GST rise on the cards

No chance of a federal budget surplus for a decade without an increase in the GST.

GST rise on the cards

Addressing the Sydney Institute last night, Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson detailed a gloomy budget outlook with no return to surplus within a decade unless changes are made to the goods and services tax (GST).

Dr Parkinson’s calculations backup those of the treasurer Joe Hockey and point to a May budget of “hard decisions”. Dr Parkinson said that a return to surplus must be underpinned by hard, individual policy decisions.

Dr Parkinson suggested that boosting or broadening the GST would be less damaging than other alternatives, but that there is little to no short-term benefit that could be highlighted to convince the general public of the merits of a tax hike.

Former Treasury head Ken Henry last month said that a rise in the GST rate is inevitable and that this rise will be seen as necessary to underpin the fiscal sustainability for the federal and state governments.

“It is widely known that the National Disability Insurance Scheme and school reform funding will add $3.1 billion and $2.8 billion to total spending over the forward estimates, with the net cost to the Commonwealth of the of the NDIS to be $11.3 billion per annum by 2023-24,” Dr Parkinson said.

“What is less well understood is that total Commonwealth expenditure on health is anticipated to rise from $64.7 billion in nominal terms to $116 billion in 2023-24.” Dr Parkinson said.

“Similarly, our three main pension payments – the aged pension, disability support pension and carers’ payment – grow at an annual rate of 6 per cent per annum in nominal terms over the forward estimates, adding around $13 billion to annual payments by 2016-17, and another $39 billion by 2023-24.” Dr Parkinson said.

Read more at www.smh.com.au

Read more from www.businesspectator.com.au

Read more from www.canberratimes.com.au

Read more from www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au


Opinion: Age Pension not safe from cuts

While Australia’s debt to GDP level is the third lowest of any OECD country, Australia’s fiscal sustainability and ability to return to surplus is hanging in the balance. Without direct action now, it is estimated that we could continue our current trend of year after year of budget’s with no surplus for a further 10 years.

Some of Australia’s smartest fiscal minds, Martin Parkinson and Ken Henry, have both pointed to the inevitability of a rise in the GST or a broadening of the tax. A rise in the GST is the least attractive option for any politician, with any tax related increase not linked to benefits for the individual in the community having serious negative effects on polling results and popularity.

Joe Hockey’s first federal budget is expected to be a pain in the hip pocket for every Australian with Mr Hockey declaring that the whole nation needs to do the heavy lifting. Mr Hockey has declared the ‘age of entitlement’ as over and has taken aim at Australia’s welfare system as an avenue to reducing government spending. Despite promises from Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews that the aged pension was safe from cuts, Joe Hockey has indicated that the pension could yet face a cut.

No matter how you paint it, the road ahead looks to be paved with hard decisions which would affect our nation’s future for better or for worse. Is Mr Hockey the correct person to be making these critical decisions about our nation’s future? Do you agree that a rise in the GST is the inevitable step to getting the nation back to surplus? Would you be able to survive if the aged pension rates were reduced? 





    COMMENTS

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    dougie
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:46am
    Why put the fear of God into that area of welfare that is the most vulnerable, the elderly. Is this just another Labor beat up or do you have some justification for spreading this information? Please if you have facts to back up this statement present them, if not please do not cause uncertainty, just shut up and let the facts evolve.
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:49am
    Could not agree more what I think will happen is welfare to the middle class will be cut like family tax credits and free GP vists
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:02am
    I realise this can be a fairly emotive issue, especially if one is REALLY on the bread line, but there are numerous issues that have to be factored into any government’s thinking on this issue.

    A government pension is a fall back for those that really need it – but NOT an entitlement because we have some bizarre idea that because we paid out taxes all of our life, so therefore we are entitled to getting paid one regardless.

    Bad luck - we aren’t!

    The Australian Bureau of Statistics has found that around 50% of retirees take a lump sum Super payout and put it into upgrades to their own house, a new house or some consumer item like a car. In other words these people are deliberately placing (hiding) their Super into environments that are legally not deemed (or in the case of a car – pick a low deeming amount) for ensuring they maximise their government pension.

    I have no qualms with any government making a baseline amount of say $500K per primary residence to be not deemed for pension purposes. If someone has a home worth $1-2m, which not very hard these days, anything above $500K means the owner has potential cash and if they choose not to sell their house and use that money to fund their retirement, then they take the associated pension reduction and go back to work, or whatever, to get enough money to live.

    A GST increase for those pensioners that are TRULY in need is indeed a dilemma - and an increase is highly likely to happen. However, with some type of differentiation in government pension deeming as indicated above that eliminates a number of people from the government pension, or reduces their pension amount, those truly in need could be identified and compensated for any increase in GST.

    Regardless of your political persuasion – it’s irrelevant - the age of entitlement is coming to an end.
    Gra
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:02pm
    Because this is the way the Liberal party works. Thank you to all those who voted for the coalition at the last election, I sure do hope they are proud of what is being done by this mob of incompetents at this time.
    Surely we won't have to endure Abbott's circus for a second term - one term of his slash and burn tactics will be enough for most people, that is unless they are cocooned against his terror tactics.
    The way Abbott and Hockey have refused to disclose what cuts are to be made even though they had the information prior to the recent state elections is a good example of how sly and dishonest they are.
    Jude
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:56pm
    I agree with Dougie, how about we wait until the budget is released in May and see what happens.
    tia-maria
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:16pm
    Gra, I agree with your comment about Abbott and Hockey................tHE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ATTACK THEIR PENSIONER ...............and leave the battling pensioners alone
    Dotty
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:06pm
    I agree to wait and see ! But if the aged pensioners have to take a cut in some way or another !
    Then how about these Poolies taking a huge cut in their wages !
    That would probably keep us in balance for awhile !
    But I bet they dont !!
    They will take their rise like they do every year and say thank you and too bad for the aged who are entirely dependent on the Pension! Dotty
    Anonymous
    4th Apr 2014
    11:31am
    Well, fortunately a pension IS "an entitlement because we have some bizarre idea that because we paid out taxes all of our life" = more - it is a RIGHT - only bounded by the simple concept that if you have sufficient to do without it, it can be cut or removed entirely.

    Hardly a bizarre concept, though any reasoning that says the imposition of a tax burden over working life to cater for welfare need, which include pensions, does NOT mean a pension is a RIGHT and entitlement , IS bizarre.

    I take it you exclude our well-heeled pollies with their early pension entitlement from this bizarre conclusion? Surely you are aware of how very difficult it is for them to move on from a 'career' in politics (note - not serving the public) into some lush and 25 hours a year work Board position and so forth... hard work there.

    Apart from the idea that a pension is not an earned RIGHT, I agree with you - but not on the GST either - since that inflationary, progressive and cost of living raising imposition has had only two effects:-

    > (already) to raise the cost of living and thus the cost of wages, and thus to reduce Australia to third World status as a Banana Republic without genuine production

    > to hand to government an inordinate amount of social control through an unwarranted higher and tighter grasp on the purse strings, thus permitting what has been going on for thirty + years now - the reduction of the populace under despotism.

    Good luck - those who disagree may ask themselves why it is that we, the electing public, desperately move from one 'side' of this Tag Team to the other - simple answer - we are seeking a good government.... for a change.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    4:56pm
    By that time dougie opinion will not count , strange how Murdoch press try to influence with their polls as to which way a person should vote, but you say wait and see what happens by which time it will be too late?
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    5:43pm
    Sir Harvs, no disrespect! ( the age of entitlement?) when we have, Salary Sacrificing into super, Family trust arrangements to minimise Tax , Claims against tax for First or Business Class travel also a Luxury car, Welfare for $150,000 new mothers, surely Sir Harvs yee jest?
    Anonymous
    4th Apr 2014
    11:46pm
    None taken. We can also:

    • hide lump sum Super money in our houses to maximise our government pensions (to minimise tax)
    • hide millions in your own home and still get a full government pension (to minimise tax)
    • negatively gear investment houses and shares and deduct all the losses (to minimise tax)
    • organise transition to retirement to maximise your Super (and minimise tax)
    • legally avoid paying any tax once you are 60 years old (definitely minimal tax)
    • salary package nice cars and their running costs (to minimise tax)
    • get 50% of capital gains tax free if you hold assets for more than 12 months
    • if on a pension and rent you can get assistance and with rates as well
    • if you have kids at school you can get middle-class welfare to help you along
    • if you are disabled or unemployed again there is government help
    • if you are on welfare you can put your kids into child care for free
    • and of course politicians and public servant entitlements are the most wonderful of all!
    • and the list goes on…
    btony
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:49am
    Sounds like the typical pre budget scare tactics Happens every year whichever party is in power.Paint the worst picture then make yourself look good by delivering what is seen to be a better picture .There still wont be anything for pensioners tho, you can bet on it.
    Joy B
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:51am
    Now let me get this right - proposed increases to the GST and possible reductions for Aged Pensioners by my calculations means a double hit for pensioners. Am I crazy or can the government not see this?
    Pass the Ductape
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:36am
    The pollies have just received a massive increase in their salaries Joy and they have to get the dosh from somewhere otherwise when they get the boot, their super payout will suffer!
    Dotty
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:10pm
    I agree with you Joy B, they have to sacrifice the aged so they can live the life of luxury while we suffer !
    We never got a rise last year and as you said it will be a double hit for us ! Dotty
    noddy45
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:56am
    Will any of the pollies benefits be taken away or will they tell give us the same old line " it is all done by an independent committee" as usual,it would be very hard for them if the had to fly cattle class on there round Australia or overseas trips and it would be a shame if the poor pollies had to stay in anything less than 5 star hotels
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:07pm
    Yes, I agree that if all Australians have to make concessions or live more frugally, then the Politicians need to take the lead and take wage cuts, stop flying first class, stay in cheaper hotels and even be held accountable for crappy decisions that they make that end up losing millions of $$$.
    So typical that those of us who have been forced onto a Centrelink benefit, due to our jobs being lost by companies downsizing or simply closing or leaving the country altogether are the ones who are going to suffer the most by budget cuts and increases in taxes.
    The "Lucky Country"? I don't think so!
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:35pm
    Perhaps we should take a leaf out of the rules that must be followed if you want to live in another country. Immigrants must have health care, must have money in the bank, must have an income or prove that they can support themselves and cannot obtain employment in that country. Yet in Australia, we have wealthy immigrants such as Indians and Asians, who have contributed nothing to our economy, hospitals, education, etc but are overrunning it all. (Hospitals are a classic example). Not to mention taking our jobs and buying up businesses. And yet they have not been asked to contribute any extra tax to prop up our infrastructure!!.......instead pensioners and people on welfare through no fault of their own and ordinary Australians are expected to pay more taxes and take cuts in their wages or benefits.
    Wendy HK
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:26pm
    Agree aly_rob60! Yep! Reduce pensions by starting at the top - ex-prime ministers than ex-politicians and so on. By the time they get to those who are living on or below the poverty line they should have all the money they need.
    Carmar
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:56am
    "Is Mr Hockey the correct person to be making these critical decisions about our nation’s future?" Bahahahaha! Most certainly not - an economic super-lightweight like Hockey should have his hands nowhere near the economic controls of our country. I'm neither disabled nor am I a pensioner, but these two groups should be absolutely immune to any economic maiming that Hockey and Abbott want to commit. How about we ditch the unsustainable, indefensible paid maternity leave committments first? There's $5Billion saved!
    mogo51
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:35pm
    Very well said, the basis of that handout is totally flawed. We need stronger means tests so that the rich or well to do, are not rorting the system, then it will be sustainable. I think an across the board GST is much easier managed and more productive, with some measures to assist the most disadvantaged.
    Maca1939
    3rd Apr 2014
    3:51pm
    I agree fully with your statement when I worked there was no large money given out for maternity leave - people on a pension now are finding it hard to cope with the increase in all of the electricity, water, food etc. so come on let's be real and understand that people on pensions can not afford to loose their pension they are just surviving - Mr. Hockey this is something that you should already understand without being told.
    patrick
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:02am
    I guess we should wait and see what cuts will
    Be done, but if they target the aged, then the people
    Might have made a mistake placing this political party
    Into power.
    Pass the Ductape
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:41am
    Wouldn't matter which party was in patrick, the rich in our society will always find a way to get richer; usually at the expense of the poor and you rarely ever see a politician stay poor for long.
    Allieannie
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:04am
    I recommend this for the reading.
    You wanna know how much the LNP are spending on themselves and the spin doctors, check out this independent media.
    http://theaimn.com/2014/04/02/how-many-people-does-it-take-to-tell-the-truth/
    MikeQ
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:08am
    Well, well the age of entitlement is over huh???, yes well I expected that pensioners will have to take a hit to their meagre incomes to continue to fund the incomes & lifestyles of our politicians who clearly will not be doing their bit & giving up any of their entitlements in order to get us out of this supposed financial black hole.

