Rising costs and Age Pension stagnation in spotlight

Some retirees are being hit harder by increases in energy costs.

Focus should shift to flat income

After a huge fracas that saw a new prime minister emerge, politicians are trying to convince us that it is really you and I they want to focus on. While it is unlikely that there was a single cause for the bloodletting that saw Malcolm Turnbull toppled and former Treasurer Scott Morrison installed as leader, cost-of-living pressures around electricity prices have been trotted out as one reason.

New Prime Minister Mr Morrison has charged new Energy Minister Angus Taylor with the task of reducing electricity prices. The Government now seems convinced that rising electricity prices is the issue voters are most concerned about. But is that really the case?

Politicians love to talk about cost-of-living pressures and how they’re taking action to reduce them, or in the case of the Opposition, how the Government is out of touch and not suitably concerned about them.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures how prices are rising for the average household and YourLifeChoices takes a closer look at cost-of-living pressures for our retirement tribes in its quarterly Retirement Affordability Index™. Given all the sound and fury from Canberra, you might think that both the CPI and retirement affordability are running at record rates reflecting the big increases in prices.

Now I’m going to tell you something that no politician will ever tell you. They will never tell you this because they fear being labelled as ‘out of touch’ and ‘elitist’. But the fact is that cost-of-living pressures are fairly modest by historical standards. The CPI has been running at or just below two per cent per year for almost four years, which is well below the long-term average.

For our retirement tribes, it is not very different. Just like the CPI, all our tribes’ expenses have been at or below two per cent per year over the past four years.

Does this mean that concern over cost-of-living increases is manufactured?

There does seem to be genuine concern in the community, but I think this has more to do with the level of income growth and the goods and services that are rising rapidly in price.

While average prices are not rising rapidly, neither are incomes. Incomes have been rising at a similar rate to inflation. According to Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) data, the median income, after tax, per household peaked in 2009, then recovered slightly, but has not risen since 2014.

 

This means that the median household can buy fewer goods and services with its current income than it could with its income nine years ago. Their purchasing power has not improved.

How well you feel financially has more to do with the difference between how quickly prices are going up compared with how quickly your income is rising. You’re going to be better off if inflation is three per cent and your income is rising at four per cent than if inflation is two per cent and your income is rising at two per cent. This is true whether your income is from wages, an Age Pension or an account-based pension.

The stagnation in incomes is not evenly spread. Our quarterly retirement affordability table (LINK) shows that retirement tribes with the lowest incomes have faced the biggest increase in their cost of living, while tribes with the highest incomes have faced the lowest increase in their cost of living. This is important because it might explain why our politicians think electricity prices are our biggest concern.

Electricity is a necessity in a modern society. It is also something that is difficult to reduce when the price goes up. This means that low-income households face hard decisions such as ‘eat or heat’.

When income growth is slow, a rise in the price of electricity means less spending in other areas. As with other essentials, low-income households spend a larger proportion of their income on electricity. Cash-Strapped Couples spend 4.7 per cent of their income on electricity, while Constrained Couples spend 3.8 per cent and Affluent Couples 2.9 per cent. So it follows that an increase in electricity prices has a greater effect on the budgets of Cash-Strapped Couples than on Affluent Couples.

This is equally the case for other essentials such as housing. Cash-Strapped Couples spend 29 per cent on housing while Affluent Couples spend 13 per cent.

But the other really important part of this story relates to incomes. The Age Pension is linked to increases in inflation. With inflation running at low levels, the Age Pension is also increasing slowly. Increases in income from superannuation and other investments are linked to how well business is doing. Business profits are up 10 per cent over the past year which translates into better superannuation and investment returns. This would suggest that retirees who are reliant on the Age Pension are not seeing their incomes rise nearly as fast as those who rely on super and other investments.

Combining all of this, we can see why increases in electricity prices have become such an important political issue. Those on lower incomes are seeing their real incomes fall, while essentials such as electricity rise quickly in price. With the focus almost entirely on rising prices, the slow increase in income growth is barely attracting attention.

Of course, increasing income growth is a harder task for a government to achieve. It is far easier to blame renewable energy and to talk as much as possible about reducing electricity prices.

Have you found your money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to a few years ago?

Are you worried your money won’t last? The RetirePlanner™ tool has all the information you need.

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    COMMENTS

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    sunnyOz
    21st Oct 2018
    9:26am
    No matter how I check around, my car, house, contents insurance have increased by 28% over the past 2 years. My rates, even with pension discount, are the dearest in state. I don't expect handouts, but eventually, the pocket runs dry.
    VeryCaringBigBear
    21st Oct 2018
    4:58pm
    Of course they do if you don't ring and ask for a better deal. Just had house, car and caravan insurance reduced below last year's premium by making a few phone calls. It is called the lazy tax.
    Greg
    21st Oct 2018
    6:52pm
    Agree with VCBB ring around or get on the net, do numerous quotes for your insurance and you'll find something better, even better then last year. Also when you find a better quote call YOUR insurer and see if they'll match the price, often will to keep the business. Can't do much with rates only move to a cheaper town.
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    8:31am
    I did that. Checked and negotiated aggressively. The cost is still way higher than a few years ago. And you can't negotiate rates. I actually contested a property valuation a few years ago, but I was lucky that a retired town planned owed me a favour and did the objection for me. No way the average person could do it! The complexity and cost of getting professional valuations is way beyond most people's capability. Our property is seriously overvalued for rating purposes, but the cost of proving it is more than the saving it would achieve.

    What concerns me with this article is it sounds like once again the plight of the barely self-funded is being ignored. Having lost many thousands in the assets test change, they now fear franking credit policy changes slashing thousands more. And many have NOT seen healthy returns at all. And their buying power is likely to reduce every year because while pensioners at least do get an increase, those on superannuation pensions typically can't increase their income year to year if it's too low to allow them to reinvest, and they also face the prospect of a ''stock market correction'' killing their returns.

