep into a USA nastyland.

      Vote 1 Australia! (not One Nation & definitely not Clive Palmer’s UAP – they’ll just hold us back).

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