    Remember this I say & be sure to vote these tyranical, hypocrytical & dishonest lot out at the first opportunity. It is truly an act of the lowest of the low to continually fund their & others excesses at the expense of some the most vulnerable sections of the community who in the main have already spent a lifetime supporting & building this country.

    I can see a major revolt occuring here if the current government approach continues & I am sure as heck going to be at the forefront of any revolt.
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:12pm
    I agree. It is about time that we Australians stand up and be counted. Watch the citizens in countries such as Greece revolt, when their politicians stuff up!
    We need to to the same thing here and make these parasites take notice, regardless of which political party you support, enough is enough!
    Count us in! We will be outside painting our placards in readiness.
    Mak
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:20am
    The whole nation needs to do the heavy lifting, does it, well start at the top of the payment ladder and cut the politicians salaries, then cut out the money paid to retired politicians.
    What a joke Joe Hockey when Campbell Newman received a pay RISE of $70,000.00 per annum.
    The payment system is like a tree, big money paid out at the top, a little at the bottom, trim the top branches and stop digging up the roots.
    hazle-hurst
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:58am
    If only those in power could see as clearly as you do!
    LENYJAC
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:44am
    THE ONLY THING THESE OVERPAID WANKERS CAN SEE IS THERE OWN FAT WALLETS. THEY ARE BLIND TO EVERYTHING ELSE...
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:41pm
    Serve Bread and Dripping Sandwiches in Parliament. When they get back from their Hard Earned Break !!!
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:13pm
    AGREE! Time for the pollies to set an example and take pay cuts themselves!
    tia-maria
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:22pm
    HI to Lenyjack, particolor, aly rob60.
    Just love your comments, I am behind you 100%...........Particolor I do remember the hard days in the 40s when I was given Bread and Dripping you realy took me down memory lane
    Luchar
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:52pm
    What a bunch of whingers now inhabit this site! Only the economically illiterate are blind to the mess the current government has inherited, not just for the present, but also into the foreseeable future. Yet their answer to this dilemma is a simplistic cry for politicians present and past to forego some of their benefits. I wonder if just one of you proposing this line of thought could offer some idea as to how much such a decision could add to the country's coffers.

    'jamesnolan' (see below)suggests their wages be cut by 50%. How many people of quality do you believe would be encouraged to take office on the level of wages you are suggesting?

    Of course the other cry is to tax the high flyers. Ignore the fact that other than the grossly over-employment existig inm the Public Service, when businesses employ people, they pay their wages and other benefits out of their profits. To tax them further reduces their profits and ensures they do not increase their workforce.

    In fact the common theme on this site seems to be find the money from other people's pockets but leave my income alone because I've worked all my life and I deserve all my handouts.

    Many financial and economic experts seem to be pushing for an increase in the GST as the only way out of the government's inherited mess. I'm looking forward to reading the rantings on this site should the government ever propose this step.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    11:02am
    Luchar: Economically illiterate ... you've be brainwashed by the "whining/whinging pollies, both sides are equally able to blame each other. IMF
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    11:18am
    IMF records show that the Howard years of "big tax cuts" to all and sundry was the beginning of the downfall. It's a pity the badly needed infrastructure wasn't commenced when "times were so good" (mining boom etc.).
    History shows that the majority of time when Labor are in office is when there is turmoil at the forefront (GFC etc. and other crises). In spite of trying to keep Australia moving and trying to implement some policies that benefit the majority of underprivileged/disabled or assist in education, there is little thanks for trying. All we have now is a government completely blaming the previous one for "everything" and what are they achieving? Their motto seems to be have a committee or an audit but keep the details from everyone. How many of these committees and audits are costing us more than them biting the bullet and deciding to make some "major decisions" instead of bleating, and conducting media grabs and waiting to see how the rest of us react to them. We are going down the gurgler with all these non-decision makers. How would we all be if we ran our homes and lifestyles and paid our bills and provided for our futures by "consulting" others on an around-the-clock basis? I thought we voted for pollies to make decisions, not feed the hangers-on.
    tia-maria
    4th Apr 2014
    5:36pm
    Lucha who do you think you calling us a bunch of idiots,?????? Mate let me tell you some thing......when Liberals are voted back into government......and do NOT preform great......they pass the buck by blaming the Labor.......as they never will omit....... Liberal are the weakest link ......
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    7:00pm
    Luchar, just another of the dying Australian readers.And the Australian cannot understand why they are facing bankruptcy, Sure brainwashing works but as someone said "You can fool some of the people some of the the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time" it has taken a long time for this philosophy to reach Australia, but give it time.
    jamesmn
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:22am
    hockey wants to start with parlimatiarians wages bonuses travel perks they are real quick to give themselves pay rises etc hockey is the same as abbot don't ever believe what I say which abbot quoted a couple of years ago himself well it proves he was not lying on this case about the only time cut their wages by 50% and no more pay increases for the length of his term why cut pensioners and medicare its the pensioners who built this country he keeps on going on about the defict they got from labour what about what labour got from liberals the liberals have 2 sets of books and bishop is the worst speaker that the house has ever had she can't be trusted either
    LENYJAC
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:45am
    HERE HERE
    mogo51
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:40pm
    I think it goes further than just politicians who certainly need to be in line with other relating to wages and benefits after their short life in parliament.
    What about these thieving CEOs, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. who are charging exorbitant fees, paying limited tax and rorting the system.
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:43pm
    Ahhhh - but the pollies don't give themselves pay rises!

    That's done by an INDEPENDENT Tribunal!

    Of course, if you believe that that INDEPENDENT tribunal consists of no-one with any ties to the political system - or ties to the corporate world, where $200,000 for 4 or 5 days work a year is regarded as the norm - then I've got some nice waterfront-view land at Alice Springs I can sell to you, cheap!
    Sallad
    3rd Apr 2014
    10:22am
    Wonder why there has been no talk about looking at Family Trusts? How many pollies operate their own Family Trusts to reduce their tax liabilities? How many multi millionaires operate these Trusts and pay little or no tax at all. I guess their 'age of entitlement' keeps soldiering on and on.....and pensioners must cop it sweet.
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:01pm
    Sallad - Spot on! And guess who has the biggest totally tax-free Family Trust in the Nation? - getting filled annually with mega-millions from a 2.5% royalty on every tonne of Rio Tinto iron ore mined?

    Why, no-one else but that poor little rich girl, Gina Rinehart!

    This Hope Margaret Hancock Trust, has pocketed more than $5 BILLION, totally tax-free, since it was formed in 1988!

    This money rightfully belongs to ALL Australians, and the Hancock/Rinehart families have UNJUSTLY ENRICHED themselves with this ROYALTY - which is no longer legal, because a court case decided only Govts can apply Royalties.

    The problem is that no politician has any guts to attack this robber baron family, because Gina Rinehart is well on the way to becoming the RICHEST WOMAN in the world, due to this UNJUST ENRICHMENT.

    The problem is that UNJUST ENRICHMENT laws do not apply to cunning corporate thieves, politicians, or anyone smart enough to employ a crafty tax lawyer/accountant.

    Until we address this plundering of the nations finances by these sleazy operators, the "serfs" of this nation will always carry the major portion of the tax burden!!

    Note that an INCREASE in the GST will have NO EFFECT on any company or business, as they do not pay any GST! It is all refunded to them!

    It's only the mug ordinary people in the street who have to pay GST, because they cannot avoid it!
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:11pm
    This idea about Trusts being the domain of the rich is somewhat naive to be blunt – and why many people end up being reliant on government handouts.

    It is legal to MINIMISE your tax - not AVOID tax. Trusts simply help you legally minimise your tax – and can help protect your assets from litigating predators.

    Trusts can be used by anyone and do not take much effort to understand - nor are they expensive to setup and operate. The average person is too busy spending huge amounts of time investigating the best way to spend their money instead of how to maximise what they might have when they retire, etc. A really basic rule of investing from a young age is to learn about what is the most tax effective vehicle to purchase that investment in. Trusts are nothing more than one of those vehicles.

    I have no qualms with politicians or anyone else using a Trust. It is simply just smart planning for investing, especially for retirement.

    If you never had a Trust – even as an ordinary person or saver - it was likely a big investing mistake!
    Pass the Ductape
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:45pm
    Harvs - You will never convince me that the term 'family trust' in the financial world, is anything more than fancy jargon to accommodate the term ‘legal theft’.

    Family trusts were originally designed and set up by industry heads with the obvious blessing of politicians who also understood the huge benefits it could bestow upon themselves.
    These ‘legal thieves’ - with clever financial knowhow, political backing and opportunity, deliberately set out to design loopholes in our tax system that allowed for a ‘trust system’, (not such a clever name) which most lay-persons, without similar financial knowledge, could not take advantage of. If it were easy, everyone would set up their own family trust, however the country would then go broke because of the lack of taxes being paid and ‘family trusts’ would be scrapped overnight!

    Yes - it sounds better when you can apply the term ‘minimise tax’ as opposed to ‘avoiding tax’, but I say, the two terms mean the same. Avoiding or minimising - it’s still theft!
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:04pm
    NOPE WRONG - they were set-up by Monks in the 16th Century England to stop the King taking all of the assets of a dead knight's wife when they were killed in the Crusades. The King could only have the knights sword and armour and maybe his horse from memory. In other words minimise the tax - before that the King took EVERYTHING.

    So they were designed to protect the assets of the innocent party - and still are. Ordinary people use them very successfully and they also assist with minimising tax.

    Australia's tax laws (the ATO) INSTRUCT you how to minimise tax and even provide you with examples. It is called financial literacy.

