Labor presents a plan to tackle the rising inequality in Australia

A new report examines social policy and suggests new ways to tackle inequality.

Over 2.5 million Australians live in poverty. Hundreds of thousands are out of work and stagnating wages that, for years, haven’t increased in line with the cost of living. After enjoying one of the most prosperous periods in our country’s history, the disparity between rich and poor is at a 75-year high. Many Australians haven’t had it this bad since the Great Depression.

With this in mind, Labor, along with several of the country’s leading policy thinkers, has released a comprehensive report, Growing Together, which focuses primarily on the alarming imbalance between the rich and poor. Currently, the top 20 per cent of households have 70 times more wealth than households in the bottom 20 per cent.

“Worsening inequality threatens our future,” the report claims.

Unemployment, low wage growth, gender gaps, reliance on the Age Pension and insecure jobs all combine to make it incredibly difficult for many to find some semblance of financial stability. This instability, as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently declared, “takes a toll on the social fabric of communities, places a heavy economic cost on future growth, and reduces trust in governments and institutions”.

 “For all the success Australians have achieved, the rewards are not as widely spread or as fairly shared as we like to imagine,” the Growing Together report states. “Inequality is rising – undermining living standards, sustainable growth and social cohesion.”

Although Labor claim this report is not a “policy manifesto or an election platform”, the timing of its release may imply otherwise. Regardless, it does propose some bold ideas that should incite lively debate about the future of Australia.

The report also suggests how Labor may act if it ever does come into power. Some of these suggestions include:

  • putting in place a new minister for ageing and longevity
  • reviewing the effectiveness of Newstart and increasing welfare benefits, as well as reworking family payments
  • creating new policies that will help the long-term unemployed get back to work
  • a committing to full employment
  • establishing an organisation that will oversee social policy
  • improving early education
  • promoting a balance between work, health and family
  • supporting longevity
  • building stronger communities.

The report aims to put social investment at the centre of any discussion about Australia’s future, making people a priority over money going into big corporate’s coffers.

As the report states: “If you work hard, you will be rewarded. If you fall behind, you’ll be helped back onto your feet. In Australia, you are responsible for your own success, but you are never on your own.”

Left or right, it’s difficult to argue against such a sentiment.

Read the Growing Together report

Have you read the report? What did you think of it? Do you think that changing social policy will help our economy by putting more money in the pockets of those who will actually spend it? Could such policies ever lead to greater social harmony?

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    COMMENTS

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    tisme
    18th Mar 2016
    10:01am
    cut politicians wages that would provide more money , stop helping foreigners and concentrate on aussies. we have refugees too-- those who live on the streets etc.
    mogo51
    18th Mar 2016
    11:26am
    Agree with your comments. Where does Labor think the money will come from given the current financial state of the country and indeed the world. Typical Labor grandstanding, promise the world, but unable to fund anything.
    We are still paying for a record deficit that they created, which the current Government has done little to tackle. Do Labor put their hand up and own this - No. This was all achieved during record taxes collected during their 7 year term.
    Who pays, the poor b...rd on the street, the worker - neither of them do anything to help that class.
    Scrivener
    18th Mar 2016
    11:39am
    mogo51, what do you feel when you make these assertions? These are dark magic claims and a fact check would revel that. NO! I'm going to defend myself or Labor or anyone else to satisfy a, "prove it" demand. But for goodness sake please sit and eat with real people in real poverty. Walk in their spudded shoes and socks for a day or two. Reel from the stink of their unhealthy breath and BO. Extend us comfort mogo51, your hubris does not actually help one little bit. If you are not in need of some of the taxes we have paid during our lives now that we are in our twilight years at least don't wish bad Karma on us. How have we hurt you?
    Richied
    18th Mar 2016
    12:13pm
    Hi mogo51. I understand your frustration, however I'm not sure your comments are based on objective research.

    To your statement about 'record deficit', anyone who takes an objective view of our federal budget will know that first the deficit started growing dramatically as a result of policy changes in the early to mid 2000s, second that the expenditure in 2010-2013 was not excessive and was a good balance for the reduced investment by corporations (and kept Australia out of recession), and third was not record deficit by any measure. Indeed, excluding the interest payments on that debt, our deficit has increased dramatically since 2013 (that is, expenditure not related to servicing the debt - new debt). So I'm glad you've at least acknowledged that the current government has done little to tackle that problem (their attempts to reduce costs would have simply exacerbated the inequality).

    The fundamentals of this report are to commence a discussion on how to deal with inequity and inequality in our community. Ignoring the (what I think are hollow) statements in the report about it not being an election policy manifesto, and focus on the inequality points made, then an open debate about how to address the inequalities can be had.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:17am
    Mogo51, Labor did less to feed a debt problem than Howard and Costello, whose excessive generosity to the richest 20% created the problems we are now trying to resolve - overly generous tax concessions on super, too little tax paid by the very rich, etc. The LNP's response, to date, has been to slug those who worked hard and saved hard and planned a comfortable retirement, but due to crashing investment returns, had to rely on a little help from the taxpayer, the unemployed, the disabled and sick, and the battlers who rely on public health and education. Apart from a pathetic excuse for a ''wealth tax'' on very high income earners, they've left the rich and the tax evaders completely alone. Except they tried - unsuccessfully, thankfully - to give rich mothers a fat maternity bonus while poor mothers got virtually nothing. Once again, the amount each individual received increased with increasing affluence not with increasing need. No wonder we have inequality!

    There is enough money in the coffers to do what Labor wants to do if the rich pay their fair share of taxes. Cutting the unfair super concessions. Total value of concessions is estimated at $35 billion. Even if we only save 1/3rd by slicing the unfair concessions, that's a whopping $11.6 billion. How many billions are lost through multi-nationals profit-shifting and structuring fake overseas loans to themselves?

    There is plenty of scope for FAIR tax reform that tackles inequity and provides funding for improved welfare. And yes, putting more money in the pockets of SPENDERS as opposed to greedy super-rich HOARDERS will generate higher profits, higher taxes and more job growth. Take the 560,000 pensioners who were stripped of up to $12,000 a year plus benefits. That was money they SPEND. These people have what they have because they only spend what they can afford. They will now reduce their spending. If an average of $5000 a year is cut from their spending, that's $28 million stripped from business profits and job generation. How much GST is lost? Not 10% of $28 million, because that $28 million circulates. It's estimated it goes around 5 times in a year, so there's possibly $1.4 million lost GST revenue. Then there's the extra cost to provide higher pensions for those folk when their assets fall because they had to draw on them when to live, possibly when capital values were low.

