How over 55s would fix the Age Pension and Centrelink

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On Friday, we asked our members a few questions about how they would fix the Age Pension system and how they would tweak Centrelink payments to be fairer for everyone.

Unsurprisingly, the poll was one of the most popular for the year, with 2224 responses and comments ranging from inspired to downright angry.

Of those who responded to the poll, 55 per cent were male and 45 per cent were female, the majority of whom were aged between 60 and 79.

Most respondents were on a part-Age Pension (30 per cent), with 22 per cent on a full Age Pension and 26 per cent saying they were fully self-funded. Only one per cent said they received Newstart payments.

Just over three in four (77 per cent) fully own their home, with 11 per cent still paying off their mortgage. Seven per cent of respondents were renters and four per cent live in retirement villages, aged-care facilities or in public housing.

Despite the low number of respondents who receive Newstart payments, almost half of all those surveyed said a $300 per fortnight boost to Newstart is fair (47 per cent). Only 24 per cent said it was unfair and 30 per cent said they were unsure.

“One thing to consider is Newstart recipients cannot save money, it all gets spent helping investors with rentals (paying rent), helping supermarkets get richer (buying food), helping energy investors (buying power) helping telcos get richer (phone and internet costs, without these you have no hope of even applying for jobs), so in fact all their money is being reinvested into the economy, and will help a lot of people who own business. And don’t start on the drugs, alcohol, smokes thing; only a small percentage are like this,” wrote YourLifeChoices member musicveg.

Least surprising was the small number of people saying a paltry $11 per fortnight boost to the Age Pension was enough to reduce the pension poverty gap. Just six per cent were in agreement with the meagre raise and a whopping 84 per cent said it was not enough.

“So, pensioners who have paid taxes all their life get an $11 increase, Newstart recipients get $300 but the average worker, if they are lucky, might get a 50-cent increase a fortnight/week, every so many years after taxes. Seems about right – NOT!” wrote Ted Wards.

When asked how much would be enough to reduce the pension poverty gap, 18 per cent said $51-$75 would suffice, with the same number saying between $101 and $150 would be better. Around 14 per cent believe $76-$100 would be enough. Just five per cent don’t believe there is a pension poverty gap – most of whom were fully-self funded retirees.

As for helping renting age pensioners, 61 per cent believe a boost to Rent Assistance is well in order.

We also asked our members which group most needed an increase in their payments. Over half of respondents think age pensioners need the boost more, with 26 per cent saying it should go to Newstart recipients, followed by disability pensioners (eight per cent), renters (seven per cent) and carers (six per cent). Many think that everyone deserves an increase.

One suggestion some commentators say would make the pension fairer is including the family home in the assets test. While it has not been an issue raised by any political party lately, we wanted to know if you thought it was a way to level the pension playing field.

A whopping 81 per cent said no, with just 15 per cent saying the family home should be up for grabs.

If the family home was to be included in the assets test, 29 per cent said a threshold should be set between $1,000,001 and $2,000,000, with 14 per cent saying it should between $2,000,001 and $2,500,000, six per cent saying between $2,500,001 and $3,000,000 and only five per cent saying the threshold should be set at over $3,000,000.

“I believe that there is something wrong when a person with $1,000,000 in assets can get the full pension when another person with the same amount gets no pension just because the assets are different – the first has a $1,000,000 house, the other has $1,000,000 cash in the bank. So, increase the asset test amount significantly (by an amount ‘equal’ to a house) and then include the home in the test. This way ‘downsizers’ are not penalised and those with the same total value of assets are treated the same,” wrote KeWi.

Jackie agrees: “Pensions should be for the poor not people that own properties worth over a million dollars, super and more.”

When asked who should foot the bill for any Centrelink payment increases, 57 per cent said the best source of funds would be from a crackdown on corporate tax evaders. The second most popular response was syphoning from politicians’ pensions and wages. Seven per cent said it should come from increased taxes on the wealthy, six per cent said taxpayers should pay for it and just three per cent said it should come at the expense of other Centrelink payments, as was suggested by the Australian National University’s Centre for Social Research and Methods.

“This country would be better off if all bloody governments were to chase the ‘big’ tax evaders for the money sent offshore to avoid paying their fair share. If money is made in Australia then taxes should be paid in Australia regardless of where their headquarters are. There are several pollies who are avoiding paying tax here also, if one believes the rumours,” wrote Ronioby.

Through your comments we discover how older Australians really view the pension system and retirement in general. So, we’ve included some other suggestions and opinions from our members, that may provide further food for thought.

“The article question was “How could the Government fix the pension system”. The answer is: “Universal Age Pension without any tests except age (65) and residency (say 15 years),” suggested GeorgeM.