    It is not clever, it is not theft, it is understanding century-old laws. Either learn or you stay confused, angry and pay more than is required.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    11:40am
    Ductape: I agree with you.
    Harvs: We are not living in the 16th Century England although Abbott is certainly trying to take us back there. The next thing to cost us will be the appointment of a TOWN CRYER once more.
    One of my employers (a chartered accountant) ran his practice through his family trust and his five children were beneficiaries of that trust and that trust paid for their education right through their university years etc. His non-working wife benefitted from ongoing education (also an accountant) and partner in the practice. Can you imagine how much more benefit families like this one could benefit today from the added incentive to have five children on the Paid Parental Leave "Rort"? There are other ways of avoiding paying tax in practices such as this. If they make too much money in one financial year they can certainly avoid tax on it by implementing (WIP) work in progress, and defer it, they even defer accounting fees to clients to avoid it too. That's certainly a bit more than the 16th Century King being allowed the dead knight's sword and armour and maybe his horse!!! These things grow out of all proportion. In times of pollies crying "poor mouth" (which we don't know is entirely true as they implement "situations" too) there are probably hundreds of ways to "disband" benefits and probably this is the time to bite the bullett and do away with some of these "rorts". I mentioned elsewhere that originally there were only a couple of volumes of the Tax Act in the beginning and now you need a whole wall in an office to accommodate the volumes, multiply that by the number of offices in the country all trying to find loopholes and decipher the volumes to avoid tax.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    12:04pm
    Harvs, If a person who plays the system to obtain a Disability Pension is called a "Dole Bludger " why is not a person who plays the system to minimise their taxes called a "Tax Bludger "?
    Anonymous
    4th Apr 2014
    3:14pm
    On the issue of RORTS - if you have taken money from your Super as a lump sum and put it into improving your house or bought a new better house, or bought a car, or some other way moved Super money into an environment that maximises your government pension, you have likewise become a ‘Tax Bludger’ by definition. You are now rorting tax payers and the system of money EXACTLY the same as the politicians we chastise. And any argument about the small amount rorted in a pension compared to a politician is irrelevant, when multiplied by tens if not hundreds of thousands of pensions!

    It is illegal to AVOID tax. It is legal to MINIMISE your tax. The Australian tax system is designed to take the maximum away from the easiest target – ordinary PAYG employees.

    If you feel obliged to pay the maximum that you can to the government, because you think they can use the money more wisely than you and prepare the way for your comfortable retirement, the system is designed PERFECTLY to accommodate you.

    If you would like to have more money for your retirement and control your own destiny - instead of being reliant on the variable benevolence of government , the tax system is also set-up to assist you to keep as much as possible, by allowing you to pay the minimum amount of tax legally required.

    Taking the high ground of paying the maximum of tax all of your life is pointless when the tax system is designed to accommodate the complete opposite – even for very ordinary people!

    The frustration is learning how simple and equitable the tax system is regardless of your perceived position in life – but only after it is too late to do anything about it.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:26pm
    Wow Harvs, I need time to digest your first paragraph, No we love the house we have lived in for the last thirty years,( no intention of moving,) our first new car in those same twenty years is deemed as an Asset, we have never "Salary Sacrificed" or formed a "Trust" to MINIMISE or RORT our obligations to live in Australia nor have we claimed our extensive overseas travel First or Business class as "Study Travel " . Our combined annual income has never reached close to $80,000, we are now now "Self funded Retirees". Are you now telling us that we have been stupid? or that you are the cause of the Hockeys phoney "Budget Crisis "?
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    12:52am
    We all get to the end point in different ways. If you made a well informed choice to decline the myriad forms of financial assistance that the tax laws of this land offers to ordinary people, I will certainly not denigrate your decision!
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    10:09am
    HOWEVER, if someone has more than say $500K of value in their house, there is a groundswell of people proposing that the amount above that $500K is deemed as an asset for Centrelink pension purposes, but it is the individual's choice how they draw on that money to help, or completely self-fund their retirement.

    Super money IS being HIDDEN in primary residences and consumer goods and the government pension rorted as a consequence as some would not even qualify for a pension and others would have theirs reduced until the excess equity in their primary residence was used to fund their pension.

    I know you will be in complete agreement with me on this point, as you have clearly stated it has always been your obligation as an Australian citizen to provide the government with as much revenue as possible.
    MITZY
    5th Apr 2014
    11:01am
    If anyone took money from their super fund in a lump sum, I would presume that the money they took was their own hard earned money? Not ever having super, I'm not quite sure if this is correct, if not, I'm sure everybody will let me know in no uncertain terms.
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    11:32am
    Just in closing, I have always held the view that if you want to live in a decent country then someone has to pay the bills in the form of taxation. We have travelled extensively and although Australia is not " Third World " it is certainly not "First World " I would place it above Greece and the ( Trailer Park ) USA, countries where tax avoidance is a national tradition and it is reflected in the living standards of the lower classes, but way behind Europe and the Baltic countries. Australian infrastructure has been seriously neglected and I put the blame on the Taxation system that Harvs has outlined.
    Sallad
    5th Apr 2014
    1:08pm
    If the current 'tax system' via the Family Trust rules, allows 'multi millionaire Kerry' earning millions of dollars pa, to pay far less Tax than 'ordinary Joe' earning $80,000 pa; shouldn't there be a complete overhaul of this extremely generous 'tax system' ???? Surely the Govt should be looking at this instead of clobbering pensioners.
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    3:16pm
    There are very few people that don’t understand what taxes do for social justice, infrastructure, etc. What most people on this site are fighting and will having difficulty winning against is that many people do not believe government taxes are always an efficient way to provide what is required and wish to do it themselves.

    Governments regardless of flavour are like the majority of their constituents – they have little interest in learning how to save and invest – but always have lots of great ideas how to spend every cent they can get hold of - and will keep taking as much as taxpayers will give and fit their spending to suit. You only have to look at your council rates to see a perfect example of how ridiculously much they have gone up compared to our ~3% inflation!

    Despite the fact they without doubt had fun provoking the public, people like Kerry Packer always paid a reasonable amount of tax that is not visible through the businesses they own because they employ people and pay associated payroll tax, consume and YES pay GST where required, build stuff and create associated goods that get taxed, etc, etc. And even Kerry Packer would have understood and accepted the requirement for some level of social justice through taxation.

    We can get as angry as we like about how much personal tax people like the Packer’s pay because they know the tax laws, or learn what they do and how they do it and as an ordinary person then do something similar.

    It totally depends on your view of the world - what you think it owes you – or not.

    Some people in Australia will have worked extremely hard over their lives and forgone a lot of consumption so they can TOTALLY avoid being reliant on any part of the government pension and the lifestyle, pain and fear often associated with that reliance.

    BUT - that means they will forgo around $400K of free government pension money as an individual (if you live for 20 years – which is likely) – and that ignores they can’t get a health card for free and very low cost medicines, rates reductions, rent relief, etc - which increases that $400K entitlement quite substantially.

    If someone has used the taxation system to legally minimise their taxes, but paid them none-the-less, and planned to ensure they are totally self-funded as a retiree, you have an interesting brainteaser. One group has paid their full taxes and is now (logically) expecting their pension entitlement – the other has minimised their taxes and expects nothing from the government.

    And that is the guts of most of the arguments on this site – you have to understand what the opposite side of the tax argument actually is - and how complex the issues are. Our tax system is designed for you to be completely/semi –self funded and reliant - or to get a government pension. If everyone was on the pension and did not avoid it – or avoided it as much as possible – pensioners would have even more to worry about as cuts would always be inevitable as our country ages.

    NEITHER side of the supposed tax rorts argument can have their cake and eat it!
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    3:30pm
    PS - if only 100,000 Australians were self-funder retirees and let's say with all benefits they did not therefore get their entitlement to a total of $500K of government pension benefits over 20 years, that saves Australia 50 billion dollars of taxes - or 2.5 billion dollars is saved per year!
    Anonymous
    6th Apr 2014
    8:58am
    Egyptian - Super is definitely your own money, but it is supposed to be used for funding your retirement and you have been given tax breaks (able to minimise your tax) along the way to enable you to do this.

    A very recent report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows 50% of people take their Super as a lump sum to either pay off their mortgage, do improvements to their own home, upgrade to a better home and/or buy consumer goods like a car.

    Most of these same people then qualify for a government pension. In other words they have taken all the tax benefits offered to them along the way, and then used legal loop-holes to put that Super money into an environment that cannot be deemed by Centrelink to be an asset. Consumer goods like cars are deemed by Centrelink to be assets – but people lower the actual values to reduce that problem where they can – and as cars are not really an asset they quickly depreciate and that problem is washed away.

    So many people are effectively having their cake and eating it - by doing the same tricky financial stuff they often accuse others of doing when hear of them using Family Trusts, etc. Depending on the total involved, it is possible pensioners as a group are far better at tricky money movements than the people they often accuse. If the amount is high enough, and the additional unnecessary pension payments to these people will be an impost governments don’t want, they will be watching closely to fix the problem.

    Governments never like watching people eat THEIR cake.
    Wstaton
    6th Apr 2014
    10:09am
    Simple way to stop Super rorts. Just stop being able to take super as a lump sum or limit the amount to a percentage. The rest has to be put into investments or annuities to provide an income.
    Nette
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:34am
    And who voted for this party at the last election
    tia-maria
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:22pm
    NOT ME
    rtrish
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:36am
    Usually I can manage OK on the pension if I am frugal and sensible (use public transport, don't smoke, rarely drink). But this fortnight I am really struggling, due to health services that must be paid for, and the implications of those. I am currently on Disability Pension,, soon to transfer to Age Pension. One factor in that decision being the promise that Aged Pension would be safe from cuts. I know many older people have health issues, but I can tell you it is REALLY tough for those with disabilities, esp if they fall in the grey area - disabled enough to be costly, not disabled enough to get extra financial assistance. And no, I won't be covered by the NDIS, not that it will be a golden egg anyway. Just having a major whinge today!
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:43am
    What a bloody disgrace!!! Everyone to do the heavy lifting!!! Bulldust!! If they got people like Rinehart and Palmer to pay their fair share of tax, our country would be far better off. Just remember that Australia’s debt to GDP level is the third lowest of any OECD country, thanks to Labor!
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:45am
    I hope all those pensioners that voted for these elitist swill, will think very very carefully at the next election!
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:47pm
    As Greenbottle said.."YES !"...Yes What?....
    tia-maria
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:24pm
    OMG Greenbottle some old names are coming out of the wood work in some of the comments
    Carmar
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:55am
    Well, let's see if "the age of entitlement" really is "coming to an end".

