Retiree’s letter to Malcolm Turnbull over ‘savage’ pension cuts

We’ve written a lot here on SAS about the changes to the age pension. As you’re no doubt aware, on

We’ve written a lot here on SAS about the changes to the age pension.

As you’re no doubt aware, on January 1 hundreds of thousands of Australian pensioners will lose all or part of their pension due to changes to the assets test.

It’s a decision that’s been greeted with a lot of anger by many pensioners, including those who won’t be affected.

But now one retiree is taking the fight to the Prime Minister himself, and he’s not holding back.

Robert Parry,  a retired chartered accountant, has written to Malcolm Turnbull and offered his criticisms and advice about the pension cuts.

Excerpts of his letter, published by the New Daily, make reference to Tony Abbott’s promise not to change or cut the pension and the difficulty getting through to Centrelink.

“Dear Malcolm. You obviously do not understand what is happening with the impending savage cuts to the age pension.” Parry writes.

“You have joined the chorus of your ministers condemning the recent automated phone call sponsored by the Australian Council of Trade Unions, claiming they are scaremongering “on the eve of Christmas”. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

“This is perfectly true for many thousands of Australians. It is not scaremongering — it merely alerts pensioners to what may be about to happen to them”

Parry argues the changes “unbalance” the pension system and that part pensions are “absolutely necessary” to cover the day to day expenses of pensioners, even those with more assets.

“In an effort to belittle homeowners and justify their harsh treatment, they are often described as living in multi-million dollar mansions,” he writs.

“Whilst this is true of a few pensioners, it must be remembered that the Social Security Act says that a pensioner is a homeowner “if they are living in … a campervan, caravan, transportable home or boat in which they have reasonable security of tenure”. There are thousands of pensioners in this situation.”

What about Centrelink?

Well, Parry brings up Centrelink in his letter and argues that many pensioners haven’t been informed of the cuts – even though letters have been sent.

“The first letter, sent in October, went to only some pensioners telling them about the changes “which may affect you”.” he writes.

“All pensioners should have been told precisely how their pensions were going to be affected, based on the current records held by Centrelink.

“Also, not everyone who received an October letter has received a confirmation letter in December, so many are left wondering if they are unaffected or whether their letter has been delayed.

“There has been a serious breach of natural justice. Pensioners have not been fully informed of their rights.”

Remember when Tony Abbott famously said before the 2013 election that “there will be no changes or cuts to pensions”?

Well, Parry certainly hasn’t forgotten.

“You say: “Our older Australians should be respected, not deliberately frightened for political gain.” Don’t you also agree they should be treated honestly, with promises delivered faithfully?” he writes in his letter to Turnbull.

And he has offered the Prime Minister this advice.

“Malcolm, if you really want to show true leadership and earn the respect of all Australians, you should immediately admit Mr Abbott’s legislation was a blatant breach of an election promise and grossly unfair,” he writes.

“You should give pensioners a real Christmas present by announcing you will honour Mr Abbott’s promise by deferring any change until the new Senate has the chance to hold an extensive enquiry.

“The first payments slashing age pensions do not occur until January 17 so there is still ample time to tell Centrelink to hold off.”

He certainly didn’t hold back!

Do you agree with what Robert Parry has written? Would you write to Malcolm Turnbull about this?





  1. Robyn  

    Yes totally agree they should be slashing the dole and make them get a job most pensioners have work all of their lives to get to where they are without any handouts. Now when they need a bit the gov takes it from them. Wake up Malcolm or you wont be in office next election

    • Narelle  

      The dole should not be cut either. Politicians pensions should be cut.

    • Glenn Whitchurch  

      Do you honestly believe Mohamed Turdbull will be re-elected???? Summarily Mr Shorten should wise up and not try to attempt to take credit for winning a election that is being lost NOW./….

      • Mareela  

        Glenn what are you talking about? You make no sense. Please explain?

    • Linda  

      to cut the dole is a monstrous idea. I had to live on a dole size payment for a few years before I turned 65. not all dole recipients are young people who dont want to work at all. some are over 50 have been a housewife and mother all their lives and suddenly find themselves homeless and alone. finding somewhere to live while on these small payments is impossible. so are reduced to live in their car. I spent quite a while living in my car in the bush. a scarey place in the middle of the night, alone . the dole payments should be increased for people who want to work but because of their age or lack of experience are unable to get work. I was so thankful when I became a pensioner, I now have a home again and even a few $ in the bank. unless you have experienced trying to live on less than $500 a fortnight dont say the dole should be reduced.

    • Wazza  

      Yep totally agree… BUT please ALL bear in mind, SLASH the politicians Super, (question- are they been paid the 9.5% OR is it a larger amount…?…while in office..?) and is it frozen until they retire when 65..?.. and this should stop when they are NO LONGER a politician…. AUSTRALIA IS BLEEDING MONEY that is paid to the politicians that NO LONGER WORK OR BLUDGE FOR THE RUNNING OF THIS GREAT COUNTRY…we do not see them on the Center-link merry-go-round-circuit

  2. Julie Dowd  

    Yes I would write a letter to the PM regarding pension cuts, how unfair and unnecessary these cut are.