    Now add the lost economic activity by forcing the sick, disabled and unemployed into abject poverty. Goodness, some of the unemployed CAN'T AFFORD to look for a job because their income is so low, and they are therefore so depressed, that there is no way they could travel to and present well at an interview. Give them enough to sustain a decent existence, at least while they still have enough self-respect and confidence in society to actively seek work, and they might actually not fall into the ''bludger'' category. Have you folk who condemn them ever suffered unemployment and poverty? Do you know what it's like to be denied education and training and slog at a shit job for years and then be retrenched and have everyone tell you ''Sorry, you don't have the skills we need''?
    Start giving a little instead of condemning and if the economy doesn't recover as a result (and I think it would) at least we'll have a healthier and happier society.
    Phil1943
    18th Mar 2016
    10:14am
    Creating jobs and employing more people is a good start to giving those on the lower end of the stick better opportunities.
    Unfortunately we're heading in the opposite direction, cutting jobs to generate profits, killing off TAFE training, and allowing immigration to create a workforce that overall is willing to accept lower wages just to gain work.
    Jobless stay jobless and as for older workers (over 55s) - once retrenched or otherwise displaced from their jobs it's for them to find employment.
    I can't see the situation improving but would love to hear from anyone who can see a light at the end of this very dark tunnel.
    Richied
    18th Mar 2016
    12:19pm
    Agree somewhat.
    The focus of businesses used to be first the customer, then the employee and then the shareholders (if you get the first two right, benefits to the third pop out). However now the focus is first on shareholder return, second on executive/management benefit, third the customer and fourth the staff.

    We're in a vicious circle where real wages are reducing so people have become far more price sensitive, so buying cheaper means companies have to cut costs, and the biggest savings are made by reducing wages (or cutting staff). But it's the worker bees that get cut first, and only when there's nowhere else to cut do executive get cut.

    There needs to be a very strong visionary discussion - where will future jobs come from and how will we get our workforce there?
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    12:47pm
    Richied, “where will future jobs come from and how will we get our workforce there?”… While most government departments and agencies are exempt from income tax, many have a range of tax and super obligations such as fringe benefits tax, goods and services tax, pay as you go withholding, super guarantee and excise according to ATO.

    Local Councils are sitting on billions of dollars in assets and reserve revenue. Enforce Local Councils to use their “profits” to create more jobs all over Australia, if not, remove the Council’s “not for profit organisation status” and tax them at the corporate income tax rate so the State or Federal government can divert that tax back into creating employment.
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    1:58pm
    Phil1943, What brings people and the industry out of poverty and depression? Sufficient Income does because it is the ‘sufficient income’ that is the ‘oil’ of the wheels of the economy.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    10:02am
    What is credited with ending the Great Depression? Higher welfare payments. Why? Because HS is right. Bring people out of poverty and depression and money circulates, creating profits, jobs and generation more taxes.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    10:32am
    “If you work hard, you will be rewarded. If you fall behind, you’ll be helped back onto your feet. In Australia, you are responsible for your own success, but you are never on your own.”
    Yes it is hard to argue against that.
    At the same time though extravagant welfare will head us in the same direction as Greece.
    Welfare should never be a first option.
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    2:21pm
    Frank, I agree that welfare should never be the first option but an option nevertheless must exist for the needy.
    Extravagant? No such thing. Today's welfare provisions are well below the line of poverty but just enough for bare basic survival.
    What is extravagant is government spending in other areas. If 30% of Australia's income tax revenue goes to welfare then there is complete wastage and financial management of the other 70%.
    It is said that the cost to the Australian taxpayer for the government to drop one bomb in Syria is about $650k.
    Imagine how many bombs they have dropped and imagine how much of that money could have been saved by the Australian government to take care of its people on welfare including Aged Pensioners and to better infrastructure purpose of our economy.
    Rae
    18th Mar 2016
    4:31pm
    At least 10% of Australians are living in poverty now and 30%+ are over 65. It will only get worse. This is the liquidity trap and the wealthy put us in it every time and then whine and moan when it finally blows up the businesses, shares, bonds and investments.

    Over and over again about every 80 years.

    Greece is in a mess because they bailed out the banks, sacked the public servants, cut the wages and pensions and privatised everything.

    They cut business tax but increased consumption tax. Sound familiar yet.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    5:18pm
    Rae, with respect you need to be mindful of the timing of those policies by the Greeks. They were just too slow to react to the inevitable slide.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    5:21pm
    HS it is a pity that we need to defend ourselves, but defend ourselves we must, otherwise you can kiss your pension goodbye.
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    7:59pm
    Frank- Defend ourselves against WHAT? The only invasion we have are from refugees/asylum seekers because US with Australia's assistance fucked up their countries. It is acknowledged in the western world that invading Iraq was a huge mistake. That, toppling Gaddafi out of Libya was a mistake. Involvement in Syria's civil war is a mistake. Look at what it has caused, like the proverbial 'can of worms', the worms in the form of multitude of refugees all over the world. We have one of the largest Muslim nations next door to us did we have to go to war with them to DEFEND ourselves? Whom are you kidding Frank?
    Adrianus
    19th Mar 2016
    10:59am
    HS, I have no idea what sort of drugs you're on, but the reality is that a diplomat goes into a negotiation with a big carrot and a big stick or gets shafted.
    We have a major threat from our nearest neighbour because of the middle east money pouring into the country radicalising the susceptible youth. I'm grateful that this government regained control of our borders. Labor was getting dominated and said regaining control of our borders was impossible without having a war with Indonesia. If you would have given Labor another 2 terms we would have been overrun and equality would be the last thing on our minds.
    HarrysOpinion
    20th Mar 2016
    1:21am
    Frank and you better stop drinking you've become incoherent and you make no sense.
    kev888
    18th Mar 2016
    10:50am
    Frank. You need to familiarize your self with facts and policy to be able to give an opinion based on fact not media garbage... not everyone gets through life as easy as you some fall behind through no fault of there own and need help. Ask yourself why the government you have voted for have not invested in a future fund to safe guard and provide for all Australians. FACT, Australia has the 3rd meanest aged pension in the world
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    11:04am
    kev888, Australia has the second highest aged pension in the world according to the OECD. You make a lot of assumptions kev888.
    LiveItUp
    18th Mar 2016
    11:06am
    I agree Australia's aged pension is too generous.
    retroy
    18th Mar 2016
    11:28am
    Kev
    You sound like another Kev that was around a few years ago.
    He did material harm to this country when he gave a cash handouts instead of putting it into a future fund.
    The money was squandered by those you want to see helped today.
    Nothing wrong with helping the needy, but not the greedy who want the government to bail them out all the time.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    11:35am
    Yes second only to the Seychelles which has a very generous aged pension for it's 7,600 aged pensioners.
    Our pension is obviously far too generous when we hear of people giving away money and spending like drunken sailors on shore leave just to get it.
    Richied
    18th Mar 2016
    12:35pm
    retroy: recall also that the treasurer before Swan took all dollars invested in the future fund and put into consolidated revenue - thus funding a large spending spree from 2006.
    retroy
    18th Mar 2016
    12:51pm
    Richied
    I do not trust my memory and neither should you.
    Peter Costello established the future fund before 2006 it di not exist.
    I thought you were wrong and an extract from Wikipedia reads as follows
    History[edit]

    The Future Fund Act, 2006 (Cth) received Royal Assent on 23 March 2006. On 5 May 2006, A$18 billion derived from government surpluses and income from the sale of a third of Telstra in its ongoing privatisation, was deposited into the fund.[10] On 28 February 2007, the government transferred the Commonwealth's remaining 17% stake in Telstra, valued at A$8.9 billion, into the Fund.[11] These contributions and transfers increased the Fund to over A$50 billion by the end of the 2006-2007 financial year.