    I'll believe that ONLY when the unjustifiable, indefensible paid maternity leave "entitlement" is scrapped.
    MITZY
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:05pm
    The current government (if you can believe any government) indicated that any changes to taxation (i.e. GST etc) would be taken to the next general election. Nothing would happen in the meantime. The current government (if you can believe any government) went into the last election promising no cuts to pensions and no withdrawal of the energy supplement we currently receive because of the carbon price implementation. If things are soooooooooooooooooooo soooooooooooooo bad why on earth is this government doing away with the mining/carbon taxes which according to Ken Henry have had negligent impact on businesses, reducing the company tax by 2% and implementing the paid parently leave scheme which gives high earning mothers $75,000 to have a baby. The mining/carbon taxes are not harming the mining industry one little bit, they are the biggest manufacturer we have and currently expanding again. The company tax should not be reduced by that 2% when we are in "so-called" dire straights and the PPL scheme should be abandoned and the current scheme which is fair to "all mothers" left in place. It is government gross mis-management to expect the nation to suffer and then give itself another pay rise. When things are so-called "tough" they should include themselves in the equation, is that too much to ask? From what we have in front of us, do you think this government and opposition and the rest that make up the House of Reps and Senate etc. earn their salaries? Is it fair that the PM of this country is paid more than the President of the USA? Australia is a minnow, however did it get to the point that this happened? I'm sure Obama must have more on his "plate" than our PM ever will. If we are to continue paying politicians in Australia in this manner they should at least be punching above their current weight.
    It would be interesting to see some figures on how much this government has added to the deficit in the time they have been in office. The buying of boats re asylum seekers and giving the Reserve Bank money they didn't ask for are two items not budgeted for.
    There doesn't seem to be anything the Treasurer/PM talk about regarding the deficit that causes the big end of town to feel any pain. I'm quite sick of hearing how much they have to do for "big business" to help them. If they are "big business" they should be big enough to look after themselves and pay the appropriate taxes. And, yes, I agree it's about time tax evasion by way of "family trusts" was done away with. There are many many ways of streamlining the Tax Act (which has too many volumes of rubbish laws in it) it was probably no more than a couple of volumes in the beginning and now you need a whole wall in an office to accommodate the rules/law.
    MITZY
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:09pm
    DREW: This is not a very happy subject to comment on and to have Hockey's Cheshire Grin at the top of the editorial is making me feel ill. Do you think you could dispose of "Happy Hockey" it makes me feel he is grinning so much because he's having a great deal of fun making the rest of us feel miserable!!!!
    doggone
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:17pm
    joe hockey : "we really must get on top of this budgetary problem".
    tony abbott :"joe, just hit age pensioners and squeeze them by putting the gst on food". but whatever you do don't scrap my gold plate ppl scheme. in any case old people are EASY targets".
    Wstaton
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:35pm
    Yes doggone,
    Old people are the targets because we do not exercise the power we have. The oldies are a growing percentage of the population yet we do not really get together and exercise that phenomena.
    fair-go
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:54pm
    Welfare is a way to help people in genuine and I mean genuine need not to support those who decide to have dozens of kids and expect the country to pay for them. I think that "accidents" do happen and it's fair enough for us to help each other out when that time comes BUT have the same "accident" more than once, then you should not be entitled to any additional assistance. I am really amazed at how many people who just cannot afford it, have so many kids and expect or demand that we all pay for their nights of pleasure.
    This doesn't apply to everyone, I will state that there are exceptional circumstances where families find themselves in a pressing situation which cannot be helped, they do need our support but to deliberately feed off the welfare system out of choice must be stopped.
    So what if these bludgers don't vote for you at the next election? At least do the right thing for the country, stop the rorting and get serious about a real budget and stop raping the wrong people when the answer is right there in front of you Mr Hockey.
    Nascar.
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:56pm
    Memo W A voters, don't forget your right to tell them where to go at the senate vote this weekend.
    Bes
    3rd Apr 2014
    12:58pm
    HOLD ON FOLKS! Does Joe mean that the end of ENTITLEMENT is over for ALL Australians?

    http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/parliamentarians-reporting/former_parliamentarians_expenditure_P31.html

    http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/pcss_long_term_cost_report_2011.pdf

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/desposed-australian-prime-minister-kevin-rudds-600000-a-year-pension/story-e6freuy9-1225885918379

    AND how about, upon winning office, NO MORE than ONE Prime Minister or state Premier in ANY term of that office. Unless due to ill health or death? Now there's a saving Joe and it will help curtail their behind closed doors games of back stabbing amongst themselves?
    SO LET US SUM THIS UP JOE, we vote you into power, then you want to make us work until 70 years of age, (not looking good for the building trade and similar strenuous work, armed forces, firefighters, police and truck drivers? AND YOU JOE will look to end ALL of the above perks and of payment of politicians for life while not working?
    AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY FOLK WHO ARE UTTERLY PISSED OFF VOTE FOR CLIVE PALMER? Simply because they have nought to loose Joe, absolutely nothing to lose!
    Renny
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:02pm
    They are trying to cut the mining tax yet support the petrol resources rent tax which is in all key elements identical. That's to make sure Gina is onside. They're trying to make bigotry legal for mate Andrew Bolt. Abbott's girls might have kids so they want us to pay for an overly generous paternity leave system (employers should pay). They continually attack the poor and the working poor because by screwing the unions they've made them voiceless while allowing the wealthy to write off billions of dollars in tax. Not that the other mob was blameless in this. Politics is about power. Abbott won't rest until he's turned this country into an analog of 1800's England where all good things come to the rich on the backs of those working for a pittance. Class wars can't exist unless you have a class system and this twat is determined to have one. Bring on a double dissolution.
    adbob
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:10pm
    He's unlikely to reduce the basic rate - which is in fact rather generous by international standards. So generous in fact that welfare as a lifestyle choice is quite an attractive option in Australia - what is not is for the average Joe to get ahead a bit - as evidenced here by some with a massive sense of entitlement demanding that those who have worked hard and put something aside (along with paying more tax) should yet again be penalised to subsidise the indolent.

    Obviously the unfortunate should be protected - but they're not really that numerous.

    In every other developed country the more you put in during your working life the more you are entitled to draw in retirement. Australia is a spongers' paradise - and destined to become more so under a so-called Liberal government.

    That's how it works in the topsy-turvy world of politics.

    The rich, the poor, the big corporations - they all have pressure groups and fund both major parties. Joe Average doesn't.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    12:01pm
    adbob: You can't judge Australia with international standards. Europe's workers for a long long time paid into their retirement from the day they started work and in a lot of countries they paid into government health schemes also. Australia didn't have a general super scheme until the Keating years when he introduced a superannuation policy starting at 3%. We have a current government that is not following on by increasing the percentage to take it up to eventually 15%. If this happened there would obviously be less people needing government benefits (especially the workers who are fortunate enough to already being provided for their retirement). This is why the so-called basic rate in Australia for the age pension is generous!!??
    However, this remains conjecture, as I said elsewhere, if you take your monthly SINGLE aged pension and divide it into the number of days in the month you come out receiving around $56 per day. It is a constant battle for pensioners on the full age single pension and/or married couples pension to juggle their finances.

    How do you know the unfortunates are not really that numerous?
    These are the ones being targetted or touted as being targets!
    Bridgetbeam
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:17pm
    Thanks for pensions!!! I am an aged pensioner and am very thankful that I live in a country where pensions are available. What really riles me is the paid parental leave given to women earning enormous salaries. What was the government thinking??? That just doesn't make any sense.
    adbob
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:21pm
    It was indeed madness. Not in total - but (as you say) not only granting it to highly paid married women but granting it to them in proportion to their pay rate.

    If you remember it was Tony Abbott shooting from the hip one weekend without consulting his own party. As it turned out Labor decided they had to go some way towards matching it (or else appear to be anti-women anti-family) - so here we are today.
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:19pm
    Yeah, I managed OK without paid maternity or parental leave, back in the 90s, so why do they need it now?
    MITZY
    3rd Apr 2014
    3:43pm
    adbob: the current maternity leave payment (Labor government initiative) was in force before Tony Abbott shot his mouth off about a super duper one for his rich business friends spouses on high incomes. At least the Labor government initiative was fair to all mothers equally, not leaning towards the high income earners who will now be entitled to $75,000 per child.

    aly_rob60: I guess they need it now where we didn't need it, is because they are all over-committed, living in McMansions with home theatres and everything that opens and shuts automatically. They need it to help cope with their excessive electricity bills powering all these big open space homes, swimming pools, numerous tv/sound systems/ etc. etc.

    We didn't buy anything very often (except the family home) by a credit card or hire purchase, we saved for it. However, if we had a good govt. job and paid into superannuation we are probably comfortable today. However, if we worked in private enterprise and didn't have the opportunity to pay into superannuation and/or we were unfortunate enough to be on a disability/carer pension and just made ends meet, then we don't have funds to fall back on. This is where taking from GENUINE pensioners is a crime.

    If you are on a full single aged pension and you divide your monthly pension into the amount of days in the month, i.e. currently $842.60 x 2 = $1,685.60 divide 30 days (April) = $56.19 it will give you a very good indication that it is not easy to live on that amount on a day to day basis when you consider the bills you receive each month before you have fed yourself and clothed yourself and paid for car services and petrol etc. and possibly rent if you don't own your own home, but then again you still have rates and water rates etc. to pay if you do own your home.
    It certainly is about time the paltry six monthly pay adjustments to pensioners' pensions was given greater thought by governments and increased by more than a $1 a day each time.
    Brissiegirl
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:04pm
    Egyptian, I don't think the pension was ever meant to pay for "car services" and petrol. It is meant to stop people from going cold and hungry. If we want luxuries like holidays, cars, petrol, eating out etc. we have to plan ahead a little and put some aside from our earnings as nest-eggs. I certainly don't expect the next generation to be footing the bill for my car costs and petrol.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    12:58pm
    Brissiegirl: I wasn't talking about myself in the above comments, I was generalising. I worked in private enterprise no superannuation. My husband worked in private enterprise no superannuation. He developed MS at age 44 and still worked for approx. 10 years thereafter until unable to do so. I worked part-time for a couple of years after he gave up work so he didn't receive a full disability support pension. I then gave up work to look after him permanently (he aged 54 me 55 - we were not even retirement age). We never asked for any other "support" from the government other than the disability pension and carer payment (the carer payment - once I gave up work). Our savings from being employed soon depleted with all the extra costs of providing health and well-being services, massages and exercise to keep my husband's limbs moving etc. The last time we had a holiday was 1989! Every holiday we ever had together in the 49 years we were married was fully paid for before we went on it. We didn't use credit cards to pay for anything, and to this day the only use I have on my credit card is my daily newspaper, my phone and internet which I pay off on a monthly basis and do not incur interest. My current motor car is a second-hand 2000 Nissan Pulsar which cost me $4500 and which I couldn't afford to purchase until I had sold a second-hand Holden Combo Van that had been modified to take my husband's wheel chair and which was paid for from our savings. For him to get around before the wheel chair he had a walker and then a second-hand scooter. I am still wearing good clothes of which some are 25 to 30 years old and made in Australia. I don't buy any clothes until they are "on sale" and usually purchase to complement what I already have.

    The type of few line comments as made by you ending with "I certainly don't expect the next generation to be footing the bill for my car costs and petrol" is thoughtless.

    I live in a country town where there is a private bus company which runs infrequently through Monday to Friday and part of Saturday and not on Sunday. I don't use my car unnecessarily, shopping and bill paying approx. twice through the week and to visit my cousin at her home at the week-end (where I stay Saturday night and go home Sunday afternoon). With poor public transport all over the country, the population in Australia is disadvantaged moreso than overseas countries and a car is not a luxury, in most cases, it is a necessity.
    As far as dining out, that is a thing of the long ago past. I can count on one hand the dining out I participate in during a twelve month period and when I do so have one glass of wine with my meal. No entree, no dessert.

    The point I made, among others, was it is not easy for people to live on the pension but what I should have added was if they have been unfortunate enough to have things happen in their lifetime which have rendered them completely reliant on a government pension. Not everybody has somebody else to lean on or help them out. Some poor people have no families whatsoever.

    I find it difficult to justify the Abbott government and, Abbott in particular more than his government, affording high income women the opportunity to partake of up to $75,000 PPL and reducing the company tax by 2% to partly pay for it, when this country needs its current taxes desperately at present and there is a current PPL scheme in force that gives the same benefits to all mothers. A single pensioner partaking of the current rate of $842.80 per fortnight x 26 fortnights per annum receives $21,912.80 per annum. Where is the equality in spreading our hard earned taxation.
    adbob
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:17pm
    BTW increasing GST from 10 to 12 per cent is the obvious thing to do. It's ridiculously low by international standards - the states are nearly all in trouble fiscally and they lost their sales tax powers when GST came in. Sadly it's politically inexpedient for a Federal government to do that - it shouldn't be - but given the juvenile level of political debate in the is country it is.

    Ordinary people would hardly notice the difference.

