Senior bashing has become the new media sport

Claims that seniors are rorting tax and screwing younger generations.

Senior bashing has become the new media sport

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the kitchen after the ‘smashed avo’ beat-up, now more so-called thought leaders are reducing the complex issue of intergenerational equity into a simplistic old versus young war. Sadly, these very vocal proponents of ‘the young are being screwed’ rhetoric are overlooking most of the facts and pumping up a handful of statistics to skew their arguments. The result seems to be a senior bashing exercise of little benefit to either older or younger people in society. I have really had enough of this cheap exercise which is as discriminatory as it is false.

Yes, John Daley, Jessica Irvine and Adam Bandt I’m looking at you.

The current furore started with the release of the Grattan Institute’s report into so-called ‘unfair seniors’ tax breaks’, as reported by Debbie on Monday.

The gist of the report is that older Australians are receiving far more in benefits from the public purse than younger people are. To quote Grattan chief, John Daley, "While they have been dropping out of the tax system and their incomes have been going up materially, the amount the government spends on them has been going through the roof, particularly on health. They are taking a lot more out and putting substantially less in”. This statement has gone unchallenged and been amplified by many media mouths.

But let’s consider what these seniors, who in most cases have paid 40 or 50 years of tax into the public purse, and funded, without complaint, roads, airports, kindergartens, high schools and universities for future generations, continue to contribute today. It’s something our GDP fails to measure, but a research paper by the Australian Institute of Family Studies measured the contribution of unpaid work by those aged 55 and over to be $74 billion. It puts Mr Daley’s suggested $1 billion wind back in tax breaks in context, doesn’t it? Maybe grandparents caring for grandchildren should just go on strike for a day to make the nation sit up and take notice of their contribution for a change?

Next cab off the media rank was Jessica Irvine, senior writer at Fairfax. In a particularly whingey op ed in The Age, titled ‘We pay while you play’ Ms Irvine laid into older people with a vengeance. To quote,

“We’ve watched as you’ve dragged the heft of your demographic bulge through the tax and welfare system, with politicians only too glad to buy your votes. We’ve watched as you were granted rights to sock hundreds of thousands of dollars into your super nest eggs while we were busy paying off university debts you never had”

What planet is this ‘senior’ writer on?


The median superannuation balance on retirement is $95,000. Yes, Jessica, for people entering retirement today that is the median amount they have to fund their next 20 or 30 years. If male, it is higher. If female it is lower. It’s because they have not benefitted from compulsory superannuation for the number of years your generation will. Little wonder then that the fastest growth in homelessness is for females aged 55 and over. These are the facts. So most Australians have not been ‘socking’ hundreds of thousands of anything, anywhere.

Hard on the heels of Mr Daley and Ms Irvine came Greens MP Adam Bandt who let fly in Parliament yesterday with a ‘young people are getting screwed’ speech’. I watched the full 20 minutes on Facebook and as my internet was slow I saw his message delivered very slowly and deliberately. And Adam had nothing to say about any contribution made by older Australians. Nothing at all. Senator Bandt’s flawed logic seemed to echo that of Mr Daley and Ms Irvine:

  • Young people are getting screwed (quote)
  • The old are well off
  • So the plight of younger Australians is the fault of the older people.

It’s a great media grab and a crowd pleaser amongst the many younger people who are feeling disenfranchised.

But this massively simplistic and erroneous approach is akin to the hordes of Americans who voted for Donald Trump because he is going to bring back the jobs in manufacturing.

He can’t, he won’t. And in Australia older people are not screwing younger people.

It’s time to challenge the woeful lack of analysis and start a grown-up debate about who in our society is missing out and what can be done about it.

And to stop supporting an old versus young intergenerational war beat-up because it raises the profile of a think tank, is click bait for a newspaper or a populist slogan for a politician.

The real story about inequity has nothing to do with old versus young.

The real story is the widening gap between rich and poor, measured and documented by global organisations including the OECD and Oxfam and local ones such as ACOSS and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The lack of opportunity and access faced by many of us – in education, health care, housing or financial wellbeing – is much more closely aligned to our socio-economic status than to our age. Yes, in certain aspects, different age groups do benefit from various government policies. So superannuation tax breaks can favour older people. But only those with enough money to utilise them!  If you haven’t got an extra $50,000 to put into super this is of no benefit whatsoever. And this is the case for the majority of older people. Overall life course disadvantage is the major ongoing challenge for far too many Australians, old and young.