    In March 2007, the opposition Labor Party announced it would withdraw A$2.7 billion from the Future Fund to finance the National Broadband Network, an initiative to install broadband internet infrastructure across Australia, if it won the 2007 election; this proposal prompted government ministers to proclaim that Labor intended to "raid" the Future Fund for their own means
    Richied
    18th Mar 2016
    1:18pm
    retroy: apologies - yes my memory failed me.
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    2:35pm
    Frank, YOU ARE WRONG!

    The findings of the OECD report, Pensions at a Glance 2015, compared Australia to 33 other countries.

    Australia was ranked second lowest on social equity, with 36 per cent of pensioners living below the poverty line, which the report defined as half the relevant country's median household income.

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/onethird-of-australian-pensioners-live-in-poverty-oecd-report-20160106-gm0uno.html

    Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said the report challenged perceptions that the entitlement was too high.

    "Claims that the age pension is somehow too extravagant and unsustainable do not bear out," he said.

    Chief executive of Vision Super Stephen Rowe said he was "staggered" by the findings of the OECD report, saying it painted a bleak picture for many older Australians.

    "Are we generous enough with the pension? I don't think so."

    Chief executive of National Seniors Michael O'Neill said the pension had gone backwards in real terms and many older people had not accumulated enough superannuation to supplement the benefit.

    "In terms of sustainability, the report confirms that Australia spends substantially less than the OECD average on pensions," he said.

    "In fact, our pension spend has dropped and plateaued since 2000. Against other countries, our proportion of pensioners living below the poverty line is startling."
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    5:34pm
    Wrong about what HS?
    That the aged pension is the second highest in the world? If you compare all pensions in US$.
    Tell me which is higher?
    What happened to the percentage of GDP comparisons?
    Oh, that's right our GDP has fallen which makes Australia look awfully generous. We cannot have that, can we? So now we are making a claim on the grounds of "equality" by using half average household income.
    I'm getting a little tired of Australians knocking Australia.
    I love this country and I think it's a great place to live.
    Tell me where is better?
    HarrysOpinion
    18th Mar 2016
    8:25pm
    Frank, I repeat, Australia was ranked second lowest on social equity, with 36 per cent of pensioners living below the poverty line. South Korea has 50% rate. We are just above South Korea. Above Australia are US with 22% pensioners who live below the poverty line. Mexico has 31% pensioners who live in poverty. We have a higher percentage of pensioners in Australia who live in poverty then US and Mexico!
    One of the reasons Pensioners are suffering is because we have a handful of right wing oligarchs running this country and dictating the Liberal Party policies.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:22am
    frank, you make an irrelevant comparison of actual dollar figures. the only valid comparison is with average wages and cost of living. Yes, Australian pensions appear high in dollar terms. Compared with our cost of living and wages, THEY ARE NOT. My daughter lives in the USA and I know what wages are there. She runs a business and pays wages. I could live very comfortably there on half what it costs me to get by here.

    HS is right. YOU ARE WRONG. But of course the privileged who just want to protect their superior position will always twist fact and misrepresent in order to preserve the status quo that suits them.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    9:49am
    Frank, a US married retiree who meets the work test (having worked a given number of quarters through their working life) and was earning an average salary of $60,000 a year would receive a pension of $3000 per month in retirement. Only folk who earned quite low salaries during their working lives receive pensions lower than those in Australia. Given that the cost of living is much lower in the US, almost all retirees are better off than Australian retirees. However, sensibly, the US does have a work test - so newcomers and lifetime bludgers miss out on the generous aged pension and have to rely on other, less generous Social Security programs. What I think is unfair in the US system is that the underprivileged who worked hardest for least get very little in old age.

    Interestingly, there's no assets test in the US and only earned income is means tested, so unlike here, those who struggled to save for self-sufficiency are not punished for doing so.
    Dot
    18th Mar 2016
    10:51am
    The only ones living in poverty are Dinky Di Aussies. Seen the comfort refugees live in, welfare money, rental assistance, free education, now free swimming lessons, all the assistance through the social workers and one can go on and on.
    Richied
    18th Mar 2016
    12:38pm
    I think it's more to do with services to Dinky Di Aussies are reactive (the services have to be sought out, usually through very convoluted websites) whereas similar services to refugees etc are proactive (an assigned worker works with the refugees to ensure they fully understand what services are available and how to access them).
    Charlie
    18th Mar 2016
    1:58pm
    Yes there's no social worker to help the old aussie who didn't have a computer in high school and did manual work throughout life.

    He might as well be speaking a foreign language trying to get information out of a computer.
    People who are not taught the basics by instruction or job training, really struggle trying to be self taught on a computer system that has an infinite number of variables.
    The old trial and error system doesn't work doesn't work very well in this situation.
    LiveItUp
    18th Mar 2016
    10:52am
    What is poverty? How is it measured? Does one's income have them living I poverty?

    I did one of those poverty surveys and it told me I lived in poverty. I don't want for anything so if this is poverty it aint that bad.
    Scrivener
    18th Mar 2016
    11:28am
    Just had a taste of poverty. Have to have surgery. The surgeon, who has the emotional range of a teacup, is getting a registrar to do the op. The surgeon would do it if I was a private patient. Problem is that it is rather complex and many reports warn of accidental nerve damage. Unfortunately his mantra is "Quick". So potential harm, inexperience and speed. Oh Sh*&!
    Charlie
    18th Mar 2016
    1:42pm
    I also need to get serious surgery in about a month.
    As early as the first probe, I have needed to put the brakes on it and request question time about everything that is going to happen, furthermore is this really necessary?
    Otherwise I would just get wizzed off and wake up with a lot of pain and tubes coming out at both ends.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    11:36am
    Leon I like your sense of humour with the picture.
    BElle
    18th Mar 2016
    11:37am
    I have just met up with a friend who, through no fault of her own, is fiscally disabled, and blind. She is a bright intelligent young woman. She has a university degree. She lives independently. She asks for nothing - and gets rewarded by a total lack of infrastructure to enable her to become a useful member of society. These are the people we should be supporting financially and practically. Not the fat cats at the top of the tree. Nor the hand out generation that is always looking for the next subsidy, baby bonuses, child minding, family payments where not appropriate, first home buyers grants etc. The mollycoddling needs to stop. These young people have their whole lives to get there finances in order. They wont if society keeps handing them welfare (charity) where it is not needed or meaningful.
    Rae
    18th Mar 2016
    4:41pm
    I totally agree.

