25th Feb 2019
Older Aussies reveal the election 2019 issues that matter most
Author: YourLifeChoices

Baby boomers and retirees have spoken, telling politicians what they deem the most important issues for older Australians in the upcoming election battle.

Our Friday Flash Poll: Which election issues matter most to you? attracted 1458 respondents, 58 per cent of whom were male and 42 per cent female, mostly aged between 65 and 74 years old. Three in 10 were typically Labor voters (30 per cent) and a little fewer were Liberal voters (29 per cent). The next largest voting cohorts were Greens, Independent and One Nation, in that order.

However, 21 per cent call themselves swinging voters, which could be a telling factor come the next federal election – especially if the demands of Australians aged over 55 aren’t satisfied.

When asked which issues mattered most, unsurprisingly, increasing the Age Pension came out on top with 12 per cent. Addressing Health/Medicare followed very close behind – also on 12 per cent but with 16 fewer votes.

Many political pundits are calling this next election ‘the climate change election’, and if the results of our poll are anything to go by, the environment and energy policies could play a big part in swinging voters to other parties. Ten per cent of our respondents say that energy and climate change is a big issue for them and for Australia, again, putting paid to the notion that older people don’t care about the environment.

“If we don’t look after the environment nothing else will matter,” wrote YourLifeChoices member Poppsy.

“I have a strong belief that as 'elders' we have a responsibility to future generations – to children and those yet to be born, to live in a society, on our incredible planet in a way that enables them to contribute their unique talents in service to the flourishing of the whole system … the living systems that support life on earth. We are not separate from these systems. We must live in harmony with them if life is to flourish on earth. We cannot retreat into narrow self-interest or simply furthering our family's interests particularly if they are violating the earth’s natural systems,” wrote Zen.

However, some would disagree, preferring ‘intelligent’ mining over environmental policies.

“What matters differs from person to person and generally revolves around how those matters affect the individual. It's all okay to make feel good statements about climate change but the reality is that it doesn't really infringe on daily living. How much we have to spend can mean the difference between living and existing, so those dependent on welfare and pensions will have a different opinion than those who are comfortably off,” wrote Old Man.

“The Green left want to close mining in all of its forms and use the excuse that it will save the planet but omit the result of their ideology. Warren Mundine wrote an excellent article about what mining does for the average person from coal-fired power stations from mined coal to the building industry using mined sand.

“My opinion, and I make this statement because it is what affects me and my family, is that I want mining to continue, more coal fired power stations which I feel are needed until renewable energy systems are made more reliable and affordable, safer borders and for Australia to get out of the Paris agreement which takes our funds and does nothing,” Old Man continued.

But most believe the environment is our number one concern.

“The environment should be first and foremost. We owe it to future generations to protect the planet and as already stated not much matters if that is ignored. Therefore, renewables not coal! Water protection is of course a big yes as it a part of the environment. It seems if we can get the environment right, we have made massive inroads into making a right order of priorities. Border protection is a scare campaign to persuade people that what really matters (above) is ignored!” wrote Paddington.

It seems the Coalition’s newly announced $2 billion climate policy could not have come at a better time.

Indeed, border security also rated highly, as too did migration policy, with many members more worried about letting people in to our country than issues we already have at home. However, more older Australians are worried about those who arrive in planes – not boats.

“We have border security and always have. Having no borders contiguous with any other nation, we are girt by sea and thus our borders are safer than most. As for immigrants – they are perfectly legit – as for refugees, they are either vetted and arrive same as immigrants. As for detention, all asylum claimants are held in detention and there is no fundamental difference between offshore or onshore detention, with the single exception that this government has decreed that any held offshore will never settle here no matter how valid their claim. Most who arrive by boat and are then held offshore under that caveat, are found to be legitimate refugees,” wrote Trebor. “On the other hand, the very vast majority of illegal immigrants arrive here by plane and not boat, and the very vast majority of those who claim asylum are rejected.”

“Border Security is a myth. More illegals arrive by plane along with contrabands than boat,” wrote Jackie, who also added some interesting views.

“No social security for new arrivals whether they be refugees or migrants. They can support themselves through work instead of languishing in some detention centre. Cut down the number of migrants so that our infrastructure is not overloaded. Legalise all illicit drugs just like how gambling, prostitution and alcohol was. The money could go where it is needed instead of criminals,” she wrote.

