Living in poverty

A recently released report reveals that more than 2.25 million Australians are living in poverty.

Living in poverty

This week is Anti-Poverty Week. To launch the discussion on poverty in Australia, the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) has released a report which reveals 12.8 per cent (more than 2.25 million Australians) are living in poverty.

It is somewhat ironic that this report follows the Global Wealth report released by Credit Suisse last week, which has found that Australians are the richest people in the world, based on median wealth per adult of US $194,000, more than double the second and third wealthiest nations, Switzerland (US $87,000) and Norway (US $79,000)

ACOSS’s Poverty in Australia report bases its definition of poverty on the OECD measure of 50 per cent of the median wage. This is $358 a week for a single person, or about $50 a day. It is the first time such a measure of poverty has been conducted since 2006 and shows that those living on social security are falling further behind. Says CEO of ACOSS, Dr. Cassandra Goldie, "This report reveals that despite years of unprecedented growth and wealth creation, we have made little ground in combatting the scourge of poverty…

"In a wealthy country like Australia, this is simply inexcusable. Over a third (37 per cent) of people whose main income is social security is living below the poverty line, including 52 per cent of people in households on NewStart Allowance”.

ACOSS has called upon the Federal Government to commit to a national development goal to reduce poverty in Australia.

Dr. Goldie stated that “We need an agreed measure of poverty, such as the Australian National Development Index, and we need to annually measure our progress towards reducing poverty.”

For more information visit ACOSS

Opinion - Age pensioners do it tough

There are two burning issues attached to the ACOSS Poverty in Australia report and subsequent statements.

First is the use of the OECD definition of poverty at 50 per cent of the median wage. This measure is described by ACOSS CEO Dr. Goldie as a ‘conservative’ one. And it is. The European Union (EU) uses a more realistic definition - 60 per cent of the median wage – which would equal $429 per week in Australia in 2012. If this more realistic measure were used, we would see that nearly all Age Pensioners are living well below the poverty line.

However, it is the second issue which I find most harmful. And that is the very dangerous perception that those receiving the Age Pension are now ‘well off” because there was an increase in 2009 and the Age Pension is indexed.

In relation to the Age Pension, Dr. Goldie has commented:

"On the other hand the $32 per week increase in pensions (above inflation) in 2009 appears to have reduced poverty among older people (which is 13.2 per cent for people over 64), though the single pension rate was still slightly below the poverty line.”

When the Rudd Government increased the Age Pension in 2009 it was long overdue. It took the single Age Pension from being below the poverty line to being below the poverty line. Yes, that’s right, it was barely catch-up. This was not a magnificent ‘leg-up’ for Australian pensioners. When you start from a low enough base you need a massive boost to reach parity, let alone any reasonable sort of life. And woe betide those who have the cheek to not fully own their own homes. In the words of the poet, they are simply stuffed.

So whilst it is patently obvious that families on social welfare are doing it tough, this is not time to suggest that those who have worked for decades and are now on an Age Pension are on easy street by comparison.

Pitting the socially disadvantaged against each other is a bad strategy. We all need to recognise that living in the richest nation on the earth has great advantages. But unless we are prepared to share the wealth we should hang our heads in shame. The redistribution of a small percentage of mining industry profits into increased superannuation contributions is a no-brainer. And great for younger people with years of work ahead to create a sustainable retirement nest egg. But there must be other ways of sharing the wealth that Australia is fortunate enough to generate with those who are at the end of their working lives, not the beginning. The fact that half a million children live below the poverty line is simply shameful. The fact that older Australians are barely surviving on a pension, which does not allow them to buy a cup of coffee or a bunch of flowers, is equally appalling. Unless we all take ownership of the need to pressure our governments – regardless of who is in power – until the pittance of a pension is increased, we are simply not worthy of the riches this country provides.

So, is poverty in Australia a problem? What do you think?

Would you increase the NewStart Allowance alone? Or should both the base rate of the Age Pension and NewStart Allowance be increased?
NewStart Allowance alone
Both the Age Pension and NewStart Allowance
 




    COMMENTS

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    Barbara Mathieson
    15th Oct 2012
    12:15pm
    Inequality rules the day!
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    12:20pm
    what inequality?? most of us have had the same chances just some of us dont take them or make the most of them.. dont winge now if youve spent your life at the rsl
    student
    15th Oct 2012
    12:42pm
    unfortunately, Democracy is not equal. At east not the Democracy we have today which seems to be between an Oligarchy and Democracy. You're right Barbara there is more inequality than equality, but that gives me challenges that someone who has more than I wont have, and I am sure I couldn't function with their problems.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    5:05pm
    Equality/inequality: an almost meaningless concept unless you are comparing something that is supposed to be equal in all aspects - homo sapiens never were nor will ever be 'equal' from individual to individual. Expand that into groups of persons and equality diminishes even further into the distance.

    Tangible things like wages can be seen as being able to be measured - each person doing the same job should be paid the same wage - that is equality. In a 'perfectly ordered' world everyone would get the same of everything = impossible. We all live in a 'normal' world so personal differences are vast and not always under the individuals control - the caste system in India or 'you cant choose your parents' although 'you can choose your neighbours' [by relocating haha] ad infinitum
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    12:18pm
    it appears i live below the poverty line... well if i do as a soley pension funded retiree then im doing very well thankyou i budget ( but i always did) and holiday run a car a live very well BUT and heres the crunch i dont gamble smoke or drink.. thats my car money... we are so well off under the poverty line compared to most other countries be happy and get on with this wonderfull life you have b
    MITZY
    15th Oct 2012
    12:42pm
    Sexeebear - it's not as clear cut as you depict. My husband passed away in July this year a week off his 70th birthday. He had MS for 24 years prior to that. Twelve of those 24 years he was unable to walk. He was not retirement age when he had to give up work and soon after I had to give up work to look after him. When you are not at retirement age and at the time have your family off your hands but still have a mortgage and have to cope with all the expenses of an immune system disorder including expensive electric wheelchairs, mobility aids and mobility vehicle there is not a spare bit of cash for anything else. Then you lose your husband and your pensions combined with carer allowance were $1253 prior to the Sept. increase and now you receive single $772.60 per fortnight it only covers your cost of living and rates/water rates and the usual household bills. My husband never smoked or drank alcohol all of his life. I have never smoked and do not have alcohol in my home. I have one glass of wine if and when I go out to the local club with friends approx. once a month. On two pensions plus the carer allowance everything went o.k. On one pension it's a struggle. I have a seven year old poodle who for the last 3 years has Addison's disease (under active adrenal glands which power the dog's organs). She is a very expensive proposition and her annual cost for heaps of pills/powders/prescription dry food/ordinary food/twice-yearly check-ups (university tests) tick prevention vials/sickness bills/dental etc. costs me $465.00 per month. This week she is going to doggie heaven because I don't have any money to keep paying this per month. There wouldn't be another person who would take her and look after her like I have done at a cost of $465.00 per month. I don't really consider myself below the poverty line as I can exist, but I would definitely like to "exist" a little better than at present.
    biddi
    16th Oct 2012
    1:30pm
    Egyptian : I'm really sorry to read your story. Please try and get a home for your poodle. Perhaps there is a poodle club that can help. Best wishes.
    LENYJAC
    15th Oct 2012
    12:28pm
    AGE PENSION ALONE SHOULD GO UP NOT NEWSTART?????
    missmarple
    15th Oct 2012
    12:35pm
    I'm with you LENYJAC, put the New start up and most of those lazy B******* will never go out and try and get work, ( the younger generation I am talking about )
    Sally-Jane
    15th Oct 2012
    12:52pm
    Soooo true. Too many people now days are just too lazy to work and expect to have it all handed to them. Also make themselves unemployable with scraggy hair, tatoos and piercings. Mind you there are also a lot of good people out there that just can't find work in their areas so I think there should be a different rate for those who genuinely want to work and those who deliberately make themselves unemployable.
    Hillbillypete
    16th Oct 2012
    1:29pm
    Thats right lenyjac, but they did not give you that choice did they.
    student
    15th Oct 2012
    12:33pm
    no matter how much money each person earns, that person still has responsibilities and bills to pay.