    What is all this welfare to young workers all about? It was crazy largess while our schools, hospitals, roads, rail lines and water pipes all deteriorate.

    No way do they need money to help buy houses, have babies they can't afford or force up the cost of childcare to make a few childcare centre owners wealthy.

    All going on with the lowest interest rates the world has ever had.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2016
    9:09pm
    Rae it was Labor who refused to support the Abbott government's attempt to make school leavers wait before claiming the dole as soon as they left school. As it is now, they go directly from the school gate to Centrelink and there they stay. After all they are 'entitled' even though they have made no contribution. There is no real incentive for them to even attempt to get a job. Many start on welfare at 16 or 18 yrs and remain claiming more welfare throughout their lives. Welfare is meant to be a 'hand up' not a hand out for those that need to claim it. It's not a lifestyle choice.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:33am
    KSS, I agree that welfare should be a ''hand up'' not a ''hand out'', but how do you give someone a hand up if they can't afford a decent set of clothes to go to an interview. What happens to the school leavers whose families can't support them once the family allowance and tax benefits for student dependants have dried up? School leavers need to live too. It might be smart to means test the dole and pay it to the parents, but that wouldn't necessarily be much of a solution either unless you could validate the mentality of the parents, and the thing is that responsible parents will have kids out looking for work anyway. It's not a simple problem and simple solutions don't work!

    My question is ''how many kids are really going to choose a life on the dole if they have a choice?'' I suspect very few, and since we are always going to have a small portion of bludgers in any society, and there is never a 100% remedy, why not leave the available jobs (there aren't nearly enough!) for those who want them and suffer the small cost of supporting a tiny percentage of bludgers the way businesses suffer a percentage of theft as part of the cost of doing business. Society will never be perfect. Get over it. Focus on giving people who want it a ''hand up''. Right now, those who genuinely want a hand up are being trampled on by cruel and unfair policies. Trust me. I fought my way up, the hard way. Most of my partner's friends weren't able to, and I can tell you why. Some of them are in the class you would call ''bludgers''. They aren't. They just never got a break in life. They are good, solid, decent people who would give anything for the life you have - a chance to go to work and earn a decent wage and be respected in society. They've tried. Society just keeps knocking them down. You have to have walked in their shoes to appreciate just what this society does to the disadvantaged. Believe me, it's not pretty!
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:49am
    I think the problem we have in our society today is a mistaken belief on the part of the privileged that those on welfare lack a work ethic and the way to build a work ethic is to punish them. Grind them into poverty and they will develop a desire to help themselves, and thus start doing their bit for society. WRONG! That is precisely the mentality that creates no-hopers. Read the words: NO HOPE. When you trample on people who are down, they lose hope. When they lose hope, they stop trying. Sure, they take drugs and alcohol - to numb the pain they live with every day. Once they are hooked, it's hard to help them. If we stopped beating up on them BEFORE they get addicted and gave them some hope, we might see them in a very different light.

    We need a stronger welfare system and more equity in society. The rich are getting richer and richer and richer and they don't need the money. They don't spend it. They hoard it. And that reduces circulation which reduces profits which reduces jobs which reduces taxes and the cycle goes on and on and on. I can't remember which politician it was who was credited with ending the Great Depression by GIVING MORE TO THE POOR. It makes perfect sense. The poor will spend their increased income. That makes jobs and profits. More spending creates more tax revenue. But the LNP is reducing circulation by focusing on protecting the hoarded wealth of the rich and screwing the workers and middle class.

    I've been at the bottom. I was lucky. I had a grandmother who gave me the tools to pull myself up. But I am surrounded by beautiful people who weren't so lucky. And I experienced, first hand, how hard it is and how society keeps knocking you down at every attempt to get up. How you get walked on and trampled over and branded ''scum'' and ''useless'' and ''worthless''. And everyone is screaming ''take their income away. Let them starve. That will make them want to work'', only they don't get that you DO want to work. You just want a fair opportunity to do a job that doesn't totally destroy you.

    People here talk about taking ANY job. Let me tell you about an experience I had. I was desperate. I took ANY job. It was a job selling personal hygiene products to businesses. It wasn't a bad job. The pay was fair. I had a nice boss. But I was brought up in an age when those things weren't talked about. People whispered to chemists of the same sex and were handed brown paper bags, very discreetly. I couldn't bring myself to walk into a business and say ''I'm here to show you....'' or ''Do you have xxxx in your staff toilets''. I stood outside in a state of panic. Eventually, I had to seek psychiatric help because I had panic attacks that threatened to end my life. My heart stopped. I hyperventilated.

    You can't just TAKE ANY JOB. People aren't made that way. It's just too easy for those who have not experienced desperation. Yes, lots of us took jobs that didn't suit. Lots of us worked in poor conditions for lousy pay. But that's NOT the same as TAKING ANY JOB.
    Adrianus
    19th Mar 2016
    8:53am
    KSS, I agree. Labor has been too focussed on grooming these kids rather than looking out for their best interests.
    Do the 16 year olds also get extra welfare incentive to leave home?
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    11:45am
    How many of ''these kids'' do you know intimately, Frank? What do you know about ''these kids'' who you ASSUME want to live in poverty all their life being looked down on and condemned?
    retroy
    18th Mar 2016
    12:52pm
    Richied
    Please read my reply to you
    maelcolium
    18th Mar 2016
    1:30pm
    According to Bill Shorten the ALP plan to have full employment as a target. Bravo I thought. Then I looked at the fine print and he considers full employment to be 5%. WTF! It's 5.8% now so how does that equate to full employment?

    Just more dross from the politik elite.
    Anonymous
    18th Mar 2016
    2:29pm
    Billy boy is not the sharpest tool in the shed he lacks policy and direction and look who he is leading the same politicians that Krudd and Juliar employed.
    These misfits have already put us in deep shit due to there incompetence, The one who has left Tanner is now ruining the Essendon football club and they should be finished in a couple of years once he buggers them up.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:53am
    WRONG maelcolium. Unemployment is currently very much higher than 5.8%. When the government wants to PRETEND they are doing a good job, they change the measurement system. A person is deemed ''employed'' if they work just 1 hour a week. Type ''real unemployment in Australia'' in to Google and read the articles. It's closer to 13% than 5.8%. Shorten wants to address REAL unemployment, not the mythical sound-good figure the LNP is quoting to deceive us all.