We know that the deposit on a house represents a greater proportion of annual income than it did 25 years ago. Buying a house is a huge challenge. But the 15 per cent of retirees who do not own their own home and are forced to rent in the same overheated rental market as younger people are doing it just as tough. No $19 margaritas for them, Jessica.

Finding a job is also tough – at any age. Youth unemployment is far too high and the Federal Government’s planned tightening of Newstart allowance conditions is punitive and ridiculously unfair.

But a glance at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report Willing to Work reveals the experience of those aged 55 and over when they apply for jobs. Endemic age discrimination means their CVs will probably be junked by a bot before they have any chance of being read. Those in this age group will take more than a year to get back in the job market, if ever. Much longer than those in younger age groups.

So instead of bashing up other generations, let’s take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Our financial system is fundamentally flawed. The tax breaks we really need to look at are associated with capital gains and negative gearing. The Australia Institute did the sums on this long ago. We can afford to look after old, young and those in between if we tackle the real inequities in our society. But starting a pop culture generational war is not the way to go about it.

What do you think? Are seniors really screwing the prospects for younger generations? Do Mr Daley, Ms Irvine and Adam Bandt have a case? Or is this generational stoush as unhelpful as Kaye claims?


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    24th Nov 2016
    I find it interesting when younger people tell me their complaints. I always respond by offering sympathy that their parents and grandparents are bludgers who have done nothing for them. Oddly none of the complainants seem to agree that their own relatives are a problem. The label always applies to some unknown group of people not to anyone they know.
    24th Nov 2016
    Good observation Teddy.

    What you do not spend time on Kaye is that the Greens are genY in politics so don't be surprised that it's 'I want' all the time. This generation might have high house prices and job insecurity but it has record low interest rates and apparently heaps of money to spend on new cars, lavish holidays, dining out and entertainment and all the latest fashion and electronics. Tell me how hard they have it please!
    If those who are after seniors succeed then there will be no inheritance so maybe what comes around will go around. And then genY can blame somebody else for their unfulfilled dreams.
    24th Nov 2016
    Mick, I think you will find that most of the greens you fear are Gen X; the generation raised by and given their values by the boomers. It's no wonder these self-aware individuals identify the boomers as the source of their problems.
    24th Nov 2016
    with the scumbag younger scrounging generation of whingers and whiners, this really aint worth getting into. They are, as usual, making complete fools of themselves sitting on their arses doing nothing much.Uni fees were applicable in the 60"s to by the way.
    As for the Adam Bandt fool, he is a green dodo, a party of foolish imbiciles who like controversy and trouble, ignore the idiot, he will be voted out soon by us old scroungers lol
    24th Nov 2016
    Some young female was on about this a couple of days ago. She wants all pensioners concessions stopped because the younger generation is in such dire need.

    But she recently gave birth to a child, and no doubt collected a raft of taxpayer funded benefits which were not available to retirees when their children were born.

    No doubt her employment was protected during the time she was off work, and no doubt her partner also was able to access special leave. My wife received no special leave, had to resign from her job and terminate her superannuation which yielded anough money to just buy a refrigerator.

    If she hasn't already done so, no doubt this martyred female will collect a substantial sum from the taxpayers by way of a first home grant - not available to those now in retirement.

    For the current retirees a new car was an impossible dream until they were well into their 50s, and as for overseas travel - forget it!

    There was resentment over a concession on health insurance, never mind that if the current batch of retirees had not maintained their health insurance there would be no funds in existence and governments would fund everything, never mind that the savings brought about by insured pensioners would dramatically exceed the cost of those concessions.

    The whining female no doubt makes use of all of the infrastructure that exists, transport, fire, ambulance, hospitals, defence, police, etc, all funded by retirees.

    Sadly for both the whining female, her ilk and the nation, our way of life is constantly under attack from these young know-it-alls to such an extent that democracy is now under serious threat. As the saying goes, these people will never miss the water till the well runs dry.
    24th Nov 2016
    Well said maxchugg.
    24th Nov 2016
    The reality is that boomers have spoiled this generation and it now expects the hand outs to keep rolling on. It is rather sickening listening to this generation spew out it's vile demands when parents have done so much for them. What sort of people did we bring up!