    Actually, most pensioners are doing better than vast numbers of self-funded, and the SFRs are wondering why they bothered to save, since their savings may be delivering no benefit at all. They get no concessions, no pension, and possibly soon no franking credits. Harsh punishment indeed for having done what governments told them to do to benefit the nation and themselves.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    11:09am
    OGR it is not hard to contest a property valuation and I have done it a couple of times myself and been successful in reducing my rates and land tax.
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    5:48pm
    You are a qualified accountant, OG - NOT the AVERAGE person. It is damned hard to contest, at least where I live. For a start, you have to have an official valuation done. There's upwards of $200 for a start. Then you have to find out the exact land sizes and rates for all the neighbouring properties. And then you have to write a comparison in legalese that details why your property is less valuable than the VG claims.

    Funny that you've reduced your rates and land tax yet you claim not to own property???
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    6:25pm
    OGR I no longer own property but I once owned and controlled quite a few of them. I just asked them to supply me with valuations and I certainly didn't have to get an official valuation of the property. I just asked the local real estate agents for a valuation. The land in both cases was valued for a lot more than I could get of I sold either property so it was easy with the simply questions. How can the unimproved value be a lot higher than the market will give me if I sell it? Is the house worth a negative value? It would have been fun to take it further and have them explain to a judge how a house can be worth a negative e amount.
    Anonymous
    23rd Oct 2018
    10:14pm
    Obviously, you lived in a very different world to the one I live in, OG. Our Council will not accept real estate agent valuations. They demand multiple valuations from valuers with particular qualifications. It is irrelevant what the land will sell for. I had a statement from an agent, a few years ago, that because of a council planning error the land was unsalable. He documented attempts to sell, buyer responses, and the problem with the land (which was patently obvious anyway). He included Council's own rejection of development application on the grounds that THEIR planning error made the land non-compliant with residential development requirements. No joy! They declined my request for reassessment. So did Centrelink, who insisted the land was worth the original purchase price despite being rendered useless and unsalable. Ultimately, I took the council to court and forced them to correct their planning error, but it took 18 months and $100,000 in legal bills. My experience is far from unique. I know of at least 8 other people who have had similar issues, all in different council districts. And the retired town planner who helped me quoted over 70 people he had helped who were in a similar situation to mine. Eventually, the council here was sacked for corruption, but that didn't help me or their other victims. And objecting to a valuation has become even more difficult and costly.
    Old Geezer
    26th Oct 2018
    10:56am
    Councils in my area don't value land themselves. It is done by the State Government.
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    9:43am
    What a load of total BS Matt. Where do you come from?

    First: Turnbull was rolled AGAIN because he gave renewable energy a place albeit small. The coal industry ended Turnbull's reign, not high electricity prices.

    Second: I stopped when I got to your bit about the CPI having been around 2% for a number of years. I don't care WHAT government body or spruiker comes up with this nonsense because it is simply a lie of convenience to hold down wages.
    Food prices, consumer goods, cost of professionals and tradies, government charges (rates?) and now fuel have gone through the roof over the past 10 years. More than doubled!

    You may want to either get real or go back to the government and tell them people are not listening Matt. Your story is just that: a story! Untrue.
    Cowboy Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    11:02am
    Looked at the graph of price increases above: it gives an increase of 150% from Sept. 2001 to Dec. 2017 and here we have Matt telling us the CPI having been around 2% per year for a number of years. Just Govt spin, Libs and Labs makes no difference.
    Every Sat, the missus and I go the the club for a bottle of wine. Yesterday I had to pay $24 and the week before it was $22, petrol is at least 30c dearer than last Christmas, my insurances have gone up 20% over last year. My T-bone went from $22 to $30 a kg and the butcher tries to tell me that this is cheap still.
    And now we have CPI of 2%. As Mick says it helps with the squeezing of wages and salaries.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    11:18am
    Spot on, both of you - we are being lied to royally by all sides of politics here - apart from one or two lone voices crying in the wilderness.. along with that blatant lie about CPI, shareholder dividends are extravagant and CEOs (business management thugs) are treated like vastly overpaid royalty for chopping wages and worker numbers and generally cheating on conditions etc.

    Some are doing very well out of this Grand Theft Canberra - most are not and this will get worse... until the inevitable Downfall...

    To me at this time, since the ex is seeking to place her cash so as to ensure her children get it when she goes and not after it has been filtered through the government -the only hurdle is the potential collapse of the property balloon, something that would harm many at this point and not just the sharks, parasites, leeches and vultures.
    Karl Marx
    21st Oct 2018
    12:07pm
    All government figures, stats, graphs etc are manipulated in their benefit but reality tells us it's BS. Governments live in fairy land & feed us BS. Try getting a simple response from any politician & all you get is more BS and never a straight simple answer.
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    1:31pm
    I just crunched the numbers Jim. 2% compounded for 17 years gives a cost if living increase of 40%. Milk may have stayed the same but meat has gone from $5 a kilo to $25 a kilo, bread has gone from $1 to $3.50, etc. I could keep going but I'd be willing to bet that since 2001 the cost of living has more than tripled. And then there's the rest.............
    Matt is either gilding the lily or in fairyland as his spiel is BS. Sorry Matt.