“Increase the asset threshold for pensioners. It’s way too low. It should be at least $600k. You see? We’re encouraged to put money into our super only to find that some of that money ($3 x every $ 1k) is taken away from us when we’re over the existing meagre threshold. That would reward those hard-working Aussies who worked, paid taxes and saved some super to build a better retirement nest,” wrote Blinky.

“People with mortgages receive no help, no rent allowance, no help with insurance or repairs. They are worse off than young people on Newstart where maybe three to four share a house and each get rent allowance, which would cover the total amount due,” wrote YourLifeChoices member Dabbydoos.

“We need a strong pension system. We also need to reward work and responsible living. The only way to do that is to stop beating up on people for striving to be as self-supporting as possible. Unfortunately, both parties are currently doing the same thing – greedily buying votes by appealing to the selfish and pretending it’s somehow ‘fair’ to take from people who don’t rely on taxpayer support.

“We do have different classes of retirees. On the one hand, we have SFRs who’ve had a lucky run, and on the other we have SFRs who have successfully battled extreme hardship. We have SFRs who are very well off and SFRs who are really struggling not to drain their savings too quickly. We have pensioners who have had very little opportunity to be anything but pensioners, and we have pensioners who could be self-supporting but chose to spend up in their working life and rely on the taxpayer later. We have folk who had good super and folk who didn’t,” wrote OnlyGenuineRainey.

“I believe a good way to help pensioners would be to exempt them from GST – just pay the basic price of everything,” wrote Moke.

And we’ll leave you with Trood’s idea to fix the pension system.

“The only thing that needs priority fixing is the bloody government!” wrote Trood.

What do you think needs to be done to fix the pension system? Is the system we have as good as it gets, or is there room for improvement? Which party do you think has the ability to make the pension system – and retirement – fairer for all Australians? Is there a way to remove the politics from pensions?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

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

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138 Comments

Total Comments: 138
  1. 0
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    Bla bla bla…..the eternal circular door which boils down to the have nots vs the haves. Play it any way you like but that’s the real game playing out.
    Retirees are in the same boat as working Australians being pushed into poverty as the top end of society has more than doubled its wealth since the GFC, received large personal tax cuts and been crying into the cameras because they did not also get Company Tax Cuts on top of that.
    Those who argue the toss need to look at what is being done to average citizens and retirees. This is how the top end of town and its political arm, the LNP, operates. The rest is just chatter.

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      I just tweeted Bro shorten on Labor’s plan to fix the lack of fair go in Oz – one point I gave him was to fix DI and ensure protection for those on genuinely low incomes.

      I have no problem with retirees as a group – just rorters in retirement who skate across the ‘rules’ and get benefit from huge gaps.

      Also tax on cash shifters who offshore and onshore their cash…

    • 0
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      Well, thank you Trebor, for supporting a fair go for struggling SFRs. I doubt Bro Shorten will take any notice. He already made the arrogant declaration that he would not EVER change his mind, no matter what evidence was presented of unfairness. But it’s nice that some here show respect and empathy and support demands for fairness.

    • 0
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      Always do, Rainey…. your life story is a lot like mine – literally rags to small riches via Hard Road Highway… no free rides for me ever, but then, we’re the best so we can handle it with ease.. it would likely kill many of our detractors.

    • 0
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      Good posts guys.

    • 0
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      Again, MICK, lots of meaningless words joined together to spit your bile and vitriol on those who are “rich”. You blame those who have money because others don’t have as much. You offer criticism but never any solutions. How do you think a tax cut should be made? Is it not fair to give everyone a percentage of their income back? If that means that those on $1500pw get back more money than those on $600pw then so be it.

      You bitch and moan about the “top end of town” but you refuse to give details about which ones you mean. Where can we find the proof that they have doubled their wealth? You must surely mean that you are speaking of company directors as they would be the only ones who can expect a personal income tax cut and also want a company tax cut.

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      It is the States that will need funds and that means a higher GST and possibly a land tax.

      I prefer a straight out transaction tax, yes I trade indexes so it will cost me but it seems with globalisation and cyberspace businesses that taxing the money as it is created by banks and as it moves will catch all that untaxed profit. No deductions and all other taxes bar the lifestyle ones like tobacco, gambling, alcohol could just be stopped.

    • 0
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      Raise the royalties – better still.. resume the utilities and raise the royalties or run the resources business yourself….

  2. 0
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    $300 extra for the dole
    Bloody hell – liquor stores will make a killing

    And greedy pensioners who want more are happy to support labor shafting modest SFR’s.

    Shorty will send this nation bankrupt

    • 0
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      Liquor stores are the backbone of the economy…… like any small business… local liquor stores pay their taxes…. the big boys haff zeir vays off meking it talk zeros…

    • 0
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      I agree with your last two paragraphs, Lothario. The first was cruel and uncalled for. I think $300 extra is too much, but to claim it will go to liquor stores is disgusting. There are certainly some drinkers and drug-takers among the unemployed, and no doubt a small minority who don’t want to work, but most are decent people who have suffered in some way and just want a chance to get their lives back on track. A little compassion and respect wouldn’t go astray.

