A radio host has sparked concern among pensioners after he supported calls to increase the pension age on Friday.
The Morrison government is currently under pressure to include an increase in the age at which people can get the pension in its retirement income review. The current Age Pension eligibility age is 66 years (for any person born between 1 January 1954 and 30 June 1955).
Speaking on 2GB, Australian banker Tom Elliot backed those calls, saying that there should be a fresh debate on the topic, adding: “I reckon it should be 70.
“It was set at 65 for men way back in 1910,” he explained. “In 1910 the average life expectancy for men was only 55 years and two months, so setting the pension at 65 meant that most people wouldn’t get it.”
Elliot argued the length of time we live has dramatically increased since then, adding: “… and yet the age at which we get the pension has only moved two years.
“I know it’s unpopular, but the reality is this, when the pension was set up very few Australians even got to pensionable age,” the radio host explained. “The tax revenue has to come from somewhere.”
He continued: “They don’t put the tax that you pay during your working life into a box and then give it to you when you retire. Today’s pensions are actually paid by today’s taxpayers.”
Meanwhile, it comes after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg ruled out including the family home in the Age Pension assets test.
According to a report in The Australian, Frydenberg stated in parliament on Wednesday that no changes will be made to the assets test, despite recent comments from Liberal MP Craig Kelly which stirred up Labor pollies who, in turn, slammed the government over the alleged proposals.
Kelly told The New Daily this week that there should be a fresh debate about the inclusion of the family home in the assets test for the pension, which prompted Shadow Treasurer Jim Chalmers to raise the issue in the Lower House on Wednesday.
“The Member for Hughes has called for the family home to be included in the pension asset test which means more retires will be pushed off the pension, out of their homes or both,” Chalmers said. “The government has already shortchanged pensioners by refusing to proper adjust deeming rates for years despite five interest rate cuts.”
However, Frydenberg has since hit back at Labor’s “lies” on Twitter: “Labor’s claim that the pension assets test will be changed to include the value of the family home is a lie. It’s not our policy and never will be.”
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