Do you agree with this former government adviser on the pension changes? 341



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Yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald ran a report saying that John Freebairn, the economics professor who was an integral adviser to the former Labor government, has shared some firm views on means testing the family home. He has said that anyone who has a $10 million home shouldn’t be allowed to receive the pension and the money saved by introducing this rule and not allowing them access to government funds should go to lower income people.

So today we want to know, do you agree?

The Sydney Morning Heals reports that he spoke at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia event in Melbourne when he made his position clear by saying, “It really strikes me as crazy, the current tests, your home is exempt. I could be sitting on a $10-million home and actually get the full pension, and quite a few (people) do”.

He went on to say, “So tightening up those asset and income tests makes a lot of sense. I’d be quite happy to restore the bottom pension at average weekly earnings…but I’d fund that by tightening the means test,” he said.

So do you think this is fair? It retirement the time to distribute wealth a little more fairly, especially for those people living in $10 million homes? Would you like to see the baseline pension increase and be funded by the savings made from ceasing the pension for people with high value homes? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

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  1. I for one totally agree if ppl can afford a $10.000,000 home they can afford to live WITHOUT the pension. there are a lot of ppl like me who still are paying off their homes and the pension just doesn’t go far enough we don’t even get the basic wage per week.. I know a lot of aged pensioners who are really struggling to pay their bills and to buy decent food.. the money saved by not paying these ppl the pension should be evenly distributed amongst the ones who are still paying off homes or paying high rents..

  2. I think if you have a home worth Millions of dollars you should have to down size like most of us choose to so we have a little extra than the pension, and learn to live within your means, and NO THEY SHOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR THE PENSION, I think if you you have anything more than a modest home to live in when you retire where would the money come from to pay the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN RATES COME FROM EACH YEAR? These people are just bloody greedy.

    24 REPLY
    • As long as the politicians also do the same, don’t forget your taxes give them a very lavish lifestyle

      2 REPLY
    • I agree with you 100% they should be funding their own retirement like everyone, I’m sick of the attitude that it is alright for the rich to get richer and the poor get poorer.

    • Some older people can be asset rich but wealth poor having lived in the family home as it gained in value. The government gets their money in death taxes. Some of these people struggle to hold on to their family home already. This could be construed as the rich forcing them out of their homes to obtain their properties. They should be means tested after taking this into account. Why should they be forced out of their homes and away from their friends and neighbours and their memories just because land values have exploded. They’d have to move away from their lifestyle. But lifestyle doesn’t seem to be important to some people.

      3 REPLY
      • But how many in the situation you describe are living in a $10 million home? That’s a lot of real estate appreciation! 1, or maybe 2 million would come into that situation, but 10 is way over the top.

    • You will feel differently when inflation takes the value of your modest home to over 1 million .

      1 REPLY
      • One million wasn’t mentioned. That’s fairly reasonable in today’s market. $10 million is extravagance.

    • No sorry that is where you are wrong because there is no way I would be in a position to pay the rates on a property of that value and would be grateful to sell so I had a better quality of life that I could afford, I could never expect to burden the taxpayers to fund me when I had the opportunity to fund it myself, SOME PEOPLE ARE SO SELFISH.

    • You paid tax for your retirement.—- There was a further development of specific relevance to social security in 1945. The Commonwealth split the personal income tax into two components. One, the social services contribution, was to be used exclusively to finance social security cash payments. Revenue from the contribution was paid into the National Welfare Fund, from which all such cash payments were to be made,

    • You know if these people have worked hard and have nice homes it’s not your right to judge or the governments right to penalise these people just live and let live some times people are jealous of some one who have achived their homes thru hard wk and they didn’t. My husband and I have worked since we where 15 years old and have raised a family to get where we are my husband never had a holiday until he was 65 years old wking thru holidays so kids could have every thing now we are enjoying retirement he is 61 I am 69 and not a well person so no I don’t agree with the government changes. When he retires will his life style change no so why should we. Bugger off

    • Sorry if you can afford to pay for massive rates then you can afford to fund yourself, AS I SAID SOME PEOPLE ARE SELFISH AND YOU CAN ADD GREEDY TO IT,

    • If you can afford the massive rates and other utilities on a house of this value you should have been able to fund your own retirement. I doubt whether there are too many labourers out there with this type of house. There are people out there who only have modest homes worth less that 200,000 who are considering selling because they cannot afford the expenses of a home. We are all aware that house prices have rocketed over the years but I know people who live in inner Sydney and their homes are not worth anywhere near $10,000,000. Maybe one/two million is nearer the mark, so if you have a house in the higher millions you must live in a very rich area which in turn makes you a rich person which in turn makes you ineligible for the pension.

    • Trish, Rates are not dependent on the value of a house but are calculated on unimproved value of the land. Those rates and other costs are less than paying rent. I

    • I was a home owner and my rates had certainly risen to heights that made it difficult to pay them that is why I downsized to improve my lifestyle and invest a little to boost the pension each month.

    • Some people don’t downsize so one of their kids can move in and look after the parents when they are getting old.

    • To have a home worth over 10 million and getting the pension they must have artifically set up their affairs to be eligible. Just as people reduce their tax by using legal and illegal loop holes they must have been corrupt. People theorise that the homes have risen in value – but certainly not by that much so if only homes over say 5 million should have a careful audit to make sure just where their money has been hidden.

    • Why do we have this discussion in the first place? Australia is one of the richest countries in the world with one of the lowest debts. European countries spent a lot more on welfare and pensions than we do. Those stupid liberals have everyone scared.

    • Herb Morales it was LABOR who introduced this and Trish Daley your comments come over as a very angry and disappointed person. Why should people who have worked very hard and been smart with their money (not dishonest) have to sell their home to find other people, they have had to pay more tax on their higher income and they don’t get anything back because they are usually self funded, so unfair. The wrong message is being sent to younger people, spend your money, have a good time, the government will look after you, yet you all complain about dole bludgers.