The issues that matter most are:

  • Increasing Age Pension payments – 12 per cent
  • Health/Medicare – 12 per cent
  • Energy and climate change – 10 per cent
  • Border security – eight per cent
  • Aged care – eight per cent
  • Federal ICAC (cleaning up political corruption) – eight per cent
  • Energy prices – seven per cent
  • Economy remaining in surplus –five per cent
  • Migration policy – five per cent
  • Addressing poverty – four per cent
  • Investment in infrastructure – three per cent
  • Treatment of asylum seekers/refugees – three per cent
  • Education – two per cent
  • Stability – two per cent
  • Housing affordability – two per cent
  • Defence/security – two per cent
  • Wage growth – one per cent
  • Inequality/women’s rights – one per cent
  • Tax cuts – one per cent
  • Foreign policy – one per cent

Other issues that were mentioned as very important were:

  • Franking credits
  • Foreign ownership of Australian assets
  • Banning live exports
  • Revising the home/assets test
  • Methods of assessment (specifically disability pensions)
  • Recognising unpaid carers.

YourLifeChoices agrees with the majority of our members in that fixing pension poverty should be at the top of any new government’s to-do list. We will be doing our bit to address this issue, as we have done for 13 years and will continue to do in the future.

Are you surprised by these results? Which do you think should have made the top three?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    Not a Bludger
    25th Feb 2019
    This was a poorly designed survey and, consequently, the results are skewed if not biased.
    For example, neither Franking Credits nor Foreign Ownership of Australian Assets were listed for direct response and could only be nominated if one thought to choose “Other” as a response.
    Franking Credits certainly are an issue in the retired and soon to retire community.
    25th Feb 2019
    The surveys here are always poorly designed and biased towards the outcome the setters want.
    25th Feb 2019
    Agree. Franking credits is certainly a big issue with my colleagues and clients who are just over the Age Pension cut offs. A single homeowner with assessable assets of $600,000 that include $550,000 in a SMSF in income stream mode LOSES all their franking credits.

    The unfairness of the Franking Credits proposal is paramount when one compares this Single homeowner with a Single Multi millionaire having 5 million in their SMSF of which 1.6 million is in income stream mode. This Multi millionaire gets his/her Franking Credits with no problem at all. How fair is that????
    25th Feb 2019
    We should make a clear difference between retirees. Basically there are three types:
    1. Self-sufficient: those who do not get a govt pension n hence, dont hsve to deal with the humiliating experience of dealing w centrelink w the stress of pension reforms.
    2. Poor or full pension those who depend 100% on the govt pension, whether they have a home or not. Their only income is the prnsion.
    3. Part pensioners: those who have small investments, like super x ex n who are being punished by the govt as the govt takes $3 x every $1k they have over the very liw asset threshold.

    I am dissapointed to see this important issue, which affects thousands of retirees, s not being tackled when a simple solution to this problem is to lift the threshold.
    Neither Labor nor the Libs r talking about this because it would cost money, so how would u fund this? Simply reduce the financial help to asylum seekers n other migrants, some of whom r better off than some Aussie pensioners.

    Anyway, tks x trying to help.
    Magic Touch
    25th Feb 2019
    Blinky, 3. Part pensioners are those who had work very vety hard and try to be Self-sufficient but could not get it done due to the GFC. Also the John Howard WORK CHOICE. at that time under Libs which come the G.S.T. 10%. There are a lot of Monies under this Libs government, still not enough and they are going to lease out our lands to foreigner so our monies are all going oversea not stay in Australia.
    25th Feb 2019
    I have to wonder about Scott Morrison's promised 2 billions for climate change. Is this genuine, or a reaction to the public's opinions ahead of a cliffhanger election? And if by chance the LNP get to hold onto government will they come through with the money in the right direction? I find it hard to believe that he could make such a 180 degree turn in such a short space of time.

    The overall effects of unbridled materialism and population explosion are having an undeniably negative impact on our planet. If we continue down this road it is hard to see a positive outcome for the generations to come. This I see as the most important issue that the world is facing. In this I include the wars we are seeing now, and the prospect of more and more destructive wars to come, all in the name of economics and power.
    25th Feb 2019
    This is from an article I read today:
    How does the package stack up?

    Ultimately - the Federal Government is doubling down on a bad policy.

    Why? Emissions have continued to rise every year for the past four years under the current ERF policy. Pumping funding into a bad policy is like trying to inflate slashed tyres on a bike - a waste of time, effort and money.

    Not only that, the ERF is also being used to prop up fossil fuels, with funding going towards a fossil fuel power plant (that would have been built anyway) for one of the world’s biggest gold mines (1). This is justified on the grounds that the new fossil fuel power plant will be ‘cleaner’ than the one it will replace. This beggars belief.

    For any climate policy to be credible, it must drive down fossil fuel emissions rapidly and deeply.

    The measures announced today will do little to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather and climate events such as the devastating droughts, bushfires and floods felt across the country this summer.
    25th Feb 2019
    We had a climate change mechanism - a carbon pricing scheme in Australia but stupid voters decided in 2013 it wasn’t necessary. Well what a bunch of fools you are.
    Now do you get it?

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