Let’s talk: Are pensioners paid too much money?

Australia’s pensioners expect too much from taxpayers and need to face the fact they can’t rely on government payments to

Australia’s pensioners expect too much from taxpayers and need to face the fact they can’t rely on government payments to subsidise their life, says a new report from the Centre for Independent Studies.

The report says there is an “unrealistic expectation” about how much taxpayers should contribute to the pension and warns that the real cost of the pension is set to triple over the next few decades, putting greater strain on the Australian people and the budget.

As it stands, the average worker contributes $3500 a year to pensioners, and $6270 to their own future retirement.

By 2054, the average worker will need to contribute $9424 a year to pensioners and to their own retirement $11,895.

“Today’s retirees, who in their past working life, paid a smaller proportion of their salaries to support the retirees of that time, now demand a greater proportion of the salaries of those working today,” the CIS report says.

“The effect of this growth of income transferred from those of working age to retirees has made the bargain between the generations unbalanced.”

CIS report manager Simon Cowan told SMH pensioners were out of touch with how the system was supposed to work.

“There’s this flawed understanding of the generational bargain that says: ‘I paid taxes during my working years to support people in retirement, therefore I should get a return on those taxes in the form of a pension’,” Mr Cowan said.

“The pension was always designed to be a safety net only . . . but as the real value of the pension has increased, and as the means tests have widened, it’s given more credence to this idea that the pension is a right paid for through your taxes over your working life, and you shouldn’t have to pay for yourself in retirement.”

What do you think about this findings in this report?

Are pensioners demanding too much from taxpayers? Or, is this report out of touch with the reality and cost of being a pensioner in Australia these days?

    • The person who wrote this report has not analysed how much the pensioners of today have contributed at all. Working from 15 years of age, nil benefits until retirement even as single parents who went to work and raised their children to work as well. The new generation would pay less taxes due to years either not working, travelling the world and attending Uni several days a week until 25 and some older. I would suggest he/she goes back and recalculates and do a proper analysis! Stop being a bully to the seniors, each week another bully emerges attacking the seniors.

      • The Centre for Independent Studies has not acknowledged that the value of the dollars depreciates 10% every year and that the pension payments need to be in line with the value of the dollar. To put it simply when we were the working class our proportion of tax contribution towards pension payments was in line with the dollar value that was paid to the pensioners when we worked. There was no outrage then, well not very much. Did we bash pensioners of the past over the head and kicked them in the guts like they are today? No, we did not. So, to all of these ultra right wing Centres for Studies that are cropping up like mushrooms at tax payer expense plus all the commissions engaged by the government and subsidized by the government, “GET OFF OUR CASE!”. Go and tackle some harder issues that you haven;t got the guts nor the brains to tackle.

  1. Dont forget that a lot of the Pensioners of today were huge Tax payers them selves not all of them.so I think they are entitled to the Pension.a lot of them have lived on their own Money for a lo g time.Its the ones that have never worked all their life that are the Complainers you will find.And their are a lot of 3 or 4 Generations that have never worked.

    • I agree with you wholeheartedly. If you received the dole and have never worked, and there are many who fit this description, why should you be entitled to an aged pension.

    • It just goes on and on they are taking from the taxpayers to give to the the ones that dont want to work and the ones that are rorting the system and there are a lot of them as well and they dont mind telling what they are doing but they never get caught

    • Are pensioners supposed to live on bread and Marg ,with the odd bit of mince thrown in ? We still have rates electricity ,water and gas bills to pay every month or should we just freeze to death in winter . My house needs a lot of work done on it that I can’t afford ,,I worked hard from the time I emigrated to Australia 43 years ago and retired from work 5 years ago -Am I not entitled to be able to live from pension to pension .? I have no savings. My super payout was small as I couldn’t afford top pay anything into it ,please don’t begrudge us the pension there are many many people in my situation


    • Are pensioners supposed to live on bread and Marg ,with the odd bit of mince thrown in ? We still have rates electricity ,water and gas bills to pay every month or should we just freeze to death in winter . My house needs a lot of work done on it that I can’t afford ,,I worked hard from the time I emigrated to Australia 43 years ago and retired from work 5 years ago -Am I not entitled to be able to live from pension to pension .? I have no savings. My super payout was small as I couldn’t afford top pay anything into it ,please don’t begrudge us the pension there are many many people in my situation


    • Sorry to say I complain . But worked and paid taxes.
      Also many people have not worked because worked not there , so have a reason so do not judge.

