The retirement age could be returned back to 65, ensuring early access to the pension for thousands of older Australians under the latest proposal submitted by the Australian Greens.
The proposal would mean over 500,000 Australians would be eligible for retirement sooner than anticipated.
The Australian Labor Party changed the age Australians could access the pension from 65 to 67 in 2009, with the next measure to increase the age due in July 2023.
If Labor wins the upcoming election in May 2022, the Greens will pressure Labor to amend their original decision by 2026.
In addition to lowering the retirement age, the Greens will advocate raising the pension rate to $88 a day.
The Greens said both the major parties have failed older Australians.
Greens Senator Janet Rice said too many older Australians have been left in poverty.
“The Liberals and Labor have abandoned older voters and working families across the country,” she said.
“There are hundreds of thousands of older Australians living in poverty, counting the days until their next birthday so they can finally reach pension age.
“Many are working for starvation wages, in back-breaking jobs – in manufacturing, in hospitality, in supermarkets, as labourers and salespeople – people who have worked hard all their lives and are being forced to wait an extra two years to retire.”
“Enabling earlier access to the age pension will reduce poverty in Australia, and support thousands of older Australians who deserve better from our government.”
The poverty issue for older Australians has been contentious for some time and has seen a rise in petitions for amendment, such as from the Newstart Nanna’s.
Newstart Nannas out the front of Parliament House calling for an increase to #Newstart
Over 50 percent of people on Newstart are over the age of 45, if we don’t increase Newstart, we are looking at an epidemic of older Australians retiring into poverty#RaiseTheRate #Auspol pic.twitter.com/3tr2rtoI6k
— Rachel Siewert (@RachelMSiewert) October 15, 2019
One of the main points I can gather from #Budget2020 is that it’s ageist & condemns older Australians to poverty & over 35s to unemployment. So much for lifting up all Australians & leaving no-one behind. #auspol
— ????Emma Meconi #FreePalestine ???????? (@SpotlightForYou) October 6, 2020
Greens leader Adam Bandt said older women are the most affected by the late access to the pension.
“There is a poverty crisis amongst older Australians and it’s worse for older women, who are the fastest-growing group facing homelessness,” he said.
“In balance of power, the Greens will fight to restore respect and dignity in ageing and ensure that it’s rest and revitalisation, not poverty, awaiting people at the end of their working years.
“By making billionaires pay their fair share of tax, older Australians can retire earlier with dignity.”
The Greens are confident Labor will meet them halfway on their $5.6 billion proposal.