Over 60s: Are we The Forgotten People? 16



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Do you sometimes feel we ‘old timers’ are part of a forgotten race? You could create a list of them, which might read something like this:


  1. People of Atlantis
  2. Aztecs
  3. People of Ancient Crete
  4. Pigmies of Central Africa
  5. Age Pensioners

Oh, we’re given token consideration, like a few free bus rides a year, cheap dental treatment, if you’re prepared to wait, and bulk billing at the doctors. But when it comes to the important things, Government and Local Councils just aren’t really interested. They forget, conveniently, that it is our hard work over the past fifty years or so, that created the conditions the majority of the population enjoy today. We, or our representatives at the time, were the master-minds behind the Welfare State. We were the generation that built affordable, decent houses filled with whatever mod-cons were available. We were even the generation that gave the world mass production of transistors, televisions, diesel-electric trains and computers.

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Now obviously, I’m not trying to claim all these wonderful developments for myself, or for you personally, dear reader, but it was certainly people just like us who did, because they were lucky enough to have the right opportunities and to be in the right places at the right time, who produced the goods, and are no doubt suffering the same difficulties as us, right now!

To that end, I believe the Welfare State should be paying us pensions that keep us in reasonable comfort, with enough left over after buying food and lodgings to enjoy a few little pleasures, like going to the movies or the local pub – or even to squander a few bob on the horses, should we so desire! And it’s all very well to have a nice home with all mod cons, but how about making it rates-free once you become a pensioner? After all, the ambulance service manage to do it don’t they – their use is free when you pass sixty five. And the same with computers and televisions – honestly, what would it really cost to give us all a computer and a television each?

I have the good fortune to be happily married, healthy, (both the wife and me!), and with three fifty-odd years old kids, who still love us despite everything, as well as a nice home that was built before the ‘mod-con’ era, but is warm dry and comfortable. So we have little to complain about, apart from the fact that we wish, as a lot of people must, that we’d saved more when I was working!

But it is those less fortunate than us that concern me. They often have either no family to help and support them, or they have fallen out with their kids, with the same result. And how many of them earned enough during their working lives, to be able to make adequate preparation for their declining years? Don’t forget, you could buy a house in those days, for less than the cost of a top-of-the-line pushbike now. So even those who did manage to save, find the “large” sums they put away fifty years ago, are now worth next to nothing. For them there is no real authority to provide the help they so desperately need.

Sure, there are ministers and bureaucrats at all levels of government, supposed to be dealing with the needs of the elderly, but how often do you read in the papers about the dreadful way old people in some nursing homes are often treated – what were the Ministers and the bureaucrats doing while all that was going on?

I don’t claim to be very bright, but it does seem to be pretty obvious, even to me, that the elderly deserve to be treated better. And don’t forget, because of all the great things produced by people from our age group, all those years ago, we’re living longer, so there are now more and more of us, and our weight and our power is increasing, day by day!

It may not be too long before we are able to exert real power ourselves – then those running the country may wish they’d put us higher on that list than the Aztecs and the Pigmies!

Be afraid, future Governments – be very afraid!

Brian Lee

  1. Very true. Unfortunately no one is going to listen and we just keep battling on the best we can.

  2. Never a truer word was writen; Both sides of parliment have placed us in the too hard basket as to provide for us would affect their own retirement

  3. You know we can relate and agree with nearly everything you say in your blogs. we worked all our lives and when Ron retired sold up [ as the kids had their own homes and did not want to live in ours, I may add before the boom hit and the house more than doubled in price unfornatutely for us ] and bought an off road caravan a Bushtracker and hit the road to travel Australia and see the sights before we are put in a pine box. The lifestyle is great and the people mostly are great also, you do meet a few grumpy old buggers, but we feel it is better than sitting at home waiting for God, and health wise it is better you don’t worry about every little ache and pain as much, besides we have kids, grand kids and great grand kids all over Australia.