  3. Maree  

    So much noise about this cut to pensions but no noise about the changes to mine and so many other people when the changes were made to super pensions by this Government. Take away all the changes and keep your promise and by the way how do any of you sleep at night when you take from us and give yourselves more. The short answer is that none of you,have a heart and it is all about you and your fellow pollies and rich mates.

  4. Jean  

    As I have said before I felt as senior’s we had well and truely done our bit when government increased the retirement age! They on the other hand are still dithering over travel entitlements. Boy are we the gift that keeps on giving!

    • Mareela  

      Jean, who keeps voting these hard core conservatives in? Often pensioners, which I’ll never understand. They are poor economic managers and care little for the Australian working/middle class. Their only interest is themselves and their rich mates. They have been shown to lie time and time again. IE: Abbott ( no changes to pensions). When will Australians learn? Unfortunately you reap what you sew.

  5. Lynette  

    Maybe the Govt members need a New Year Pay Rise,so they are slamming the people who have been receiving part pensions. Try chasing the generation that lives with their boyfriend ,have several children. They both get handouts from the GOvt.

  6. Ronnie Foley ( Mrs. )  

    I have already written to Turnbull and told him how disgusted every hard working Australian, who are now on pensions, feels about this Liberal Party. No more Liberal voting from me and lots of my retired friends. Always had voted for them but never again.

  7. Debb Elliott  

    Maybe if the government didn’t get a pension for the rest of their lives and still be able to earn a living then maybe their wouldn’t need to slash age pension. Is only me but when I get sacked or retire the company doesn’t give me a pension for the rest of my life, being a poly doesn’t mean the taxpayer has to continue pay you once your government is voted out or you retire it’s a job you chose to do. It shouldn’t be a free ride after your finish that job. Give aged pensioner a decent income and stop playing with their lives, so many of our old people are below the poverty line, wake up polies stop bludging of the taxpayers and give our aged pensioner a decent income so they can lve.

  8. Johanna Jenkins  

    Yes I agree somewhat….pensioners have worked hard to get where they are and the government should look at alternative measures starting first with their lurks and perks they have and not give themselves more $$ when they are cutting pensions from its constituents! Some say cut the dole but I as a pensioner, I have seen first hand how hard it is for young ones to get work when there are hundreds applying for the one job…we were lucky to get Full Time work, where now they are lucky to get casual employment of 9hrs per week, at $20 per hr that doesn’t amount to much when they have to pay rent/commodities and food…just remember they are doing it tough too! Mr Turnbull should perhaps cutting down the amount of money that is sent to other countries when a lot in our own are doing it tough living out of cars and on our streets. In South Australia we housed Refugees just outside of Woodside, those houses are now vacant and up for Sale, I’m asking you Mr.Turnbull why aren’t they being used for our underprivileged Australians with no-where to go? Time to look around and see what’s happening in your own backyard Mr.Turnbull!!!

  9. sue robertson  

    politicians are not in touch with REAL people – they see dollar signs on paper and just put a line through those to ‘save’ money. Nothing changes in their lives and they really dont care

  10. Enid Mercer  

    What I can’t understand is why this Liberal Government keeps getting voted back in. I know Kevin Rudd had his faults but he made some good things happen. We as voters tend to want things to happen now and don’t want to wait but time is sometimes needed to bring a lot of plans to fruishen. Gough Whitlam had long term plans that would have worked great for Australia but he was kicked out. We need to change our ideas and give a Labour Government time. Also an aged pension is not a handout but a well earned reward for a job well done.

  11. Paul  

    My wife and I had between us had over70 years In the work force,also raised children,lived on the frugal side to have a comfortable future.What happened to the usual pollies promise?,same as all the rest of the promises, with nothing.Unfortunatly because of our pension cut the first thing to take a hit is donations to charities that we USED to make. Sorry to those charities,you can thank Mr.Turnbull & co.(while they on fact finding missions overseas at this time of year)

  12. john  

    Whats all the fuss I am self funded and as far as the pension goes not interested and never once walked into centerlink and by the way I don’t have a million in super more like 100k but I was smart sold the house in Melbourne moved to the country and the rest is history

    • Gordon  

      You have 100k in super and not on the pension, and apart from your house you have no other assets and can live ok. Come on tell the whole story, what do you have and how do you survive!!

    • Heather  

      Well aren’t you lucky. Not every one has been able to do as you have done

    • Geoff  

      John, like you I worked for 52 years, served in the armed forces and am unable to receive any pension but I still seem to survive well. You just have to adept to what you r income is – do not be greedy and think of our grand kids.

    • Well whoop de do to you! My husband hardly has any super left. We have had to use it to survive. He has Parkinsons and had for 16 years ( he is 61) and gets a disability pensions I get the carers pension. Had to sell our house of 32 years couldn’t afford to keep it. Had to buy a fridge last week there went a bit more like $1000. Had to get it my husbands medications has to be refrigerated. and if we didn’t get authority for his medication to get it a PBS prices who knows how much it would cost. It cost the chemist over $5000 a month. So you can sit in your Victorian country house with your self funded super and hope to God that you don’t get sick or have to sell your house and live on pittance, then see how you manage. Then you won’t be so smart! People like you sicken me! You wouldn’t have a clue, just like the politicians! And before you say its sour grapes my husband was in a very well paid job and we had a lovely home. It was just circumstance but you have to learn to deal with it and by the Christ we are!

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