    And robbo, I didn't like Gillard or Rudd at all, but they DID NOT put us in deep shit. Howard and Costello did, giving huge tax concessions to the richest 20% - tax concessions no government dares to take back for fear of voter backlash.
    Adrianus
    21st Mar 2016
    9:55am
    maelcolium, Bill Shorten is just being pragmatic in going after the Westies. He realises that around 600,000 able bodied people are unemployable at any given time.

    18th Mar 2016
    1:40pm
    Well congrats we nearly got by this without the over rider of 'gender'.

    What we need to do firstly is look at all matters holistically without focussing on and reacting to PC pressure groups.

    We have a present initiative $10m to encourage girls to be more active. Well where is the parallel program for boys.

    This approach is rank sexism, and an example of reactionary action to pressure groups.

    We can sit boys on one side of the classroom and tell them look, we've got a special program in place for half of this class but you are not included.

    We need to approach all matters holistically and not cherry pick initiatives to drive self anointed ideologies
    Anonymous
    18th Mar 2016
    2:12pm
    My point being that there isa significant difference to the way men and women are treated in this Country. Same goes for many other sectarian groups, and the rule of those groups.

    Bring everyone together for a change.
    Adrianus
    18th Mar 2016
    4:12pm
    Gillham, how can you make people angry by bringing them together? If the two primeval motivators of love and hate are not used by Labor then how will they get any votes?
    You need to come up with some alternatives if you want people to like each other.
    Anonymous
    18th Mar 2016
    5:54pm
    Frank, probably depends on whether you wish to make people angry.
    KSS
    18th Mar 2016
    9:16pm
    gillham we all know how much you hate girls and women but the fact is this new sport/exercise/fitness initiative for girls and women is because typically girls drop out of sport at about 14 years of age. Boys do not.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    7:52am
    What's that got to do with it KSS. Just another example of saying to girls you are special boys are not. Give me one, just one example of an initiative purely for the benefit of boys.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    8:13am
    Above all KSS I do not hate women and girls, but y
    you are prepared to dismiss comment on that basis. i.e. name calling.

    What I do not accept is groups seeking privilege on the basis of their own characteristics. for example in the case of females, by their gender.

    If you wish to go on the basis of statistics may be a parallel program to improve boys education outcomes compared to girls could be considered. Particularly as the present education outcomes are the result of culpable intent and are heavily lopsided in favour of females, which is celebrated with alacrity.

    If you wish to favour special groups you will achieve inequality, and in the case of my 'you are special' and 'you are not' example mental impact and anti - Social derivatives will also occur.
    Gra
    18th Mar 2016
    2:33pm
    How do we tackle this problem?? We stop sending money overseas and help our own people out first. To start with the state governments should be utilizing suitable vacant buildings as cheap accommodation for the homeless.
    Rae
    18th Mar 2016
    4:47pm
    Yes Gra. Just about every town has a CWA, Scout or Masonic Hall needing some attention. You would need volunteers to run the care part though because the homeless are often mentally ill.

    Shutting all the mental hospitals was none to smart but I suppose it saved a lot of money.

    I do believe the foreign aid has simply created a greater problem as the aid allowed people in poverty to have a heap of kids they now can't feed, clothe or house properly. They thought the aid would go on forever but then the GFC hit and the money has dried up.

    18th Mar 2016
    2:46pm
    There have been a few articles on this site about the inequity suffered by women with pay and salary, housework, superannuation, raising children, etc and now we have nicely shaped female legs in fishnet stockings, no less, mincing down the footpath with hands filled with bags of purchases from some exclusive ladies' stores right past some poor, old, down and out bastard. It does my heart good to see that parity of genders is finally being achieved. Thanks Leon.

    18th Mar 2016
    2:49pm
    Put a cap on the highest salary. Get rid of all legal and illegal tax evasion loopholes including the one our Prime Minister uses. Stop financial support to developing countries give them free contraception instead and stop paying people in Australia to have children.
    Patriot
    18th Mar 2016
    4:44pm
    jackie,

    Agree!
    Especially, make the FatCats pay their share of taxes
    gca
    18th Mar 2016
    3:21pm
    If they are going to help the Aussies doing it tough, they need to stop foreign aid and take welfare away from the refugees. Remove those who have been taken into this country and given a chance at a better life and have chosen a path of violence and crime. If they are born here to parents from another country, deport the family unless they can guarantee that their children will stop their violent and criminal activities. One warning only! Accept only those refugees who are prepared to work and become independent and who will become taxpayers.

    That should give them enough spare money to restore the aged pensions taken away in the last Joe Hockey budget so that those who have paid taxes for years have a chance at a reasonably comfortable existence.

    If they still don't have enough money to looked after aged pensioners properly, they should take politicians past, present and future off the gravy train. If they were made to survive on the miserable allowance that is the aged pension, I'm sure it would be improved!

    18th Mar 2016
    5:02pm
    Let's just have a look at the proposed solutions;
    Create a Minister for Ageing and Longevity. That will help reduce unemployment by creating another useless government department and supporting ministerial staff and public servants. Will they take half the work off Centrelink which already looks after aged people?

    Review Newstart, increase welfare benefits and rework family payments;
    Now this will really be a goer, give unemployed more money to live off and reduce the incentive to find a job. What is meant by "rework family benefite"? I'm betting that it doeasn't involve cutting back.

    Create new policies to get long term unemployed back to work;
    Beautifully crafted words that mean 3/4 of 5/8 of bugger all. To get people in work means that jobs must be created and this is normally done by the private sector. Unemployment isn't the problem, lack of incentives for business which creates jobs is the problem.

    As Shorten defines full employment as having 5% of the workfoece unemployed, this is a vote catching statement only.

    Oversee social policy?;
    Another beautifully crafted idea that is all talk and no substance. I can't define the objective for this nor can I foresee the costings involved. More detail needed.

    Improving early education;
    Labor has really been a champion in this area. They took a policy that was working quite well, insisted that a university degree was needed to look after babies and toddlers, created a higher pay scale, dropped the numbers of child/carer ratio and stopped building child care centres. Result? Higher child care costs.

    Promoting a balance between work, health and family;
    We got this initially in 1856 when it was agreed to use 8 hours labour, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest as the benchmark. If people choose to work beyond the 8 hours then, perhaps, that is a matter for them, not government.

    Supporting longevity;
    Again, airy fairy. Does this mean that there will be an age pension? What age do we have to be to be classified as being in the "longevity" period of our life?

    Building stronger communities;
    Now this statement has me thinking that the list didn't look long enough so it was tacked on at the need to make it seem as if the list was really, really important.