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    • forgot to mention it has been 13 years now and no regrets

    • Really admire you Joyce, its the best thing to do it while you can, Happy Trails! Wis it was us.

  4. Please Explain? You get free Ambulance if you are over 65? Doesn’t happen here in South Australia!

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    • We were ambulance members until we retired at 65, then they told us we no longer had to pay, because pensioners are covered automatically.

  5. What free ambulance cover? You also forgot to mention the health scheme rebate that labor just scrapped that raised the cost $50 a month. that rebate was to get old people to join health funds to ease the burden on the public health system,. Wonder how many of the oldies will opt out and head for the public system again. We could kill a parties chances of winning an election if ALL pensioners threatened NOT to vote for them unless they reinstated the scheme in its enirety. But we wont. We will jsut struggle on until we die.

  6. While your position is worthy and understandable, I believe the forgotten people are the children of single parents and the single parents themselves. I am on the aged pension and, because of the unforeseen vicissitudes of health, death, & dying, am renting. I could do with a bit of kick up – and I love the idea of a free ‘puter and free internet subscription. However, I think those struggling with families need this more than I. I don’t want parents wondering how they feed the kids. I’m pretty resourceful and I only have responsibility for my mouth. I reckon I’ll get through … but single parents with kids, will they? And what is the cost to themselves and their kids for this trauma, let alone what tabs the nation has to pick up because our government is determined to keep them impoverished! My generation – at least those of us in the lower orders – did not have superannuation and expected to live on the pension in a modicum of comfort. Women were unable to have superannuation. Few working class men had superannuation. And we still have inequities in super schemes to-day. Governments of all persuasions had better get their head around it. The nation has been sold a pup with superannuation. As a particular economist pointed out back in the Keating years – governments are able to get the best return on investments and therefore they should be budgetting for retirement incomes and investing accordingly – not leaving it to individuals. Federal governments may be slowly realising that occupational superannuation did not get them out of responsibility for retirement incomes. They are paying twice in a sense – through taxation credits to get people to save more in their situation and then having to fork out for pensions because people have insufficient means of support in their old age. Pushing back the pension age is not a viable solution. Governments can pass legislation outlawing workplace discrimination all they like – but without real and biting teeth, gender, age, and disability discrimination will continue. But we aged are real. We are still here. Living longer. And there’s more coming through our demographic door every day!

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    • I am living life as Joyce is. I seen my Mum raise two kids and two grandkids on a pension with no kickbacks from Governments, Thankfully Labor gave us Medicare. Pensions were given not as a right but for those who could not manage at all. I am tired of the whining. We are fortunate in this country to have a pension. My sister managers very well and saves on her pension, as did my Mum. It is all about budget which all but he very rich have to do. It is not high enough of course but it is money we should be grateful we see go into our banks fortnightly. I know I am. Mum had private cover until she went into Aged Care, My sister pays body corp in her Retirement Village. As we get older we do not need for a lot. We don’t eat as much, our Dr’s bulk bill us, our scripts are cheap. Rob you seem to complain about the Government every single post. I hope you are happy and not just going on the MSM with the trash they feed people and the scare mongering with how many millions we have to have to retire. NO we do not need that much. If we sit back and worry about how much to retire on we will forget to live. Our super was lost for the most when the hit came and then two heart attacks stopping my husband from driving our truck but the month before bills still came in for fuel and tax from the year before still had to be payed. We managed to raise three fantastic kids, who made a success of their life without getting everything handed to them on a platter and I only pray they get to reach our age.

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      • Yes in Qld we have free ambulance although many of them have been sacked by this ridiculous Government in Qld.