    The nation is so awash with cheap imported trash (the price of which to the consumer is nearly all middle-man mark-up) having the taxman come in for a cut to save him attacking anything else would be the right way to go.
    Renny
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:44pm
    I agree about the GST. It hits everyone. But you are a bit arrogant about the sense of entitlement. Many of us grew up when Superannuation was unheard of for many, particularly blue collar workers - and the age pension was what we expected we'd get. Women are also extremely disadvantage - many not much older than me were stay at home Mums so often have been left with nothing. My spouse wasn't ALLOWED to have workplace based super and our financial awareness was not good. Our money went on surviving even with two incomes. So I'm assuming you have had a fairly comfortable middle class life. That's not the case for many through no damned fault of their own. It pays to walk in other peoples shoes occasionally. (BTW I have super but it's not enough for us to live on and I support my disabled husband who at 67 gets nix from anyone. And as a childless couple we've had nothing from government our entire lives). I'd like to spend a few years with my other half who is a fair bit older than me but at this stage it is looking unlikely.
    adbob
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:12pm
    @Renny - I don't think we're in disagreement. My understanding was that we should all get it - and those that could could top it up a bit. Up to 2007 (when it was "simplified") there were super products designed exactly to do that.

    The people (apart from the government) I disagree with are those who say the savings should be made by forcing those with a bit put by to be the ones to bear the cuts. They are already in the harshest poverty trap around. Many wonder why they bothered to work and save when their pension is so drastically reduced. Nowadays returns are much lower than they once were so the assets test bites the hardest. Until you get into million plus territory your assets aren't really working for you - they just rob you of the pension that other folk get in full.

    3rd Apr 2014
    1:52pm
    For what reason does the government need to take more and more tax and even consider cutting pensions? It is their spending that is creating the Economy 'black holes' - which do not exist in reality, but only on paper - so it is incumbent upon them to do the hard yards and not confer loss upon the people.

    I will guarantee you one thing - the country will not be 'broke' when it comes to trough feeding time and the politicians are asked to vote on a pay rise in the double figures - if Queersland is anything to go by they will expect 40% +
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    1:55pm
    AND could someone explain to me how we are going to cut the cost of living, and then reduce wages to match - when the government heaps more cost on living? makes about as much sense as having Hockeystick Joe (Sir Joe of The Hock Shop, Lord Infinite Borrowing) as Treasurer at all - not worth the paper he's written off - same as the rest going back thirty years or so.
    Brissiegirl
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:00pm
    This is a Labor beat-up. I inquired of the PM's office if any changes to the Age Pension are under consideration, and below for information of readers are some relevant extracts from a reply dated 28th March 2014 from Mr I. Joyce, Acting Branch Manager, Seniors and Means Test, Department of Social Services:

    "You have raised a concern aboout the impact of any policy changes on age pensioners.

    "A small reference group has been established, chaired by Mr Patrick McClure AO, to provide the government with options to ensure Australia’s welfare system is sustainable, effective and coherent, and encourages people to work. This review will not be looking at the Age Pension.

    "The government appreciates the contribution older Australians have made to society and the economy and is keen to ensure that pensioners’ living standards are safeguarded by the Age Pension system.

    This review will not be looking at the Age Pension. So there you have it. In writing.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    1:24pm
    But can you believe it? Isn't the age pension part of the "welfare" system?
    All governments are good at wording and it looks as if the wording here establishes that "..... the government appreciates the contribution older Australians have made to society and the economy and is keen to ensure that pensioners' "LIVING STANDARDS" are safeguarded by the Age Pension system....."
    Commentary by Hockey suggests the age pension is not sustainable, so what happens in the future, is in the future.
    nettiser
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:02pm
    Why ion hells name do we need to have a surplus?. Australia is NOT A BUSINESS and when there is a surplus under a liberal govt it seems that only liberal pollies get their snouts in the trough.
    Nightshade
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:05pm
    WHERE WAS THERE A SURPLUS .../?
    WHEN WAS THERE A SURPLUS .../?

    ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
    PRIME MINISTER WAS THE KING OF THE LOOSE PURSE STRINGS
    SPENDING WAS AT IT'S MOST RAMPED
    UNDER THE "LEADERSHIP" - if you can call it that - OF PRIME MINISTER OF JOHN HOWARD

    SO I BEG YOU TO SHOW ME WHEN THERE WAS A SURPLUS -
    THERE NEVER WAS NEVER.......
    IT IS A HOAX
    IT IS A LIE

    IF THINGS ARE SO DIRE
    SELL THE AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION = THE ABC
    SELL THE SPECIAL BROADCASTING SERVICES = SBS
    AND DON'T BUY THE BILLION DOLLAR DRONES
    THAT THE AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE DO NOT WANT NOR SEE A NEED FOR
    Do you have any idea what we could purchase instead & how much more of them.
    Nightshade
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:14pm
    This whole game that these high rolling morons on a power trip are playing at will blow up in their faces - just wait & see.
    DID YOU KNOW :-
    According to Max Keiser host of The Keiser Report 20 BANKERS HAVE DIED
    At first they thought suicide - some fell off tall buildings, one got hit by a white van in a busy street - TOP BANKERS - now they say murder.
    Then I read that 36 had DIED under unusual circumstances-
    Now it is up to 73 BANKERS DEAD and rising -

    WHY ON EARTH ARE HIGH PROFILED BANKERS BEING KILLED I WONDER -
    IT COULD NOT BE BECAUSE THEY STOLE OTHER PEOPLES MONIES COULD IT...
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:30pm
    BEWARE OF WHITE VAN MAN !!.....
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:08pm
    Put ALL the Ex Politicians on New Start !! Case Solved !!.....
    Nightshade
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:16pm
    WE NEED JOBS
    WE NEED WORK
    BUSINESS NEEDS TO BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN
    THEY HAVE SHUT BUSINESS DOWN
    THEY HAVE DESTROYED OUR NATION
    TRAITORS -
    Nightshade
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:17pm
    If you read overseas news - NOT FROM THE ABC OR SBS MIND -
    FRANCE IS ABOUT TO BLOW UP
    THE FRENCH HAVE HAD ENOUGH
    Wendy HK
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:34pm
    particolor - love your work!!!
    I'm on NewStart and it falls short of covering my rent by $40 p/f.
    thank goodness my partner is on an Aged Pension so we can eat.
    particolor
    4th Apr 2014
    7:56pm
    Nightshade..They might have to eat Yellow Cake ??
    particolor
    4th Apr 2014
    8:00pm
    wendy ..I know People on New Start That wont Start !!.. They are thinking of moving them to Cattle Prod Allowance !!!
    nettiser
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:16pm
    The way forward is less tax so that we encourage business and develop infrastructure. Not sit on surplus money that does little to build up the country. If Hockey wants to run Australia like a business then all monies should be reinvested in infrastructure and encourage business growth which in turn creates employment. Surplus madness is old hat and does nothing to develop a country. It stymies development.Its a buzz word that is used to lull voters into thinking they are good managers of the purse. in fact it's just the opposite. It creates a pile of dead money, going nowhere doing nothing except fooling some voters into believing we have progressed. Stop with the bullshit Joe and get to doing the job properly, if you can;t cut the modern mustard hand the jopb over to someone who can.
    Nightshade
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:20pm
    EVERYTHING IS TOO EXPENSIVE
    DELIBERATELY
    THEY CAN'T STAND IT TO SEE US HAVE ANYTHING
    SO THEY PULLED IT ALL DOWN
    It is said of Paul Keating the Great that he loves the gee-gees
    Is that what happened to Australia under his leadership he lost it on a bet ?
    Ahjay
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:30pm
    The age of entitlement is over! Stop whinging you lot or they may take away your entitlement to vote if you are receiving any government payment other than paid parental leave or political entitlements.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:19pm
    I've got My hand up Sir !!.. Can I go to the toilet Please ?
    SuzeB
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:31pm
    Well, Hockey said only a few hours ago that the Coalition IS NOT CHANGING THE GST.
    Ahjay
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:03pm
    Then it must be true. They usually do the opposite.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:24pm
    Ajay.. Fer Sure ! Fer Sure Fer Sure !!!... Never Never GST !!
    mikepelton
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:36pm
    Hasn't taken long for those who voted these people into power to have second thoughts. Some would say you reap what you sow, however the biggest receivers of entitlements are the politicians. They set up a sue-do tribunal to grant large pay increases, don't want to give up their benefits like free travel, office provisions etc. when they are ousted. Perhaps Joe Hockey needs to get a large mirror to look into and ask who is the most hypocritical of them all. The answer would be politicians.
    SuzeB
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:46pm
    Yes, maybe we should get rid of them. If we ask nicely, maybe Kevin and/or Julia will come back. Union Bill is pretty useless. But seriously, I'm not having second thoughts. The last thing I want is the Idiot Party back in power. As they say, it takes a while to stop a big ship before you can start turning it around.
    mikepelton
    3rd Apr 2014
    3:01pm
    The Idiot party did a good job in keeping us from going under during the GFC. It seems to me that nearly all decisions that have been made to date involve the small people, many of whom voted the Libs into power. They are now losing their jobs Australia wide whilst big business and large company CEO's continue to raid the golden egg. The only people who will get hurt with this fiscal policy is the ordinary people as usual.
    aly_rob60
    3rd Apr 2014
    2:39pm
    Here's a no brainer, Joe!
    Cut the Millions $$$$$$ in overseas aid, stop bringing so many people into the country or make them pay double the taxes that we do to pay for our struggling infrastructure and take a pay cut yourself!
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:27pm
    OH Boy ! ..this is getting good ! Now the Real Australians are Talking !!
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    3:05pm
    Firstly I agree there should be minimal change to Pension payments where reasonable assets are involved. But it should be looked at.


    Remember , the below points could have been implemented by labour but they chose the easy way and just spent , why did they not do it ???

    -Trusts should be taxed
    -Negative Gearing tax breaks reduced significantly
    -Corporations hounded to death to pay correct taxes
    -Foreign land /home investors welcome but taxed at 25% of purchase price. They will still buy up big
    -Weed out DSP bludgers ensuring the deserving are treated fairly

    Many avenues available to leave the Pensioners alone.

    All , please ask yourself why this topic is being discussed.
    Labour incompetency in managing our country ( I had been labour all my life) no longer . Reason is 6 years of absolute labour waste and mismanagement , over spending , pandering to their base of power corrupt union officials aka Thompson and Williams who are either in their correct place or about be, Gillard may yet join them.
    If you disagree you have already lost your power to reason.

