‘A better future for all Australians’: What Labor’s election win means for seniors

May 23, 2022
During the election campaign, both the Labor party and the Coalition made a series of commitments to seniors. Source: Getty Images.

The Australian Labor Party has claimed victory in 2022’s Federal Election with Anthony Albanese now Australia’s 31st Prime Minister, after almost a decade of the Coalition holding power.

During his election win speech on Saturday, May 21, Albanese claimed “the Australian people have voted for change”.

“And I say to my fellow Australians, thank you for this extraordinary honour. Tonight, the Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory and I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to serve as the 31st prime minister of Australia,” he said.

“My Labor team will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia. A government as courageous and hardworking and caring as the Australian people are themselves.”

There’s no doubt that with a change of government and leadership comes major changes for the Australian people, but what specifically does Labor’s election victory mean for the seniors of Australia?

During the election campaign, both the Labor party and the Coalition made a series of commitments to seniors. With Albanese now steering the ship, Starts at 60 examined what seniors can expect from a Labor government.


Under a Labor government, “an additional 50,000 older Australians will be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card from 1 July 2022”.

The income test for access to a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will increase to $90,000 a year for singles (up from $57,761) and to $144,000 a year for couples (up from $92,416).

Some of the pledges Labor made to the seniors of Australia include cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, bulk billed doctor visits, and 50 bulk billed Medicare Urgent Care Clinics to provide seniors greater access to urgent care without long hospital wait times. 

Albanese also pledged to cut costs of medicines on the PBS by $12.50.

“This means the maximum price for PBS medicines will be $30,” Albanese said.

“The price of medications has gone up under the Morrison government — just like the cost to see a doctor has gone up.”

Cost of Living

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed older Australians are suffering the most from the rising cost of living.

In what has been the highest increase in 16 years, pensioners are experiencing an annual household living cost of 4.9 per cent.

Head of Prices Statistics at the ABS Michelle Marquardt said the main culprit affecting older Australians is the increase in grocery prices, but household costs also played a significant role.

“These households were also more affected by increases in housing costs, as they have relatively higher expenditure levels on utilities, maintenance and repair, and property rates,” Marquardt said.

Labor pledged to provide more certainty for older Australians who will be able to keep more of their earnings, as the cost of living rises.

Albanese said the “Labor Government will freeze deeming rates at their current levels for two years, helping protect pensioners from interest rate rises”.

“Around 900,000 aged pensioners and other pension recipients will be better off under Labor’s plan, which will mean pensioners can keep more income in their own pockets as interest rates rise,” Albanese said.

“The pension deeming rate will be frozen at 0.25 per cent and the upper rate will stay at 2.25 per cent for two years under Labor.”

Labor also promised cheaper power bills and affordable housing “so older Australians who don’t own their own home won’t find all their pension eaten up by rising rents”.

Aged Care

During the election campaign, aged care became a contentious issue after aged care advocates called on political leaders to supply an all-new rights-based Aged Care Act by July 1, 2023.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) reiterated its efforts to bring aged care to the forefront of the Government and the next Australian Parliament, to ensure the rights and wellbeing of older Australians are adequately cared for.

OPAN CEO Craig Gear said the current aged care system is severely lacking.

“The treatment we’ve seen of older Australians, particularly in residential aged care homes, is a national disgrace,” Gear said.

“The reform journey has commenced, but action must ramp up to give older Australians the dignity and respect they deserve in their later years.”

In his budget reply on March 31, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese pledged $2.5 billion to the sector with a promise to install at least one registered nurse at all times in aged care facilities.

In a statement, Albanese said the Labor party “will take practical measures to ensure older Australians receive the aged care they deserve”.

Some of the measures the Labor party have put forward include better food for residents, registered nurses on sire 24/7 and a “mandate that every Australian living in aged care receives an average of 215 minutes of care per day, as recommended by the Royal Commission”.

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