    I do however, take offense at remarks that pensioners frequent RSLclubs/pubs /, drink and play poker machines. Inequality comes in many forms sexeebear. I don't drink, smoke or gamble either but I am sure as hell not well-off. Sure I eat good food (enjoy growing my own too) and pay my rates and taxes, and my 'holiday' is when my children visit me during the year. Do I live in poverty?? According to the figures I do but according to me and the rest of the world I have a good life. So we agree on ONE thing sexeebear:)
    rosemaryjune
    15th Oct 2012
    12:40pm
    Those on Newstart who are genuinely looking for work and incurring transport costs even if using public transport are the ones who need more support - not just going and getting their forms signed.
    Pensioners find it hard when necessary items such as refrigerators, hot water services, washing machines break down more especially if they happen close together as always does here. How many below the poverty line play bingo every week even if she has to go to ATM several Km away to get the cash to do so, then call others "money bags" because they scrimp and save up for other necessities or a raretreat until they can pay cash for them. I know of at least one jealous woman. She is also a heavy smoker and often buys take-away instead of cooking healthy meals - to us that is a treat for special occasions
    grannysally
    15th Oct 2012
    12:43pm
    Long after Julia is political history, her legacy will be that many many more of us will be struggling to pay our bills and feed ourselves when the full effects of the carbon tax and fishing closures come through. Primary industry is being deliberately decimated, resulting in 50% of our processed food and 70% of our fish presently being imported, with more to come. See:
    http://kzoo.co/VfEZvW
    student
    20th Oct 2012
    4:11pm
    50% of our processed foods imported??? I try not to use processed foods (hard but rewarding!!) so I am not subsidising a foreign country. And I don't like fish :) I find it hard to accept "... Primary industry is being deliberately decimated, ..." As for the carbon tax...... ho hummm here we go again.
    student
    20th Oct 2012
    4:15pm
    do you expect me to take notice of a Malaysian news item?? Since when has a Malaysian news item carried any weight in the carbon debate?? Are they the new experts?? Gimme a break.
    Nautilus
    21st Oct 2012
    1:58am
    I looked at the link grannysally gave http://kzoo.co/VfEZvW and found it most informative. More information and analysis than we get from the twenty second TV grabs of local TV stations.
    I don't think anyone should dismiss a report solely because it didn't originate in Oz. They have universities too.
    Thanks grannysally
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    12:58pm
    One cannot judge how another lives until you have walked a mile in their shoes. I live on the pension, I do not have holidays, I only use my car when necessary, I do not smoke, I enjoy a glass of wine, I have an occasional modest ticket in the lottery.

    It is not easy, I have learned that what I "want" is seldom what I "need" - paying car registration, insurance, house and contents, chemist etc makes it very, very difficult. I only go out for cheap meals very infrequently. I have two small dogs which I feed good, but cheap food I cook myself. Thankfully they are in good health, one is ageing however, and like previous poster Egyptian I cannot afford vet bills.

    Also like her I cared for a person with MS and cancer for 20 years, 6 full-time when I had to leave the paid workforce to care full-time. I lived then on the Carer's Pension which back then was the same as the Aged Pension.

    I do agree however, in comparison to many on this planet I am well-off and live in a blessed country. With the Lord's help I manage. With him I have contentment, joy, peace and love beyond measure - these things money cannot buy. I feel very privileged.
    Multidisab
    15th Oct 2012
    12:59pm
    Age pension or disability pension?

    I spend all my mony on mobility: car, scooter, wheelchair, crutches, and Meals on Wheels, and insurance,chave become dependent on VISA to catchup with grocery or petrol needs at the end of the forthnight to keep appointments and workshops, cannot save up for a holiday because the car needs maintenance, I pay the powerbil in as many instalments as the company will allow, and have begun to receive VISA interest changregs for the first time in years.

    Everything is going up: tobacco, groceries, maintenance costs, and yet the money is the same as an aged pension.

    So: why is there no difference? I don't gamble, or drink or go to clubs, always home alone because friends are turning away from me because I seem to be so 'needy', life is very difficult; and all my free time is spent on dealing with the now "staff-safety regulations oriented" help organisations, instead of really helping the person according to their needs.

    Yet I live and can laugh and sing and love whatever there is.
    Peepo
    15th Oct 2012
    2:28pm
    Our home is a 5th wheeler and we property sit while owners have a break. We don't smoke, hubby brews our tipple, we don't gamble or go out to eat.
    We have 3 small dogs, love life on the road and manage ok on our pension. We can't move to far during a pension cycle because a tank of fuel costs a minimum of $320.
    We couldn't afford to buy a house or unit after we had very bad luck selling our 5 acres, but we are very happy with this choice we made.
    What happens when we can't do this anymore, we are often asked. Something will come up we say. We are very frugal and very happy. I LOVE MY SIMPLE LIFESTYLE.
    Hillbillypete
    16th Oct 2012
    1:36pm
    Yes peepo we found that was the way to go aswell and would not swap it for the world, there are so many kind people out there that want you to stay for ever and when you can not do it any more just parkup permanent in a van park close to some hospital and transport.
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    2:33pm
    Peepo
    That sounds like the most ideallic life. I hope you both enjoy it for many, many years.
    Peepo
    15th Oct 2012
    3:58pm
    Thank you, we hope so too.
    Kaye Fallick
    15th Oct 2012
    2:34pm
    Peepo
    great suggestions re ways to make do on very little.
    Do any other YOURLIfeChoices members have creative ways to make do on the pension?
    We have 10 DVDs to give away to the best suggestions - and the first one has just gone to Peepo if you are able to contact us with your mailing address:
    admin@yourlifechoices.com.au
    Peepo
    15th Oct 2012
    3:59pm
    Thank you so much.
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    6:37pm
    shop at iga on tuesdays and get 5% off my groceries including what they already have marked down and present petrol receipt and get 4 cents a ltre off bill up to 80 ltrs... my holidays are camping in my tent at less than $30 a night powered site i dont buy fast food. i grow my own veges.. could have a chook if i didnt go away so much. dont have a pet.. talk about savings there are so many we are so blessed.. rejoice!!!!! and im not a religious person but am having a terific time in my retirement...
    Kaye Fallick
    16th Oct 2012
    1:59pm
    Hi Sexeebear
    more great suggestions - can you email us on admin@yourlifechoices.com.au to share your address so we can send you a DVD? warmest, Kaye
    gerry
    15th Oct 2012
    2:45pm
    I was talking to a single mother aboriginee with 6 kids ,she travels everywhere in taxis,kids have bikes ,tellies,cellphones,and nikes ,you and I paid for that
    I,m fed up with single mothers with more than one kid Centrelink should say ""Öne kid out of wedlock,no more money unless you agree to sterilisation,one day these kids will out vote you and which party do you think they will vote for
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    2:53pm
    ogergree
    Wow what a negative post. I guess we have to remember we are living on the land which belonged to the idigenous folk. We are living lucky because of their loss.

    I do think though that the baby bonus should be stopped or means tested. Perhaps it would be better to give food/clothing vouchers for babies instead of cash.

    To look at others and get angry about what they get only makes us more discontented and miserable. Many misuse the tax-payers money and have done for many decades. Best we take care of our little corner and enhance our community instead of grumbling at what others do or have don't you think? :0)
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    2:54pm
    OOps typo - meant indigenous.
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    6:52pm
    what a load of twat mek.. but you are right in one respect. the land DID belong to the aboriginals and they did nothing to or for it an thousands of years!!!!! what a good thing we did come along and drag it to where it is now and the aboriglinals have substantially benefited from our being here and will continue to do so ad infinitum....
    re baby b.onus should never have been bought in..
    when i had my 4 sons it wasnt because there was a bonus to have them it was because we loved and respected each other and wanted to share that with them and enjoy being parents and forfeited the life of luxury parents have today...
    but (laughing) we do agree that we should only pay for 1 mistake and child born and not fund the wrong people having yet more often ferral kids to support( thatll ge a response ) but just in my 8 unit block were paying for 8 illegitimate kids and another on the way ... no shame now days just govt keeps throwing money at them and theyere walking away with over $1500 per fortnight
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    2:46pm
    Kaye
    Peepo's lifestyle sounds so great. I save a lot by buying and cooking my own dog's meat. I get five 1kg trays of minced up left-overs from my butcher for $5 the lot. To them I add frozen vegetables and rice. I get a large bag of Supercoat dry food and add some of that to their bowl each day as well. Of course any vegetable or meat ends are saved and fed to them. If out at friends and they have scraps left over I ask may I have them also for the dogs. Once a week I get the dogs a big marrow bone split lengthways so they can get the marrow. The chewing on these keeps them busy if I am not here and keeps their teeth in great condition. :0)

    I have also found I can get great "new" clothes at the op-shops very cheap whenever I need them. I turn every electrical appliance off at the wall each night or after use.