    PS Boomers also received the first home bonus...although I missed out on that one too.
    24th Nov 2016
    I can see both sides of this story. In 1958 I had to pay, up front, the full cost of my university education each year.

    The dole was not quite enough to pay for food, if you had somewhere free to live. There was no thought of having a car, or buying a beer from it.

    On the other hand in the 60s, on the average income, I paid only 7.75% tax, & my first home cost only 4.8 times my gross salary. Of course by todays standards it was a total dump, & I doubt either of my daughters would live in it. My youngest at 25 has just moved into a new home, & I noticed my lady looking rather jadedly around our home, after returning home, from visiting it. Reading her mind with the comparison, I reminded her that this one was paid for, which cheered her up a bit.

    As for jobs, they are not all that hard to get, if you really want one. My son fresh out of the navy had a job before he really wanted one, & a number of offers with in a month. My youngest daughter, back from a few years in Darwin was quickly snapped up, & earning more than I ever did with in a few weeks.

    I have a couple of neighbours, a turf farmer, & a hydroponics vegetable grower, neither of whom can get labour for available work for $1000 a week. While kids expect more than that as beginners, they don't deserve jobs.
    24th Nov 2016
    the negative language and venom directed at the young reflects how inadequate the boomer generation has been in raising its children and the realisation that the interwar generation failed in training the boomers how to be parents.

    Hasbeen, if your neighbours truly have those jobs available at $1000/wk, point me to them as I know people out of the mining sector looking for jobs.
    25th Nov 2016
    Hi HR and everyone we must not fall into the trap that Daley is laying and bash younger people. These attacks have not come from young people they have come from leaking tax Daley who is no youngster. I would guess he is about 50 years of age pretending to speak for young people. There is no evidence that the majority of young people are behind him or listening to him but undoubtedly he will plant an idea in some minds. Many of the young people I have spoken to realize that downgrading seniors' benefits will ultimately leave them very badly off. He could not care less about young people what he is doing is preparing the way for Scott Morrison to make further severe cuts to seniors incomes so that he can give more tax cuts to the wealthy and big business and of course Daley. Someone pays him handsomely and pays media outlets to run this line. Guess who?
    29th Nov 2016
    Spot on, Alex! Most young people I know are very grateful to seniors for their contribution to society, respectful, and eager to see seniors treated well. Notice that these rants come from high-income-earners who have never done it tough and wouldn't have the tiniest inkling about life in the real world?
    29th Nov 2016
    Alex and Rainey, I completely agree with you. I know that most of the current younger generation are appreciative of what has been provided, its the whining, moaning minority who give the rest a bad image.

    Unfortunately it is the whining, moaning minority groups who get the attention of governments. The outcome is that the whole population gets landed with things like the horrendously atrocious Safe Schools program where the disgusting co-ordinator can tell parents who object "calmly and graciously, 'You know what? We're doing it anyway, tough luck'"!

    24th Nov 2016
    I'm sorry, I can't comment right at present - I'm just racing off to spend the wad of money the Govt gave me yesterday.
    Gotta keep the economy rolling along, you know. It's called the "trickle-down" effect.
    I spend my huge pension money on all kinds of things - and the young benefit by my largesse - via me creating jobs so they can serve me - and by me consuming things such as food and alcohol, so the farmers and shops, benefit too!
    Of course, along the way today, I'll go to the bank - so the youngsters benefit via a great-paying job in the bank, too (particularly if they're the CEO).
    The banks benefit hugely today, by generously giving me 1.5% interest, and then charging me savage fees to access and take out my own money - but hey, that's the trickle-down effect in action, isn't it?
    In fact, I can definitely feel that warm trickle down my back, as I speak!
    Hang on, I think it's coming from a bank executives trousers! Or is that that young mans trousers??
    24th Nov 2016
    Aaron, you appear to have no idea what "trickle-down" economics actually means. To sum up, it means if rich people and corporations get richer, then the benefits will eventually trickle down to the poor. It's a dubious concept and has nothing to do about intergenerational inequality.

    Despite huge profits, the big four banks are about to get a tax break, if the present Govt has its way. I'll bet that NONE of the benefits will trickle down to you or me. More likely to go to even bigger bonuses for CEOs and maybe increased dividends to shareholders.
    24th Nov 2016
    Bravo Aaron ! Standing ovation !
    24th Nov 2016
    Love your sense of humour Aaron. Keep it up.
    24th Nov 2016
    Cheer up Janran, you are missing one major point.

