What mattered most to you

One of the most enjoyable additions to the YourLifeChoices daily enews send was sparking debate among our members on a range of topics in our Friday Flash Polls.

The flash polls are yet another way we keep our finger on the pulse of retirement – on the issues that matter to you and those that we think deserve more coverage.

Considering the amazing way the polls have been received, it’s safe to say that you have enjoyed them too.

While many organisations make assumptions and speculations based on largely outdated Census information and Australian Bureau of Statistics data, we prefer to ask Australians for their input. And we’ve learnt so much from posing interesting questions on a range of subjects such as how you feel about the Royal Family, aged care, working until 70, ageism, sex and, of course, the Age Pension.

From our initial poll about legalising euthanasia all the way through to our most recent survey on all things Age Pension, we’ve revealed the issues that most affect retirees and Australians aged 45 and over.

Today, we review the top five flash polls, based on the number of responses received.

5. Should all Australian states and territories legalise voluntary euthanasia? 1849 responses
Euthanasia is a hot topic for all Australians, but particularly for older people. So, on the heels of the Victorian Government approving voluntary assisted dying, we asked if all Australian jurisdictions should apply the same ruling. We learnt that 85 per cent of the 1849 respondents were in favour of voluntary euthanasia across Australia, while 12 per cent were opposed and three per cent were still unsure.

The overriding sentiment was that it was your body, and therefore, you should have the choice to die with dignity when your time comes, while some were still afraid the system could be abused.

4. Do older Australians care about climate change? 1859 responses
It’s a common belief that older people are less invested in saving the planet, so we set out to test this view. And you know what? It’s wrong. Eighty-one per cent of the 1859 respondents told us that they do care about climate change.

“We care because of our children and grandchildren who will be here long after we are gone. Oldies care very much,” said YourLifeChoices member Paddington.

Only 23 of all people surveyed said they did not care because they wouldn’t be around to witness the dire consequences.

We also learnt that three quarters of those surveyed believe the Government is not doing enough to address climate change, and that environmental policy would be a strong influence on the way they vote in the next federal election. 

3. Is the Liberal brand damaged beyond repair? 2079 responses
It’s no secret that the Liberal Party has experienced a pretty decent hit to its brand this year. The knives have been out, reputations sullied and if you thought it was over with the change of leader, well, you were wrong. And yes, this is the party running our country, so we decided to ask you if you thought there was any hope the party could regain its standing and whether you would vote for the Libs in the next federal election. Put simply, the results floored us. The poll attracted 2079 respondents, most of whom were Liberal voters, almost 75 per cent said the party’s brand is damaged beyond repair, and 54 per cent of typically Liberal voters said they would vote for another party next year, effectively putting the Government on notice.

2. How could the Government improve the pension system? 2224 responses
A recent announcement from the Labor Party about increasing Newstart payments by up to $300 per fortnight got us thinking about the other ways the pension system could be fixed. But we thought it wiser to ask those whom the pension most affects – you. You told us that a bump to Newstart would be well deserved, with 47 per cent of 2224 mostly non-Newstart recipients voting for the increase. But you also said that an $11 per fortnight increase for the Age Pension was not enough to reduce the pension poverty gap, and that between $51 to $150 would be sufficient. And as far as including the family home in the assets test, a whopping 81 per cent said ‘no’. But you also offered some great suggestions for helping age pensioners get by, such as exempting over-65s from GST, introducing a universal age pension and increasing the assets threshold.

1. Should we change the national anthem? 2258 responses
I have to admit, when I reviewed the year’s flash polls, this was not the one I expected to be number one. But then, why not? It’s something we all grew up with, singing at assemblies and hearing it as Australians win medals at Olympic and Commonwealth Games. So, when nine-year-old Harper Nielsen refused to stand for the anthem during her school assembly, bitter debate and outrage ensued. Most of it was delivered by radio shock jocks and television ‘celebrities’ and was incredibly harsh.

Still, for better or worse, through thick and thin, we Aussies are a patriotic bunch, and the anthem is the song of our nation, so it’s not surprising that the question: Is it time to change the national anthem? hit the spot.

YourLifeChoices members were split when it came to the topic of changing the anthem, with 52 per cent saying it shouldn’t change, 43 per cent saying it should and five per cent undecided.

But when we asked what a suitable anthem would be, I Am Australian by The Seekers came up trumps over Advance Australia Fair (45 per cent to 40 per cent), suggesting the current national anthem doesn’t enjoy universal support.

We love hearing your thoughts on retirement matters and will continue the Friday Flash Polls in 2019, but we’d like to hear your suggestions for suitable polls. Ssend them to [email protected].

Thanks again for your support this year, it’s been enlightening and fun!

Related articles:
Sex and ageing: Not done just yet!
Massive confusion on energy woes
Out of touch with reality

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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