    1. Pink Batts.
    2. 30,000 Plus economic refugees ( 11 Billion) this alone could help Australians , unemployed , homeless etc

    Take a step back and forget your politcal bias , were are up the creek and drowning in the brown stuff
    41Alpha
    3rd Apr 2014
    3:48pm
    We can thank Kevin Rudd and the Labour party for running the previous government's
    ( Liberal) Surplus in to a massive defect .
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:12pm
    Bulldust!!!
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:38pm
    I agree , not Bulldust BUT "FACT"
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:41pm
    May be the Pink Batts and 11 bil for BOAT PEOPLE THANKS TO lABOUR is also "BULLDUST"
    I think some one is standing in it
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:48pm
    Oh and I forgot the NBN ,where the Clown Prince or Dunce of the Labour Party , Senator Conroy was spruiking so much "BULLDUST" he must have had a herd of elephants in his office
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:49pm
    You wouldn't have a clue!! You have no idea how an economy works. If Swan was so bad, why was he voted as the WORLD'S BEST TREASURER a couple of years ago. Not even your messiah, Peter Costello, achieved that! Every nation in the world envied our strategy to the solution here of the GFC, thanks to Labor and Wayne Swan. Last time I looked at the Pink Batts issue it was shonky BUSINESS people out for a fast buck that caused the death of these poor young fellows. Maybe we should start suing the government for road deaths because the roads are so bad that they caused the death of people in car accidents.....same stupid logic! Oh, and by the way, take a course in spelling........LABOR not LABOUR!
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:52pm
    How can you defend the Labor party , I was a member for years , now THEY ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF FLIM FLAM men ,no guts ,no balls , no honesty, how often did the leadership change then recently they picked Shorten over Albanese , they are not fairdinkum. There was a chance to get an honest bloke into the job not a jumped up fairy like shorten
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    12:56pm
    I just got down my Collins English Dictionary ( Page 420) LABOUR PARTY n 1 the major left-wing political party in Britain, which believes in democratic socialism and social equality. 2 any similar party in various other countries. Also Readers Digest Wordpower Dictionary (Page 538). LABOUR PARTY. Apart from that totally agree with everything that you DJ and Economists around the world stated.
    robmur
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:09pm
    Same old story. Those that have done the hard yard all their life, paid their share of taxes, paid off their home, brought up and educated their children and are now trying to live for the remainder of their life, as a simple and rewarding one. Aged pensioners SHOULD NEVER HAVE THEIR PENSIONS REDUCED. Maybe the Assets Test top margin could be slightly reduced. This would only affect a minority. However, those people in society who have never worked, except those with no physical or mental disability, must have their dole payments thoroughly examined. Too many don't want to work or pay their fair share of taxes. Living together, sharing their costs and every fortnight put out their grubby hands for the dole. This is the group in society that must be made to work and stop relying on the government for their livelihood. Abbott must not get his way with his very expensive Paid Parental Leave. That has to be the worst election policy he could have thought up. As for the GST, well maybe it needs to rise, but still areas like education, food and health to still be exempt. NZ has 15% , we could raise ours from 10% to 12%, with some compensation to aged pensioners currently on 100% pension. Taxes and welfare must be thoroughly examined before there is a rush to implement in the May budget.

    3rd Apr 2014
    4:24pm
    A rise in the GST would not be good for pensioners. The essentials, electricity, gas, phone are already expensive, look at the GST we pay extra on these bills now, hardly need this to be higher still. Government needs to cut back on the dole bludgers, those on a disability pension that have no disability, family trusts, and pollies pay rises, not to mention the ludicrous maternity payments in the pipeline.
    Wstaton
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:18pm
    Trood,

    I think GST has no option but to rise with exemptions. No GST on stable foods as at present. Low income earners and pensioners should be exempt from GST on basics such as electricity, gas etc. Keeping warm and not freezing to death is just as important as stable foods. My goodness I just bought myself a packet of Tim Tams and a bottle of red as a treat on a limited income during my weekly shopping but I did not mind paying the GST for these it was my decision but I cannot do without the basics and services to make my life worth living.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:40pm
    Wstaton.... Go the Whole hog Mate !! Get Yerself a Two Bob Cadburys Chocolate next week !!!
    Wstaton
    6th Apr 2014
    10:16am
    No I don't think I will do that particular. Rather buy a tin of SPC baked beans that Abbot didn't agree to help. The election was over not like the Cadbury's thing when he was buying votes.
    ozimarco
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:25pm
    I agree that the government needs to raise more revenue so that the budget can gradually be brought back into the black. Instead of starting at the bottom, hitting pensioners and low income earners, they should start at the top, hitting the big miners, multi-millionaires, high income earners, big polluters, etc. Re-visit the mining tax to make sure it raises a lot of money, keep the carbon tax, make sure international companies pay their fair share of tax, etc. Of course, all of the above runs contrary to the Liberals' ideology, whose support base is the big end of town. They will always look after their rich mates to the detriment of the less fortunate members of our society. Why Australians can't see this is beyond me.
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:32pm
    Australia population = 23m China 1.35Bil
    When China introduces a Carbon Tax I will agree, for now it is killing our industries due to cost
    We are piss ant country based on population and we should never try to lead the world and destroy ourselves in the process.
    Thanks to the Labour Green alliance with their delusions of self importance and grandure we ARE STUCK WITH IT.
    Get Real!!!!!
    Pink Batts
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:51pm
    How can you defend the Labor party , I was a member for years , now THEY ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF FLIM FLAM men ,no guts ,no balls , no honesty, how often did the leadership change then recently they picked Shorten over Albanese , they are not fairdinkum. There was a chance to get an honest bloke into the job not a jumped up fairy like shorten
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:26pm
    Pink Batts, get your facts right before you shoot off your mouth! China has started the introduction of a Carbon Tax. Oh, and well done with your spelling! You are not a complete idiot! Try not to cut and paste your comments....be original!
    Diamond Jim
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:26pm
    Pink Batts, get your facts right before you shoot off your mouth! China has started the introduction of a Carbon Tax. Oh, and well done with your spelling! You are not a complete idiot! Try not to cut and paste your comments....be original!
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    12:42pm
    Pink Batts, I hope that Abbott at least keeps one promise that he doesn't break, and that's his promise to call a double dissolution if his carbon tax repeal does not get through the Senate, that way we will not have to wait three years to get rid of him.

    3rd Apr 2014
    4:26pm
    If Hockey touches pensions he'll have a lynch mob after him!
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:44pm
    This Time tomorrow...guessen where I'll be !
    Down in that lonesome valley !!
    Hangin from a Wild Oak Tree........
    helleen
    3rd Apr 2014
    4:57pm
    I don't understand how they can actually take money off people who are living on the poverty line already, and if gst goes up it will be even harder to survive, how about stopping all these single young mothers stopping having children and actually going out and getting an education and a job first before sitting around collecting money they have not earnt, most pensioners have worked their whole lives so some entitlement there, and what about the politicians how about they stop getting these huge pay rises, eg. Campbell in Qld just gave himself a $70,000 a year rise, it's all a big joke.
    adrianbell1942
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:13pm
    I think a cut to politicians perks and superannuation would be much preferable to a cut in the aged pension. Things are tight enough now for most pensioners.
    Adrian.
    Dancer
    3rd Apr 2014
    5:27pm
    Should the basic pension be cut for those who rely on it entirely I think there will be rioting in the streets! Cut middle income welfare first - many people receive family benefits etc whilst they are on good, even high, incomes - Fair go. Cut politicians' lifetime pensions first also - Fair go.

    3rd Apr 2014
    6:01pm
    NO need to cut the aged pension...all that has to be done is agreement that there will be no pension rise for the next 2 - 3 years....that to me seems better, for why cut the pension back and still have to give a rise each year...so just no rise for 2-3 years then go back to normal running again.
    particolor
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:49pm
    Are You Insane ?? We don't get a pay rise NOW !!..We play Catch Up !!
    Wendy HK
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:40pm
    particolor - again - love your work!!
    there is a rise in pensions etc of $15 ?? and health insurance has gone up, rent has gone up, petrol has gone up - we get further behind all the time we can't even play catch up!
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    1:39pm
    PIXAPD: With the economy taking off and next the interest rates taking off too, and the cost of living taking off you think it fair to not get a pension increase for the next 2 to 3 years when even the basic wage earners will get wage rises.

    How much is that COIN you use as a monicker worth this day and age?

    Phew, PIXAPD, while your at it, you'd better get everything else that rises to stay on hold too.
    particolor
    4th Apr 2014
    8:09pm
    Well I've had a good look at that Coin ? I even squinted at it !! and it looks like the Man in the Moon Gritting His teeth at the expanding Earth Pollution, I think the Ancient people knew something ??
    Anonymous
    8th Apr 2014
    9:28am
    You folks seem to think that TAKE TAKE TAKE from the taxpayer is good...you never think perhaps that not getting a pension rise for 2 years will save the Govt money and help the nation is some way...NO..all you do is TAKE TAKE TAKE
    Anonymous
    8th Apr 2014
    9:38am
    The free pension folks get is far far more than tax paid...I worked just normal Govt jobs, on the railway as store man, cleaner and cook in hospitals, as a undertaker..what some might see as menial work.....YET over my working life from the 60's I never paid as much money in tax each year as the amount of money the Govt gives me in the aged pension each year over $24,000 Who am I to complain ?
    Kato
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:01pm
    No I don't think Hockey is the correct person for the job, as he was bereft of ideas in his last tenure other than to do what he is doing now. He and Abbott should grow some testicles and go to the people with a gst raise and make the states get rid of double gst's in the guise of stamp duties and recording fees. And no I will not survive on the pension if it lowered, as I look after two grandkids as well.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:11am
    downsouth, Hockey is absolutely the right person for the job, just as Costello was in the Howard Government, take from the poor to give to the rich, that is and will always be Liberal policy.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:42pm
    Sorry Kato, Slip of finger.
    adbob
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:08pm
    @egyptian

    You are quite wrong about paid parenting leave.

    Abbott announced his proposal in March 2010 - to be funded by a $2.7 billion tax slug on business. Labor opposed it as being destructive of jobs.

    Now he's stuck with the problem of having to find the dosh to honour his promise. Funnily enough his mates from big business were'nt that keen on the tax side of it - but it bought votes from enough women to win him government.