    I have been a collector of china over the years so when I need some extra funds I offload some of the pieces from my collection. I have had the joy of them, now some one else can have the privilege at the right price. :0) It all helps.
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    2:58pm
    Kaye
    I forgot to complete the story of the dog's meat - senior moment. :0) I cook 2kgs at a time in a big pot and then put it into the washed plastic containers it came in and freeze it. Five kgs cooked like that will last 6 weeks for my two small dogs.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    3:03pm
    The turn 'everything ELECTRICAL' off at the wall outlet is an 'OVERKILL' fallacy. Items like TV's, radios and electric bedside clocks and the hot water heater [a high power usage device depending on whether it has 'off-peak' capabilities or not and also depending on how often it is used] do run on power 24/7. A toaster has an ON/OFF switch so does not use power if plugged into a wall switched outlet that is in the ON position. If you want to kill all power overnight [keep a torch next to the bedside and shower before going to bed] turn the fuse-board MASTER to OFF - that is 100% no power usage for at least 8 hours.
    gerry
    15th Oct 2012
    2:52pm
    Julia recently gave 800aud for every child over 14 to buy pencils and pens instead of giving it to the schools [VOTE BUYING]consequently I know one woman with 4 kids that age 4x800 is 3200 ===320 casks of wine a year
    wine sales and pokies are up 7% ,Well its not me
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    6:55pm
    julia again ... how could a person without kids k ow what they or their parents need or how to administer any help.. makes you wonder@@!
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    2:53pm
    If you are single and on Aged pension only and pay rent you are stuffed. If you are on Newstart and pay rent you are stuffed. In both those cases you will never ever be likely to get out of the cycle of poverty.

    I would imagine that others like myself who own a now ageing car, own a residence [even if it is on an equity mortgage] and receive the pension live reasonably well. Not on salmon steaks and a big night out every week nor overseas trips every 6 months but enough income to eat healthily and have a wee indulgence or two. My only advice is budget budget budget. In the past I have offered an annualized spreadsheet to those who might need one and I do so again. Please contact Drew or Kaye as I give them permission this time to pass on my email address to those who contact them.
    AmandaR
    15th Oct 2012
    5:25pm
    I agree with everything you said, especially homeownership and budgeting. It is extremely difficult to manage financially for those who do not own their own home.
    Kaye Fallick
    15th Oct 2012
    2:57pm
    Hi Aquatrek
    your annualised spreadsheet sounds great -are you ok to share this with us on admin@yourlifechoices.com.au?
    rgds
    Kaye
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    3:07pm
    No problem - off course it helps if persons can deal with Excels little methodologies.
    I will add some 'rules'. Can I send it as an attachment to that email address ?
    Kaye Fallick
    15th Oct 2012
    3:59pm
    Fabulous - thank you
    gerry
    15th Oct 2012
    3:05pm
    When the white man came to OZ the aboriginees were matchstick thin and only gained weight when there was a fire or they started one and thousands of animals died ,so the animals get my sympathy,also when the displaced Irish and Scots started farming the aboriginals couldnt believe their luck ,here were animals that stood still to be eaten and thats why they were nearly wiped out
    I dont believe in land rights what we should do is nhelp them get jobs in the mine areas where most of them would like to stay and the wasted money thats thrown at them be spent on super education for the kids
    BY the way the Queen lives on my land rights,also she,s German Greek and I am English so where does history begin and end
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    3:40pm
    ogergree
    Matchstick thin or not the indigineous folk had lived on this land for at least 40,000 years and do much less damage to it than we have done in just over 200 years.

    I think they were and many today can still show us a thing or too about how to live off this land without destroying it. It is the contamination by white man's diseases and bad habits e.g. alcohol abuse that has led to their downfall - to say nothing of the mistreatment and massacres.

    Not sure what your point is about the Queen. We all came from the same gene pool in the beginning you know. :0)
    student
    16th Oct 2012
    10:30pm
    ogergree, I really can not understand you. I agree with MEK. the Aborigines can teach us a lot about understanding the land. Yes, they burned the land .. to regenerate the land. Why do you think the Aborigines have so many diseases like diabetes?? AND alcoholism?? The white man gave them everything about which you complain. Obesity too. Oh MEK, sadly you are so right.
    Ummm the Queen??? I'm lost too.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    10:40pm
    student

    Thanks for you comment. You are so right also. It is sad that people still judge our indigenous so harshly.
    wally
    15th Oct 2012
    3:05pm
    Everyone's circumstances are different in areas such as home ownership (or not), health and medical expenses, location of where you live, lifestyle choices (pets or garden or car ownership for example) and all of these things have a bearing on how you live. Some do ok, others do not. Some are blessed and lucky, others are not. You have to live within your means and realize that you have less disposable income at your disposal and spend it on what you need and not just because you want something.
    Lastly circumstances can change in an instant either through accident, injury or the onset of ill health which can ruin you lifestyle as you know it. Nobody can predict the future, otherwise we'd all be rich picking the winning Lotto numbers! Just do your best.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    3:13pm
    The turn 'everything ELECTRICAL' off at the wall outlet is an 'OVERKILL' fallacy. Items like TV's, radios and electric bedside clocks and the hot water heater [a high power usage device depending on whether it has 'off-peak' capabilities or not and also depending on how often it is used] do run on power 24/7. A toaster has an ON/OFF switch so does not use power if plugged into a wall switched outlet that is in the ON position. If you want to kill all power overnight [keep a torch next to the bedside and shower before going to bed] turn the fuse-board MASTER to OFF - that is 100% no power usage for at least 8 hours.
    Nautilus
    15th Oct 2012
    3:15pm
    "I would imagine that others like myself who own a now ageing car, own a residence [even if it is on an equity mortgage] and receive the pension live reasonably well."

    You need to factor in the costs of upkeep and maintenance. For instance, one drain crushed by tree roots or shifting soil in dry conditions and the repair cost is crippling.

    An instance of ongoing maintenance could be the regular need to replace roof pointing on a tiled roof. Expensive. If put off the damage is horrendous and not covered by insurance. Not just damage to the structure and furnishings but a whole section of roof can easily break the few rusted tie wires to fall on someone below.

    Rentals
    It is inconceivable that the continuing new regulations and a trend towards litigation affecting owners will not eventually impact on all of the rental population, either through diminished supply (investment money leaving the market) and/or higher rents. Government regulators are requiring more inspection and certification of property and the costs are significant. Eg., $150 for a certified person to regularly clean and put a fresh battery in a smoke detector. Previously a tenant or the owner could do that himself when the unit beeped every few years, or say annually. $ 200 to certify that any curtain cords meet new government standards. The list goes on. Not applicable to owner occupied dwellings.

    15th Oct 2012
    3:20pm
    I don't see how there can be any debate. OECD states that poverty level is 50% of the median wage. The pension is adjusted twice yearly to 27.7% of the CPI. Simple mathematics shows that the aged pensioner falls a further 22.3% behind with every CPI rise. I don't want to be cynical, but we are more than likely going to enter a period of negative CPI in the next couple of years & that will actually benefit the aged pensioner. Just watch the formula change then.
    grumpygran
    15th Oct 2012
    3:23pm
    Drew, You knew I’d bite at this one!!!
    Dr. Goldie in her usual dialogue in 2009 actually congratulated the Federal Government for the increase in the SINGLE pension – yes, Rudd started the increase then Her kept it going over four months and all one ever heard on T.V. was “I’ve increased the SINGLE pension again” by $100 – boy did they need it!! BUT I tried to point out to Dr. Goldie (fell on deaf ears of course!), that at the same time, RUDD actually CUT the couples pension by 17%, then HER kept it going by cutting the supplement to make it 23%, that’s nearly a quarter of the couple’s pension gone to pay the increase in the single pension. Jenny Macklin actually admitted, in a letter to Business Spectator, to cutting the pension – initially stating they hadn’t BUT, whoever wrote her letter maybe isn’t working there any more, in the next paragraph actually states that “to RE-INSTATE (give back) the couples pension she would have to CUT the single pension by $70.00 (that was back in 2010). Take from one to give to the other, pitting pensioner against pensioner. Devious workings of government.

    There was a CEO from one of the Pensioner ??? and Superannuants Associations (“we really care for all pensioners”) recently on T.V. commenting on the fact that pensioners are struggling and have been for three years (from 2009 – wonder why) whereby they leave the car in the garage as they can’t afford the registration. If this organization was concerned with genuine pensioners (those who exist purely on the pension) he’d have known REAL pensioners don’t pay registration – but superannuants with hundreds of thousands of dollars do. He was also concerned with what is now called “grey crime” and did say it started three years ago (surprise! surprise!), whereby REAL pensioners were reduced to stealing from supermarkets to have a decent meal. To be reduced to such degradation is appalling, a national disgrace and leaves one disgusted with this government.. Maybe Dr. Goldie and this dill need to get together with some REAL pensioners – or suggest they EXIST NOT LIVE on $28,000 for a year for two people, or try paying rent on the single pension, or try being a war widow with medical benefits now cut.