    • 0
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      I just want my entitlements which were stolen by the LNP and Greens with the changes to the 2017 Pensioner Assets Test.

    • 0
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      The LNP cheer squad in full flight. So sad.

    • 0
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      Pretty sure we are almost bankrupt anyway. The NT is. NSW will be next. Let’s sell some more revenue producing contracts to those overseas companies that give us big bribes oops donations and make sure we spend billions more than we earn each month. She’ll be right.

      If it doesn’t work out they can go back to whatever country they came from leaving us here in a new third world quarry.

    • 0
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      I agree. Statistics tell us that the number of grog shops is proportional to the welfare given out in a community. There are double the number of grogs shops compared to supermarkets in the area where I live. It is an area that people retire to and unemployed love to come so they don’t have to work. Most of that $300 will go on grog or to the many drug dealers that inhabit this area. OK it will get spent in the economy but also on the black market.

      If something is not done to support self funded retirees then we won’t have any as it will be just too hard.

      Agree Rae NT is in trouble financially already and NSW has its own financial difficulties. With less stamp duty form housing sales it is not looking good. I wont be long before home owners will be paying a property tax to make up the short fall instead.

    • 0
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      Gotta drown their sorrows somehow – and over the counter is too expensive…

      How about a comment on all those on Unemployment Benefits skolling down bourbon and cokes at the bar all day every day while playing pokies day and night? That’s the standard delusion thrown up about those out of work… and Christmas time wouldn’t be complete without one of you guys making that outlandish statement….

    • 0
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      Yes OG you can see it coming. I commented above about a transaction tax. I know you have said it wouldn’t be good but I can’t see why not. The UN did figures on 0.05% and every dollar transferred from all these corporations earning billions and sending it away untaxed would finally be charged a bit. No deductions, no other taxes. There must be a catch but I can’t see it. I pay transaction fees now on foreign index trades of various types depending on currency and it’s not that outrageously expensive. More than a straight out 0.05%.

      Should be charged on created money by the banks as well.

      Interesting that some of the new trade agreements are specifying no transaction taxes so it must be rattling the never pay tax corporations a tad.

  3. 0
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    There is only one sensible way to fix the pension system, and that is to make the pension universal and tax retirement incomes. Means tests drive greater need and manipulation to appear needy. They discourage endeavour and responsible lifestyles and reduce saving for retirement, thus creating more dependency that adds to costs. But there is no reliable gauge of how much cost these cruel means tests are imposing because there’s no assessment of a person’s capacity to achieve self-sufficiency – only a measure of what they CHOOSE to hold onto after that magic birthday or retirement party.

    The current system is grossly unfair and cannot ever be made fair while it discriminates against workers and savers and favours pensioners. Every change makes it much more unfair, and much less economically sustainable.

    The good news, I guess, is that the LNP apparently expects to deliver a surplus and to announce that the deficit has halved from that predicted. The question we have to ask is ‘at what cost, and to whom?’ I think many of know the answer. Certainly 300,000 or so retirees of very modest wealth made a massive contribution – but it wasn’t enough for Bro Shorten and his crew. They won’t be content until those 300,000 have everything they worked for over 4-5 decades confiscated and there are stiff penalties for anyone not extremely wealthy to dare to strive for self-sufficiency in their winter years.

    • 0
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      Universal pension seems to be working for many countries including NZ. I doubt if LNP or ALP have even looked at the overseas models that seem to be working far better than our current system which is very complex & labour intensive, about time we reintroduced the KISS method.

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      I agree the current system is unfair. There needs to be incentive to work hard and save and not take from SFRs. It is not fair to keep changing the goal posts when SFRs have planned for their retirement and no longer have any other means of income but their own savings.

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      I’m a little confused OGR, you want to make pensions universal and tax incomes? Do you mean people like Sir Frank Lowy should get a pension then pay tax on it? Surely retirees with an income, apart from any pension aspect, who earn more than $18000pa are already taxed? I apologise for my lack of understanding.

    • 0
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      Frank Lowy (I abhor this business of knighting business people) will receive his pension, then pay tax on his other incomes, gifts from companies and imputed earnings… to make it real for a change …..

      Only the overfat would suffer from such a scheme, and that would only be a return on the countless deductions and dodges they’ve employed in the past….. they’ve had their free run – time now to pay the piper….

    • 0
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      Bob, are you saying that Lowy doesn’t pay tax already? Those countless deductions and dodges that have been employed in the past are, in the main, legal. With humble apologies, you’re starting to sound like MICK, blaming those who avoid tax legally when the answer lies with the legislators, not the taxpayer. The laws need to be altered to plug the loopholes.

