Will you get a pension payment?

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In an extended sitting of the Senate last Friday, a partial endorsement of the Coalition’s company tax cut legislation included one-off payments for singles and couples who receive the Age, Disability or Carer pension.

The original legislation, the centrepiece of the Coalition’s May 2016-17 budget, involved $50 billion worth of tax cuts for all Australian companies. But it seemed unlikely the crossbench would endorse such legislation, so protracted negotiations between Senator Mathias Cormann and the three Nick Xenophon senators have produced a compromise – the cuts in company tax will be applied to all companies with turnover up to $50 million.

In exchange, the Xenophon team has extracted promises of a one-off payment to those receiving an Age Pension, Disability Pension or Carer Pension as recompense for sharply rising electricity prices. The payments of $75 for singles and $125 for couples will be announced in the May 9 Federal Budget and are expected to be paid ‘this winter’ according to Senator Xenophon. They are projected to cost the Federal Government around $260 million and at this stage are unfunded.

Other concessions gained by the Xenophon team include funding for a loan for a solar thermal plant in Port Augusta in South Australia and a study into the benefits of a pipeline between South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Read the detail of this bill and the concessions gained by Senator Xenophon’s team

Opinion: Pension payments are a sugar hit, not policy

So, after long hours of wrangling, the Xenophon team have managed to reduce the cost of proposed business tax cuts from almost $50 billion to $24 billion by applying cuts only to companies with turnover up to $50 million. In exchange nearly 3.5 million welfare recipients will get a one-off sugar hit of $75 (or $125 for couples). And some South Australian citizens will get a power plant and a study. Yep, that’s it folks – two state-based concessions, a report and the equivalent of a massage or good night out for pensioners. It’s hardly well thought-out policy by the Xenophon team – just a short term ‘lolly’ for pensioners and evidence that Nick Xenophon is more interested in getting his party re-elected than longer term benefits for the Australian public.

How so? Let’s consider the current rhetoric from the Coalition, in particular the Prime Minister and Treasurer, that we can no longer afford the cost of the Age Pension, that the ‘dependency’ ratio is getting worse and that we desperately need to balance our books. But apparently, the proposed company tax cuts – which would have cost, in full, over a period of ten years, $50 billion – were okay. While access to the Age Pension, according to the Turnbull Government, should be tightened and the expensive and faulty Centrelink robo-debt recovery program is somehow fair.

At best, most economic commentators have agreed that the company tax cuts could only ever deliver a marginal increase in GDP over a very long period. It seems that the Coalition is happy to believe that a tax cut for business will automatically result in increased investment and extra staff being hired, thus benefits for all will flow. Yet credible international research into the ‘trickle down’ theory, whereby incentives to business and the well-off eventually result in benefits for the poor, show this actually does not happen.

Hoping business owners will automatically reinvest this tax cut sounds like Darryl Kerrigan in The Castle – they’re dreaming! And a one-off payment of $75 or $125 will make little difference to those struggling week in, week out on fixed retirement incomes. Sorry Nick, we need to fix the system not push for thought bubble trade-offs. What a wasted opportunity.

What do you think? Are you happy with the Xenophon Party’s negotiation on the company tax cuts or do you think they could have extracted much more from the Government? Will the one-off energy payments make a difference in your life?

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Written by Kaye Fallick

163 Comments

Total Comments: 163
  1. 0
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    Kay it depends on whether YOUR glass is half full, or half empty. It’s possible to be grateful for the scraps thrown, and without shooting ourselves in the foot continue to go for FAIR.
    Me thinks anyway.

  2. 0
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    OK to be critical of NXT but surely the main focus should be on the two major parties who seem incapable of reaching a sensible agreement to the benefit of the nation. Each of LNP and Labor appear only to throw spears at each other. Labor surely could have talked to LNP on a deal to pass tax cuts in exchange for some other major concession – eg Capital Gains or similar. The only reason that NXT, One Nation or The Greens come into the argument is the lack of co-operation between the big boys.

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      Absolutely. .the difference is that the LNP in opposition under Tony Abbott supported numerous legislated proposals put forward by the ALP in government but not an ounce reciprocal.
      Bill Shorten and Labor backed by the Greens are the ultimate schmucks, consequently the country is a state of total sufferance.