    TREBOR - we live off some share dividends and my take is that franking credits need to have a threshold after which they cease to apply. That would not savage retirees making no more than the pension but would stop the top end of town being paid by taxpayers.
    The property market is being talked down big time but the cycle is not forecast until mid 2020s. My guesstimate of value is the cost of the block of dirt (a large labour development cost in this) + the cost of constructing the dwelling (another labour input). Currently many average homes sell for around the cost of buying a block of dirt and building a house on it, so where's the bubble? Unless wages are pushed back to around $30 an hour from the current $60 an hour the cost of building cannot be lowered so the cost of properties are still fair. My take but hope you can see the logic in this argument.
    I ignore the propaganda about housing bubbles as it appears these are real estate industry driven (they want to keep selling property) and government drive an election is coming). Noise. Lets see where it all goes.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    2:29pm
    Good thinking, on dividends, Mick - however - it clearly shows that there is advantage in dividend imputation for both company and shareholder - that simply cannot be if taxation is to be fair and equal.

    What one gets the other should not, since that is double dipping... if a company pays tax on your behalf that needs to be properly and fully taken into account - not just turned into a loop-hole for both. To create such a loop-hole is outright dishonesty.

    That's why, after all the arguments, I've arrived at the position that abolishing dividend imputation entirely is the only way to go.

    Your threshold needs consideration - what it means, of course, is that lower end people would receive a top-up.... and that's another argument over 'fairness' and such, and whether or not they should simply be reviewed annually and if necessary, receive a top-up from their bought and paid for Pension fund handled by Centrelink.

    I'm frankly aghast that some smaller shareholders don't even make the equivalent of pension.... how can that be without Centrelink paying the difference to them?

    BTW - I don't expect this shares 'boom' to last, either... world economic pressures will see to that, not least the pressure on governments to bring to heel the tax avoiding international corporations, which are currently robbing national treasuries daily.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    2:33pm
    Oh -the ex and I are looking at UP-sizing to an oceanside dwelling.... hence my concern over property values.... I'm looking at a near 60foot boat as a floating residence.... just saying... the boat is fine - couldn't really care since it will be paid for fully and the kids/grand-kids can do with it what they like - but the house I worry about with falls in value possible, which would reduce the ex's inheritance to her family, which is what she is working on.
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    8:48am
    Trebor, I don't know where you get your weird ideas about franking credits. A company pays 30% (or a little less in the case of small companies). The company IS the shareholders. It's not a discreet entity on its own. The tax is paid BY THE SHAREHOLDERS - by taking it out of their share of profit. If a shareholder doesn't earn enough to pay tax, they should get their tax back. Simple. If they do have a taxable income, they claim it off their tax so they don't pay twice. Right, fair and proper. No problem - UNLESS the shareholder is rorting In some other way, in which case that is what should be addressed.

    Contrary to Billy idiot's claims, nobody is getting huge franking credit refunds because they have a tax-free superannuation income stream. That's a lie, because you can only have $1.6 million in tax free super. That means even if 100% was in high return fully franked shares, your franking credit refund couldn't be more than $30K, and that would be a massive stretch.

    What irks me is that the ALP is quite happy for very high income earners and the rich to keep their credits. It's only battlers who will be slugged.

    I could go along with Mick's suggestion of capping, as long as the cap was not too low. I also think the $1.6 million is a bit too generous, especially as growth from returns can raise that and won't be counted. But cancelling franking credits is DOUBLE TAXATION, and cancelling them for people who ''pay no tax'' is making people pay tax who don't earn enough to pay tax, and that's patently WRONG.

    Geez, I'm fed up with this BS argument about SFRS "not paying tax''. The ONLY benefit they get from the taxpayer purse is their piddling little franking credit refund, while pensioners get TRIPLE benefit - pension plus concessions plus franking credits. They will collect well over $1 million from the taxpayer over their retirement years, yet the greedy, selfish whinging bastards begrudge folk who waved $800,000 a miserable few thousand in refunds of TAX THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO PAY.

    Put a sock in it, Trebor. I usually agree with your comments, but you are WRONG on this issue.

    And BTW. I don't expect the share boom to last either, which is all the more reason NOT to keep attacking the poor buggers who will see their savings decimated when it ends.

    I was the pensioners' advocate, but frankly, I'm done with the greed and selfishness. They should be supporting SFRs to object to proposals of unfair taxation, but it seems the white working-class SFR is the most hated and attacked individual in our society today, especially if they also happen to be Christian and have normal sexual preferences. Seems they are fair game for every attack - particularly attacks on their lifestyle and income.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    10:45am
    That's what is wrong with it, Rainey - the company is a discrete legal operating entity, and so are the shareholders. They are NOT the same... the idea that they are the same was brought in to offer fat cats unwarranted advantage.

    It doesn't much, on the other hand, help thin cats... who don't actually receive very much from it... but as it stands it is double dipping when the company writes off its imputation and then the shareholder does too...

    Costello was wrong, as usual... and set the current situation up to benefit his fat cat mates out of the public purse. Nothing new there. All removing the reward for paying no tax would do is return imputation handling to the international standard.

    Mick's approach with smaller shareholders needs some looking at, since there is genuine 'zero tax' and non-genuine 'zero tax' - you know what I mean...too many loop-holes for those with the cash to exploit them.

    I said it before - how is it that someone not retired on their super could be spending a heap of cash on self and paying no tax? You simply can't have your cake and eat it, too, and nobody in work gets that privilege for earning money.

    Cue diablo with his self-preservation at all costs and his desperate clawing to hold on to an unwarranted advantage. Like politician's 'entitlement' - it may currently be within the rules, but it is still wrong in some cases..... look at each case individually, not through Costello's fat cat version, too.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    11:59am
    Trebor I have no idea what you are on about. You know less about franking credits than Bowen does.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:02pm
    Further more Bill Shorten has no idea either by statement in this article.

    http://superguide.acemlna.com/lt.php?s=8072aee2d3396756455708afbcb76efe&i=68A255A1A1956
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:44pm
    Simple then, OG - do away with it and everyone pay their own taxes.... no problem.

