Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announced that Age Pension increases will happen before any rise is Newstart payments – if the next Federal Budget could afford it.
The same politician whose party petitioned for raising the pension age to 70 is now on the side of raising the Age Pension – an irony not lost on the Opposition.
“Scott Morrison should take a good look at himself,” said Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen.
“This is a man who has argued for three years that Australians should wait until they’re 70 to get the Age Pension – 70 – the oldest pension age in the world.”
Currently, age pensioners receive $834.40 per fortnight, whereas Newstart recipients receive fortnightly payments of $538.80.
The Opposition has indicated that it will look at increasing the Newstart payment rate if it wins the next election. Newstart payments haven’t risen in real terms in 20 years.
Mr Morrison says he’d rather give that money to older Australians.
“I heard the other day they [Labor] were thinking of increasing the Newstart payment,” Mr Morrison said on Friday.
“Well I’ve got to tell you, if I thought I had the money to do that, I reckon I’d be doing it for pensioners first.”
Mr Morrison went on to advocate the Coalition’s focus on getting people off Newstart and into jobs, rather than giving them handouts, saying that “Labor is just for welfare”.
“Labor is about taking people out of work and putting them onto welfare, so why would they be supportive of Work-for-the-Dole?” he said.
“What we’ve done as a government is got people off welfare and into work.”
While most age pensioners would welcome a bump in payments, many older Australians not yet of pension age are struggling on the low Newstart payment rates – some of whom are living in poverty.
Do you think this ‘bump’ could be split? Could you, or do you, live on $269 per week? Do you think these are more carrots being dangled in front of older voters?