    The Minister himself was on T.V. recently stating single pensioners will now be paid 66% of the couples pension. Imagine the elation of singles, thinking they’re going to get an increase – doesn’t take Einstein to figure out if the pack of thieves in Canberra have CUT the couples pension by nearly a quarter there’s no way the singles are EVER going to get an increase.
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    3:28pm
    grumpygran

    Depends which State you live in re paying car regisgration. I assure you I am a "real" pensioner as you call us, but I most definitely have to pay car registration albeit at a reduced rate, but still heft enough. :)

    15th Oct 2012
    3:30pm
    Before somebody corrects me, I meant falls 22.3% 0f the CPI increase.
    fpbsix
    15th Oct 2012
    3:50pm
    whatever the choice , it wont be what our comments say ,as they do exactly what they want to do , I have solar power & they have dropped py deductions for the power by 1/2 , instead of paying me 69.00 they paid me 35.00.off my power bill.because they feel like rejucing the price they pay.
    Hillbillypete
    16th Oct 2012
    2:09pm
    Solar power was a big CON, hasn't everybody worked that out yet! The power companys are the only people to get anything out of it.
    student
    16th Oct 2012
    10:40pm
    Hillbillypete, I don't think many pensioners could afford to install the solar panels and get the rebate :) fpbsix is the reduction paid by the Energy company or the Gov??
    Nan Norma
    19th Oct 2012
    9:03pm
    My first bill after I got the solar panels was $14.45c Normal averaged $200
    AmandaR
    22nd Oct 2012
    1:35pm
    Hi Nan Norma. We are transitioning to retirement and looking at ways to become more self-sufficient. My husband is quite keen to install solar panels. Apart from the huge savings you have experienced (outlay for the purchase and installation aside), what has been the biggest advantage? Is it the feeling of being self-sufficient and not reliant on an external provider? By all accounts and god willing, we should have a lot more years ahead of us to absorb the initial outlay so I am not worried about that but I would like to know what are the maintenance and ongoing costs? For example, will one of us have to be up on the roof cleaning the panels on a regular basis?
    AF
    15th Oct 2012
    3:51pm
    AGE PENSION ALONE SHOULD GO UP NOT NEWSTART !!! Those on Newstart who are genuinely looking for work and incurring transport costs even if using public transport are the ones who need more support. Not sure how you weed out the bludgers then of course there are the drug addicts who get a disability pension.......WHY ??
    sheila
    15th Oct 2012
    4:07pm
    I think both should go up BUT I do think Newstart and single parent pensions should be monitored. It is sad but many do waste the money on gambling, smokes and drugs, maybe
    a system of vouchers for travel, food, health,clothing and school expenses could be incorporated.Aged pensioners should have earned the right to spend their few dollars the way they want to.
    Peepo
    15th Oct 2012
    5:03pm
    I agree with you Sheila on all points.
    Most of us age pensioners have worked hard since we were 15 years old and through different circumstances do not have a nest egg, but we have made a large contribution to this country. So a few extra dollars would be a great help now.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    4:23pm
    Austudy is another pathetic rate for those who are on it. Many uni students struggle to eat well and often cram into rented dwellings living like rats. Some even run 2 or 3 jobs to try to make ends meet.
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    7:06pm
    dont start me on austudy... i didnt get a university education coz there was no austudy and no money in the household to get one.. i had ot get out and get a job at 15 yo..having worked while i was at school from age 8.. years later i put myself through university by working 3 jobs and weekends.. i dont agree with austudy we are what we make of ourselves
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    7:17pm
    whether you like it or not times have changed from when education was really free - that you have done it the hard way is a tribute to you but Austudy is here to stay but like Newstart hasnt changed for a long time - education is where the next generations come from so you would think that governments would put that at the top of the list yet their massive salaries and perks get rubber stamped 1st - common sense priorities thrown out the window.
    student
    16th Oct 2012
    10:53pm
    hey aquatrek, poor uni students live on legumes or 2 minute noodles smothered in tomato sauce. Me?? I refuse to eat either of those and the kids call me rich 'cause I eat tofu :) :) I agree the kids (young adults) need more money. I have a deep respect for those I have had the pleasure to meet.

    I didn't have the opportunity to go to uni when I was younger, but now I can afford it and I count my blessings every day.

    15th Oct 2012
    4:35pm
    Just a point about the Car Registration cost. Yes, NSW does give free registration to aged pensioners, BUT, they still have to pay third Party of around $650, even though they travel an estimated quarter of the kilometers.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    4:43pm
    I pay $367 with AAMI - 3 dr hatch
    AmandaR
    15th Oct 2012
    5:36pm
    I pay about $380 - AAMI - 5 door hatch. I have been told there are better deals out there and I will be checking them out before I register in 2013.
    Allie
    15th Oct 2012
    4:56pm
    Why are so many people on this site so bitter, nasty and whingers? Of course Newstart should go up. Stop being so cruel and nasty and thoughtless. If you don't think it should you should go and talk to some people trying to live on it AND apply for jobs. And by the way, if your husband reaches age pension age but you don't YOU go on Newstart....so stop being so mean.
    Of course the raise in Age Pensions by MR Rudd was important...because after 11 years under Howard they got NOTHING ....ignored.
    My hubby is on a DSP. We are not whingeing. It is hard but we are grateful ;
    1 he is still alive
    2 we live in a country that has social security
    3 we can get medical help (even though the gaps here in regional NSW are quite expensive)
    4 we don't begrudge anyone who needs support and help no matter who they are or how old/young they are.

    Of course DSP are always ignored. I think take middle class welfare off the self funded ( usually complaining) retirees and give it to the aged pensioners who are really doing it hard.
    Stop whingeing...be grateful and lobby when you see things are unfair. ( Like am doing re Chronic illness dental support that has just been cut off...what to do if my husband has an abcess in his mouth and the infection lands on his prothestic hips? He will be in a wheelchair).
    I am grateful to be in Australia. Stop being so angry with the young'ns trying to find jobs/careers...things have changed since you were 'out there'.
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    5:02pm
    Allie
    Well said indeed. We are all so well off compared to other countries - the poorest Australian would be rich in some countries. Seeing some of those folk on tv shows even though they are dirt poor they are smiling, sharing and caring. Sometimes I think we in Australia can behave like spoiled brats.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    5:33pm
    This country is 'paradise' compared to say India/Guatemala or most of the African states. Nobody in Oz even has an inkling of what permanent irreversible poverty really is - except maybe displaced disenfranchised indigenous. If any Oz government had one iota of common sense then they would be able to very clearly define the so called 50 Shades of Grey ... Oz demographic 'poverty line' - not some arbitary 'median' number.
    Taskid
    15th Oct 2012
    5:41pm
    auqatrek
    Spot on. Australians rudely call British migrants "whingeing Poms" - I think it is a case of "those in glass houses should not throw stone".
    sexeebear
    15th Oct 2012
    7:15pm
    re new start.. i have recently been offering $23 an hour to anyone who want to work to do office cleaning 5=9 at night and guess what... not one australian or person on newstart or welfare applied but plenty of overseas students happy to get that much money and living well on the allowed 20 hrs a week of it... newstart is a joke as theres plenty of work out there just not glamerous work with perks cars and codfee breaks... get rid of new start and watch them get jobs at their level of competense.. not be funded to wait till bill gateses job becomes avaiable
    evilmonk
    21st Oct 2012
    10:34am
    sexeebear - does it occur to you that it's not the work that's the problem but the hours? 5-9pm - no child care at those times so that cuts out anyone who has children and no one to look after them at night. Also i don't know where you live, but what is the public transport like to get to that job? Is the area they would be working safe at night? Is it at one building or around several buildings, all of which they would need some sort of transport to get to?
    Could i do that sort of work? Yes, quite happily. Would i do that sort of work? Yes, quite happily. Would i do that sort of work at night? No. I have kids to be home with. Would i do any work at night? No.
    dolby
    15th Oct 2012
    5:01pm
    I live on a single aged pension supporting a wife who is a newly arrived lady of 61 years of age, I receive a small pension from the UK each month from the UK, we live in an apartment which I was qualified to have under my income by the housing dept prior to my wife being her with me, Her English and job opportunitis are limited, We dont want anything from the government only my earned pension which I would still get if she wasnt here with me. Iam on a section 24 aggreement with centerlink my wife has no assetts or money I married this lady out a commited love for her, We budget budget we shop carefully we dont smoke drink have animals or gamble its all to do with responsible budgeting we manage ok, My Wife is Chinese, try living there, we are fortunate to live in a generous country I tghink dont live beyond your means I have an older car cheaper internet I manage quite wellon the so called poverty line
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    5:23pm
    This may not suite everyone but I direct debit all known static bills like utilities etc

    15th Oct 2012
    5:56pm
    Welcome dolby. I am very interested in your post as I get to visit China regularly. I have not tried to actually do it, but I would think that I could live very well in Shanghai or Beijing on the Australian aged pension. I don't know anything about the section 24 agreement, so I don't know how your income is affected by residency. My company has a deal with a 3 star hotel & I admit that even though I get a lot of free 1st class meals over there, I would doubt if my living costs ever exceed 10,000 yuen a month, which is well within the basic aged pension rate in Australia.
    toot2000
    15th Oct 2012
    6:35pm
    If we are the richest country in the world based on median wealth we should be ashamed to have people living in poverty, for God's sake fix it.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    6:36pm
    The current government are hell bent on getting as many Oz as possible forced down to the bottom of the pond. They have lost their marbles entirely.