    • 0
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      And oh yes….what is that bottom line again?

    • 0
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      And the LNP has blown the deficit completely, but still blames Labor, supported by the tunnel-visioned who can’t ever accept that the LNP has lost the plot.

      Labor SHOULD reject bad policy. The fact that the LNP can’t seem to devise any good policy is not grounds for demanding Labor just endorse whatever is put before them.

      I don’t like Labor at all, and as for the Greens – well, the ONLY policy those irresponsible idiots endorsed was the worst one of all. It screwed retirees who saved and will drive welfare costs higher, because the incentives to manipulate are now so strong and the penalties for doing what’s good for the nation so harsh that even the most honest retirees are now feeling foolish for being responsible and wondering how to reconcile with their conscience and avoid unfair hardship.

      Bottom line is the tax cuts should NEVER have been approved under any conditions – sweetener or not. The country can’t afford them. And what the LNP did in opposition has nothing to do with the issue.

      We need two massive changes in this nation:

      (1) a competent team in government who can come up with policies that benefit the nation – and who actually WANT to (as opposed to engaging in social engineering to feed themselves and their buddies

      (2) a competent and conscionable opposition focused on ensuring the policies that are approved are the right ones for the nation, and that no amount of ”sweetheart deals” or bribes will work to get bad policy across the line.

      I’m not holding my breath!

  3. 0
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    Looks like my electricity bill has just gone up again to pay for this.

    • 0
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      Someone has to pay OG and it looks like me again too.

      Personally I’m getting a tad tired of all the politicians games.

    • 0
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      YEs me too Rae, So don’t forget WE need to vote differently to Give them that strong message. or they won’t pull their head in. and its about time they attacked some of the bigger spenders that are venturing into our waters. INstead of picking on the small persons, that don’t have super, and how the hell are we too pay for our electricty and gas and exetra?? and i just want to know how will the homeless survive where will they live! the Elderly are still be ignored, so unfair the whole system. While smart alecs like hockey’s go overseas and can have their money tooo!!!YEH something NOT kosha, and they would say in some circles???

  4. 0
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    It is really simple in that it is all about the politics. The continual harping on about pensions is typical of right wing pollies who always look at the outgoings and not at where they can improve the income.
    There is huge scope to improve the bottom line but the LNP are too frightened to upset their supporters, especially there financial ones.

  5. 0
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    The Xenophon Party has lost the plot, the man is a total fool, and a week one at that!
    How the hell will $75 help an old person with heating in winter? Have these cretins got any idea of reality and how much the elderly are receiving from pension etc and how much these bills are?
    Won’t matter to me either way, I got rows of solar and loads of sun…..but, I havent lost touch with reality. Time we reined in these pollies and took something off of them, they are a disgrace to the Nation, Turnbull, he’s just there so everyone knows his name, hopefully they will at the next election and all the wrong people will know his name

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      Be thankful that your electricity is not going up instead to pay for this.

    • 0
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      Old Geezer, my bills are low enough to cope, I think of the people amongst us who cannot cope, the one these Pollies have never met! My power goes up, they will claw the money back anyway they can, only the poor will suffer as always.

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      Why should self funded retirees have to pay more when some are earning less on their investments than the OAP?

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      Earning less certainly and a lot of it due to all the parties ganging up on savers to fund their incompetence and stoke their ideological beliefs. These parties have been a disaster for a lot of hard working savers retirements.

    • 0
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      I agree with you HDRider, Xenophon makes a lot of noise about looking after ordinary folk but if you look at how he votes it’s always with the LNP – I don’t know why he doesn’t just join them and be done with it. He’s a disgrace.

    • 0
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      OG we are continually told by pollies that electricity will go up, especially in Vic and NSW after the closure of the Hazelwood Plant, closed down by its French owners not Australian govt.

    • 0
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      We were ensured emphatically that privatisation would lower prices and increase efficiency. What happened?