    To give some background, I was unemployed for a while, on and off, and was unable to attract any welfare benefits because of a spouse working. I was able to access some work related courses and achieved some part-time work through them. My biggest barrier was that I was born in the first half of the last century and I can't prove my age was a factor but I can read between the lines of application responses.
    Anonymous
    18th Mar 2016
    8:31pm
    Old Man (I'm probably older than you are), the rider "Building Stroger Communities" was tacked on not only to make the list "complete", it was put there to try and cleanse the peoples' consciences whom made the list. This is probably the hardest one in the list, as well, that is if stronger means "more closely knit". A stronger closer knit community is many times found in rural areas where people depend on one another more than in an urban or suburban neighbourhood. Size, as in increased numbers, sometimes breeds negativedefensive-type feelings such as suspicion, over-cautiousness, jealousy. Then we oftentimes see our councils erring in judgement, spending our rates money carelessly, etc which makes us more judgementally against them, making gaps even wider. Then we have racial and religious issues which can further increase the personal distances. It is not an easy world, is it? Good luck.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    11:58am
    Old man, maybe promoting a balance between work, health and family means not forcing bricklayers and labourers to work until they are 70 despite their body collapsing, and not forcing mothers back to work while they are still breast feeding? Maybe it means recognizing that people who are sick or disabled need support and can't necessarily earn, just because some upstart over-privileged moron at Centrelink wants to look good by pushing someone off benefits - and has the authority to claim to know more than health specialists, despite only knowing the guy for half an hour?

    Maybe it means recognizing that life isn't just about working and earning and demanding higher wages and lower taxes, but about caring for loved ones and people in need? Maybe it means we should actually value carers and stay-at-home parents and people who accept low wages to do the jobs that make communities function?

    Maybe it means respecting the rights of our older Australians to enjoy some rewards after 5 decades of hard work, and caring about their health and well-being instead of worrying about how to strip them of their assets to give more to younger folk?

    Maybe it means we should stop condemning the underprivileged who can't find work and praising the privileged who had it all handed to them and can draw fat salaries for doing bugger all - and often for stuffing up other people's lives with their mistakes - and start recognizing that there aren't enough jobs to go around and we might all have to give a little and share a little to make the world work?

    I see a lot of merit in Labor's suggested objectives. Whether they can be achieved or not is another issue. Given the self-serving nature of our society today, and the unbelievable greed, arrogance, lack of compassion etc., I doubt it. But they are the right goals to strive for,
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    2:31pm
    Thank you Fast Eddie and Rainey, I see you are both doing as I did; guessing. I feel you have strengthened my point by not actually knowing what the report actually means. The term "weasel words" is more of an indication perhaps.

    Rainey, are you being a tad elitist here? It has long been known that 8 hours of mental work is just as draining as 8 hours of physical work and your suggestion that only physical workers are the ones who can't work until 70 years of age is discriminatory. When the full effects of the compulsory super scheme are in place, it should be possible to retire before the age where an age pension starts by using built up super. This option is already in place for those who reach 55 years of age.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:26pm
    Old man, I quoted a couple of jobs as an example of the impracticality of early retirement. Of course mental stress can be just as bad as physical, but the mentally stressed are far more likely to earn higher wages and be able to afford to retire earlier.

    I think YOU are being elitist, referring to early retirement on super - which will clearly NEVER be an option for the low paid cleaners and labourers who wreck their bodies in hard, menial work. Retire at 55? Most of us don't have enough to retire at 65, and that isn't going to change dramatically with a lifetime of compulsory super - at least not according to the figures the experts are touting.

    I don't think the fact that the report suggests goals rather than being specific about programs and outcomes makes it ''weasel words''. It has merit because it sets out objectives - and they are worthy objectives. Let's give Labor a chance to define how they propose to achieve them instead of shooting them down before they even have a chance to elaborate. I'm sceptical, but I'm not going to be closed minded and negative when I see someone moving away from the greedy and selfish elitist motives that have driven this government and toward more socially beneficial aims.
    Rosret
    18th Mar 2016
    8:53pm
    At last! I am so glad you have written this article. Do you know the biggest problem - the %. Every time something goes up by x% the gap gets wider and wider. If a wealthy person gets a pay rise of 5% it may be $20K a year. The low income guy just $2K. So the wealthy guy has another $18K more than the poor person to spend. (Probably low income person's entire salary)
    retroy
    19th Mar 2016
    12:50pm
    Rosret

    Oh dear you do not understand reality, or maybe you do not want to acknowledge that the higher paid people pay vastly more in tax so their 5% probably attracts almost twice as much tax in real money.

    It is the higher paid people who have always done the heavy lifting in this country. Then the leaners get hand outs when they retire, and the lifters get to fund them selves in their retirement and get continually sniped at.
    Rae
    19th Mar 2016
    2:28pm
    You do realise how the tax rates work retroy. Low income earners pay the same amount as high income earners on the same amounts.
    It is just that where the low income earner stops earning the high income earner just keeps getting tens of thousands more which they do pay more tax on.

    The solution is simple. Make incomes more equitable. Then poor people will earn more and pay more tax and rich people will earn less and pay less tax. Win win.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:32pm
    Actually retroy, the high income earners pay proportionately FAR LESS TAX than low income earners, because they have access to all sorts of rorts and reduction schemes. They DO NOT do the heavy lifting. The working and middle class do. The working and middle class work for far less than they produce, and pay proportionately high taxes, while the well-off earn more than they are worth and pay proportionately less tax. NOBODY is worth the obscene wages CEOs and company directors are being paid. And having received those wages, they stash them in overseas tax havens (where does Turnbull put his money to dodge tax obligations?).

    And when there is a business downturn, the CEO sacks workers, makes other workers work harder to compensate, and take a huge pay rise.
    mareela
    18th Mar 2016
    9:07pm
    A lot of people on this site are all talk with no useful discussion.Half are right wing bigots who will always vote LNP no matter how bad they are at economic management and the other few are lefties who again will vote Labor no matter what.
    No useful dialogue occurs by anyone about anything the big two come up with. It's just hate, hate, hate. A complete waste of time as neither side will look with any impartiality at suggestions made by LNP or Labor. You all need to pack your pens away and stop wasting the time and space of YLC. It's no wonder our country is in such a mess when you have one generation pitted against the other. Our leaders need to pull their fingers out and start governing which is what they were elected to do instead of being so concerned about being elected and guaranteed an excessive pay packet for the next four years and that goes for both sides. Sad really.
    Adrianus
    19th Mar 2016
    1:50pm
    Well said mareela.
    FM
    18th Mar 2016
    11:02pm
    We need to remember that Australia has had one of the biggest economic booms in its history not a Financial Crisis because of reasonably well controlled bank lending and a Mining boom. There is no basis for comparing us with Greece, the US or anyone else who suffered a Financial crisis, or for saying that we will get into financial difficulty if we pay pensions. We need to remember that countries like Greece have a problem not because they pay an old age pension but because banks lent vast amounts of money they had borrowed from other banks to developers and businesses that could not afford to repay it when the demand for developments disappeared in the slow down following the American Lending debacle. Businesses were unable to get further finance to complete projects when bank lending contracted and had to declare bankruptcy, defaulting on their loans. Because banks are guaranteed by the state, as they are here, the state had to repay a significant amount of the banks’ debt to international banks. To do this they had to take the money that was meant to go towards running the state and paying pensions etc. Extremely poor banking practice and predatory lending sent countries bankrupt not the payment of pensions. Pensioners have been robbed to pay back bank debt.
    While the mining boom has slowed down in Australia we are no worse off than we were before it and we did not have the hysteria this government has generated about paying pensions then.
    jackyd
    19th Mar 2016
    1:23am
    This government's hysteria was preceded by Julia's push to age 67 to qualify for age pension
    Rae
    19th Mar 2016
    2:34pm
    The budget deficit was created to bail out our banks and as far as I can see self funded retirees paid the price.