    • I have worked very hard all my life, I have not bludger off anyone and I am not about to start now, however I don’t believe that if you have one of these homes you are classed as RICH and not in need of the PENSION, that is just pure GREED.

    • Lynette you are an idiot, I have never said to spend your money and the Government will take care of you however it seems that some of the RICH think they are the only ones have worked hard all their lives, WRONG and still think it is alright to claim a pension also WRONG, SELFISH AND BLOODY GREEDY.

    • And another thing Lynette, I raised my 3 children to become hard workers, they all have their own business and don’t look for or expect handouts from the AUSTRALIAN TAX PAYERS LIKE SOME, and they certainly don’t have to rely on what I can leave to them.

    • Lynette, It may have been a labor idiot who started this stupid argument. What makes me angry is that this Liberal government views pensioners as a burden on society.

    • Trish, it is good to see your three children working hard and having their own business. It is good to see that they don’t expect anything from the tax payers But do they expect workers to work to a lower minimum wage and without penalty rates?

  3. Yes, I agree with this view. I have always been concerned for those people whose homes have grown in value due to the decades passing only, but the figure of $10M would not affect the average person, it is very generous.

  4. If you can afford 10million house why would you need a penaion in the first place gets me !

    10 REPLY
    • I think you’re absolutely right “Why do they need it?” As one person said they should downsize but that may not solve much, some people seem to be asset rich and cash poor but there are many who certainly don’t need the pension.

      1 REPLY
      • I agree there are very many people who do NOT even NEED the pension, but take it because they are “entitled” to it. That is just not fair,as it makes it harder for those of us who rely on the pension alone, and do not even own our own home. I DO think the means test should be more regulated, to consider these things…I am really struggling for one………

    • In some cases. Please I say some not all. It is luck. Buy a run down place 50 years ago in a less respectable suburb then gentrification happen your ex ‘normal’ house is worth a mint. We need to look at this v carefully. I bought in 1979 25,000$ house would be worth 5-6 mill $ now. So we need to tread v carefully look at whole picture and find ways to accommodate all aspects.

    • It doesn’t matter what you paid for it originally, what matters is what it is worth now, no one is suggesting that anyone should be homeless but if your living in an asset worth that much money, you could downsize, still be comfortable and support yourself

    • If it is worth 5-6 Million now I don’t know how you afford the council rates which would be on that value approx 50-60 thousand dollars per annum in rates, you would need to sell if you are living on a pension and should be made to sell to provide a very healthy lifestyle for yourself.

    • Right on Wendy Atkins. Cannot believe their is a debate about it. Of course if it is a Labor idea LNP won’t entertain the thought.

    • This is sad really, look what the government is doing to us all, we are having a go at each other, maybe the ones in government should look at themselves and where they live 🙁

    • Why work hard if you have nothing to leave for your kids? Why struggle to buy a house if you can just rent?

    • There’s not that many houses but farms handed down threw the generations there’s a lot worth 10m and more your saying they should all be sold not handed down now keep in mind China can afford to buy all of them we can’t.

    • How many people on the aged pension have a 10 million dollar home? Very few and the savings wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket. Look closer it will not be 10 million, if it came in, more like 1 million or even less. Be careful what you wish for, a modest unit in a good suburb could end up means tested, and the pension adjusted accordingly.

    • You can’t eat the house! Or pay the bills with it. But, a home worth that much isn’t needed once kids etc leave. Downsize & live on interest from sale.

      THEN, people like me who have no assets/savings/family home(like majority of full pension people, mostly women over 65) through NO FAULT of if my own could receive a liveable pension not a pittance as now! ( below poverty line).

      I DO THANK first Kevin Rudd for increasing our pensions, plus JG’s Govt too!

      If politicians think it’s too much, or enough, then lead the way & at least cut your fat salaries in half! Had a gutful of the rich advocating poverty for me. And others! Just stop it!

  5. Oh boy, I can just hear the squeals from the high end of town. They never hear the groans below,from the poor souls with burdens of just surviving though! It is Only Just!

  6. I don’t own a 10 million dollar home, but why should those that do not get a pension after paying their taxes all their working lives.

    2 REPLY
    • The pension is a safety net for those without the funds to be able to live on their own..why should young working taxpayers pay for the rich? They can’t even afford a shed of their own

    • Asset assessment should be revisited so that those who own homes of high value do not receive pensions …. the trick is to get a formula that can be applied relatively across the country.

  7. Of course it is fair, bloody ridiculous to be funding wealthy people.

  8. I totally agree with this, yes people are going to say they paid there taxes but why if they are wealthy folks should the average balling pensioner have to scrimp and scrape to make ends meet, at least review their wealth and if they get a pension make it a lot less than the average pension, I know a family member who has wealth yet still gets the pension

    3 REPLY
    • Why should those that scrimped and saved bought their “asset” be penalised in favor of those that smoked gambled drank and pissed their income against the wall .we all came into the world with NOTHING .what we did how we worked and what we acheived was our own doing .luck had nothing to do with it .

    • Load of crap Ian. A lot of people scrimped and saved and worked hard but still could not afford to buy their own homes even though they were non drinkers and smokers. If you were lucky enough to be born into a family that could afford to give you a good education then you didn’t have you work for minimum wages.

    • That’s right Marjorie, and I have wealthy rellies who get pensions. Yet, I can’t have mine because of ABBOTT taking it away. I have a modest house, worked two full-time jobs all my life to buy that home for my kids, got NO super, have now got health issues and injuries from an accident, yet I have been told to go back to work till 69! I now lives on $ I’d like to see the pollies do that

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