    I doubt all the ins and outs of shorten's views have received full billing - only the bits that suit the media....
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    1:09pm
    Unfortunately the fallout from such would not be good either.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    3:21pm
    Grmany had it, France had it - they dropped it in favour of a PYOT system...

    Rainey -I've said before that when the fat cats cop a huge handout for technically not having enough income after writing it all off while still receiving benefit - the entire deduction system needs a close look.

    Simpler to just dump it and PYOT. Should make zero difference to the small investor since income is income... and if your real income is too low, you don't pay anyway.... besides - there's no guarantee anyone will get the whole 30% back - it depends on their taxable income. That's why the big shareholders need a thorough review, not the small ones.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    3:25pm
    .. or we could just go the way of Singapore and not tax dividends at all - let the fattest cats get away scot free with millions a year... after all, trickle-down has been working a treat for years now.... and surely they'll invest in this nation and that will generate jobs and taxation revenue... surely...

    Frankly - never as long as their Rsoles point to the ground... rich man's rules for rich men....
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    5:45pm
    You've got it all wrong, Trebor. Sorry! Firstly, NO FAT CATS COP A HUGE HANDOUT for technically having no income unless they are rorting by means that have NOTHING to do with franking credits. So address the problem - not the symptom.

    Secondly, a public company IS it's shareholders. It is NOT a separate entity. The shareholders own it, control it, and own its profits. If the shareholders are not liable to be taxed, nor should the company be. People should NOT have to pay tax just because they source their income through a particular method or entity. That's patently unfair and unjust. Why should someone who earns income from owning part of a company pay far higher tax than someone who earns income from owning a rental property, for example?

    If you attack company shareholders, you attack company growth, and that's dumb. We NEED investment in Australian companies. Franking credits enable much more investment. They also enable retirees and others who are not able to work to secure a decent living income for themselves. They are a benefit to the economy.

    What you apparently want - and what Shorten clearly wants - is to enable the fat cats to continue taking but rob the thin cats, because the fat cats ARE NOT GOING TO LOSE UNDER THE ALP POLICY.
    Old Geezer
    22nd Oct 2018
    6:29pm
    They can be private or public companies as franked dividends are also paid by private companies too. I get franked dividends from a private company.
    patti
    21st Oct 2018
    11:03am
    I am less concerned about electricity prices than I am about the climate change denial, and the headlong charge into maintaining the systems - e.g. coal - which put us there in the first place. Yes, managing my budget on a pension is tight, but I don't smoke, drink alcohol, gamble, which helps. I can't believe how much some people spend on these things and wonder why they run out of money so fast. I guess we all make our own choices
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    1:36pm
    Choices is 90% of 'poverty' patti. It never ceases to amaze me that some people do not save a dollar in their working lives whilst they enjoy a consumer lifestyle and then retire and complain because they then need to be accountable and 'cannot manage'.
    Your lifestyle is to be commended but not sure there are many of us who can deny ourselves and then be comfortable. More times than not you then get the comments back insinuating that you are privileged or lucky. Yeah...."but there go I but for the Grace of God". Maybe lucky is a part of the mix, but so too is self denial. God help the next generation.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    2:35pm
    I was always aghast at younger rellies and in-laws who were off on a once a year trip somewhere... that includes my daughter .... I kept saying - "Buy your Home! Buy Your Home!"

    Now the relative stay-at home tradie son is buying his... without the trips.
    Anonymous
    21st Oct 2018
    2:39pm
    I'm not worried about the "climatechange®" scam but I'm terrified of an unelected, undemocratic, Marxist world government which is part of the hidden agenda behind this scam.

    Hopefully I'll miss out on this global government, once in power, forcibly herding populations into overcrowded "human habitat settlement zones", outlawing private property, stripping the wealthy of their wealth, and redistributing it amongst all the no hopers.

    And despite the LIES, it’s expensive, unreliable RENEWABLES that is the ONLY cause for rising electricity prices!
    And don’t fall for the other LIE that electricity rates are rising at 2% per annum.
    They are SKYROCKETING which is why the’re NOT INCLUDED in the FAKE CPI!

    All in the name of "saving the planet" from colourless, odourless trace gas, plant food CO2 which has been demonised to death by rabid/activist/warmsters and indoctrinated youngsters.

    To quote prominent climate scientist Lindzen:
    "'globalwarming®' (aka 'climatechange®') will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in world history...."

    Oh by the way patti.... what "climatechange®" have you seen?
    I'm still waiting to see ANY significant "climatechange®" in my lifetime .... for example if you look at Bureau of Meteorology rainfall charts, there is NO significant trend in Australian rainfall over the last 118 years, yet rabid warmsters are jumping up and down LYING to us that droughts are "more frequent and severe"!!!!!

    Actually, according to the charts Australian rainfall is actually INCREASING!!

    Feel free to visit the BoM site and point out this "climatechange®" in the BoM rainfall charts for any region since 1900.

    Here is the link ..... http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/data/index.shtml

    Plaese point out this "climatechange®" in the rainfall data ..... won't hold my breath .....

    Oh by the way when, aside from a few rabid activists, and indoctrinated youngsters, when do you expect the rest of us to see significant "climatechange®"?????
    Anonymous
    21st Oct 2018
    4:33pm
    EXCELLENT ARTICLE Just for Patti ......

    Methods and Tricks Used to Create and Perpetuate the Human-caused Global Warming Deception
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/20/methods-and-tricks-used-to-create-and-perpetuate-the-human-caused-global-warming-deception/
    SuziJ
    22nd Oct 2018
    6:43am
    Mick, I've been on a pension, both single & married since 1994! I can tell you it's not easy to budget!

    I haven't any chance to 'save for a rainy day'. Petrol has gone up by nearly 40 cents per litre in the last 2 years here.

    I do pay all my bills fortnightly - none of those monthly or yearly bills for me.