    • 0
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      No old Man retirees can earn around $33 000 tax-free and a couple $58 000 tax free with senior offsets etc now outside super and nothing in pension mode on that $1.6 billion.

      If everyone received a pension then the other income could be taxed possibly even super income.

      I’d pay more tax and have less income I suspect due to tax free super and generously taxed investments held outside super. I’d be taking my accountants advice and possibly incorporating into a family business at that point. Corporate tax has just dropped for those earning under $10 million. The average corporate tax rate is around 12% according to the AFR.

      Mr Lowy would have corporate structures in place and use cashflow and capital gains benefits. Rich people don’t earn income like the rest of us.
      Mr Loy has done very well and should be congratulated. I suspect he would donate that aged pension if ever offered it.

    • 0
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      Legal perhaps, OM – but legal is always bound to change with the times. The Ancien Regime of squirreling away squillions into ‘superannuation’ are no more, as an example, and should be applied to older accounts over a specified limit as well.. not just allow those to get away scot free…

      There’s a world of difference – as big as the reality gap between politician entitlement claims and what is genuine government business – between paying proper tax and hiding taxable income in a complex of inter-company transactions etc while still enjoying its benefits to the full.

      It may be theoretically within the rules – but is it genuine? that’s the question, and one that the ATO should be applying itself to, as well as legislators applying themselves to cutting out the rort they themselves enjoy.. oops.. I knew there would be a catch…

    • 0
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      Agree OGR. Don’t know why we went without in saving for our retirement only to have our savings seen as excess to be taken by the government by way of reduced pensions. We are also contributors to the balancing of the budget.

    • 0
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      OGR you have put this very well and while this system may not be perfect it seems to be the fairest and most simple way to address the pension system. Also the extra complications of the tax system within retirement. I would also extend the scheme to be the same pension for everybody ie no difference whether single or part of a couple. This would encourage senior people into relationships without the worry of losing money. The benefits of living as a couple rather than alone are many and well documented. Would also free up housing and go a long way to address the housing shortage. Real incentive for people to save for their retirement as well. Money saved = money spent in the community in retirement. Surely a win win for everybody ( except that a few Centrelink and Tax Office employees may be forced on to Newstart for awhile. )

    • 0
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      Actually, the Tax Office employees can be freed up to investigate tax avoidance where it is really happening.

    • 0
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      Absolutely correct comments, OGR. Universal Age Pension is surely the best option now.
      There are Budget surpluses on the way, and it is necessary for the Liberals to reverse their bastardly Asset Test changes if they don’t want to be decimated. The better way for them to save face and also get a win would be to implement Universal Age Pension which would be a win for all people especially Savers without punishing anyone.

      OM seems to be jealous of Lowy. What if he did get the Age Pension – surely he has paid enough taxes to be at least given this tiny reward? If you really want to make it hard for such wealthy people, simply make Universal Age Pension approval subject to an Online Form in which they have to declare ALL income & wealth in ALL countries and taxes paid. That would be sufficient disincentive to prevent all such wealthy people as applicants!

  4. 0
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    Jacka here, very short and to the point. I leave you with the parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper. That says it all. It applies the human behaviour, the pension and social security payments should be made. Have a good day, Jacka.

  5. 0
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    To me the pension is not an entitlement, if you’ve worked all or most of your adult life, it is a right. You have paid taxes and invested in your future and those with houses and other assets should be able to enjoy them, not be taxed and not be made to feel like their whole working life was a waste of time.
    For those over 60 on Newstart, this is a very different scenario. Newstart is supposed to be a payment to get you by whilst you look for work. However, there is the issue of age discrimination in Australia where anyone over 40 – 50 is seen as too old to be useful. Then we have the real issue of cheap labour being imported from Asia on these work visas who potentially take the jobs of people that could of been employed who are over 50, especially in areas like aged care and disability where age and experience is a definite bonus.
    The whole system is well you know…. I don’t have to say the word for us all to think of it. One can only imagine the future of the super system when there is no pension for people in my age bracket who have worked for years but not necessary had access to super all that time.
    I honestly don’t think any party has the interest to fix the system, and I am not sure it can be fixed. Politicians are clearly only interested in feathering their own nests whilst they are in the party. There are no long term vision or bipartisan agreements so that this can be repaired over a longer period of time than 3 years. They tell so many lies that it’s impossible to really be sure they can be trusted. If the politicians mouth is moving, it’s usually telling lies or platitudes so they are seen to be doing something.

    • 0
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      If cheap labor can be imported from Asia why not importing politicians from there as well? Rodrigo Duterte from the Philippines comes to mind, he would clean the place up for sure and I am convinced he would be cheaper in salary and associated perks.

    • 0
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      The old age pension is welfare paid to those who have no other means of support. It has nought to do with how much tax you paid, how hard you worked or anything else.

      That said the pension system is wrong it that it supports those who have not saved for their retirement and punishes those who have. This is a recipe for a disaster.

