Sixty something: The government needs to notice us 15



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Hello sixty somethings. We now have a new government, or should I say, the old one back again. I have to say it is not the outcome I had hoped for, but living in Tassie, I can say we did our best to improve it. Recently, my best friend’s father passed away.  He had been transferred from hospital to a nursing home. The day before he was walking around and seemed OK, just old and suffering from early dementia. He had a couple of falls previously so it was decided it was time. My friend was worried about him as he had seemed to deteriorate literally overnight. I was worried because I think the health system in this state and indeed this country is also deteriorating, especially aged care. We need to fix it; we need to get this health system back on track.

Over the past weeks we all had our own views over who would and should lead this country. I had been worried about what we, as over sixties, would have to endure next. In my opinion, this current government have done little for the ageing population or for the younger generation for that matter. Quite frankly, none of the major parties had done much lately for the older citizens of Australia. At least one was trying to make our Medicare system safe. But this is not enough. Making the country better for the next generation was talked about. Superannuation was a topic and so was extending the retiring age, BUT, none of the major parties had told us how superannuation really was going to improve our lives; the lives of a generation that had mostly not been able to accumulate enough super. Where the jobs were actually coming from for our young was not mentioned, so where were they going to find jobs for the older generation and how would they make employers hire us?

The immediate problem? Those of us over fifty five who were out of work, had little or no super, were alone and had nothing but a pittance to live on from the government, through no fault of our own. Circumstances change over a lifetime and some don’t come out on top like others. This country has a very fast growing population of retirees. We have paid our taxes and sometimes extraordinarily higher interests for a long time. What, if anything, will be done for us? We allow our country to be run by people who more often than not are approaching our age, but they seem to think they are immortal and we are of no consequence.  

A large portion of these disadvantaged over sixties are women. Over sixty women are the ones who stayed home with their children, looked after their families and had little or no opportunity to work long enough to have a superannuation nest egg. But we worked damn hard. We raised our children to become the future, we worked long hours and never received much thanks and in those days, didn’t receive big baby bonuses maternity gratuities. We didn’t worry about it. We just got on with it. Now many of us are alone and trying to cope. Singles pay the same rent as a couple and the same price as it costs a couple to turn on the light switch. Singles get less than a couple on a pension. I’m not saying couples on a pension only don’t have it tough, because they do. It costs them more for food, for hot water etc, but I know couples who are on a pension and, by their own admission, they are better off than a single pensioner, especially a single female pensioner.  

So, what major party will finally take notice of us, will try to fix this? What party will not only try to fix the problems the young will encounter, but will look at the immediate problem? Us, the pensioner, whether it is a man, a woman, a single or a couple, we are here now and in dire straits.  I don’t want a handout, but I want a fair go. I don’t want to have to live in poverty, in badly run or overcrowded nursing homes.  I don’t want to be put in bad and sometimes unsafe public housing.  Politicians don’t worry about us because it doesn’t affect them.  It never will with their retirement perks. They will not have to worry about the rent or the power money so they don’t worry too much about fixing it.  After all, we will all be dead soon right?  Then we won’t see the botch up they will make for our future generations.

So does it matter which party governs?  Will anything change? Will they ever listen to us? I suspect we are just not important enough.  I for one say start listening to us. I want a future, yes, a future.  I and many others like me, plan on being here for a long time to come. How hard is that to understand?

What do you think about the new government?
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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. You sound like a typical welfare dependent whinger to me. I was born in 1949 and am of the same generation as you but, after staying home with my young children for seven years, I went back into the workforce and worked full time till I was 63. I am now working casually in a retail position (by choice, not necessity) rather than fall back on the government, and because I have tried to make provision for my own retirement and old age. I am so over listening to people like you blame their situation on government. As for your statement that one party at least tried to protect Medicare in the lead-up to the election, how uninformed is that? They lied about it- simple as that.