    Government Single parents and their children suffer as Senate passes cuts October 9, 2012 - Leading welfare voices came together in Canberra on Tuesday to protest against the Federal Government's decision to press ahead with damaging cuts to the payments of more than 100,000 single parents in defiance of two separate Committee recommendations.
    ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "This is not the right way to achieve a Budget surplus, on the back of sole parents and their children. It's cruel and unfair, especially for the children that will be severely affected!"
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    7:10pm
    Those multiple posts can be removed by the posters - reply changes to removed I think
    dolby
    15th Oct 2012
    7:16pm
    Hi Innes I was told by centre link that getting married the aged pension would be reduced by $190 a fortnight this was one half of the married rate, My wife has no assetts or any money she came from a very poor part of China supported by her family, I met this lady and I applied to have her come to Australia on a spouse visa which we received I totally support her with my income only We do have any other income other than my small pension monthly from the uk my wife cannot speak a lot of english she is studying all the time, she has no entitlements payable by centerelink for 2 years , they wanted to reduce my payment I applied for the social security act 24 to be applied which leaves you on the single payment this is reviewed you can have this if you have good reason to be on it we had her lack of English and her restriction of any benefits which is rightly so we do not want hand outs my wife has paid no tax but I have for 40 years what I decide to do with my pension payment is my business we have another 5 months then I will have my pension reduced and my wife will have to claim newstart at 62 years of age and try to find a job she has no entitlements to any pension for a 10 years She has contrbuted nothing I take care of her with my entitlements only
    Peepo
    15th Oct 2012
    8:14pm
    I wish you and your partner a very happy life together, it certainly won't be an easy one.
    dolby
    15th Oct 2012
    8:21pm
    Thanks Peepo we do ok we just want to be together to have the companionship and love we share we could go and live in Southern China be better off on my aged pension without all the restriction here in OZ other than visas etc

    15th Oct 2012
    9:53pm
    Hi again Dolby, I am afraid that the rules have changed a lot in the last 5 years, so I am not up to date on your situation, but I can say that if you wanted to live in a not so major Chinese City like Xian or Zhuhai, you two would be living like a king on your pension.
    dolby
    15th Oct 2012
    10:48pm
    Not to sure by what you mean re the rules have changed a lot the last 5 years what rules pertaining to what jusyt out of interest
    Wader
    15th Oct 2012
    10:23pm
    It's good to hear all the different ideas here. If I had the magic wand (or big stick) I would increase Newstart and provide other supports like child care, work related expenses like trade tickets after training, and keep the Health card going for a year or so after they are earning a wage. That way we may get people off welfare for good. At present the payments are just enough to live hand to mouth and no more. People are frightened to get a job. The low paid,part-time "permanent-casual" "Contractor" type jobs that have no security whatsoever and have additional costs to the worker are a disgrace.

    I would also start counting all the unpaid hours retirees spend on volunteering and pay THEM a bonus of some sort for saving the Govt mega bucks.

    People who have written in here talk about how well they manage and how blessed they are to live in Australia. I think that's good, but it misses the point. Being poor is relative. In Australia the gap between haves and have- nots is obscene.
    Nan Norma
    15th Oct 2012
    10:45pm
    When people start to say how lucky we are to live in Australia where we get a pension while in other countries there is no pension, seem to forget in other countries they pay no tax. I lived in poverty has a child and it wasn't much fun.
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    10:48pm
    the last broad brush sentence is utter rubbish as obscene is a very strong word - if you are defining the haves as those who are rich enough to be entrepreneurs and the nots as those on social support then that is what 200 years of democracy has dealt out as a society. If you want to see that battered down so that all are seen as so called 'equal' then go live in Cuba [the politburo there are exempt of course].
    aquatrek
    15th Oct 2012
    10:50pm
    sorry Nan Norma - the last post is addressed to Wader
    sexeebear
    16th Oct 2012
    9:06am
    aquatech i went to cuba recently and believe me you wouldnt want to live there and your right the top people live like kings as does anyone who can claim spanish ancestory but the majority live so badly they own nothing they have nothing and nothing new paint furniture everything for over 50 years and it shows, the mindset of the people is shocking and shamefull and i left after 2 weeks touring not resort bound feeling sad and helpless. it has been a beautiful country and has amasing infrastructure now decaying although there is a degree of restoration in havana the capital of course. outside of havana it is very very grim and an example of how things dont work at all for anyone..

    15th Oct 2012
    10:25pm
    I have just read your earlier post again dolby & note that you have been paying Australian tax for 40 years. I know that you cannot give all details on here, but I think you are not getting good advice. If you would like to write to me privately at 46143@tpg.com.au I would be more than happy to delve into this a little more for you.
    dolby
    15th Oct 2012
    10:36pm
    Thank you Inness for your offer and kindness, I prefer to leave it like I have written without further disection Cheers
    Wader
    16th Oct 2012
    2:11am
    Aquatrek, the sentence you wiped out as "broad brush" simply used the word obscene as" an offence against common decency". I do find it offensive. As for wanting everyone to be "equal", that is not what I said. In our society there will always be an array of incomes, but the lowest need not, should not- be so low.

    Nan, I grew up without running water or electricity, in a house that was put together from war time bits and pieces. There wasn't much money for widowed women. Life was not much fun for my mother.However our standard of living was not so different from many others in those times. People still live like that today, but most do not and the difference is painfully great

    16th Oct 2012
    4:10am
    No problem dolby
    gerry
    16th Oct 2012
    8:42am
    no one in OZ lives in poverty if they have a tv.,roof over their head,free medical ,travel etc ,,Who pays for all these people WHO?
    Try living in Manila where you have to pick food from dumps and garbage bins
    ENTITLED ENTITLED ENTITLED i,M ASHAMED to be Australian
    toot2000
    16th Oct 2012
    9:04am
    I can see the reasoning behind the government’s plan to cut payments for sole parents, they are hoping it will get them into paid work. There will be 100,000 sole parents who will have $60 and $100 a week cut from their pension from January 2013. I fear for the children of these families and believe they are about to discover what real poverty is all about.
    sexeebear
    16th Oct 2012
    9:11am
    toot theyve had it too good for too long.. its been a great option for a long time not having to work and have an illegitimate kid,, about time they paid theyre way and as far as work goes most of them wouldnt know how.. they only know how to work the system and to be wombs for iresponsible low life males
    toot2000
    16th Oct 2012
    10:23am
    Yes I agree to a large extent, but think mental illness keeps a lot of poor people out of the workforce because they can't cope, I just hope someone is watching out for them and their kids.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    10:26am
    sexeebear

    Don't you think you are being extremely judgemental? All children have two parents don't they? All children born to de facto relationships are illegitimate aren't they? This regardless of their status or not on the social scale.

    I have worked among enough people from all stratas of society over many years and have met some "low life" as you call them at the top of the artificial scale based on money, privilege, chance, education, family stability and I have met many at what you would call the "lower levels" - who are doing it tough but doing it well. People of integrity, devoted to their children, living as good a life as they can. Can anyone lump people all together by race, skin colour, income, social circumstances?

    I know we live in an anti-Christian age and sadly nation becoming more so, people have no real basis for their "values" and that can be seen as our society descends more and more into most unpleasant and dark things.