    • 0
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      Ted Ward, I can only agree with everything you posted, especially your comments about our inept, greedy politicians. We work all our lives and are treated with contempt if we are unable to completely fund our basic standard of living. In the UK, there is the basic Aged Pension and everyone is entitled to this, millionaire or pauper. It is not enough to live off. However you can pay additional money into the pension scheme during your working life and this will provide retirees with a reasonable standard of living. In the case of my late Dad, he did this and received a very nice UK pension, here in Australia, for many years, and this has flowed through to my Mum, albeit at a very reduced rate, following his death.
      As far as the assets test is concerned, it is very unfair and would be horrendous if the family home was to be included. My 93year old Mum has a very ordinary brick house on the Gold Coast which she and my late Dad purchased, new, in 1974 for $34,000. Because of the land on which it sits, it is valued at 1.3million and if it was sold, developers would buy it, knock it down and put three, jammed in, over-priced town houses on it – all thanks to Tom Tate, the Gold Coast Mayor and BFF of developers.

    • 0
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      Put the jobs out for tender…… why not.. only short-term casual temporaries anyway… politics should not be a career, but should be restricted to no more than two elections, so they can be regularly replaced with people who are not out of touch.

    • 0
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      Amazing, for once I agree with OG !!

    • 0
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      Totally wrong as usual, OG – the pension is a right drawn from the Social Securities Fund drawn from a contribution from income tax direct plus levies from other strands as required, and is given without consideration of input during a lifetime.

      If you have a problem with not getting it in your politics of envy – go discuss the assets and incomes tests with your politician… they set it all up.

      The point is the Fund was never abolished – it was simply rolled over into consolidated revenue and was then spent like a slush fund for political wet dreams, as if there was no tomorrow.

      Well – tomorrow is here today – and the bills are falling due from Consolidated Revenue.

      Get with the program or leave the country… I’ve explained it for you before – if a dam is built across a river from which farmers downstream are entitled to water – and other streams are channeled into that single huge dam – the entitlement of the farmers downstream does not alter one iota.

    • 0
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      Yes, OG but let’s not forget that for many, retirement savings were built through generous tax breaks ie through superannuation, or negative gearing which were beyond a lot of peole on low income. The only equitable system is a universal pension for all

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      I’ve always thought that, Trebor. Get rid of the idea of career politicians. Politicians should have 1 four-year stint or 2 three- year stints and then out. Not allowed, either, to congregate in a back room and give themselves perks, etc for when they leave.

    • 0
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      Yes – politics in this nation MU*ST become a service to the people – not a fat sinecure for life while sucking off ‘the fattest in the land’ *

      * (I borrowed that phrase from a comment by a WW II digger who was talking about wharfies not loading ships etc, and the failure of government to uphold promises to stop that kind of thing – the bully beef and biccies boys KNEW that politicians then didn’t give a brass razoo, since they were living off the fattest of the land … not one thing has changed since)…

    • 0
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      Wow! After many months of arguing in defence of a rotten system, OG has finally conceded that punishing people who work and save is wrong. I lost count of the times he ranted that the assets test needed to be tightened. Has he finally seen a tiny shred of light? Maybe if we keep educating him… I wonder!

    • 0
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      He’s an ace at the Canberra Three-Step – one step forward and two steps back… only we’re discussing his mental acumen…

      He occasionally shows a glimmer of The Light Side, but lapses back to The Dark Side very rapidly…. heavy is the weight of darkness in this one!

    • 0
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      OG is 100% correct . OAP IS WELFARE

      It is irrelevant that once upon a time in Trebor’s prehistoric times there was once a big bad blood sucking dragon called Social Securities Fund

      That dragon was slayed and in its place came a kinder gentler dragon, who provided succor to the most needy . This kind dragon was supported by the people of the village who had extra food and clothing to contribute to the needy

      And they all lived happily ever after

    • 0
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      Nonsense – the Dragon was amalgamated into a larger Dragon, the Consolidated Revenue Dragon, but still has to put out the same amount of fire… the Social Securities Dragon provided succour etc to the needy etc… its functions were simply taken over by a larger Dragon – not materially altered.

      You can’t win……

    • 0
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      No, Lothario. The blood sucking dragon now sucks the lifeblood out of battlers who work hard and save well to hand fat cheques to manipulators who exploit the system to appear needy, and there isn’t enough for the genuinely needy. And very few are happy, as evidenced by the gripes on every forum I come across.