    4 REPLY
    • What a nasty piece of work you are – obviously an lnp supporter.

      1 REPLY
      • I agree with Elaine, you are a nasty piece of work. You need to listen to other peoples’ stories and say ” There but for the grace of God go I” and get off your high horse.

    • Cheryl Spencer you need to get a grip and stop being so judgemental. The LNP are the most corrupt government Australia has ever seen. Not only that, they would have to be the greatest liars ever known. Are you so old you can’t cast your mind back to 2013: no changes to Medicare, Education, Health, pensions just for starters. Then we were told in 2014, to cover their lies and budget, that we had a budget emergency. At the same time Hockey was in NZ telling anyone who would listen that Australia had NO BUDGET EMERGENCY. You need to clear your brain of your rightoid ideology and face truthful facts. FACT: the LNP has put a freeze on Medicare rebates till 2020 and as a result Doctors will have to charge patients a cost so they can make a living. FACT: Labor was going to reverse those changes if they won the election, so hence they were going to protect Medicare and the people of Australia. Try looking at the big picture and think about how all Australians can be helped. So Cheryl how uninformed are you. Labor didn’t lie. The corrupt LNP are determined to dismantle Medicare by either the front door or the back door and if you can’t see that because of your rightoid ideology, you are very much a part of Australia’s problem and should be ashamed of yourself.

      2 REPLY
      • I am over 66 and life has dealt me a very nice hand. I have no complaints about the way I was raised or the way opportunities presented themselves, but I read Fran’s article and I feel for the large number of individuals that have not been so lucky. Indeed I had not given much thought to the Mum’s who now find themselves alone after raising kids who may or may not stay in touch. These Mum’s must never be described as wingers, we need to look around and make the changes that are required. Don’t turn this into a political brawl, that too easy, lets get something started and make a change. PS I am a male

      • Labor don’t lie, what a joke. All politicians lie (well maybe a very few don’t), even when they start out with the best intentions it does not take them long to fall into line with their snouts in the trough.

    • Cheryl, unless you’ve walked a mile in another’s shoes, you should keep your supercilious opinions to yourself as they are certainly not winning you any friends. A little intelligence and compassion would make you slightly more palatable.

      1 REPLY
      • Lynne – I was just thinking about how to spell moccasins when I read your post. Saves me writing something similar.

    • Oh Cheryl Spencer .I was born in 1942 and worked right up to I was 71 and I love coming on here and listening to people like you . You probably are a nice person who would know everything and probably suck up to the LNP . It is not that long ago that Malcom Fraser Said this was the worst Liberal & National Party Australia has ever had rule this great country we call Australia .so it might pay you to have a look at yourself and stop whinging about the people that are doing it hard . Because no pollitian will ever have to work after they retire >With the pension they receive .

  2. Very interesting article and I couldn’t agree more – neither the dreadful lnp or labor parties have any thought about the quality of life of many of our senior citizens. I’m still working, but hoping to retire very soon and I don’t have a great super either. Pensioners are not bludgers and should not be treated as a drain on the public purse. Politicians will never have thought for the older generation and a country that doesn’t treat its elders with the respect they deserve, is a country devoid of caring. I keep saying it but it doesn’t seem to register, that a country is not JUST an economy, it’s a community. Governments don’t seem to want to hear this.

  3. I agree with Elaine, you are a nasty piece of work. You need to listen to other peoples’ stories and say ” There but for the grace of God go I” and get off your high horse.

  4. It’s the super situation that worries me, we did not accumulate enough and we have to live a long while off it and when the market goes up and down so does our super but NOT POLITICIANS! their super is guaranteed! And does not lose like ours and I bet it has a higher interest rate, why is this,?? they are workers just like us and really are public servants so why aren’t all supers guaranteed no one seems to fight for us to have the same , they all just have their snouts in the trough and we pay them, shame on all politicians for this!!

  5. Why are women who are single and over 65 the poorest? If you worked hard bringing up your children, then where is the money that you and your husband made at that time and invested to provide for you in the current time? I am assuming that your husbands have passed on. Can you provide more light on this part of your article??

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