    If you or any of yours have super, there is a practical certainty that those bank profits are flowing to a largs extent to that super.

    As a probable beneficiary, enjoy, & stop winging.
    24th Nov 2016
    Yes they are being screwed, but not by us. Forged from a society that encourages them to have:
    *such a low tolerance for frustration that it barely makes it to any normal scale
    * a sense of entitlement that is over the top
    *the attention span of a mosquito
    * an insatiable need for gratification in the form of bigger and better toys than those enjoyed by any preceding generation
    *inability to delay said gratification...... need I go on...?
    24th Nov 2016
    The Worse part is yet to come !! Some of those Entitled ones will go on to become (Dare I say It) POLITICIANS !! :-( :-( OMG !! :-( I'm outta here !! :-( :-(
    25th Nov 2016
    worst mistake by this judge, he did not give labor mick life, greatest rorter in Australia
    Dave R
    24th Nov 2016
    They have to fill newspapers so they create issues. However there is an element of truth in this in so far as it's mainly older wealthy people who are benefiting from things like negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.
    Nevertheless these are wealth inequality issues rather than age issues. Fix the tax avoidance rorts and this issue will evaporate.
    24th Nov 2016
    Dear Kaye. You are so correct. I paid into a Government Insurance ( similar to the UK) scheme for years only to have Government's borrowing our savings to pay for infrastructure. Then eventually (Bob Hawk I think) got into power and abolished the scheme as a debt the Government could never repay and put us pensioners 'to be' into the present scheme of things; where we are constantly under attack by many.
    24th Nov 2016
    With the exception that top highly paid public servants still get the old scheme as I understand. I have a friend who is a judge and that is what he is on.
    The bottom end always gets hit the hardest, gets hit first and is hit for long periods of time. The corollary of that is that the top end get tax havens which are let run for decades and when they are shut down another scheme opens up almost immediately. Called accommodated corruption. Never changes.
    24th Nov 2016
    I'll tell you who's getting Screwed !! Old Age Pensioners :-( :-(
    What is factored into those 6 Monthly Pension Adjustments ?? The Price of Air and Water !! :-( :-(
    24th Nov 2016
    Don't give the bastards any ideas particolor. Did you know that in Colorado it is illegal to collect rainwater from your own roof?
    24th Nov 2016
    They tried that in South America once too !! ( An American Conglomerate) With Disastrous Results !! :-) ) The locals kept Shooting the Water Tax Collectors :-) :-) :-)
    24th Nov 2016
    What a pity that those who have all the solutions base their findings on incomplete or incorrect data as well as fitting that data to fit their already predetermined outcome.
    Who are these self righteous idiots who obviously didn't do well in the Research unit at university.
    Get a real job.
    Where was our $5000 per child, child care subsidy, family tax A and B and all the other perks that the younger generations enjoy today?
    24th Nov 2016
    It wasn't there ?? :-( My Missus got a Quid a Month Endowment :-)
    And that WAS IT !!
    24th Nov 2016
    it was not the young that decided to give themselves benefits. Rather, it was the boomer and x-gen that contrived the age of entitlement while feathering their own nests.
    24th Nov 2016
    There were No Feathers in our Nests ! :-( We lad our Eggs on Straw :-)
    24th Nov 2016
    @particolor, perhaps some have laid eggs on straw (and at same time expressing gratitude they were at least indoors). I think you will find most of the monkeys at the top of the tree are boomers who look down to see a tree full of smiling faces rather than their gen x, y, z offspring looking up and seeing a tree full of arseholes.
    24th Nov 2016
    I saw a Cartoon once of a tree full of Birds ! And the further down the tree you were perched the More S**T landed on top of you !! :-) :-)
    24th Nov 2016
    So the Greens, Fairfax and the Grattan Institute, that said it all.
    Besides the opinions of these fools, haven't pensioners just seen the age to claim the pension raised to 67 and then pushed up to 70.
    Working until 70, how are these precious holiday makers going to cope with that?
    24th Nov 2016
    no pensioner has seen eligibility for the OAP increased to 70. And as for the y-gen and millenials being concerned - they will make the rules before too long.
    24th Nov 2016
    The Wit triplets, Nit Wit (John D), Half Wit (Adam B) and Dim Wit (Jessica I) are only stirring up intergenerational trouble for no good reason. The people to blame for these issues are the usual suspects - our politicians. They put these measures in place to gain votes and win elections. Why should we retired who in most cases worked at least 45 years each be the ones who are demonised? We have assets behind us, of course most would after a lifetime of hard work and those assets will go to the generation who are now demonising us!!!