      The system is broken. And only those who exploit it unfairly seek to defend it. Perhaps you’ll see that as an insult, but if the cap fits…

    • 0
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      Not insulted Rainey
      I pay my fair share of tax

      Looking forward to the $1.40 fully franked dividends BHP just announced today

      Shame I wont be getting any Franking credit refund this year . Unless I can find some more expenses I can put through the books. Might need to prepay a few costs perhaps

    • 0
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      There you go, Lothario. You manipulate to avoid tax liability. And THAT’S the problem. The average battling worker doesn’t have the luxury of such opportunities. He just has to pay his way. The wealthier one is, the more opportunities exist to avoid the required contribution to society. No wonder we have a huge national debt. The rich expect workers to bleed stones to pay for the excesses of the wealthy.

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      3.49% return on investment….you might earn it back in thirty years plus a few for inflation……

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      Lothario yes you will get your franking credits refunded this financial year as Labor’s retiree tax doesn’t start to at least the start of next financial year but with 9 and one unknown senator on the cross bench against Labor has buckleys of getting it through the Senate. Labor needs 4 to support it and they have got maybe 1 if that.

    • 0
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      3.49% ?
      Wow – what a financial moron

    • 0
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      Lothario, that comment reflects poorly on you. It’s rude, and it shows lack of integrity. Bottom line is that people work all their lives in this or that occupation and earn a wage or salary, and put money aside for their retirement. Most of us did this – and planned – in a high interest environment. For my part, I never saw interest rates below 7% from the day I first had a dollar to save – until I was very close to retirement. We should not have to become financial wizards in old age in order to survive.

      Lucky you if you can achieve healthy investment returns. OG boasts constantly about his. Other folk are expert at building or designing or marketing or computer technology. We all have different strengths and talents. It’s disgusting that some think the only people entitled to dignity in retirement are those whose talent happens to be high finance.

      This is why the assets test change was so dreadfully wrong. We planned and saved in a world where the 7.8% you had to achieve to match the pension loss was reasonably attainable for most people. That world is no more. The assets test – if one is to exist, which I don’t agree should be the case as it’s a fake test of wealth – should NEVER result in pension loss being higher than the rate of return readily available to the majority. In old age, people suffer health problems, loss of mental capacity, sickness, physical disability… It is not reasonable to burden them with having to master complex new skills and knowledge in an area of learning that may be completely foreign to them.

      The government should be guaranteeing financial security in retirement for everyone – without any requirement for expertise or skill in finance. After 4 or 5 decades of contributing to the nation in all kinds of ways, that should be an entitlement. And under no circumstances should any policy EVER make someone worse off for having worked and saved than they would be if they hadn’t – no matter how lacking they may be in financial savvy.

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      To add to the argument OGR, if pensioners had more disposable monies by lifting the pension payments & abolishing the deems & asset testing then 99% of pensioners would spend it in the local community, maybe a trickle up effect sort of thing, Same goes for Newstart payments. We know that a trickle down effect from the rich & multinationals never ever happens even though the governments of the day will tell you otherwise.

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      General prosperity will obviously drive growth, 1984. But I have to wonder if maybe the upper class are so attached to their elitism that they fear general prosperity and growth – and rather prefer to suppress spending as long as their hoard is adequate and makes them feel superior and powerful?

      Trickle up does work, but only to the extent that the extra welfare payments can be funded without unsustainable debt. There has to be a balance. The problem is that the unsustainable debt is ALWAYS put down to welfare – never to other spending. And excessive curbing of welfare has been evidenced to be harmful. Austerity hasn’t worked anywhere. Trickle down has NEVER happened and never will. Human nature guarantees that when the glass is full to overflowing, the holder will get a bigger glass.

      The worst aspect of a means tested pension system, though, is the disrespect it shows for older Australians. After decades of contributing to society, people who entering their winter years suddenly have to adjust to spending their lives looking over their shoulder – in fear of being found to have $1 more than some arbitrary limit, or being caught buying grandchildren gifts, or worrying about yet another random shift of goalposts wiping out all the benefits of decades of hard work and saving. Name me a single person who looks forward to that kind of existence? Everyone who endorses a system that inflicts that kind of misery on seniors is guilty of elder abuse and should be put in stocks! Likewise, dictating that an older Australian not yet eligible for the pension should suffer the loss of dignity and the poverty associated with being on Newstart is elder abuse.

      It’s time for all Australians to unite in a demand for reform to end this abuse. And we must demand an end to academics and upjumped advisory groups made up of people who have never lived in the real world telling the government how to make the system worse – because that’s really all these over-educated and over-paid idiots do!

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      OG.

      Have you ever, ever considered, that due to circumstances that some people have never had the opportunity to save money. Health issues, family responsibilities, there is a multitude of reasons that some people do not have enough savings to live on. And again I will quote you the definition of the word ‘pension’ from the Meriam Webster Dictionary
      ” a gratuity granted (as by a government) as a favor or reward “. No mention of welfare.

      So climb down from that high horse of yours, admit that you are peeved and slightly jealous of people struggling to survive off the pension, stop sucking on the lemon and pontificate from some other platform. The record has got stuck in the groove and needs to be turned of at the switch.