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        • I cant believe the number of whingers on this discussion. The writer says the gov. should give us a computer & a TV. What a load of rubbish. In any case you all have short memories because I remember getting $900 for the stimulus package. Did some of you buy a TV or computer then? I now get a part pension for which I am very grateful. I have worked from 15 yo to 65 yo. I was a a single mother of 2 kids. I was very diligent with my earnings & saved. At the time of my retirement I received a small supperannuation pension. I do not drink, smoke or gamble. I thank God that we live in the lucky country. I own my own home and now dont need much. I am actually saving some of my pension. I live modestly but comfortably & do without nothing. Where I live I get reduced council rates, free car Rego, free Ambulance and reduced Electricity. I get medicines for $5.90 each & my Doctor bulk bills me. I am completly happy with my situation and I also believe that I made it happen for me. Australia is a good country for those who want to achieve. The government does not owe me anything.

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          • Hi Monica – where are you that you get free rego> My rego – is $710 this year – may get $100 or so off it if my pension card comes through in time. As a deserted single Mum with 1 very ADHD child & another ADD I found that it was really hard going on the Sole Parent pension. Special diets cost a lot of money – constant 2 hour trips (lived in the country) for Drs & pyschologists etc took a lot of money. However, what really broke my heart one day was, when I was in the chemist, an elderly gentleman came in to have his prescription filled & the distraught chemist was obliged to tell him that his medication had been removed from the Govt subsidy listing & he’d have to pay the full amount. He stood there & cried. So he had to choose – medication or eating. Without the medication he would die but then without food it was going to be impossible as well. It was dreadful! I felt so sorry for him as he was just so very upset. Single parents with problem children are very definitely forgotten & relegated – especially now that Ms Gillard brought in that parents have to go to work when their youngest child turns 8. Because of my ADHD son I could only work part-time & even then it had to be flexible so that I could drop everything & run if the school rang & needed me. There’s lots of inequities in this world that need to be looked at seriously. No-one in parliament cares too much – after all they can “retire” & get another job & still get their full parliamentary pension before retirement age & whilst still holding down a well paid job. So how are they ever going to understand what OAP & single parents are going through?

  7. I am 66 and live in W.A. I still have to pay for ambulance cover, which goes up every year, but as I have a lot of medical conditions, that could require me to need to go to hospital at any time, I must have it. I would love to have private health insurance, but with all the medicines, and other things I have to pay for, it is out of the question, my teeth all need to come out as most have broken off below the gum line, so I am limited as to what I can eat, and being a diabetic and having multiple sclerosis, what I eat is very important. I grow my own veges, and have them in containers and in the garden, and wherever there is a space, so this helps me get good veges, and none of the seed has been tampered with by Monsanto, so it is safe. Now I need new glasses, and the special lenses I need are expensive, so it means going without things again, to be able to pay for glasses, it is lucky my needs for enjoyment are simple, I like to read, watch a video, and sometimes paint, or learn to draw, I don’t go out except once a fortnight to pay bills and get medicine and do a bit of shopping, but I still find it hard, especially now that our power and gas and water have gone up again, thanks to Mr. Barnett. I only put the reverse cycle heating on, when the house is so cold that I find it hard to breathe, but in the bad heat of summer I have to have it on, to cool the place down, because of a medical condition, and so that means my power bill will be very high indeed. But yes, I’m luckier than some, at least I have a disability unit to live in, and always have something to eat, which is a lot more than some people have, so I’m grateful for this.

  8. Yes Brian you are 100% right .I retired right after the GFC and found my super had lost $100,000 in my last working year .that is more than twice what I earned in that year . lets ask every politician what they are prepared to do for pensioners and the elderly and choose our candidates depending on their replies ..

  9. I subscribe to the National Seniors newsletter, and they have today published the responses from each of the major parties regarding policies for the over 50’s. You can find it a the following link: http://www.nationalseniors.com.au/page/Driving_Change/Campaigns/Seniors_Vote_2013/party_responses
    I contacted the local member for Ryan (Brisbane) Jane Prentice about this question and to date have not had the courtesy of a reply. No matter, that tells me who not to vote for.

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