    Let us not judge people for where they were born, what life handed to them. One day it may be a "low life" who lends you a helping hand or even saves your life. "There but for the grace of God walk I." Let us never forget it.
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    10:27am
    This supposedly 'socialist' government cohort are brutal. You hit on the only operative word they have left toot2000 - hope. Shorten said last night on Q&A that it was a tough decision [despite recommendations not to do it]. As if he would know or care, especially about the kids. The paltry amount of monies that the ALP New Coalition will reap must mean a lot to their coffers as the surplus word gets more and more less likely everyday. Shorten also said that there was yet more to be put out on the table - I wonder what low strata of society they will decimate next.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    10:34am
    aqauatrek

    Good morning. I also watched Q&A and Shorten also challenged Mirabella to admit that the idea of cutting the parental allowance was first mooted by the Coalition - for once, she was left speechless, as she could not deny it.
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    10:40am
    sexeebear: for irresponsible low life males - misanthrope/misandrist ?
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    10:47am
    and a 'top of the morning' to you to MEK: so what is your point ? ideas are free and bandied about by all parties - its called freedom of thought and expression - but this govt are responsible for actually implementing the idea that will severely affect 0.05% of the population - they are the mothers alone not including the number kids. Now that is what I call mini-micro-nano pointless social adjustment.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    12:09pm
    aquatrek
    My point is that you make it sound as if this was originally a Labor idea, but as Q&A showed last night the idea of reducing payments to single parents when their children reached a certain age originated with the Coalition. Did you miss that on Q&A? A conservative government is more likely to be hardline with welfare recipients than the Labor. Fair squeeze of the sauce bottle. :0)
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    12:21pm
    MEK: your opinion is that 'I made it sound like an ALP idea' - that's you putting a spin on my very brief concise comment. I did not miss the 'win' by Shorten but that was not what I was referring to. Would you rather that I transcribe the whole TV episode on here so that persons like yourself can be encouraged not to 'put words between the lines' into another persons blog ? Why did Shorten say that 'it was a tough decision' without explanation - he repeated that phrase several times. This is the guy who concocted legislation so that corrupt union officials can only be fined $6,600 !! Now he has deliberately targeted single parent benefits - what a hypocrite.
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    12:31pm
    MEK: just in case you missed the whole issue and in the correct context and the same text as posted above:

    Government Single parents and their children suffer as Senate passes cuts October 9, 2012 - Leading welfare voices came together in Canberra on Tuesday to protest against the Federal Government's decision to press ahead with damaging cuts to the payments of more than 100,000 single parents in defiance of two separate Committee recommendations.
    ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "This is not the right way to achieve a Budget surplus, on the back of sole parents and their children. It's cruel and unfair, especially for the children that will be severely affected!

    Shorten and Co were advised not to do it but 'its a tough' decision is his response.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    1:59pm
    aquatrek

    Well whatever the Government has decided to do my friend, it was first thought up by the Coalition. That is the fact you carefully keep avoiding. You seem to be staunchly Coalition biased, for me each has problems.

    Tony Abbott is also a hypocrite. When in power and John Howard was going to bring in a Carbon Tax or ETS Abbott was in total agreement. However, when he sadly became leader suddenly climate change was fiction. He has had to modify his views on that also.

    He is so inconsistent and lacking in policies it is scary, on top of that he tells us on TV "don't listen to what I say only what is scripted" - and people want him as PM. Spare my days. :0)

    I am not certain the withdrawal of the payment is wise, but my point is, it is the policy of both major parties although doubtless Abbott will try to turn that around too. :0)
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    2:10pm
    You really are stupid ALIEN MEK. Not once have I carefully 'avoided' the fact. I am posting on here to respond to a topic - the ACOSS Poverty in Australia report. Those single parenting parents that I and others have referred will be forced to embrace poverty because of an ignorant arrogant [advised not to do it] brutal non-caring anti-social government making 'tough decisions' my arse. Go back to your planet asap.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    2:21pm
    aquatrek

    Thank you for your kind words. :0) You wish to bash the Government, fine, avoid the facts if you must, but sorry, I don't follow the crowd, if that makes me an alien, well I am proud to be. :0)
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    2:32pm
    apparently you cant read and thats a shame but you are an ALIEN so you need all the help that you can get: I can translate this into Klingon talk if you want but I insist that you attempt to read about and understand this human situation [sorry - I didnt attach the URL source but its valid]:

    Government Single parents and their children suffer as Senate passes cuts October 9, 2012 - Leading welfare voices came together in Canberra on Tuesday to protest against the Federal Government's decision to press ahead with damaging cuts to the payments of more than 100,000 single parents in defiance of two separate Committee recommendations.
    ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said, "This is not the right way to achieve a Budget surplus, on the back of sole parents and their children. It's cruel and unfair, especially for the children that will be severely affected!

    Those naughty evil government bashing fools that produced the report and the committees that said dont do it and those idiotic leading welfare bodies calling foul play and as for that moron Dr Cassandra Goldie - how dare they make such comments !!! sacrilege, outrageous, monstrous, incredulous [not].
    But pls dont shoot the messenger - me.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    3:22pm
    Well yes I read, I listen and I comprehend. The two last seem to be absent in your replies.

    Whether the Government does it or whether the Coalition does it (it was their idea first - listen and learn from the elders) it is not a very well-thought out decision.

    I hear what you are saying and I agree, it is a worriesome decision - but it was the brainchild of Abbott and Co originally. So "bash" both if you find it necessary to "bash" fairly or not at all. :0) Had Abbott been in government he would have introduced it as well. What is the difference?
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    3:35pm
    You are so mindlessly thick in your persistence ALIEN MEK: a purely alien trait ?
    I am not on this topic to debate which party ideas/policies are 'out there' nor am I on here to debate the hypotheticals of what LNP will actually do when in government - an absolute waste of your alien time and my earthly one so why cant you just stick to the topic and drop the harrasment.

    Nevertheless, so far you have said that the decision is 'not wise' and then 'worriesome' so you must be 'bashing' ALP as well - welcome to the party atmosphere and get a REAL life ALIEN MEK. The End.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    3:42pm
    Thank you earthling - my apologies if you feel harrassed. If you go back you will see you asked me "what is your point?" - my point is (now try to follow carefully, I am typing slowly for you) you made a comment about what was on Q&A - zoning in on what Bill Shorten said, but you did not mention his challenge to Sophie Mirabella to agree that her party were the first to come up with the idea of cutting the payments. That is my point oh poor challenged earthling. Must be so hard for you, but keep trying. I will give you a "T" for "trying." Where do you live on earth? Under a rock? :0)
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    4:02pm
    You have proven already that you cant read - I 'zoned' in on Shorten because he publicly stated that it was a 'TOUGH DECISION' - then when you put your spin on my blog I replied quote ' I did not miss the 'win' by Shorten but that was not what I was referring to' unquote. So the evidence just keeps piling up that as a blogger you pursue a fixed mindset agenda that has nothing to do with the topic at hand and therefore as a blogger u ALIEN MEK are virtually a 'waste of text space'.
    Oldtecho
    16th Oct 2012
    4:06pm
    We are a married couple on the pension and used my Super payout to clear the debts. WE own the home, car, etc. and live in a rural town where we can walk easily to P.O., IGA supermarket (cheaper than Coles or Woolworth s for most items we buy), chemist, 2 doctors, 2 banks, butchers, 2 takeaway shops, newsagent, several second-hand & other stores, garage, service station, hotel, community club etc.. We have solar panel (2.4kw) and get no energy bills as they pay us a small amount. On the pension we can easily afford to go on cruise ship holidays several times a year. We do not smoke or gamble and limit alcohol to a glass of wine with dinner each night. Since Labor came to power the pension has improved and provided you select where you live to suit your needs and budget you can live on it quite well.
    Kaye Fallick
    18th Oct 2012
    5:25pm
    Great suggestions Oldtecho - can you email us your mailing address so we can send you a DVD? Kind regards
    Kaye
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    4:08pm
    aquatrek

    So in your ever so humble opinion I am a "waste of text space" am I? Could it be you do not appreciate anyone having an opinion which differs from yours?????????Mmmmmmmmmmm?
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    4:20pm
    from another blogger attempting to stick to the topic under debate:
    quote 'what a load of twat mek'

    ?????????Mmmmmmmmmmm? ya got me there as its not Klingon. Is it the sound of your alien craft firing up to make an exit from Earths gravity field ? I hope so.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    4:17pm
    A good way to save money on the pension is to find an ISP which can offer a wireless home phone. When NBN came here I changed to that and now I have a wireless home phone which costs me only $11 a month bundled with my internet. I have free calls nationally and cheap calls internationally. No rent, no other charges. It comes with a cordless handset and I purchased a second one for my bedroom at a modest cost.

    Prior to this service I had changed to Optus wireless phone which was then $35 with free calls nationally and reduced calls internationally.

    The only disadvantage is if the power goes off. In that eventuality I have a mobile which I pay under $10 a month as a back up. I use the latter very sparingly, mainly use it for emergencies, so for just on $20 I have an excellent phone service. I can recommend it for anyone - why pay line rental and call costs? This way I save heaps and can phone anywhere nationally for as long as I like.
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    4:24pm
    Are you ALIEN MEK's earthly twin ? A topic blog - amazing stuff - full speed ahead dear MEK !!
    AmandaR
    17th Oct 2012
    6:17pm
    You've got NBN MEK? I am jealous.
    Taskid
    17th Oct 2012
    7:03pm
    Amanda.

