Respect your elders? Older Aussies don’t think they receive special treatment

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Most older Aussies believe they don't receive any privileges from the government. Source: Getty

The majority of older Aussies believe they don’t receive privileged treatment from the government and that their views aren’t being respected in major decisions around their finances, a new report has revealed.

According to a study undertaken by National Seniors Australia on applying for the Age Pension, four out of five older Australians don’t believe they receive any special treatment from the government.

It comes after an attack on the “privileged status” of older people that come from the Grattan Institute. Their Age of entitlement: age-based tax breaks report in November 2016 argued that certain senior taxbreaks were no longer affordable and said that “ending the age of entitlement is a reform priority”.

The latest statistics also follow a series of reports suggesting that “older Australians are putting increasing pressure on Australian budgets”.

As part of the recent survey, 91.2 per cent of respondents said they believe the government has a responsibility to provide the Age Pension to those who need it. Meanwhile, 82.8 per cent said older people should be rewarded in retirement after a lifetime of paying taxes, raising children and contributing to the community. Further to this, 74 per cent also think their age qualifies them for respect from younger people and 73 per cent believe they give more support to their children than they receive.

National Seniors Chief Executive Officer Professor John McCallum said despite the views of some, older Aussies are doing it tough, especially when it comes to their finances. He claimed seniors feel they are targeted when it comes to things such as tax concessions, while big business, politicians and the wealthy are unaffected.

“They also believe the government finds them an easy target when it needs to make budget savings and makes changes to the age pension and superannuation without considering alternatives,” McCallum said in a statement.

On top of this the professor said older Aussies believe the Gratton Institute report and another in 2016 didn’t accurately represent their situation and were creating a politically-motivated “fake intergenerational war”.

“This ‘war’ doesn’t exist in the eyes of older people, who generally give more help to their children than they receive,”McCallum claimed. “They also believe that if you can work in old age, you should, but that older people should not be compelled to keep working.”

Just last month an editorial published in the Sydney Morning Herald by Demographer Kim Johnstone defended Millennials and delivered a brutal blow to those born been 1946 and 1964.

In the piece titled “Boomers, your privileged, tax-deducted time is up: Millennials have arrived”, Johnstone claimed Baby Boomers have had a good run but their time is nearly up.

She said it was the younger generation who cared about the environment, the rising cost of housing, employment, as well as disagreeing with current refugee policies, while adding it’s Millennials who are the ones struggling to pay rent. She also said Millennials are better educated than previous generations but find it difficult to gain employment. 

“As we approach our next round of elections, Australian politicians had best take note. Millennials are now numerically dominant,” Johnstone wrote. “They are about to take charge and many are not happy. They see a deck stacked against them by the greediest generation in Australian history: self-satisfied with its wealth, loath to pay its taxes, happy to saddle the youngsters with eye-watering public debt and indifferent to its legacy of environmental degradation.”

Her views were echoed by British presenter and journalist Jeremy Vine, who shared a controversial video on social media recently. He argued that Boomers are actually the “snowflakes” of society, not Millennials.

The 53-year-old, who presents Channel 5 show Jeremy Vine, posted the video on Twitter, referencing a news story published by the BBC earlier this week, which claimed that young medical students no longer have the dexterity required to perform surgery because they spend so long staring at screens and so little time actually using their hands.

“Baby Boomers born after world war two but before Bob Dylan released ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ in 1964 so they’re the ones who avoided all the wars, they’re the ones who broke the economy they’re the ones who broke the planet on the way up,” he exclaimed.

What are your thoughts on the study? Do you agree that Baby Boomers don’t receive privileged treatment from the government?

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