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    The LNP trolls will be out on this one lol.
    The whole system is broken but the government just bandaids the problem with no real fix.
    The people are the best source of information as they are the ones that have to live with a broken system not academics who mostly haven’t experienced the real hardship etc.

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      The system is broken because politicians sell us out to foreigners and other vested interests which have NOTHING to do with what is good for the nation. ‘More money’ is the cry from governments which want to take from the poor and give ever more to the rich so they plunder the nation and flog off valuable dividend earning assets for cents in the dollar. The overseas recipients could not rub their hands together fast enough. And then they put up the prices and we are forced to pay!

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    The pension is an entitlement and should be available to those who have worked all their lives and paid taxes. The stuff up began when decades ago tax money allocated for pensions was snavelled into consolidated revenue.

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      It is now welfare that is paid to those who have no other means of support.

      It should be renamed Seniors Welfare Payment as that is what it is.

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      Social Security is not welfare, OG – if you want welfare go to the Salvos… they might help you out…

      Double The Pension NOW! Every Pensioner deserves a TPI for putting up with years of battle in the field against government idiocy…. and all SFRs must receive the same as Pension as a minimum by top-up where their cash organisation is found to be kosher by PROPER rules, not just ‘within the rules’…. Rules? In a knife fight?

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      Agree 100% with trood !!

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      Every man on this bitch of a system deserves a Purple Heart.. and TPI….

      Jesus God – chatting with two old.. very old sailors coupla days ago about asbestos in ships and those suffering… they’re still trying to recruit me to advocate for Vets etc… when I’ve finished here…. one’s brother – a chopper pilot – has asbestos cancer – pilot’s quarters were next to some machine that banged and rammed,and dust fell from the ceiling and walls. The other guy, an old medic, said he came in one day while some work was going on, and found white dust over everything – had to close the sick bay down.

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      Now you are contradicting yourself, OG. You want something done to support SFRs, yet you claim anything handed out by government is ”welfare”. So now you want SFRs to be reliant on ”welfare”? I know that’s Shorten’s goal, but I thought you had more sense.

      We may be currently forced to live with the wrongful definition of the pension that the stinking corrupt powers-that-be try to force on us, but if we want to FIX the nation, we have to somehow communicate the proper message that funding to support an adequate requirement is A UNIVERSAL ENTITLEMENT OF EVERY AUSTRALIAN. We will never fix it while we require people to be poor in order to qualify for support. All that does is create more poor.

      The ONLY viable solution is a universal pension. Other nations have recognized that. Their people work and save because doing so brings rewards. Our people will increasingly avoid it, because it doesn’t.

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      “The pension is an entitlement and should be available to those who have worked all their lives and paid taxes.”
      TROOD, can you explain why we pay the OAP to those that have never worked?

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    Re. where it said “remove the politics from pensions”
    have a better suggestion
    “remove the pensions from the politicians”

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      I tweeted Bro Shorten this morning that under a on-roof retirement scheme, politicians would be brought under the same scheme as everyone else… and long overdue. No way should we be paying short-term contracted employees riches for life…. nobody else gets that treatment on termination of contract….

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      Under the one-roof stop you will receive your Pension plus super up to a limit – and pay tax on all above including gifting and excessive pre-retirement expenditure to avoid tax…. if you deliberately wind down your total cash assets over the preceding ten years, you are taxed on that.

      We’ll get this country off its knees yet.. despite the politicians in it.

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      Trebor
      Re. where you said
      “politicians would be brought under the same scheme as everyone else”
      Can you advise please – Was this your request/demand to Shorten or have the pollies actually said they are committed to that – or is it published anywhere ??

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      My Tweet to Shorten as one measure to ‘restore the fair go’ that he currently is promoting as his basic (unreferenced) platform… I said bluntly “that’ll bring youse lot under control!”

      Elect me, Trebor, and I’ll restore the fair go better than Shorten… anyone can make promises in a general sense….. so let’s elect a Labrador who understands where his feed is coming from and is loyal to his bosses …..

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      Bro Shorten will now mark your communications ”to be ignored” Trebor. Nobody who challenges his superior entitlements could possibly have any credibility. Goodness, man. Don’t you understand that he’s a POLITICIAN – and that puts him on a par with GOD.

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      Yes – I’ll go on the list of radicals and be reported to ASIO – trouble is they already know me…. should be a good laugh…

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      They are also censoring what you post on Facebook too. If they don’t like you comment they comment with dreadful comments but they have you block so you can’t see the reply. If you have 2 Facebooks accounts you can see what they say with the second one on another device. It is fun to comment and see their replies because they think you can’t see their replies and don’t know how you can comment on them. Their replies are then quickly deleted.

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    It seems that there will be no fix for pensions or Newstart. The current government has made no moves to altering the half-yearly increse to the pension and “reviewing” Newstart. The Labor conference has seen the CFMMEU placated on its push for an increase of $75.00pw with a promise by Shorten to “review” it if elected.