    I've saved nearly $1,000 in the past year off my electricity bill due to paying in advance. Where can you get an interest rate anywhere near that?
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    11:12am
    "...and MorrisonGuv has fallen at the first hurdle in the Wentworth Cup".............

    Anyway - we all know by now that privatisation is the direct cause of rising costs for utilities, and the global market coupled with government insanity in adhering a comparative price with a nation that produces no petroleum, holds full responsibility for the cost to Australians of petrol. Rentals of course are the direct creation of a flawed economy, which depends on constantly increasing number of people so as to create artificial shortages and thus upward pressure on investments in which many politicians indulge (a Central American/Central European/Chinese dictatorship couldn't do it better! - along with buying into privatised ventures and into future government policy directions involving billions - just a different way of robbing the national till - Federal ICAC anyone?).
    Add to that the folly of banks in lending on lending, and the constant pressure on government to retain the ludicrous current situation of both negative gearing and CONCESSIONAL capital gains .....

    (draws breath)..... and it is clear that anyone on a low income will find it harder and harder with each passing day.
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    1:39pm
    Remember Nick Xenophon. Looked like the real deal and betrayed those who voted him in.
    Phelps has made sounds which make me think she may be a cupboard Liberal so lets wait to see how she votes in the parliament. That'll be the test of her value and impartiality.

    If this lot get back in on a Murdoch propaganda campaign I see dark days ahead of us. Ultimately if voters elect the wicked they deserve the pain. I wait in hope.....
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    2:38pm
    I have the same reservations on Phelps - I used to live in Wentworth years ago...glad I don't now - can't stand the congestion since at heart I'm a bushie.

    "Oh, give me land, lots of land with the starry skies above,
    Don't fence me in..."
    Anonymous
    21st Oct 2018
    2:55pm
    Mick wrote "Phelps has made sounds which make me think she may be a cupboard Liberal "

    Seriously?????????????????????????????

    She wants to shut down Australia with a crippling 50% renewables target, followed by the final coup-de-gras of 100% renewables which won't really be necessary because by then we'll all have died from severe energy poverty due to SKYROCKETING energy rates!!

    As well, she wants to reopen the floodgates of the disastrous people smuggler trade to overwhelm Australia with "refugees" who, once they see the effects of renewables idiocy will sorely regret coming here.

    Actually there would likely be a flood of REAL REFUGEES fleeing a poverty stricken Australia

    This "climatechange®" religious cult, like all true religions, requires a sacrifice, and it looks as if the RabidLeftieWramsters have selected Australia as the sacrificial lamb!

    Hardly a closet Liberal ... but definitely a closet Rabid/Leftie/globalist/Marxist!
    Charlie
    21st Oct 2018
    11:59am
    We are called "tribes" now in the above analysis, a clear sign that society is degenerating. I wonder which extreme left "tribe" thought of using this word.

    Petrol and motor vehicle spare parts and labor costs, is one of the expenses sneaking up. Three years ago i got a motorcycle license and a 100cc scooter, to beat this cost.

    I built a carry box on mine and use it for most of my shopping. Some scooters like Honda cub copies (Sym Symba) and more recent models like Honda Benly have good built in cargo space.

    Other scooter designs like, Honda Dio, Suzuki Address, Sym classic, need a flip up carry box to get access to the petrol tank. That's if something more substantial than a top box is needed.
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    1:41pm
    Tribes? The author has been listening to too many footie broadcasts. That's the lingo now being trotted out. I consider that sort of talk to be the realm of unintelligent discussion.
    Charlie
    21st Oct 2018
    7:54pm
    The word "tribe" already has specific meaning in ancient history and archaeology.

    During colonization of the world by the British, French, Dutch and Spanish etc, they encountered many populations of native people living a tribal lifestyle, as being distinctly different from European industrialized societies.

    What are we trying to do, rewrite history and sanitize it by watering down the words that state the facts.
    Pass the Ductape
    21st Oct 2018
    12:09pm
    The continuing rise in the cost of fuel alone affects everything we purchase, including electricity. Any Australian politician these days is only worth a damn, is they condemn the huge tax reaped from fuel price increases - then has the proverbials to do something positive about reducing it! Until that day occurs, none of them are even worth walking out the door to vote for in my opinion!
    Pass the Ductape
    21st Oct 2018
    12:16pm
    What a great country we live in! The only place in the world where you get fined for not going out to vote for a bunch of useless, thieving con-artists, who exist only to see how much they can scrounge from the public purse.
    MICK
    21st Oct 2018
    1:48pm
    I can understand the great conundrum political parties have. Close down the coal & fossil fuel industry and the country ends up like Argentina. Do nothing and the world becomes a hot box where human life is severely curtailed and restricted to certain regions. The eventuating rise in water levels will decimate most cities built on the seaboard.

    The solution is to replace coal with renewable energy. Of course for Australia it would be unthinkable that we should actually produce a manufactured product which other countries will buy. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. We do not have politicians worth a pinch of sh*t and our business leaders are incapable of achieving such a feat. As I see it we're stuffed either way and the Lucky Country will soon be renamed the Stupid Country. What part of the past 30 years has not already proven this is the case?
    Anonymous
    21st Oct 2018
    3:15pm
    Mick wrote "Do nothing and the world becomes a hot box where human life is severely curtailed and restricted to certain regions"

    What evidence have you seen for this crap aside from FAILED climate models showing greatly exaggerated "globalwarming®" trends.

    You've seen NO EVIDENCE aside from that, because there is ZERO EVIDENCE!

    Looks like you've fallen hook line & sinker for warmster propaganda!

    To quote a Nobel Laureate
    "From 1880 to 2013 global temperature has increased from 288ºK to 288.8ºK. To Me this is AMAZINGLY STABLE!...."

    Meteorologist Mark Nolan: "I’m not sure which is more arrogant – to say we caused ["global warming®"] or that we can fix it."

    Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Resigns From APS Over "globalwarming®" Alarmism
    http://www.climatedepot.com/2011/09/14/exclusive-nobel-prizewinning-physicist-who-endorsed-obama-dissents-resigns-from-american-physical-society-over-groups-promotion-of-manmade-global-warming/

    INCONVENIENT FACT: Thermometers located at airports & other URBAN sites show warming, BUT all genuinely RURAL sites show little, if any, warming!

    IOW Most, if not all, "globalwarming®" is actually dsiguised Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect!

    So far NONE of the "scary globalwarming®" predictions has actually come to pass and NONE ever will!!

    Thirty Years Of DUD climate predictions
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/06/23/thirty-years-of-failed-climate-predictions-the-video/
    Rae
    22nd Oct 2018
    10:16am
    What will do us in is the population growth. From 2 billion to 8 billion in 50 years. Will we hit 32 billion? What will life be like then?
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    10:54am
    Indeed, Rae - Oz has hit 25m and climbing.... more than the nation can take with its present poor economic structure ..... but 'needed' to retain the property market and service industries that are the only game in town.

    I was wondering t'other day how all those people with minimal incomes would pay for healthcare if Medicare goes down..... and of course Social Security.... maybe it won't matter since many will die in street fights and such....
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    10:58am
    Philosophically,it appalls me that Labour used to rant about 'elitism' - and now Labor thrives on it as much as the rest.... the peons out there don't matter one iota in the grand sweep of ideology and 'the revolution'/makeover of society - and what is the possible import of a few dollars or a few hundred when the 'government' is handling billions on a daily basis? all those 'educated' superior beings now holding the reins know best, and what are a few collaterally damaged along the way to Paradise on earth?

    Someone has to take a hit, and it might as well be the leaners etc.....

    We're gonna need a bigger guillotine...

    21st Oct 2018
    2:25pm
    We can rightly blame the incompetent Lieberal vermin currently in power for all of these woes. They'll be getting the boot comes the next election.
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    4:34pm
    Yep your right knows-a-lot, on one point at least, we will have a new government next year, headed by Shorton ideas, manipulated by the greens with a sprinkling of idiocy from The independents, roll on the banana republic that Keating predicted. Welcome to country to all our new migrants.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    8:24pm
    We're already a Banana Republic, Jim - exporting ore and cattle and charging our workers so much for ore products and cattle that they might as well be in the Third World.

    It's a strange and topsy-turvy nation these days, with some in nice little earners and safe super havens - such as government jobs in service such as health or in banking and other 'safe' jobs with good conditions and super - and countless others way behind the game and not likely to catch up with diminishing job opportunities and even fewer opportunities for genuine prosperity.

    This is the product of a scavenger/hyena type of society that we've inherited since the heady days of Whitlam etc... brought about largely by the importation of odd social and economic groups endlessly and funny ideas from such infamous Offshorites as Reagan and Thatcher, with these kinds of silly ideas transplanted to a nation of 20 million now surging to 25 ... in which they really have zero place in any way other than as an open border for offshore corporate vultures.

    That's where the true Open Border is - money - and the smash and grab merchants are exploiting it to the full... all this guff about Labor and Open Borders is nonsense, since Labor allow no more people in to this nation than the LNP does and Labor place them under the same rules and the same confinement until proven worthy - and even fewer given the latest trends.

    LNP, however, has an Open border policy for every rat-racing offshore corporate shark to get into this pool of small fish struggling to make ends meet.

    There is your enemy... and don't forget that in this regard Billy Shorten and the Labor Party (Australian Tour 2019-2022) are NO DIFFERENT in practice with this kind of Open Border. It's all about ME-ME-ME and Money!
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    8:37pm
    Well Trebor as usual I agree with a lot of what you say, and disagree with some of your comments, at least you state things in a civilised way which is appreciated and unlike another particular person on this site, your comments regarding open borders is one area I disagree with, Labor with the greens and Phelps if she does end up winning the seat all state that want a more flexible approach to refugees/migrants, I think there was a clear indication with the attempted landings up north recently that the people smugglers think there are going to be some opportunities when we have a change in government, I am not against genuine refugees being resettled in Australia, I just don’t think that the Indonesians should be the ones making the decisions as to who comes here, they have already suggested that if we move our embassy to Jerusalem they might not be so helpful in stopping the boats.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:17am
    I agree that there needs to be a more flexible approach to refugees.. immigrants are another issue. That 'flexible approach' is NOT theirs.

    My personal position is that Australia has its limit of people for now, given its current economy and lack of focus on the future and any genuine development in sight to extend the REAL economic underpinning of this nation.

    Thus my view is that immigration should cease.

    As for refugees, a similar position applies - since this nation does not at present hold any real opportunity to develop for both refugees and for itself... given its dedication to banana republicanism of ores and cattle and sheep and an artificial eco0nomy built on service industries and serial house exchanging ... and has NO underpinning of any solid production - refugees should be given temporary shelter while they continue their search for a nation that can realistically support them. Once they find such a nation, they should leave.

    As I said elsewhere today - that sounds heartless to some - but nobody I know would say I am heartless.... but my personal view is that with massive and escalating over-population and the simple inability of this planet as governed by humans, to actually accommodate to all needs - we must perforce make choices.

    Not all of those will be sweet and smarmy - some will be nasty to some who miss out or who are insulated from reality and hold the privilege of thinking the world is all sweetness and light .... but, as I've said before many times - this nation should begin to view itself as a lifeboat for those in it - a lifeboat limited in what it can do and how many it can sustain, and which must, perforce, deal with the requirements of its survivors first.

    Lowering the standard of living for those here now will not in any meaningful way raise the standard for those elsewhere... and my grand-children are in Lifeboat Australia through the choices of their ancestors - all of whom came here as free settlers for a better life free from oppression and hunger.... some more than a century and a half ago...