    Study your history and spend the hours comparing today's wages/tax/house/mortgage rates/car/food prices with corresponding prices in the 60's/70's aND 80's. You will find that the figures are pretty close (except for tax which is much lower than the 70's/80's).

    The only thing I agree with is Nit Wit's statement that seniors who are working are paying less tax than younger folk and that needs to be addressed.

    The younger Wit brother, F**k Wit (Scott M) needs to look at possibilities for increasing/decreasing govt revenue/expenditure. Wait a minute, perhaps look at big corporations and multi nationals as they may donate towards making this country great again by actually paying tax. Their tax donations should contribute many more billions that the estimated 1 billion contribution by older workers. Or is this all too hard?
    24th Nov 2016
    All to Dangerous for them I think ? :-(
    24th Nov 2016
    A majority of the younger generations seem to want to have their cake and eat it. And preferably have someone else provide the cake on a silver platter. Sorry, the system doesn't work like that! If you spend all of your available funds, plus go into debt for luxuries you don't need then you will never be able to afford the deposit on your dream home, especially if your dream is a McMansion. You need to get real.
    24th Nov 2016
    and which generation is responsible for instilling the selfish entitlement, live in the moment attitude of the younger generations??? Answer - the boomers and x gens, that's who - what is as ye sow, so shall ye reap.
    24th Nov 2016
    I know that we as parents never gave our kids more than they needed to enjoy their youth, and tried to teach them financial responsibility. Sadly, they married partners who had not been brought up the same way but all still have managed to own their own (mortgaged) homes. Their own children don't have the financial sense they need to become secure as yet, but I am still hopeful it may develop with time and advice. !
    24th Nov 2016
    I am intrigued it seems that Kaye has every right to have her thoughts and ideas posted and assumed to be correct yet others who seem to have done some research are treated as idiots out there to push their own barrow. Kaye I do not know who is right and who is wrong, what I do know is my personal situation and I probably in demographics mirror a large number of pensioners. I am happy, I am well, I am treated fairly by the government ie. the system and if things continue as they are I will see out my remaining days in comfort and well treated for health problems etc. Kaye stay out of the political scene research your statements and be fair to all. That way this page may be well worth reading again. I am neither Liberal nor Labor or independent I am Dougie who has a mind of his own and I am happy in this world.
    24th Nov 2016
    Well said Dougie, best post for a long time.
    29th Nov 2016
    Good for you, dougie. But has it ever occurred to you that the world goes on around you regardless, and if nobody speaks in protest against the fallacious rants of the self-serving, the politicians will continue to oil the squeaky wheel - to the serious detriment of many who simply can't afford to just sit back and be happy. You may even find YOUR happy life disrupted some day by policy changes driven by the greedy, vocal minority.

    Seniors are hurting. Maybe it's not affecting you. There are probably hundreds of thousands who are not suffering - yet! But we should all be alert and concerned about the likely very harmful social changes if politicians are allowed to give Daley, Irvine and Bandt credibility.