    Yes, hopefully most will get it in time. It is excellent. Much faster than the wireless connection I had previously.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    4:29pm
    aquatrek
    Hehehehe - no just little ole me aqua. I just wanted to share with others a great way to save money. I know NBN is not everywhere, but other providers have the wireless home phone option. It is better than paying out over $100 a month as I was with Telstra. :0)
    Grateful
    16th Oct 2012
    4:31pm
    The real solution would be to remove the term "part pensioner". If you are not a "full pensioner" then you should not need a government welfare payment. You should be self sufficient.
    Why should someone with over $800 per week in income and/or with assets (not including their home) over over $600,000, receive a government benefit????
    The pension is a "welfare benefit" NOT an ENTITLEMENT.
    With all the savings, the GENUINELY IN NEED would be able to be given a fair increase thus NO pensioner would be "in poverty".
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    4:39pm
    Grateful
    I agree we are supporting too many well-off people when others who, through no fault of their own, find themselves dependent only on the aged pension.

    There would be a problem though, I know I have had occasional casual work in my profession which has paid well, but only for a short period so I have been eligible for a part pension. Perhaps instead of removing part pensions the means test could be set lower to screen out those who do not really need it?
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    5:05pm
    Grateful: truer words were never spoken - a reform to bring it all back into its original intent but by whom ?
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    5:48pm
    I know there are a lot of different needs our in the wider community.

    I know what poverty means: I have lived in it all my life, even when I was working in Sydney on a basic wage for office workers.
    Since 1991 I have been on the disability pension and have a long row of medical conditions that make getting back to work impossible.
    I wrote before that the aged pension is the same as the disability pension yet my own spreadsheets show now only the most basic shopping: bread, sugar, milk; I can't afford to pay MOW right now - I have no idea how to save up for a car service; I had to fix my scooter
    myself and learn the secrets of allen keys and drive belt tension as well as lubrication; the wheelchair I have on long-term loan is OK but not ideal, and had to buy my own elbow- crutches that I need life-long or ability-long yet this gave me the advantage to go to Ebay and avoid "art" type prices and ergonomic handgrips.

    Each time the pension comes in I have less and less 'free' money available.

    I read here that aside from very personal and specific cicumstances, many non-disabled pensioners are managing wihtout too much pain, and I live in such poverty now that my life is a true misery. I cannot buy books. I cannot study, for lack of money. I cannot go out to a movie, because now I have to look at the mileage on my car to know what budget to make for petrol needed for medical and other appointments.

    I am still grateful because it is better than living on the streets without a home. Many of my medical conditions run in the family, so there's nothing that can be done any more to elimiate any of them in a real and lasting way.

    I finally got the 'safety-net' but I believe I need to begin paying the chemist again at the beginning of the new year. What can I save on to pay again? Nothing, really. Simply not get the presciptions filled? This never happened before.

    I would really like some feedback from those who are of an understanding mind. These facts are true, and I cannot change hem and therefore must accept what is, but is it getting so hard now that I was better off if ... well what comes to mind here?

    And still I find that I can laugh and sing and endure what is becoming more and more intolerable.
    aquatrek
    16th Oct 2012
    5:55pm
    you deeply humble me - an equity mortgage ?
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    6:17pm
    Thanks for asking - it is not my intention to humble you or any readers. No equity: I live in Government Housing, my brother helped me buy the car I have now, and he paid most of it. I can no longer get by without help from others now, and even though my siblings are quite well off he is the only one that makes a difference for me. So I cannot spoil the relationship with him by becoming even more 'needy'.

    By putting on a brave and happy face I avoid paining him this way. And I think he knows that. The others are so deeply engrained in their chosen greed, that I feel humiliated when I ask them anything. No way will I allow myself to be degraded.

    Thanks Aquatrek, I enjoy many of your sharings even though I may not understand them all. Bless you.
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    6:38pm
    Multidisab

    I want to give you a big hug - I know in some small degree how tough life is for you having had a friend who was a quadraplegic due to MS. She was not eligible for a DSP as she had what was a modest superannuation. This meant she had to pay top dollar for every prescription, it was crippling at times. Up to $500 a month. Thankfully I was able to help her physically and financially then as I was working.

    She needed a specially designed wheelchair which took ages to get. Aids are so expensive. I know when she had to have a soecially made bed we had help from the Lions Club. Have you thought of approaching them?

    We had a very supportive church family too who helped in many practical ways, I don't know if you have a church family, but if you find the right one it can be so great. We also both knew Jesus and even though things were tough and caring for her was hard work we were never alone. He walked with us in so many ways. If you do not know Him can I encourage you to give your life to Him, the alternative which you hint at does not bear thinking about. Having said that I was at that very point when He came to me and to my disabled friend.

    I will certainly be praying for you that the things that you need will be provided and more so. Please keep chatting with us and keep us informed as to how you are going. My heart goes out to you, not least of all because I do understand how hard the going is for the disabled. May the Lord bless you abundantly.
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    7:22pm
    Hi MEK, thanks for the hug, and of course I know Jesus, otherwise I could not bless Aquatrek?

    I am a migrant and all church people I have met placed a thick boundary against me. One of them saved my life when I was ready to let it go. Slowly I am becoming more appreciative of this, because I am still changing from abuse and healing through true forgiveness: "Father, they do not know what they do."

    And thank you for your prayer of provision, I call this miracle-work!
    Grateful
    16th Oct 2012
    8:44pm
    Multidisab. You are what I describe as a GENUINE person in need and totally deserving of a full pension. You must share the same angst that I do when people can earn $800 per week, or have $600,000 in assets , or a couple who could have $1,15 MILLION in assets, or, $1,250 PER WEEK in income and still claim a pension AND receive all health and pensioner benefits from their Health Card. How greedy are those people, but, how gutless are ALL governments that don't see that glaring anomaly and not do anything about it. All of those rates were significantly increased to win votes, but, all they have done is created a middle class welfare society at the expense of the genuine needy. It is a bleeding disgrace and it will take a government with true GUTS to remedy this blight on our society. Sitting down beside a millionaire who talks about getting virtually free medicine and joking about his "pittance" of a pension does make one quite ill, especially when we read you story. Incidentally, I, too, have to decide whether I walk or drive as a few litres of petrol digs deeply into my "disposable" income. My teachings are that God does not burden one with more than they can bear. But, it would certainly help if my Government can give me a hand occasionally.
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    9:37pm
    Dear Grateful, Thank you!!! It certainly helps me to feel better about myself hearing your thoughts behind your words.
    Money ultimately is an illusion in which many have fallen including the parts of government that have formed cooperations without duty of real disclosure.
    Yet where would I be without it? Like you, I am grateful for the pension.
    Things are so extremely tight right now because I am trying to save a little and not touch it; and also I am still repaying a Centrelink loan I needed to pay for my share of the cost of the scooter.
    That should be over soon so I can pay Meals on Wheels; that means I have good food, veg and meat and lovely deserts.
    I do not count my life as a curse, some would, but that's not my problem. They seem to have a problem with me that was decided beforehand never to be resolved.
    Therefore that does not trouble me, unless I see people with more money grab the best things from opshops and boast about their 'cleverness', then go out to their favourite restaurants and have a $100 meal as commonplace. Did this one with them and never again, the gap is just too wide.
    Just about everything I have except personal necessities come from op shops, and I do find good things to wear, (much higher quality in male clothing) and I receive unrelatable Assistance from the Higher Dimension, and the simplicity of this enthralls me beause I am looked after by life forces that are invisible to the world.

    So, I can smile and laugh and learn again the lessons I have forgotton a very long time go.

    Again do not grieve because of gaps and their incredible seeming lack of reality of help. Forgive them instead, for they do not know what they do. I am like that too myself, and need correction, when I become bitter and rage against 'unfairness'.

    Thank you once more, with a smile from me to you. Let it in, yea?
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    7:46pm
    Hi Multidisab

    Thank you for your reply, I am so glad you know Jesus, well how about you and I agree to pray for your situation to get heaps better? I am willing if you are. If you would like to share emails my addy is mek23@iinet.net.au - feel free to contact me. I am always happy to chat and pray.

    I am sorry you were excluded from churches, I prefer to call them "denominations" - for me the "Church" is the body of believers who endeavour to follow Jesus. Some churchgoers I am sad to say go for the wrong reasons, they give Christians a bad rap.

    Keep looking up, the best is yet to come for us. In the mean time I will pray not only you have provision, but also warm Christians who will include you and value you for who you are. You are precious in Jesus' sight. As I used to say to my friend, "people look at you in that wheelchair and pity you, but spiritually you stand tall. They look ablebodied on the outside, but spiritually they sit in spiritual wheelchairs bound by their crippling unbelief."

