The year grey issues became politically crucial 64



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Our nation’s pension policy changed forever this week and some here will be winners and others losers.  One thing is for sure, the biggest win is that all eyes are now on grey policy, which is finally becoming more important than ever to the pollies and no doubts they are learning the danger of landing large sweeping policies that affect all in this generation are trouble with a capital T.

A deal  between the LNP and the Greens has ensured the mining-boom policy of loosened access to the pension will change, restricting “pension millionaires” by potentially disabling those with a smart accountant from finding loopholes that get them access to taxpayer funds whilst giving a little back to everyone who really needs the pension to survive.  It is a far cry from the policy on pensions that the Government presented last year,  and shows the need the Government has to compromise in order to avoid the true pain of what will not doubt be called “grey issues” over coming years as the generation swells and the politics rise to the fore.  The key learning appears to be – never ever address the whole older population at once with one policy that hurts them or they will rise up against it with so much power it hurts!  We hope the Government has learned.

It is 13 months since the LNP declared an attack on pensions and superannuation in their first budget, perhaps the most important 13 months in the history of grey power in politics, and it proves – this older generation should not be messed with to their disadvantage politically.  Whilst not organised into a party, nor at the full strength that a larger retired population will bring, the older generations are set to become the largest of their kind in history, and this will not be missed by many here.  But have you stopped to consider how this could impact policy going forward and the learning of politicians?

This week, we’ve seen the political hot potato of pensions put to bed on this one deal with Shorten and the Labor Party sidestepped by Abbott, Morrison and the new Greens Leader De Natale who is proving much more mainstream than Milne before him.  Together this new coalition of Liberal and Greens has been able to find common ground on the need to change welfare for the wealthy rules and bring the budget back to a longer term fiscal vision than those enjoyed during the resources boom.

The policy passed this week divides and conquers rather than rallying the older gen together.  It has 170,000  pensioners better off, with an increase of $30 a fortnight to their pension,  Another 91,000 pensioners will however have to forgo their part-pension to help them, and 235,000 more will feel reductions to their payments due to assets testing, which will force people with what these two parties have labelled a significant amount of savings, to live off their own assets.  Until now people could own their own home plus have assets  with a value of up to $1.2 million and still been able to line up and receive part-pensions.  Not so anymore with the divide and conquer policy approach.

It’s a typical Robin Hood manoeuvre, take from the rich and give to the poor; and by doing it within the cohort, they avoid a mass-lynching.  Superannuation policy is the next one on the deck.  Again, it will likely not affect as many people in this generation as the media all thinks.  Many (70+%)  over 60s have super funds of less than $100,000 meaning changes to Superannuation policies that exclude the everyday person will remain aimed at the affluent and therefore avoid being a uniform attack on the older generation which we are sure this government has learned is the dumbest political manoeuvre they could contemplate from here on in.

Divide and conquer we have no doubt is the politics that will face the older generation, delivering small benefits to those who can’t afford it and modifying policy on those who can.  But if we sit back and think about the power this generation wields and the issue we would really like to see addressed by politics, is there a way we can use the power of the older generations working together to drive better outcomes?

What issues would you like to see addressed that you think our over 60s could stand up and fight for together?


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. The greys have a voice and can be the power of the people when government policies are geared at destroying what they deserve as they have contributed for so long to the wealth of the country and they won’t sit quietly

    5 REPLY
    • grey power would swing any vote there is enough people to make either party behave any way the want .just like controlling kids,which most pollies are .

    • Yes Linda, the divide and separate tactics have always worked. Demonise a group then attack them. It works to stimulate Wars.

    • The trick is the “grey generation” usually have enough life experience to see when they are being manipulated & are not afraid to call it out. That gift has to be used to strengthen this cohort & empower it further.

  2. Without doubt they have tried to divide us on many issues, the pension being one. I got out there and marched along with thousands of other people but we were ignored, it only the Senate blocking..they did take heed of people marching..that stopped the cuts to the CPI rise. The Liberal Party originally wanted to cut wealthy pensioners but Tony Abbott said no, cut the CPI rise. This $30 a week will not apply to all pensioners, the majority will get nothing, this is only for self funded retirees.