    Macquarie is back in the game of betting on junk debt and I for one will be very angry if another global fiasco ends with them being bailed out once again.

    Next time around let them fail and let the bond and shareholders take the loss.

    Iceland had the right idea.
    Adrianus
    19th Mar 2016
    4:00pm
    Rae, something which works well in one country may not work in another.
    If it did then I'm sure Greece would have quickly developed a pink batts program and a set top box program. We were just lucky to have such intelligent leaders in government to come up with those ideas.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:36pm
    What a dumb comment, Frank! We could learn a lot from Iceland, but the LNP is too arrogant to learn from anyone. If the reasons why something works or doesn't are analysed, and the programs that match our environment replicated, they would work as well here as elsewhere.
    jackyd
    19th Mar 2016
    1:44am
    I've spent a lot of time in recent years in a part of the world where there is no welfare system and how in those circumstances the family is everything.
    As corrupt as those governing systems may be, they are something to study while our future my well be on the same track as welfare and socialism has a history of failure
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    9:13am
    Jackyd, I agree in part regarding countries with no welfare system, but the problem we have, I think, is that the family/community/society mentality is non-existent, and thus welfare is essential. We are not going to suddenly cultivate a different mentality in the greedy and selfish by grinding the needy into poverty. We've seen what happens when you cut welfare. The privileged want it cut further. Poverty, desperation, mental illness and crime goes up. More people give up, which leads more people to scream ''cut it further and make them work''.

    I wish I had the answers. Family support carried me out of the poverty trap. Community was supportive. It works. But how do you make it work in a self-obsessed society where compassion, empathy and charity have gone out the window long ago? Goodness, we are even seeing the young demand that their elderly parents and grandparents live in poverty so their taxes can reduce a little!
    jackyd
    19th Mar 2016
    9:30am
    I'm with you Rainey but will the money run out?
    And I still don't know how a bricky can work and compete until he or she is 70 just as a sign of where the welfare system is heading.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    12:07pm
    I think the first step is for governments to change the messages they convey. Hockey did unbelievable damage with his ''lifters and leaners'' lies and his ''get a better job'' advice. The ''millionaires should get pensions'' lie did dreadful social and economic harm, totally deceiving the populace about the reality of financing old age.

    Everything is profit-driven. Everything is about giving more to the haves and less to the have nots, and claiming (very untruthfully) that it will ''trickle down'', and that it's ''justified as reward for effort''.

    Governments need to stop these self-serving lies and start talking about the need for strong families and communities and respect and compassion. They need to stop saying ''We want to cut taxes'' and start saying ''We want people who can afford to pay to understand the social and economic benefit of paying their share. We want people to be proud to be contributing to society; proud of being honest. They need to stop lying about the disadvantaged being ''cheats'' and ''bludgers'' and start telling the sad stories of people who have really done it tough and need a helping hand. Sure, clamp down on the real rorts. Absolutely. But acknowledge that a healthy society is a happy society; that economic prosperity relies on a degree of equity; and that ''trickle down'' doesn't work, but ''filter up'' does. Spending = profit = work = taxes. Give a little more to the poor, who spend it, and a lot less to the rich, who hoard it, and you have economic activity that generates growth.

    19th Mar 2016
    10:16am
    ''promoting a balance between work, health and family'' and ''building stronger communities'' I believe are the two objectives we need to pursue to remedy our current problems. I don't know how capable Labor is of delivering in these areas, but at least they are not like the LNP who seem determined to insist that work is all there is and the pursuit of great wealth should be endlessly supported, while those who struggle - whether as welfare beneficiaries or as battling workers - should be trampled over and condemned as ''leaners''.
    thommo
    19th Mar 2016
    10:23am
    I'll tell you how to improve inequality - or in other words, reduce the gap between rich and poor. For a start, organisations like Yourlifeschoices and the CPSA can speak up very loudly for retirees and support them when governments keep cutting back and reducing the age pension, and adversely changing the assets test like they did in the last budget.
    The CPSA supported the government and the Greens (alias the Judas Party) in changing the assets test to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of part age pensioners, many of whom will lose their pension altogether come 1.1.17.
    Yet some who own a house worth several million dollars will still keep it. How fair is that.
    This government will never be forgiven for their treachery and betrayal.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    11:41am
    I agree with that comment, thommo. Also, retirees on quite high incomes keep their pensions, while some with assets that are really next to worthless due to economic downturn or certain types of life events, but still valued high by Centrelink, have virtually no income and lose their pension.

    19th Mar 2016
    11:23am
    An article worth reading and giving some serious thought:
    http://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/a-shift-in-political-thinking-is-giving-labor-a-sense-of-purpose/ar-BBqBBhJ?ocid=spartandhp
    FM
    19th Mar 2016
    12:08pm
    The only policy this Labor Party has divulged with regard to retirees is one to reduce their income by taxation and reduce pensions. While Kevin Rudd raised the pension against the wishes of many in his Cabinet the Labor Party under Julia Gillard plundered the Future Fund, that was meant to cover pensions to some extent in the longer term, to pay for the NBN. Chris Bowen was Minister for Finance and Superannuation but has shown no understanding whatsoever of the different superannuation systems that have existed and the inadequacy of the Australian pension system or what it is like to be retired and struggling on a limited income. He and Labor sneakily voted to cut the pensions of people with small defined pensions late at night and hoped no one would notice. He seems to view people's superannuation and retirees as cash cows from which he can extract 'savings' that will get him elected. They have used John 'leaking tax' Daley of the Grattan Institute and other thank tanks such as Hawker Britten to denigrate older Australians so that there will be no objection to singling them out for the imposition of extra taxes and income reductions. The ALP, particularly the Minister for Social Services, talks to seniors as if they all have dementia, as if they can be told any old lie and soothed like children.
    FM
    19th Mar 2016
    12:13pm
    The CPSA not only endorsed last years cuts to pensions the recommended them.
    They do not represent retirees.
    thommo
    19th Mar 2016
    1:25pm
    That's right FM. They argued that they wanted the age pension to be "sustainable". Well to start with, the government only had to look at the "super" concessions of the wealthy and cut back a little bit on that score, and then chase up the big end of town and make these big companies pay their share of tax, cut back on big parliamentarians salaries and their over-generous taxpayer funded pensions, and then they'd have enough to pay the age pensions what they deserve.
    The CPSA certainly don't represent retirees, and they had no business endorsing the government's actions in changing the assets test.
    retroy
    19th Mar 2016
    1:04pm
    Inequality is here to stay folks.
    From the dawn of time and in the foreseeable future this will always be the case.
    Some people get the opportunity to work hard live frugally and salt some money away, while others practise "spend now, tomorrow is another day".