    Should we bring that oppression here again, and that hunger, so that our grand-children and great-grand-children will go without to benefit the same kind of ruthless and selfish ususers?

    I say NO! Lock the gates.... no more strap-hangers and no more parasites and vultures intent on a free meal.

    We ARE under fire, gentlemen - people will die!
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:19am
    Damn! That's 'usurers'!

    What the hell is a ususer? A double user?
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:46pm
    Sounds like a good reason to keep the embassy where it is...
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    6:12pm
    I think it’s obvious that many prices/costs have gone up over the period shown on the table, it’s shows that costs have risen by 50% over that period, not by 150% as someone indicated, if you take the period over 16 years then costs have increased by about 3% so the 2% mentioned in the article is a bit out, but over that period many costs have come down, or I should say over 10 years of that period eg, scotch fillet 9/10 years ago was about $32 kg now I can get it for $27 kg and sometimes cheaper than that at ALDI, over the last 5 years milk has come down in price, so has bread which was $1:20 at woolies and now is only $1:00 I am not sure where other people are shopping and paying $3:50 for bread, prescription medication 9 years ago was $5:30 now they are $6:30 an increase of 20%, I haven’t noticed the increase in electricity because I had the solar panels fitted and was paying nothing, now the subsidy has gone I am paying about $50 a quarter, so I am not really qualified to say how much the price has gone up. I am fed up with the debate regarding franking credits which was brought about purely to engage in the politics of envy, nobody is double dipping they are claiming a tax credit which has been paid on their behalf, but for whatever reason people still want to argue that it is wrong, I can only surmise there is still much misunderstanding surrounding this topic.
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    6:15pm
    The 3% increase should read 3% per year, or slightly less if you allow for compounding.
    TREBOR
    21st Oct 2018
    8:28pm
    Funny - I used to buy bulk rump at >$5 kilo in 2001..... 17 years and it's now over $20.... that's a lot..... I'd buy a couple of packs and stock my freezer for a month of steaks at a time... and fish brought up from the coast cost me all of about $10 for a kilo of whiting fillets and some flathead and maybe half a kilo of prawns. Now the bait can cost that much..... cheaper to buy a packet of frozen prawns from the supermarket and pinch 3-4 out of the fridge to go fishing... big ones and cut them up....

    Damn - my reel stopped reeling in.... just sits... buggar.... no fish.... oh, well... new reel coming.
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    8:51pm
    I was quoting prices from 10 years ago, I have never bought in bulk so I can’t compare prices, the figures I have quoted are accurate, we even stopped buying the scotch fillet for a short while, soon decided we were worth it whatever the cost, once more competition came with ALDI prices dropped significantly, the price drops on the other items I mentioned eg milk and bread also came down due to competition, although I suspect farmers are carrying the burden of some of these reductions. Deep sea whiting were our choice of fish from our local harbour, they cost about $15:00 kg they are now about $30:00 kg so they have doubled in that time, it pays to shop around or as you mention buy in bulk.
    Jim
    21st Oct 2018
    9:05pm
    Keep fishing at least you can have a laugh now and again, it will keep you young
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:25am
    A good snag or an eel is great fun.... hooked what had to be a shark once off a beach - that thing MOVED crossways on the hook and broke the line.. it was BIG and fast... trying more to use a float and keep the hook and bait above the melee down below... but when it comes to catching flathead... hmm.. gotta be very close to the bottom....(poor old flattie - everyone likes to eat his ass, same as lambs)...

    Oh, well -we're only human after all... even if there are too many of us....
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:28am
    Don't like Scotch Fillet much... prefer rump.... each to is own.

    Met an old lady in a supermarket who bought the best cuts ($32 a kilo) for high prices, but in small doses. She said she didn't eat that much so she might as well have the best. Fair enough. I don't begrudge an old person their due... unlike some here.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    12:30am
    Oops! I'm still a boy at 69.... shall never grow old....
    Jim
    22nd Oct 2018
    7:55am
    Sensible comments, with a ring of truth, although flathead being bottom dwellers like the majority of our pollies might deserve to be caught.
    Cowboy Jim
    22nd Oct 2018
    8:50am
    TREBOR - best cuts at $32. Here the best is at $53 last week - a month age it was $49.95. Lucky lady you met at the supermarket.
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    8:55am
    The problem isn't overall CPI increases. The problem is that the CPI measures prices of a wide range of goods that include lots of luxury items. Poor folk don't buy luxury items as a rule. The problem we have is that ESSENTIALS have skyrocketed in price, so the cost of living for the poor has gone through the roof despite relatively low CPI increases.

    At least pensioners DO get an increase every six months, and some concessions. All this crap about the lucky SFRs is just that. Their income does NOT rise and for many has been decimated over the past few years, and they are staring at a threat of it being further decimated. And with no concessions, they pay more for all the essentials. Their rates, medical costs, etc. are crippling many.

    Can we please have some FACT instead of fairy-land fiction? Retirees are struggling. Unless they are very wealthy, SFRs are doing it tough and at risk of doing it tougher. Of course they can drain their savings and go on pensions - which is what financial advisers are telling many to do, because the savings are of no benefit to them. But if they do what's good for them, they do what's bad for the nation. What a STUPID situation for a government to create. They told everyone to save for their retirement so pension costs would reduce. Now they are punishing people for doing what they were advised to do.

    Before we focus on pensioners, we need to focus on making sure that there are no incentives to be a pensioner if you are able to be self-funded. Reduce the number of pensioners by rewarding SFRs and there will be a lot more to go around in future years.
    Rae
    22nd Oct 2018
    10:28am
    Let's see what the Courts in Brussels and Germany have to say about our franking credit policy? The whole policy may be judged to be against International Tax Laws. Can of worms but typical of Australian Government stupidity and greed of the wealthy.
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    11:37am
    That was 3-4 years ago -before the full onslaught of the 'global market' hit and we flogged off all the good stuff to Japan and then paid world parity price for the left-overs.