    There's a popular saying: ''All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.'' Complacency is fine until it's you whose well being is attacked. And who will speak out for you, when you refused to stand beside them in their hour of need?
    24th Nov 2016
    My husband and I worked from 14 year olds to in our 70's and we have never until we became aged pensioners have had a free ride. We have always paid for what we have, we still pay health insurance and do not have a great sum in superannuation. Maybe if the younger generation did not want the biggest and newest and best of everything and tried to live within their means then they too may be able to afford the deposit on a house. I am sick and tired of this age of entitlement expected by the younger generations. Babs
    24th Nov 2016
    Hmm yes, I have the grand total of 25 cents in my purse to last me until my next pension comes in on the 30th!!! Sure, I'm making the young suffer because of my wealth! I worked for years, 18 hour days 7 days a week, and when forced into retirement because of disability (I was falling over more often than those I cared for due to a brain tumour), my "golden handshake" was $1000.
    Universal superannuation began to cover the industry I was in on the very year I was forced to retire. So, as I was a woman and it was the fashion then for authorities to think that we would be covered by our husband's super, a mere $1000 was all I was entitled to. No interest on deductions taken from my wages, no nothing.
    Yet I do not regret the years of struggle to keep a roof over my children's head as a single mother (again, that wasn't my choice either). I did what I did because I felt the responsibility to do so, even though there were others who believed the lies that "I was using the system".
    I'm glad that the youth of today have the opportunity I never had in my youth to continue their education (although I do question the notion that everyone should immediately continue onto university or else they're not fully educated and so are less employable). I paid my fair share of taxes when I was working, without complaint, no I didn't have a HECS debt but then I didn't have the opportunity to attend university either, at least until my later years. When I was younger, it was still the mindset of many that females didn't need to go to university, they would marry and therefore not be in the workforce.
    So, to those who consider that my generation are now all spending our kid's inheritance selfishly on themselves, consider this. I've never had the opportunity to own property of any description, my asset of greatest value is my mobility scooter which is necessary for me to continue to do the street ministry among the homeless and street folk. I can no longer walk, even with the aid of my walking frame more than 500m.
    I survive on $524 per fortnight, most of that is taken up by my rent and utilities. My entertainment is my TV and my computer, and I have the constant companionship of two furry kids, Honey and Elsa. The amount in my accounts is less than $2, yes, I am indeed living the high life!!
    24th Nov 2016
    Thanks for that !!:-) :-) Good Luck in the Future :-)
    25th Nov 2016
    Oh, my blood is boiling! It is simply appalling load of rubbish. The fact of the matter is that our society has stooped to bashing the aged. The aged are being put through the wringer most unfairly. I am sorry. Never in our years of work, family and community involvement have we ever put ourselves FIRST as we now find with the younger generations. Just have to look at the 'schoolies'. Never worked in their lives but spending up [as well as wrecking up] and costing a fortune for repairs when they finally wake. We find schoolies don't just go for a WE camp or hanging out with friends? They now venture as far as overseas destinations; get into trouble -- costing their family firstly and flow on to the tax payer if they needing consulate support and help.
    They have a gap year and spend up on their travel and when they wake up to themselves the housing market has passed them by if not the jobs too! I know of a lot of young people including my own two sons who have foregone such luxuries. Today they are proud owners of their own homes, in jobs working hard plus study. No, I have nil sympathy until proven otherwise. They should leave the aged and retired well alone. We should fight this tooth and nail people as I watch the government putting their hands into the pockets of the aged.! gotta go to work to make sure I can save more for my retirement!! cheers
    25th Nov 2016
    When young people tell me seniors are on the gravy train I remind them who paid for their education.
    Chris B T
    25th Nov 2016
    My take on this is the disposable income of past generations to now.
    The willingness to forgo some luxuries for saving for a deposit.
    Compare these to the past you might find the answer.
    If you spend as much as you earn then savings is nought simple.
    Gee Whiz
    25th Nov 2016
