As we reported recently, the Coalition nor the Opposition have talked about their promises to improve the lives of pensioners. But what they have done behind the scenes is allocate funds that would benefit the older generation to miscellaneous projects. Does this mean our government or potential government value fixing picnic tables over giving pensioners a fair go?
According to documents obtained by Fairfax, the Coalition promises to install picnic tables, boardwalks, fire trails, skate parks, car parks, netball courts, tennis courts, disabled toilets and lighting for sports ovals.
So far only a handle of politicians – not Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten – have talked about what they would do for aged pensioners if elected. One person who wants to see the minimum increase includes Senator Glenn Lazarus, who will be running for his own party the Glenn Lazarus Team. He said his party will look to increase the aged pension and implement a national concession scheme to reduce the cost of living.
“As a country we should be ashamed of the way we treat our older Australians,” Mr Lazarus said in a statement.
“They have worked, paid taxes, raised families, volunteered and contributed much to our nation and we should be doing more to support them.”
His proposed policy includes raising the pension by 20 per cent from July 2017, introducing a national concession policy and 20 per cent discounts on rates and utilities and free public transport, reports SMH.
As for the Labor and Liberal parties, they’ve been keeping mum on their plans to have pensions increase, if at all. Instead, as has been consistent with previous election campaigns, they have actually left pensioners and the unemployed worse off. Energy prices have risen, and so has the cost of living. But it’s been years since the Gillard government increased the aged pension by a substantial amount, and even then it was just $4 a week.
Fairfax reports that removing the clean energy supplement will mean the most disadvantaged in our communities will be $3.60 per week worse off, according to a calculation by a former department of social security analyst provided to the Australian National University.
This means Australia’s poorest are funding election “giveaways” i.e. the little things governments promise to sweeten the deal – but it’s not right. Pensioners and people in pre-retirement are begging the two parties to tell them what to expect when they vote, but with just two days to go and no answer in sight, it is quite upsetting.
And this all comes after the Coalition announced yesterday they are cracking down on welfare payments – $2.3 billion to be exact.
“We are not weakening the system, we are strengthening it, so those entitled to the payment and support which are important get that support, but ensuring that the system doesn’t have the leakage and the waste and the overpayments or the abuse of the system which at the end of the day cost Australian taxpayers,” Scott Morrison said.
Tell us: do you think it’s very disappointing that the major parties haven’t addressed pensions and instead are using welfare money to fund other projects?