  3. This term has probably been an indication of what we can expect in the next term if they get another one, nothing but division. They will claim a mandate and go right back to the CPI cuts and we may not have such a moral Senate

    8 REPLY
    • Anything is better than the Labor or Green Party coming in to power! God help Australia.
      Time to stand united NOW! People power works, but not 10 or 1000. You need many thousands to march on Canberra or in each state well before the election and let the government know they got it wrong and you are angry.

      1 REPLY
      • Ms Gammon,go live in your fairy tale,
        It is the Liberals & the Greens who are cutting pensions, not Labor.
        But you will ignore that LNP are a disgrace.Labor Never hurt you ortookyour pension away. They left a deficit but Abbot & Hockey more than doubled it in a few months. Hockey gave the reserve bank
        Millions or was it billions which it did not ask for or need,do your research and get your facts right.

    • oh run run away Marie Gammon, us getting pension cuts is not worth the Liberal Party being in Government..go chase a rainbow

    • Hopefully next year Maria, Labor will be back where they should be. It amazes me that you Liberal voters seem to forget the huge fortnightly increases pensioners got under the Rudd / Gillard government !

      1 REPLY
      • So typical of a Labor supporter Victoria. what’s in it for me !! and damn the rest of you !! The age of entitlement stopped the minute the labor party brought in compulsory superannuation. From that moment on we were supposed to fund our own retirement not live the high life then sponge off the taxpayer.

    • whatever Bronwen Bannister but it is the Liberal Party who introduced this cuts and its the ALP who fought them.. where have you been all these months ? out marching in the reclaim rallies with the rest of the nuts

    • Sorry Bronwen but this Political, we never had these issues before the Abbott Government was elected and we won’t have them when they are that article is about This Abbott Governments Pension cuts..if that is not Political I don’t know what is 🙂

    • Maria Gammon, yeah right, lets all have a march Australia wide ! Do you honestly think that would have an impact ? People need to wake up that the current government got voted in by lies. They have cut funds here, there and everywhere. The only way things will change for to people have a long think before they vote at the next election and use their concience.

    • @Rozzy Battles whether you and other ALP zealots like it or not, we are all entitled to an opinion & I will NEVER be shut down by ANYONE. Adults should try to see both sides of a story. Politicians of ALL stripes are in it to line there own pockets mostly &
      If you are still deluded otherwise, you are part of the problem.

  4. Wish these NSW roads weren’t so bumpy! “don’t mess with us!”

    1 REPLY
    • Try out our North Queensland roads…..away from capital city Brisbane. One lane North… lane South …….except for passing lanes every 20 km or so. If you are lucky!

  5. How about politicians being means tested before they get their generous pensions and also having to be 65 ? Probably everything’s in their wives names or a family trust anyway.

    4 REPLY
    • I want to rain on your parade but politicans are the who make the rules and they legislate it, they are not going to penalize themselves

      1 REPLY
      • Please get some facts right about politicians pensions. They also have to be preservation age to access their superannuation the same as everyone else. John Howard changed those rules way back in the early 2000s.
        Not too many pensioners worked 7 days a week and up to 20 hours a day to accrue large superannuation or investment portfolios, so why begrudge the politicians for doing so. They all work really hard for their salaries and incur costs that we ordinary workers don’t, so appreciate their efforts on our behalf. After all we voted them in to their positions, they aren’t just appointed.

  6. I think the greys are , the most discriminated people in our nation, especially when they have made such enormous contributions, and still are the backbone of our society… Power to the greys!!!!!

  7. I wish we would unite properly to get a voice that has to be listened to. My husband spent years in the union trying to tell airline workers what the executives would do to their jobs if they didn’t stand up and be counted. Sadly they were too afraid of making waves and now all their jobs are rubbish. It doesn’t pay to stand back and hope for the best.

  8. make it count, what they are doing to pensions, self funded retirees are doing it tough now it will be harder

  9. Full marks to Tony Abbott. Faced with the realization that the “grey power” army, as a block,, could not be defeated he put into play the old divide and conquer scenario. By setting pensioner against pensioner he won the battle. The day we the “grey power” army wake up and realise that as a block we can change governments

    2 REPLY

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