    How come it is mainly the brain dead, and backward thinkers who get publicity for their idiotic theories. I suppose its because they have access to the that other band of losers called "journalists". Journalistic are the buzzards of society who feed off the offal thrown to them by so called "academics" who mistakenly believe that they know everything about everything. They wouldn't last five minutes in the real world, in a real job.
    25th Nov 2016
    Adam Bandt, Jessica Irvine and John Daley are pushing wedge politics to create a divide between retirees and younger people so that it will be easier to make retirees the losers once again in the next budget. John Daley is a low life parasite that has never done an honest day’s work in his life. How much is he being paid for his Fascist targeting of the old the sick the dying? He and the Grattan Institute need to be told by as many people as possible that what he is saying is incorrect and unacceptable and that we despise what he stands for and what he does. These attacks are not only affecting this generation they are affecting the next generation which will have no retirement at all at the rate it is being whittled away for ordinary people. Daley will undoubtedly be well paid for peddling bile in his ripe old age. Jessica Irvine does not have a brain in her head, certainly not an economic one. She will peddle whatever someone pays her to peddle. When her piece appeared in the SMH I cancelled my subscription and emailed Darren Goodsir to tell him why. As for Adam Bandt and the Greens this dope and his fearless leader need to be told that we will move hell and high water to campaign against the Greens. Perhaps Jacquie Lambie could cultivate some serious candidate that will get more of their senate seats. Constantly following up this persecution is extremely time-consuming and I really appreciate the wonderful reply above. Any minor tax breaks retirees get do not compensate in any way for the fact that retired Australians do not get the aged pension that they paid for. This is the only country in the world where this is the case. The tax breaks given by the Howard Government were meant to compensate to a small extent for the tax cuts other people received.
    I noticed Hasbeen stated that in the 60s he only paid 7.7% in tax. In that case his earning would have been rather low at the time. In 1969, for example, the average annual income was about $3302.0; Tax on that about $534.0 =16% of income.
    At the beginning of 2016 average annual income is given as $ 57 950 2016; Tax = $ 5795 = 18%
    There is very little difference. An income of about 32,000 today in taxed at about 7.5%
    25th Nov 2016
    Alex, you are closer to the mark than Hasbeen. When I started work IN 1967 as a 1st year Technician in Training I paid about 13.5% tax.
    25th Nov 2016
    Right on maxchugg. I well remember the 0.50 cents a week or $2.00 a month child endowment no special leave what so ever and yes quit to have a child. No $5000.00 bonuses
    29th Nov 2016
    DArn right BIllv I think I can remember even less child endowment than 50 cents NO leave -- and Mothers stayed at home and MOTHERED did not desert the kids -- and we lived well within our means -- and sat on butter boxes we didn't have to have the best of the best
    27th Nov 2016
    Maybe if the younger generations saved their money -- stopped getting Tattoos -- piercings etc and spending up big on drink / drugs / expensive holidays and partying they would be able to afford important things!
    28th Nov 2016
    Those corporations dodging taxes R a big part to blame. Politicians retired with huge pensions & so many perks eg. free air travel as do their wives Public servants getting $ 4-800,000-00 a year for what ? Migrants & refugees , the ones who don't want to work but cost a fortune to keep. Also work isn't so available because of the Digital Age , Robots do a lot of the manual labor now, don't get tired, require holidays or sick pay . Other digital practices fill in 4 humans . Old people have put in years of work , personally I have done 2 stints as a carer for my family saving I left home to keep myself @ 15 & worked ever since paying tax for about 50 years . Now 2 old to work but never went overseas & worked hard for all I have .But I don't think I am the loan ranger others have done the same .It's unfair of any-one to blame Pensioners. those media fools prob. went from College to their easy job. & should get out in the real world & grow up .
    29th Nov 2016
    What these arrogant folk need to have forcibly shoved down their throats is the research that has been done by the University of Adelaide about older folk in unpaid work.
    The over 55's save the taxpayers [and the governement]more than $70 billion a year through taking on the care of spouses, grandchildren and a host of other unpaid voluntary work. Women aged 65 to 74 contributed $16 billion in unpaid work inside and outside the home, men of the same age contributed another $10.3 billion.
    I'd very much like to know how many unpaid hours retired pollies, bureaucrats and judges put in to offset their sickeningly large pensions.