    (oooooh - hard words!)...

    It seems - like so very many things - that each case needs to be looked at thoroughly and individually... but it's hard to have one rule for all and make it work - obviouslyit's not working if fat cats get away with plenty and thin cats need to rely on the handout.

    Something wrong there.. not a level playing field at all - but let's face it - these 'rules' were not made for the small investor but as a bolt hole for the real owners of the company - the major shareholders who graciously farm out a percentage to make it look good and to reap a little extra operating capital.

    Now when a change is mooted to get rid of fat cat rorting - the opportunity arises to say it's no good because if impacts more on the thin cats (wonder why that argument is not accepted by some re GST etc? hmmmmm)
    Anonymous
    22nd Oct 2018
    5:37pm
    I'd like to know how the ''fat cats'' get away with anything because of franking credits, Trebor. If they pay tax, they get a refund. Nothing changing there. If they don't pay tax, they are either NOT fat cats - but very thin cats - or they are rorting the system or using other loopholes that have nothing to do with franking credits. Yes one policy DOES work fine if the rest of the system is functioning as it should. Franking credits, on their own, do not enable anyone to escape a fair tax bill.

    Goodness, Rae, how very CONVENIENT that the courts in Brussels and Germany suddenly think the policy might be illegal! How long has it been in place and ignored? But suddenly when a party wants to make a massive tax grab and there's been huge protest against the idea, foreign courts decide to look at it. Hmmmm.

    22nd Oct 2018
    5:22am
    OAP needs only to keep up with inflation , not make a pensioner feel wealthier every year.
    Duh !
    TREBOR
    22nd Oct 2018
    11:44am
    Why? Payment for life in return for services rendered... just like a politician or fat cat.... and a little bonus is good to reward the years of hard work etc....

    Double the pension - cut the fat cats in half.... (and their pensions)....

    We're gonna need a bigger guillotine...
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2018
    6:34am
    Yes, Trebor. Pay the pensioners more, but take it off the struggling workers and savers who never get ANY pay rise, but worry over how they will make their savings stretch as the cost of living keeps rising and investment returns either impose risk and management costs or amount to nearly nothing.

    I was the champion of the underdog - and having been there and done that for a long time, had great empathy. But I'm getting heartily sick of their greed and selfishness.
    GrayComputing
    23rd Oct 2018
    12:35pm
    In Australia 1GW of Sun power is landing per each square kilometre every day hour.
    So why are we still stuffing around with burning coal that will fry this planet.
    As we have the largest lithium deposits in WA for battery storage we can lead the world with low cost electricity
    But only if pollies stick to doing only budgets and stop interfering with science, engineering and technologies.
    Pollies should only do like they did for the old Snowy scheme and just ask "how much" and "what is the pay back time" ?
    Old Geezer
    23rd Oct 2018
    2:05pm
    Coal is yesterday sunshine neatly packaged so we can use it. That's why the rest of the world burns coal instead of stuffing around with renewables.
    Anonymous
    24th Oct 2018
    6:31am
    A lot of smart governments are making good use of sunshine to generate power. We are blessed with plenty of sunshine, but the government is too committed to supporting those who profit from legacy technologies to embrace anything new properly. It's all about feeding greed.
    Pass the Ductape
    11th Nov 2018
    9:36am
    Old Geezer...It's correct what you say, but the problem is that it's taken millions of years to get that package to the state where it is now. Molecule by molecule and in a manner only the sun and nature can create, the excesses of billions of years in carbon production have been stored away and out of harm’s way - allowing us to eventually stick our ugly little heads up for a squiz - otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

    But what are human beings doing today? We’re taking that stored carbon product and releasing it all back into the atmosphere in quantities far quicker than it was ever stored away - not with-standing that it’s likely the stuff was never intended for release in the first instance! So common sense should tell anyone what’s about to happen.

    Rest assured, in the final analysis, nature will find a way to compensate - it always does - but the existence of human beings won’t figure a great deal in any of it.

    So enjoy the world as it is, because no matter what those in control of the carbon deposits say, even the money they make from selling the stuff isn’t going to save them , unless they manage to book a flight to the moon - which they probably will. But for those left, well they’ll just have to stay here and slowly die as listen to the spiel of the coal giants which in all probability will simply be -“It was the cost of doing business”.
    Aussie
    10th Nov 2018
    2:25pm
    The utilities like electricity and payments of hundreds of dollars to private companies for the supply is getting extremely expensive and hit our pockets hard.

    Is time the utilities companies and government understand that retire people do not have the same income as corporations or general managers.

    Time to learn from Thailand where the minimum of 150 Kilowatts (KwH) per month of electricity usage is free for everybody and if you go over then you pay ....... for some retires a minimum will be sufficient (Maybe I am wrong) depending on what you use an a daily basis.

    Maybe a combination with solar for lighting and keep only the fridge connected ???? not sure but all this Thailand stuff sounds very very cheap and they have over 72 million people

    So you know that in Thailand Water and Electricity are a government service like use to be in Australia

    Read this for info ..... I think we are getting ripoff big time .......

    https://www.boi.go.th/index.php?page=utility_costs&language=en

    Maybe we need to think about solar energy for some of the usage we have like lighting that can be supported easy with one or two batteries also there are a 12Volts Air conditioner available and also fridges if you want to go full solar .... and most of this solar can be done by yourself there are hundreds of videos about how to do it and get an electrician to do the final checking for safety .....

    I have a solar design and if you want a copy send me a private message and I will send yo a copy free of charge he he he he


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