    Many blessings. Keep in touch.
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    8:46pm
    Forgive them, Mek, I cannot judge anyone truly, for real judgment is not of me but of ...
    Have written a small message and hope it reaches you?
    Lots of love and blessings to you and all those you love
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    8:50pm
    Multidisab

    Yes forgiveness is integral to the Christian walk indeed. I have received your message thanks and have written back. Thank you for your love and blessings.
    Multidisab
    16th Oct 2012
    9:54pm
    Just found this broadcast a few weeks ago in 4 corners, through ABC iView
    http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/1009153
    Worth watching - this context of poverty amonst wealth?
    Taskid
    16th Oct 2012
    10:20pm
    Thanks Multidisab

    I looked that up, yes I had seen that about the children in Australia living in poverty - a shocking indictment on our society. Heartbreaking.
    grumpygran
    17th Oct 2012
    11:58am
    Egyptain. It is so sad to know of the pain this government has forced on you. To lose your husband and now face the loss of your other “family member” would bring any decent person to tears. If only SHE lived a month in your shoes, but then SHE wouldn’t cope – it takes a very special person to care for so long for someone so ill as well as a dear little pet. You have something SHE will never have – fond memories of your husband and the unconditional love only a pet can give. My thoughts are with you at this very sad time.
    MITZY
    17th Oct 2012
    9:03pm
    Dear Grumpygran; thanks for your kind thoughts about my husband and my beloved poodle. Sometimes in life we are dealt blows that are hard to duck and weave from. I can't blame the government for only giving me a single pension now that my husband has passed away. I can't blame the government because I was unfortunate to have a beautiful intelligent poodle that got dealt a rotten deal through nobody's fault. Addison's disease is not a death sentence for any dog that happens to fall foul of it. It is just such an expensive disease to manage. My beautiful poodle went to doggie heaven today exactly three months to the day that my husband went to heaven also. His funeral was held on his 70th birthday. Anyhow, I have to move forward and sometime in the future hopefully I will have another dog as they are the best friend you could ever have and give you so much unconditional love. As I said earlier, I don't consider myself to be living in poverty and now that I don't have all the expenses associated with my poodle, it will help me to move forward and spend a little bit more time on myself and with my friends and family. Once again thanks for your support.

    17th Oct 2012
    4:08pm
    What a lovely letter grumpygran. Can I second your words.
    Multidisab
    17th Oct 2012
    6:16pm
    So did I, grumpygran, your sensitivity and wisdom shines in light
    evilmonk
    17th Oct 2012
    4:21pm
    Just once i would like to see a topic like this come up and not see single-parent bashing. Most parents are not single when they have that child, or those children. Many are not single by choice. Some have escaped from a violent partner, some have been deserted and some have lost a partner to death. Some have had to give up work to look after their kids. Why are the parents who take on the responsibility of their kids the ones who are attacked, rather than the ones who decide it's all too hard and take off? The same ones who complain bitterly when expected to pay child support for their children.
    while some single parents have children for the money, most are single because of circumstances beyond their control and are desperately trying to hold everything together, all the while getting slammed by strangers by daring to need help to get on their feet.
    Not all single parents, not even the majority of single parents, are bludgers, drug addicts, alcoholics or addicted gamblers. The majority of us are doing the very best we can for our kids in the circumstances we find ourselves in.
    bohanka
    18th Oct 2012
    9:43am
    I know what it's like to live below the poverty line! For years I was a single parent father.I worked full-time and raised my two daughters on my own. Life was a constant struggle. Then, at the tender age of 49 I was retrenched. By then my daughters had grown up and struck out on their own. I was unemployed for four years working part-time, unable to find a full-time job due mainly to my age. Then, at 55 years of age, I went to China to teach English. I met and married a wonderful Chinese lady and now own and operate my own English language centre. I've just turned 60 and loath to return to Australia because I know what it's like not to be able to find work because of my age.

    I know what it's like to suffer in indignity of dealing with the faceless people in the Social Security office who really don't give a damn. I'd give anything to be able to return to Australia but I know what awaits me. I'm doing very well here in China, thank you very much. What a shame my own country didn't care enough!
    Nan Norma
    19th Oct 2012
    9:26pm
    Well great to know you're doing well and can keep intouch by computer. Maybe you'll come back for a holiday.
    bohanka
    20th Oct 2012
    6:34pm
    Thank you for your kind comments Nan Norma.

    My wife and I came back for a short holiday in Sydney in August this year. My wife was very impressed with Australia but found everything grossly overpriced. I had to agree with her.

    There's a lot I miss about Australia but I don't miss the lack of opportunities for older workers. If you're over 50 you're often regarded as useless and thrown unceremoniously on the scrapheap. Personally, I think most, if not all of the problems are caused by the lack of affordable housing. The Government must do more about the acute shortage of affordable housing in Australia.

    18th Oct 2012
    12:40pm
    Great to see your post on here bohanka. I am also involved in business in China & have an office in Shanghai. I am involved in Immigration & education of Chinese & other nationality students in Australia. We may have common interests. If you would like to talk off the public record I would love to talk to you. You can get to me on ken@visavista.com.au
    toot2000
    18th Oct 2012
    7:35pm
    As soon as their child turns 8, single parents will lose up to $120 a week, it’s too cruel, how can they possibly cope? Had a look in your local paper lately at the jobs available, there are very few around.
    AmandaR
    19th Oct 2012
    9:24pm
    It is dreadful toot2000. How will they cope? What if they can't find work? Will the next gov't overturn it? Hope so.
    Nan Norma
    19th Oct 2012
    9:30pm
    It's really hard for single mother's. I'm not talkin about women who never had a partner, but widows and deserted wives. These women deserve better. bringing up children is a job in it self.
    AmandaR
    22nd Oct 2012
    1:38pm
    Amen to that.
    lasaboy
    19th Oct 2012
    11:53am
    where is the spreedsheet
    toot2000
    19th Oct 2012
    9:39pm
    The government is over the moon at getting a seat on the UN council that cost us millions but no money for desperate Aussies. It sucks!
    chrysallis
    20th Oct 2012
    7:47pm
    Well I DO need the Newstart to go up. There is a fellow on Parliament lobying for us who are over 55, and get this allowance. Those on the Pension receive ( via this guys stats) get $133 more per week. There are not enough jobs for those in this age bracket, so we go onto Newstart & have to "volunteer", which takes a huge chunk of our money for petrol to get to the job. We cant have concession on our rego. I got to go on a "Widows Allowance" however the pay is the same as Newstart. After I put away every fortnight, my money for the phone, gas ( this a rip off also, pay $77 for the service charge & only use $23 of gas...grrrr)electricity, rent ...It gives me $40 per fortnight to eat....AND if I do get some part time work, Centrelink takes 70% of the gross I earn and my rent goes up...I did work, but after this levy I was working for $5 an hr, before I took out the petrol. AND I have to pay tax on my allowance...!!!!!!?????????? So a $50 a week rise would help me. Im trying not to winge, just stating the facts. Got a few yrs to the pension, but when I get there I will have enough money to eat properly.
    Taskid
    20th Oct 2012
    7:55pm
    chrysallis

    (((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))) you sure are doing it tough. I know the older you get the harder it is to get work. I think organisations who employ older people get a bonus, have you looked into that?
    chrysallis
    20th Oct 2012
    8:41pm
    Yes MEK, have, however as I said, any work I take on is taxed at 70% gross..like I did the Census last year...and didnt get to keep any of it.....my Centrelink was reduced by 70% on the gross amt, then I had to pay tax ( of course) as well as I have to pay tax on my Newstart......my rent went up... ( i am sooo lucky to live in Housing, if I didnt i couldnt live on the $220 a week, I get) If I go to work and earn too much & get nothing through Centrelink, I have to leave Housing. This is why so many young people wont work on the Newstart, they can sit at home with a few others , there is no incentive to go to work. However they should be out doing some volunteer work. Keep the mind active instead of being a zombie in front of the TV or the X Box or whatever they do. Why should the government make the young ones work. They get the "dole" and will keep on voting for the people who make it happen.
    Taskid
    20th Oct 2012
    8:47pm
    Surely you will get the tax back at the end of the financial year? Even so it makes it very tough for you. Getting at the end of the year is not going to help you now. :0(
    chrysallis
    20th Oct 2012
    9:53pm
    Yes thank goodness I did get it back at the end of the year. And as you say, it doesnt help now...lol.....Why tax me on the allowance if Im not working??????? $ 35 a fortnight tax would feed me better....lol....Oh well..Ive got used to budgeting 50c for brekky, 50c for Lunch and $2 for dinner... lol......


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