    29th Nov 2016
    I replied to nitwit Irvine's garbage pointing out that no, many of my generation didn't pay for university education - because we never got to go past 2nd or 3rd year high school. We started work at 14 or 15 in shit jobs on low pay. Juniors were paid peanuts. Adult wages didn't cut in until 21. And women were paid less than peanuts and generally quit work at the first sign of pregnancy, after which families struggled on one wage to raise a family and pay of a mortgage at between 7% and 18%+.

    Furniture, appliances, household goods, cars, and clothing were all far more costly relative to wages than they are today. (I just replaced a refrigerator at exactly the same actual dollar price I paid for my first one in 1973. Only back then that cost represented 1/2 our annual income. My lounge suite bought last year cost less than the average wage for 1 week, as opposed to the one I bought in 1973 costing just less than the annual average wage at the time. And don't even start on cars! Our first new car was bought on retirement - which we were forced into at 55 due to health problems resulting from decades of hard work in conditions that would not be permitted today by health and safety authorities.

    Superannuation? My partner had it for a while but the management fees exceeded the employer contributions and no way could he afford to put anything additional in, so he ended up with a debt. Fortunately, the government insisted the fund ''defer'' the debt, interest free, until his net balance reached positive figures, which never happened!

    In 25 years of raising kids, we ate in a restaurant twice, had one cheap camping holiday, and I bought clothing in a store once - the day my youngest graduated from college. All other family clothing was homemade, mostly from recycled fabric. We grew vegetables. We raised pigs, cows and chooks for eggs and meat. We renovated a 12-year-old car and did our own car repairs. Our first home was a 2-bed/1 bath 30-year-old run-down weatherboard with leaking pipes and rotten veranda, and after we renovated it we sold it and owner-built, living in a shed with no electricity or running water for 5 years, with 3 young children.

    Please, Ms Irvine, take me back 50 years and let me swap your HECS debt and professional qualifications for my crappy unskilled job! I'll happily exchange my income and tax bill for yours. No sweat! And I'll show you how you can own a home far better than I raised my kids in with far less pain and sacrifice than I ever made - just, in fact, by giving up the odd overseas holiday and those restaurant breakfasts! (I had to give up steak and roast meats in favour of sausages and mince. But I did eat a lot of lamb shanks, which back then were poor man's food and are now, somehow, a luxury!)

    All this senior bashing is disgusting. None of it is based on fact. And none of it is helpful in solving any of our economic or social problems. What is needed is a reality check, which will reveal that the problem is exactly as Kaye says. THE RICH DON'T PAY ENOUGH TAX. There are far too many rorts and loopholes and the laws are far too generous to the privileged. There's more than enough money in our society for everyone to enjoy an acceptable standard of living. The problem is that it remains in the wrong hands because of greed and selfishness at the top end. And all Daley and his stinking mates seek is to persuade the government to continue to milk stones while he and his ilk party.

    Oh and BTW. Just in case nobody noticed, the single minority group that have suffered the biggest hit to their income and lifestyle in Australia is some half-million RETIREES who saved to try to achieve near independence in old age. Not only did they see their incomes smashed by interest rates falling to nearly nil and their asset values smashed by the GFC, but they have suffered cuts in pension income up to $14,000 pa (plus the value of pension benefits). Name me one other sector that has suffered anything like that hit to their lifestyle? The rich paid a tiny, tiny TEMPORARY extra tax. Most pensioners are getting a badly needed and quite inadequate increase (excepting those who need it most!), some families have seen reductions to handouts of a type my generation never had, and the vast majority have just kept on enjoying prosperity. Of course increasing numbers of GENUINELY needy are getting bashed about with reduced job opportunities, reduced dole, reduced and harder to qualify for disability and sickness benefits... On it goes. Slug the aged, the sick, the disabled, the disadvantaged, to give Daley and his ilk tax cuts and ensure well-paid professionals can continue to holiday abroad annually and dine out without sacrificing their Mercedes or their brand new 5+ bed 3+ bath, 3+ living room mansion with its landscaped gardens and backyard designer pool!

    Any hope of getting the NITWITS and greedy arseholes to actually read these posts and pay attention to FACTS? I think not!
    29th Nov 2016
    Rainy I know where you are coming from
    5th Dec 2016
    My mother was forced to hand in her job, the moment she was married, as did all "matrons" of her generation.

    The fact is, times have changed. Women contribute to their own retirement now, because they have no other option. Most couples have to work outside the home for money, just to pay the rent, let alone buy a home.

    Young people are faced with a whole lot of stuff us oldies can hardly imagine. Yes, men can get paternity leave now, but the flip side to that is, they are rightly expected to contribute domestically and to care for their children. I've had plenty of banter with old men on this site, who'd rather chop off their own hands than do what they call "women's work".

    As Kaye says, let's not be distracted by the young/old war, more the rich/poor war, waged by the true elites (corporate interests). Unfortunately, everyone in the labour force today is beholden to the corporates because their involuntary future finances/retirement plans (superannuation), are tied up in the stock market and other unethical investments, whether they want to be or not.

    29th Nov 2016
    Do these rants perhaps qualify as age discrimination?
    15th Sep 2017
    I was one of the women on the SBS Insight show, Women on the Edge. I was disturbed by the lack of discussion on solutions so started a Facebook group to look at solutions. From that we have developed two main working parties, one to put up an information website for those at housing risk, and another to put together a viable proposal for privately funded affordable housing developments. If you are either homeless or confronting homelessness, come and join us at

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