    Labor's own scheme was introduced in 2011. Obviously they had been working on the proposal for some time but they were otherwise in no hurry to introduce it in the middle of the GFC.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    1:51pm
    Yes, commenced 1st January 2011 but I'm sure, as you indicate, it would have been in the pipeline and awaiting approval from both houses of parliament long before Abbott's announcement in March 2010. In Abbott's case (not approved by his cabinet at the time) "anything Labor can do, I can do better".
    Odds
    3rd Apr 2014
    6:54pm
    The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Bring on, the revolution!
    Anonymous
    3rd Apr 2014
    7:13pm
    Is there enough money to build the guillotines ? one of them outside every parliament house might give politicians an incentive to do something instead of giving themselves a pay rise. The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.
    comolass
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:00pm
    we need one especially outside Rupert Murdoch's premises - greedy pig along with big ears Tony they make a fine couple - yea bring on the revolution I''ll be there singing the song.................. waving my pension card
    particolor
    4th Apr 2014
    8:15pm
    comolass..That reminds me of the movie Sale of Two Titties !! The Old Hag sitting there Knitting !! While the heads rolled !! EEH He He He !!!.....
    moorlands
    6th Apr 2014
    3:15pm
    Hey PIXAPD, I just read that , what a fantastic idea to get the attention of Politicians and the Media, just make sure that the Guillotines are paper mache or cardboard and are accompanied by normal looking protesters rather than the usual long haired bone through the nose types who immediately discredit the protests, that way the Police will not be applauded as they usually are for breaking it up.
    moorlands
    6th Apr 2014
    3:34pm
    P.S. When the peaceful protest is removed as it surely will be under Liberal controlled Governments, then I will look forward to Andrew Bolts interpretation of Free Speech. P.P.S I note that Andrew Bolt in an interview has stated that if he were offered (or should that be when?) a Knightship then he would accept it! such a man of principle.
    macca
    3rd Apr 2014
    8:26pm
    when Mr rabbit won the election he said this government would be a "no surprise government"
    I seem to waking up to a new surprise every day from these fat cats.
    comolass
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:05pm
    the only surprise is - that the Liberal supporters think he is marvellous but then again that is no surprise really -
    tj
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:27pm
    A cold hard fact Without fat cats you cant have kittens
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    1:53pm
    Ah yes, macca: but when he said it, it wasn't scripted!?
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:48pm
    Tis so true tj, Without fat cats there would not be kittens sucking on the nipples, and without Sows there would not be as many piglets sucking at the trough?
    MITZY
    5th Apr 2014
    11:07am
    Yes, moorlands and we all know with pigs we get porkies?!
    Bella
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:15pm
    The lords giveth and The Lords taketh away!
    It is never an easy task to please everyone, as they say .
    You can please some of the people some of the time,
    But you will never please all of the people all of the time.
    I just think,we pensioners got $15 rise...now it appears GST will,increase to 15% in line with New Zealand.
    And therefore the $15 will be returned ...I just think it gets tougher for pensions every day,
    Well I a scanning the internet for the best and cheapest place to love, seems Panama is the go.
    tj
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:34pm
    HI all you fellow pensioners relax ,just more scare mongering from the bad losers
    dougie
    4th Apr 2014
    8:01am
    TJ
    How right you are! I support this the Government of the day as I believe that in general they will do the right thing. Those who are screaming vitriol and poisonous garbage should at least wait until there is a reason to scream revolt etc. If I am wrong in my assumptions regarding this budget I will apologise to each and all and become the biggest voice against the government. Will those who are writing all the comments against the government apologise and hang their heads in shame and possibly wear a haircloth shirt for a month. I do not believe so. OK to condemn but beneath the dignity to apologise for mis statement and open insults.
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:41am
    If people who play the system to get a disability pension are called "Dole Bludgers " why are not people who play the system to minimise their taxes called "Tax Bludgers "?
    moorlands
    4th Apr 2014
    11:54pm
    Hi dougie, I will take you up on that, mine is a carton of Coopers Extra Stout, delivery details later!
    dougie
    5th Apr 2014
    12:44pm
    Moorlands,
    I think by your comments that you have already consumed thr Stout as no where in my comment did I mention buying you or anyone else a beer. I will keep that to drown my sorrows. I am sure that if my comments are correct that you will neither apologise nor buy a beer for anyone other than yourself.
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    4:19pm
    Sir Douglas, Sire may I and on behalf of all other peasants on this forum please offer our humblest apologies, THE apologies that you crave, for daring in our most humble ways of offering our misguided opinions that do not concur with your most esteemed intellectuality, I beg you Sire that when yourself and Sir Andrew Bolt are rewarded by your Knighthoods would you please plead leniency on our behalf ?
    Fred
    3rd Apr 2014
    9:51pm
    Imagine the money we could save if health and education were managed by Canberra and local issues by local councils. It is idiotic to have so many political layabouts for a country with the population of Australia. Give State Goverments the boot! Many cities around the world have nearly as many people. We need a new political movement to abolish state politics.
    aly_rob60
    4th Apr 2014
    12:23pm
    Too, true Fred.
    We have long been of the opinion that Australia is over-governed. 3 tiers of Government are entirely unnecessary. All we ordinary citizens end up doing is paying endless amounts of taxes and get very little for our money.
    Too many political layabouts, spending our money how they wish to on overseas junkets and looking after themselves. It's a toss-up who should go.... State or Local. Would be interested to see what others think.
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    2:00pm
    aly_rob60
    Haven't given this a great deal of thought, but if its a toss up between State and Local, I say get rid of Local. Local doesn't have a constitution and we would end up with just one government (Federal) in control. State governments have their own constitutions and in part differ from the federal one. There must be some better thinkers and doers in state governments than there are in these local government set-ups. Local government seems to have a lot of councillors who think they are God and must be obeyed unconditionally.
    Wstaton
    6th Apr 2014
    10:27am
    Too true I's the one in the middle that needs to be got rid of. maybe more power to the Local councils as they are closer to the people shown by the fact that the state governments regulary over ride their decisions that affect the local people.

    Not too much power though. Some rediculous things seem to get don by councils as well. Musn't transfer the bloat from state to local who aleady seem to be bloating theirselves.

    Also isn't thier one state premier getting just as much as the US president who manages a country of over 300million people compared to what! about 4 million people.
    carmencita
    3rd Apr 2014
    11:02pm
    There are unnecessary positions that should be targeted for spending cuts, eg. gov-gen and governors' offices are ceremonial and therefore merely decorative, they have no function except to make speeches and pose for photographers; offices of former prime ministers-they have no active role nor contributions to our economy, allowances of politicians-car and petrol allowances, travel and study allowance, hotel and restaurant, etc... appointments of 'think-tanks' too many of them as there are for every MPs. If they haven't got the brain to do their jobs, they should not be MPs
    Irishwolfhound
    4th Apr 2014
    2:48am
    I would like to inform "Harvs" that there actually WAS pension fund that tax payers paid money into on the understanding that this money would go to fund their retirement. Dear Malcom "WHERE'S ME TROUSERS" took that money when he was in fiscal difficulties, and the pensioners never hear another word about it! So people who have worked for 40 or 50 years, paying tax should have been entitled to what they paid in! The cost of a pensioners house is also laughable ! We bought a house in 1973 for $16,000. To day that is worth $900,000. So we should sell up and live on that money?? Age and Veteran pensions should be left alone those people have earned it. However there are many people on welfare that should not be. The disability pension is also very suspect in some cases. The American scheme , where you only get welfare if you have worked, and paid into the scheme is better. They give food vouchers, and other pre-paid payments instead of cash.
    aly_rob60
    4th Apr 2014
    12:19pm
    We couldn't agree more. We worked damn hard for over 30 years (we are both in our 50s and find ourselves unemployed). Pensions are an entitlement to those who have paid taxes all their working lives! We are STILL paying tax on everything we buy and services we use! We shouldn't have to sell our houses just to live, but that is the way it is going. Australia is simply being run down, so that the Chinese can take over. By the end of this decade, if not before, all manufacturing will be gone and we will be stupid enough to import cars etc that were made here before and pay premium prices for them. Wake up Australia!
    BTW, Irish Wolfhounds are cool.... we used to have them ;)
    MITZY
    4th Apr 2014
    2:09pm
    Gee Irishwolfhound if Malcolm took it, why didn't Howard give it back when he had such a fantastic treasurer as Costello? Come to think of it how come if he was such a terrific treasurer he couldn't curtail Howard from becoming the biggest spender (according to the IMF). If, Swan was the world's best treasurer during difficult times, how come we are in such a poor state, and if we are in such a poor state, how can we afford a gold-plated PPL for the wealthy mothers of this country? Irishwolfhound, me thinks you are a great blood-hound! haha!
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    12:21am
    Not true. I would not make you sell your house - it would be up to you how you accessed the $400K of equity above my nominal $500K of non-taxable equity that I would allow against the family home of a receiver of a government pension.

    You would still get the government pension - just a reduced one as you now have $400K that is deemed by Centrelink as assets that you can use to assist to fund your retirement.

    At the same time you get to feel good, because you are assisting our younger generations as their taxes don't have to be increased as much to help fund pensions.
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    4:36pm
    Harvs, if I put my house into a family trust so that therefore I do not own it, is it no longer classed as an asset? so that I can then draw the Pension?
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    4:42pm
    Harvs, I mean if Abbotts plan of turning the family home into an asset becomes law.
    Anonymous
    5th Apr 2014
    8:06pm
    No you can't. Family Trusts are broadly only a vehicle for protecting assets from litigation and for distributing any annual income generated by those assets to the most tax effective Trust member. In short - you would be placing all of your house proceeds into a fully taxable environment. Anything placed in a Trust is deemed to be an asset. But that is not necessarily bad. Getting a full government pension is not necessarily someone’s best lifestyle outcome.

    Let's say you sold your house for $1.5m, bought a new apartment for $500K. Apart from the sales costs and stamp duty for the new one, it is your primary residence, so there is no other tax.

    EXAMPLE ONLY, depending on your age you can put $450K into Super over 3 years, so you and your partner start a SMSF (which can be another type of Trust) and put $900K into it. You are over 60 and therefore any income generated is now tax free. You get 6% return on the money = $54K in your hand per year (less a few $K for accountant and audit fees for the SMSF).

    Again EXAMPLE ONLY - alternatively you are over 65 and put the $900K into a joint-names investment account. You have to by law split the $54K income generated between you and you’re your partner 50/50. $18.2K is tax free and the remaining $8.8K is taxed at 19% = $1,672 tax times 2.
    • You pay a total of $3344 income tax between you – and with some franking credits from shares you could possibly wipe this out anyway.
    • You still get over $51K and maybe all of it.

    You could do the same in a Family Trust – no real benefit EXCEPT if you grow the $900K asset and get much higher income over time – then you might like to be able to distribute more money tax effectively to your own kids, grandkids, etc. Of course when you die there is something called a Testamentary Trust – a great tool for planning how to control your money from the grave (true).

    In either example scenario you are still eligible for a part government pension (and health card I assume) as you can have over $1.1m between a couple and still qualify for some pension money and benefits from Centrelink.

    So…in these examples, either scenario provides a much better lifestyle than a couple’s $32K maximum Centrelink pension I would have thought? You still own a home and can manage the $900K investment and even grow it if you choose to leave money to your children, etc.

    (Disclaimer – I am not a financial advisor and know nothing about your financial circumstances, so none of the above information is even close to financial advice and only general in nature)
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    11:41pm
    Thanks Harvs, Seem's that I am a bit of a mug, I have never resented paying my share but as it now seems that my share is to go to those who are better off than me than me it is time for a rethink.
    Anonymous
    6th Apr 2014
    2:15am
    It may never happen - but I always want to understand all the available options so I retain as much control as possible over our own retirement assets and income. Planning as best we can and constantly educating ourselves so we don't have to be at the mercy of whatever new financial crisis/change that is conjured up by the government of the day, has figured high on our own retirement agenda for a number of decades. We all (mostly) have the choice between being a victim - or in control.
    HOLA
    4th Apr 2014
    10:08am
    Well said, MAK>!!!
    centswise
    4th Apr 2014
    2:57pm
    Westpac suggests that a retirement income of around $56000 pa for a couple will provide a comfortable lifestyle. A part age pension will still be paid on incomes up to around $77000 pa. Surely the govt needs to look at the income and asset tests. The age pension is the backstop, not the 'top up' to provide a more than comfortable retirement.
    adbob
    4th Apr 2014
    5:01pm
    Pure envy.

    I am heartily sick of hearing pleas from spongers that those who worked, paid tax and saved should fund (or continue to fund) their lifestyle by being subjected to an effective 50% tax.

    We were all promised the pension as of right. The amazing thing in Australia is that there was no contribution requirement.

    Anyone who thinks that a Liberal government that slugs part-pension receivers will pass the dosh on to full-pension receivers is living in a dream world.
    Grateful
    4th Apr 2014
    7:44pm
    Hooray for centswise!! (sponger, fair go). The age pension is to assist people who NEED financial assistance, NOT as something "promised" to all. Everyone who worked, paid tax and saved got their benefits while they were working from all the wonderful lifestyle that this great country provided for them. Hospitals, roads, education etc etc etc. That's where their taxes went.
    And, Australia does have a compulsory saving scheme, called superannuation, all paid by the employer and 65% of it fully subsidized by the government when it is paid. Is that the "savings" that adbob is talking about? Superannuation costs the receipient Zilch, all fully subsidized. MUCH costlier to governments than the age pension!!!

    I bet that this government does not have the guts to do the obvious and retun the age pension to what it is inteneded for and slash the eligibility rates by up to 50%. People with over $250,000 of their own, especially as a lump sum superannuation payment, should use up all of that before they receive ANY payments from the government.
    Just check the facts adbob on how much the government subsidizes superannuants with having given them huge tax concessions while it was being accumulated then making it totally tax free once it is received.