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      Promises.. promises… if only we could live on promises……

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      You know Bob, one thing that was said to me in the past rings true today. We were having a stop work meeting and the union secretary was there listening to the workers. When one guy complained that he had to work two jobs to get by, the union secretary told him; “Lower your lifestyle”. I’m not saying that this epithet applies to all but I’m sure it applies to more people than it doesn’t apply to.

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      Oh, dear… any lower and we’ll be jumping without golden parachutes…. just step out the door…

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      I doubt older folk on Newstart can lower their lifestyle much further, Old Man. And I frankly don’t see why struggling SFRs who worked and paid tax for 50 years, and saved well, should now have to lower their lifestyle to well below that of a pensioner, just because selfish and inept politicians keep moving goalposts unfairly.

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      You’ve hit the nail on the head OGR. Politicians need to be taken out of the equation and to do this there must be a sensible set of legislated rules put in place to protect the members of the various super funds. Add to those acceptable rules is the need to have any changes made to be supported by 2/3rds of both the Reps and the Senate to ensure that any changes are done to advantage the members, not as a tax raising venture.

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      Yes lets increase the Welfare payments to the minimum wage.
      What are you going to do when you can’t fill jobs paying the minimum wage because you can get the same staying at home? Oh I see, raise the minimum wage by some 20% to incentivise the unemployed to get a job. another good Idea.
      But wait, goods and services start to increase due to the increase in Labour costs and we have to Import more overseas workers to fill the job vacancies. Our Entitled Welfare recipients again cry out that they can’t manage and demand an increase to the Pension and Newstart.
      Corporations move their operations overseas and our manufacturing jobs disappear..sound familiar?
      But our experts on this forum, most on welfare for obvious reasons continue their dribble.
      Animal Farm In Action.

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      Knowall, most people on this forum just want a fair go & with the current LNP top end of town kiss arse government that doesn’t happen.
      Animal farm, you one of Napoleon’s little piggies with your snout in the trough

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      No 1984, I pay my own way, always have always will.
      At 71 I still employ 7 guys and have done for over 18 years.
      Most people want and get a fair go in Australia.
      What part of my comment above don’t you agree with?

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    More good news from the LnP
    Too bad Shorten will turn the surplus into a mind boggling trillion $ deficit

    Australia is on track to return to the black for the first time since the global financial crisis, almost doubling the size of its projected surplus in fiscal 2020.

    The underlying cash deficit will more than halve from May’s forecast to A$5.2 billion ($3.7 billion) in the 12 months through June 2019, before swelling to a A$4.1 billion surplus in the following year, Treasury said in Canberra Monday. The bottom line has been bolstered by higher company profits and commodity prices and falling unemployment.

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      Where are your workings on that mythical $1 trillion? Still waiting…. Winter’s coming….

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      Ive posted it a number of times. But youre too lazy, stupid or just plain dishonest to read and understand

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      You haven’t – where are the figures?.. or are you too lazy, stupid or just plain dishonest to post them?

      I’ve asked you countless times… all you do is utter meaningless gibberish like the above:-

      “The underlying cash deficit will more than halve from May’s forecast to A$5.2 billion ($3.7 billion) in the 12 months through June 2019, before swelling to a A$4.1 billion surplus in the following year, Treasury said in Canberra Monday. “

      Where are the FIGURES, man, that clearly show Labor will blow it out to a trillion???

      You do understand the difference between empty quoted phrases that most likely will end up nowhere near the truth, and figures, don’t you?

      …or are you too lazy, stupid or just plain dishonest to post them?

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      Fake news based on contorted figures that no one can understand (especially 99.9% of the population) & will be contested by the majority of the .01% that say they do understand.
      Just more political BS from the LNP & trolls as they are fighting for their political life which will all come to an end at the next election.
      The way Australia is being & going to be run we’ll be a 2nd or 3rd world country before we know it

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      Well if it comes to an end at the next election, heaven help us all. We’ll have a nation of pensioners and unemployed and no hope of a future. We will CERTAINLY be a 2nd or 3rd world country when work is punished and dependence is the only viable option for survival – except for very rich.

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      You do realise how budget surpluses work?

      I fail to see how stripping money from public goods and services and forcing the private sector into more debt when there is already excessive private sector debt is a good thing.

      Of course the economically illiterate think it’s good because Murdoch told them so.

      So we increase private debt and head towards either a massive recession or a banking crisis with a bail in law sitting like a land mine just waiting.

      Bloody brilliant NOT!

      Australia never has defaulted on sovereign debt but this last LNP Government is doing a valiant effort to strip so much income from revenue bases that we just might get to see an Australian Sovereign Default in our lifetime.

      Using stupid Nazi economic policies defies belief. Whatever were they thinking?

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