    • 0
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      Holy Hell libsareliars, Nick Saxophonist is more left than the connection on your BBQ. Catch up on your politics and get with the grove.
      I call Nick a Saxophonist because he is always blowing his trumpet.

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      We were ensured emphatically that privatisation would lower prices and increase efficiency. What happened?

      YES rae, they seem to tell us so much bull, we should be having lower prices, but PRivatisation, is probably the worst thing we could have done. ITs UPped everything. Anything that is PRivatised, will keep the prices UP, as we are experiencing with phones, and utilities, they really think as we get older we are getting more stupid, perhaps a bit slower, but we a wake up to them!! They really need to Stop that Privatization thing. ITs all a load of bull.
      All its doing is giving the business a lot of money, and we then in turn have to find more to pay our bills. Its a Dreadful stressful cycle they have put us into. And SO unnecessary

  6. 0
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    The Xenophon Party has lost the plot, the man is a total fool, and a week one at that!
    How the hell will $75 help an old person with heating in winter? Have these cretins got any idea of reality and how much the elderly are receiving from pension etc and how much these bills are?
    Won’t matter to me either way, I got rows of solar and loads of sun…..but, I havent lost touch with reality. Time we reined in these pollies and took something off of them, they are a disgrace to the Nation, Turnbull, he’s just there so everyone knows his name, hopefully they will at the next election and all the wrong people will know his name

  7. 0
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    The equivalent of 2 months electricity at most. If you are on an aged pension and 65, that means another 300 or so months of payments (with increases each year of course).

    • 0
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      Really? 2 months? Who pays $37.50 per month for electricity? More like 1 summer month at best. Winter bills are around $250 -$350 per month !!!!

    • 0
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      My winter bills are about half my simmer bills.

    • 0
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      Where do you live OG, WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP WARM?, STAY IN BED UNDER THE DOONAS WITH THE ELECTRIC BLANKET ON?,, my sister does that on really cold days, she is a single pensioner and can’t afford to have the gas going all day, she lives in the Blue Mountains. Sorry about the capitols I wasn’t looking and don’t have time to retype.

    • 0
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      It is only cold enough here for about 2 weeks in winter to light the fire at night. I can’t remember ever lighting it during the day. In summer living on top of a hill with a sea breeze makes it cooler than the surrounding area. I don’t even have an electric blanket and up at daylight every day and stay up until after midnight. For the first few years after I moved here I didn’t even bother with any heating during winter but I guess I feel the cold a bit more due to may age. I usually walk a couple of kilometres every morning which helps get the circulation going and warms me up for the rest of the day.

  8. 0
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    They could make the $75 payment every year. After all I will be using electricity next year as well

  9. 0
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    $75 is less than “30 pieces of silver” NXT.

    Clearly crossed to the dark side “to sup’ with the [major parties] devil”. Your bull*** here simply shows you’re really the Australian Democrats, just mark II.

    An obvious demonstration you’re only interested in getting re-elected. You’ve offered nothing but contempt for the vulnerable in our community. How dare you. You don’t have to worry about your retirement as your Superannuation Guarantee, paid by all of us, including our most vulnerable, continues to be contributed at 18% of your salary. Ours was frozen at 9.5% in the 2014 “Smokin’ Joe” Budget you VOTED to approve. It won’t begin to rise again until at least 2023. “A plague on your house”.

    • 0
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      Well said that man

    • 0
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      He always crosses to the dark side and votes with LNP, always. He’s a Lib. in all but name.

    • 0
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      libsareliars, that’s not what happened with the 18C reform just recently, the Saxophonist killed it, a stupid law made for stupid people.

    • 0
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      Sorry to correct you Waiting to retire at 70, but politicians contribute 18% of their salary and get the 9% Super Guarantee on top of that. Note of course that 18% of a backbenchers near $200000 pa salary is about $36000 per year that they contribute from their salaries. Doesn’t that make you feel sorry for them!

  10. 0
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    Why don’t you people who complain about the cost of electricity do something about it? There are some companies out there at the moment offering up to 35% discount for paying on-time. Mine gives me an 18% discount – that’s the GST plus some for paying my bills on-time. I pay mine every fortnight, then don’ have to find the money at the end of the quarter.

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