    Instead of calling genuine pensioners "spongers" adbob, get you facts straight to see which part of our community is really doing the sponging, and it's not those receiving the full rates of pensions.
    Llook at superannuants and part pensioners with their huge assets and incomes APART from the pension. And slash the level for entiltlement to the Pensioner Health Benefit card which is costing taxpayers billions for people who can very easily afford to pay for their own medication.
    But, it won't happen, because this government has no policies and does not have the guts to upset potential voters. It is ALL about VOTES for Tony Abbott, not justice.
    adbob
    4th Apr 2014
    8:11pm
    Dream on grateful. Your moniker is ludicrous. Your contempt for those who are paying for your upkeep is disgraceful.

    Every other developed country has a pension system where a full level of contribution entitles a person to a basic pension as of right, which they can top up with their own savings. Australia did too up until 2007.

    In Australia since then the clawback (due to the income and assets tests) is so great that savings are worthless. Until you get in the super-rich bracket your income is reduced to that of the basic pension.

    If we'd all known all known ahead of time what a spongers' paradise this place was going to turn out to be we needn't have bothered working.

    It makes me sick to see people like you jeering at those who pay for you and who, despite their industry and saving, end up no better off than you. But that's not enough - you want even more for you and less for them.

    Shameful - pure envy.
    moorlands
    5th Apr 2014
    1:18pm
    adbob, Glad that you and others remember the year that our Pension Contributions were stolen, (was it 2007?) surely if that was the date then we should be paid a Pro Rata pension regardless of Assets or Income for the contributions that we made up until that date. We get no pension at all, in fact we still pay tax.
    Grateful
    6th Apr 2014
    10:08am
    Adbob. Here you go again. Whether or not I have or haven't received a cent from Centrelink and have probably paid ten times the tax that most who do, is totally irrelevant to this discussion.
    NOBODY, especially the likes of you, have contributed one cent to me as it will be another 25 years before I get anywhere near back what taxes I have paid, which you seem to be espousing. I am delighted to have been able to earn what I did to enable me to have paid those taxes and to have received so many benefits in lifestyle that those taxes have assisted in paying for.
    I also contibuted to my own superannuation by voluntary payments, so, I am only getting mostly what I have paid for in the first place. For you to call people "spongers" without knowing their circumstances is abysmal. Remember those words "walk a mile in my shoes" before you condemn anyone so sanctimoniously.
    I am a seriously concerned voter who is seeing this country's economy being flushed down the toilet by excessive welfare payments.
    But, where I am different, I don't wear politically biassed blinkers. I don't just take the simple solution that Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott are reportedly taking by just looking at the soft targets of the unemployed and the disabled. Gutless populist garbage.

    The biggest COST to all of us is the massive taxation benefits and pension payments to people who simply don't NEED them, and, worse, don't spend their benefits and simply put it in the bank or buy shares, and, now, a worse phenomenon, self managed superannuation funds actually able to borrow money to try to make more, using money that most didn't earn anyway. And mostly tax free!!! That was a John Howard desperate ploy to win votes in 2004 and 2007.
    At least age pensioners on the FULL age pension SPEND nearly all that they receive which adds considerably to our economy. Part pensioners who SAVE their pension do absolutely NOTHING for the economy, especially if they just leave it in the bank or gamble with it buying shares or property.
    And this is where I totally agree with what Joe Hockey is SAYING, Australia simply cannot afford to keep doing this and now adding a further $5 BILLION for the Paid Parental Leave scheme, which, Tony Abbott this time, is also doing to win votes from women who up until now don't like him.
    Both the Howard and now the Abbott schemes are designed to win votes, nothing to do with economic rationality. And all we hear is people knocking the pink batts scheme!! That was just a once off and 100 times cheaper that the Howard/Abbott schemes. And Tony Abbott also wants to stop the mining super tax?? Come on open our eyes, ALL of us.
    So, adbob get off your high moral ground and open both eyes, or totally fail to see the whole picture. But, as the Attorney General stated quite clearly in the Senate the other day, we all have the right to be bigots and adbob, I, apparently unlike you, respect all of your rights.
    funded
    moorlands
    6th Apr 2014
    7:04pm
    Grateful, in your mind it is all about getting back ALL THAT YOU HAVE PAID IN, with your thinking you should be able to claim back all your house insurance, car insurance, health insurance, etc that you have never claimed on and to hell with those victims of the flood and fires etc, insurance is a collective policy but in your mind that would amount to socialism,(what a dirty word?) I also am entirely Self Funded Retiree, but I am Grateful to live in Australia and I am not a greedy hypocrite
    Grateful
    9th Apr 2014
    3:10pm
    Moorlands, I have no intention of even trying to get back all that I paid in taxes. I was just interptreting what people like adbob espouse (please read my post correctly) and think that just because they paid tax during their working life they are ENTITLED to a pension. I paid thousands in tax duing my working life, but, my other prudent investments are supporting me now, NOT from the taxes that I paid, but, my own endeavours, which gratefully, have paid off sufficiently to enable me to avoid NEEDING a pension from the taxpayer. What you are stating is PRECISELY what people like adbob and those insisting that they are entitled to now receive a pension because they paid taxes all their life are conveniently and selfishly ignoring.
    Dot
    4th Apr 2014
    10:19pm
    How many hundreds of thousands dollars has it cost the taxer for the like of Martin Parkinson and the bean counters to keep coming up with ways to hit those who have worked and paid taxes all their lives.
    I for one can come up where to cut the benefits and wouldn't cost the Government a cent.
    All foreign aid cancelled, all monies to UN cancelled, no newcomer to this Country receive any benefits or handouts for the first ten years. Slash all unemployment for young ones and send them off to work, don't care what sort of work they do. No more 457 workers.
    Single mothers can make 1 mistake only and not a career out of breeding kids that are a liability to the taxer. All Politicians carry out their works using the internet instead of travelling overseas all the time, and one could go on and on.
    Sallad
    4th Apr 2014
    11:09pm
    If the current 'tax system' via the Family Trust rules, allows 'multi millionaire Kerry' earning millions of dollars pa, to pay far less Tax than 'ordinary Joe' earning $80,000 pa; shouldn't there be a complete overhaul of this extremely generous 'tax system' ????
    Baffled
    8th Apr 2014
    11:30am
    Funny there is never any mention of the paid parental leave scheme - if they ditched that it would help their future deficit figures considerably!! They only mention the schemes brought in by the previous Govt. to try and deceive people into believing them

    8th Apr 2014
    8:05pm
    SHALL I BOW BEFORE YOUR APPLAUSE……. DID I NOT SAY THAT ABBOTT WOULD INCREASE and/or EXPAND GST!!!!

    ABBOTT/HOCKEY ineptitude means that they are incapable of providing services and benefits to the people… blaming, well 'us' of course. The previous government stabilised their LOW debt AND was able to provide these same services and benefits.

    THE LIE: That the government can't afford to pay the pension…. (people are providing their own pension, in the form of superannuation… so the dependence on the aged pension will decrease)

    THE NEXT LIE: That GST is the ONLY option to balance their inapt budget. GST is an INEQUITABLE tax that taxes EVERYONE irrespective of earnings, even those that do not earn anything. It places the tax burden on the MIDDLE and LOWER echelons of Australia… you know the ones that ALREADY pay the MOST tax (when compared to their income). The other OPTION is INCOME TAX which is a very EQUITABLE tax and ONLY taxes people on what they EARN.

    THE NEXT LIE: That the Corporate Income Tax rate of 30% is too high….. WHY? The highest individual Income Tax rate is 45% (plus MCL 1.5%). Some of these Corporations (BANKS/INSURANCE houses/MINING) earn BILLIONS upon BILLIONS from average Australians OR from Resources OWNED by every Australian. Why are they ONLY taxed 30% on these billions that are TAKEN STRAIGHT OUT OF AUSTRALIAN into OVERSEAS pockets. Don't tell me that our BANKS are Australian because every single Bank is owned and controlled by the SAME FOREIGN CORPORATIONS (1x UK; 3 USA) who hold between 42% and 49% shares. So WHY are they NOT PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF TAXES……..???!!!

    THE NEXT LIE: When the GST was first introduced it put BILLIONS of extra funds into the coffers BUT did the average Australian get much from it…. NO it did not. No extra services and benefits; No new infrastructure; No extra funds spent on PUBLIC education (opposite - run down badly); No extra funds spent on PUBLIC health and hospitals (opposite - run down significantly); No extra funds spent on small and medium business; No extra funds spent on training and development of our youths……… NOTHING. The majority of the GST was TAKEN from the average Australian and was GIVEN, yes, GIVEN over to PRIVATE CONCERNS, in the form of paying the rich to be able to have the best education for THEIR kids and the best health for THEMSELVES…. ALL paid for by, yes….. you and me who can't afford to send our kids to these schools or get the same medical care.


    OTHER OPTIONS:
    -At least make large and mega corporations pay SOME taxes on the HUGE profits which are taken OUT of Australia and increase their taxes from 30% to 40% (still a lot lower than the top individual rate of 45%);
    -Remove huge rebates given to mining companies for their utilities (i.e. power, water)
    -Cut the $75000 parenting allowance, so that everyone gets the same amount and that it is a lot less than this. Eeerrrrhhh… maybe, the same as the lowest income worker.
    -Stop paying out $100 MILLION to foreign mining corporations through the back door (Rio Tinto & also BHP).
    -Ensure that a high powered team is trained in the ATO to counteract such things as Murdoch removing $882,000,000 ($882million) in dubious rebates and that all large and mega corporations are held accountable. It has been done before by Keating and the Australian Government made millions out of it, unfortunately, Howard didn't think the millions acquired were enough and closed it down.
    -MOST IMPORTANT: STOP pouring BILLIONS into PRIVATE EDUCATION and PRIVATE HEALTH… let them stand on their own feet (they are PRIVATE ENTERPRISES) and STOP funding the wealthy so that they and their kids have BETTER health and education than everyone else. This process is SIMPLY taking PUBLIC taxpayer funds and transferring it into PRIVATE pockets.


    WHERE ARE THE FUNDS FROM THIS INCREASED/EXPANDED GST going to go: We have already been told that it will NOT be given to PUBLIC schools or PUBLIC health BUT that EVEN MORE will go to PRIVATE schools and PRIVATE health. NOT to anything for the Average Australian, no services or benefits….infrastructure, etc.etc.etc.
    COWBOY
    19th Apr 2014
    7:55pm
    well said ALY ROB 60 I AM WITH YOU ALL THE WAY ABOUT THE WEALTHY ASIANS AND INDIANS HAVE PUT BUGGER ALL INTO THIS COUNTRY MAKE THEM PAY THEIR WAY. HAVE ANY OF THEM PICKED UP A FIREARM TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY NOT LIKELY.A LOT OF PENSIONERS HAVE SO STOP GIVING THEM A KICK IN THE ARSE.
    FrankC
    24th Apr 2014
    2:32pm
    That's something that could be stopped, Harvs. You can salary package heaps of things to minimise your tax up to $16999, though I'm sure you know that. When I worked in a Hospital, salary packaging was available for almost anything. For those unfamiliar with this, you can claim from your pre-tax salary, your mortgage, personal loan, credit cards, rent, rates, which greatly reduced my tax by approx. $260.,But remeber it had to be less than or equal to $16999. I could not believe this was legal. I worked in Westmead hospital, and there must have been a couple of thousand lost in tax to the government each pay, and that is just one hospital;multiply that by the number of public servants taking advantage of this every fortnight across the nation.!! woah --$$$$$$