    This feature of human nature naturally produces in equality in the later stages of life and you get continual out pouring of leftie talk promoting schemes to achieve greater equality.

    If society was homogeneous maybe there would be a chance but thank good ness it is not.

    It is no use demanding the rich pay more tax so it can be handed out to the poor, because most of us do not want to live in a socialist state, and we value our freedoms.

    This includes having the right to spend our money where and when we want.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:38pm
    Sad that we don't, Retroy. The rich do. Battling workers who save are forced to sacrifice everything they worked for, and idiots claim that's ''fair''.
    FM
    19th Mar 2016
    1:54pm
    Thats right Thommo,the CPSA not only endorsed last years cuts to pensions they recommended them leaving people with small defined benefit pensions and lump sums struggling.
    They are self appointed, led by the views of Cassandra Goldie of ACCOSS who is acting as a right hand man for Scott Morrison. She has accepted the debt and deficit and sustainability mantras and is more focused on cutting the incomes of retirees for 'Budget Repair' than with representing them. The corollary of their policies is that they are endorsing tax cuts for high income earners and business at the expense of retirees.
    floss
    19th Mar 2016
    3:02pm
    To much population growth eg. immigration, any fool can see that.But can our leaders see that we are outstripping our infrastructure more and more .But I think we are too late or have the will to do this.
    Adrianus
    19th Mar 2016
    4:10pm
    looney, Australia has relied on immigration to boost growth in the economy. It is the main reason we have had 23 years of strong economic growth. However, during the Rudd, Gillard government when they lost control of our borders approximately 200,000 illegals arrived. The contribution of these has been questionable, as 90% of them are still on welfare after 5 years.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:14pm
    Unemployment among skilled migrants is also very high, and the rate is extremely high among their partners and children. And even when they do work and contribute, every job held by an immigrant is one less available to an Australian. We would do far better to improve access to training and education for our own people. We have done better in that area in recent years, but when my partner and I were young it was impossible to get adult education, yet we were brining in migrants in droves. Made no sense to me. There we were, intelligent, willing, busting for a decent opportunity, and being told to take unskilled jobs for pathetic wages while immigrants were being subsidized to come in and take the jobs we wanted.
    FM
    19th Mar 2016
    3:49pm
    Hi Looney. Immigrants contribute to our economy. The vast majority are employed and pay a significant portion of the taxes that support such things as our schools, pensions, hospitals etc. They are already educated and work ready when they come and provide many of the services Australian reared employees will not touch. They provide the population base to support and renew the present aging population. We are not supporting immigrants they are contributing to support us.
    Anonymous
    19th Mar 2016
    4:17pm
    FM, a very high percentage AREN'T employed, and those that are take jobs that Australians want. They may be educated and work-ready, but there are thousands of Aussies who could be trained up at modest cost and who want an opportunity. The immigration rates have put major stress on our infrastructure, and immigrants are reproducing at rates that are unsustainable. Leaders are starting to recognize that our population is now growing too fast and we can't sustain the infrastructure needed to support it. Sadly, it's too late to shut the gate now, although better late than never.
    Old Fella
    19th Mar 2016
    8:59pm
    The fact that growing inequality is actual and is growing should be causing us all to shudder with apprehension for our future and current generations of Australians. When total lawlessness reinvents itself for the want of a feed , a roof overhead and education enough to communicate in the Society, then chaos will prevail and mayhem become the norm, none of which will benefit those with wealth in asset in monetary form. History has demonstrated over and over the bloodlust of the disinherited from their countries national wealth. Civil strife if not civil war spares no-one from misery. Many acknowledge the downside of third world poverty and third would countries, yet many here in Australia today prefer to sponsor greed and inequality in a thoughtless pursuit towards making Australia third world. The obvious cliché follows, " What goes around comes around"
    Anonymous
    20th Mar 2016
    12:34pm
    You are so right, Old Fella. Inequality leads to increased crime and social unrest. Ultimately, it will backfire on the greedy and selfish. The problem is that they want to make hay while they can. Build up the coffers. Stash the riches in every possible hiding place, in the hope that when the crunch comes, the hiding place won't be found. But as you say, civil strife spares nobody from misery. The government knows it. Why do you think they are tightening anti-terrorism laws and laws that allow them to pry into everybody's business? They hope to delay the inevitable. They know it's coming!

    It was heartening to, today, see an article on tax that turned the tables - suggesting that the government message needs to change. We pay low taxes in Australia relative to other OECD countries, AND LOW PENSIONS. The message should be changing to: be proud to pay. Be proud to contribute to a healthy society that provides good public amenities and services and promotes equity and compassion. Be grateful for the prosperity you have inherited, and be willing to do your bit to build it, and to reward those who have contributed to it, and to support those who - through no fault of their own - can neither contribute to it, nor support themselves. Our taxes ARE NOT high. Stop looking for loopholes to avoid paying your share, and start recognizing your fair obligations and the huge benefits of meeting them willingly.

    At the same time, we need our politicians to top the waste, and to curb their obscene greed and selfishness and start setting an example: LEADING. Leaders show the way. They don't set themselves above and apart. We need LEADERS.
    oldtimer
    21st Mar 2016
    5:25am
    "This government's hysteria was preceded by Julia's push to age 67 to qualify for age pension"

    If the government allowed people to retire at the traditional age, they would leave a job which can be filled with a younger person. Then the newly employed person would pay tax which could support the person receiving the age pension.

    Instead, they are making people work longer to earn money to pay tax to support the unemployed younger generation,

    In politics, the law of unintended consequences reigns supreme.
    Anonymous
    21st Mar 2016
    1:42pm
    Yes, oldtimer, but what you say should happen is common sense, and there's none of that among our politicians. As my grandmother used to say, ''The trouble with common sense is... it just ain't common!"


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