      • Jim G  


    • I disagree on many occasions you hear there is no work available but that is generally not the case. There is work available if you are willing to work, travel for work or improve qualifications

  2. This must be a liberal think tank! What rubbish. Not only did my taxes contribute to pensioners, they paid for the infrastructure of Australia, the education of the very liberal politicians who now want pensioners to go away and die. And we still pay taxes! What do think the GST is? All the other taxes on products, and fuel? Vote these greedy greasy parasitic liberals out people, PLEASE!

    • How much are they paying for these reports ? because these people would not work for free . Vote Liberal and you vote to put yourself in poverty

    • I am now retired, but was in the workforce for 44 years…always paying tax, and contributing to superannuation for many of those years (before super became compulsory). Because I was always reasonably careful with money, I am now is a position where I cannot get a government pension, or even a health care card to offset medical costs which my health fund does not cover. I agree with both June Bellenger and Marlene Baker, in objecting to those who have not worked, not contributed and still get money for nothing!!

      • Jim G  

        So what, everybody was not as lucky as you, obviously. you cannot begrudge them a little in the little life that is left to them. Most Pollies just grab everything they get and more ,like free travel and free $5000 Helicopter rides etc etc. and keep on wanting more but begrudge seniors their little bit. Everyone has to pay for the Pollies, bigger than their salary, expense acounts. and to say some have not paid tax is rubbish! Have you heard of the tax called GST.the biggest tax of all. Nobody but the top end of town can avoid that one.

        • Lynne White  

          Don’t for get Julie Bishop & her boyfriends $30,000 trip from Perth. She never paid that back & it has been dropped. Wasn’t just Bronwyn who did the wrong thing.

    • Marlene is right, everyone pay taxes working or not, we still pay the GST, we pay fuel tax, smokers pay a smokers tax, there is a tax for everything in this country..get rid of the Liberals, you get rid of the problem

    • most baby boomers have worked and paid taxes , unless they have disability and cannot work Margarita Basset, we were not a lazy generation

    • I don’t believe it makes any difference which political party is in charge. None of them really gives a shit about pensioners. They will all get their big pensions and perks regardless. The only time politicians will seriously consider what it’s like to be a pensioner is if their entitlements are removed and they have to survive on what we get

    • Well folks! Just remember that older Australians are a HUGE voting bloc! If you have an issue with the crop of clowns in Canberra, let them know! Letter, phone, email! Make your views known! Also let them know that any attack on the aged pension will result in your vote going elsewhere!

    • Marlene Baker and Rosalind Battles if you think just getting rid of the liberals is going to ‘fix’ this problem you and all the others on here are sadly mistaken – do you think billy shortpants and his co horts are going to be any better. Sorry but as far as I’m concerned they are all tarred with the same brush!!

    • Rosemary Henley any one else would be better! Historically economies do better under labor ( although I am no longer a labor voter). At least labor aren’t going to privitise Medicare! I see in the UK the rotors want to privitise the roads!! Can you imagine that! Joe’s prediction that poor people don’t drive will come true under the liberals!

    • agreed and the majority of us are on below subsistence level, the pollies spend over 70 grand on plane trips within Australia and we survive on $13000.00 per year, maybe we should start by taxing the pollies and cut their entitlements including being paid even after we have sacked them for incompetence. I had no access to super savings as I was a part time wife mother and worker!

    • Rosemary Henley there was no problem till the Liberals got into power and they have doubled the deficit and they can’t blame pensioners all they have given us is worry

    • Vonnie  

      Totally agree with you – but I get the media message that we are a burden on society, making no contribution to society. H should ask retirees, who work as volunteers and babysitters.
      I’m waiting for the legislation to be re-introduced for voluntary euthanasia. That would solve all of the country’s financial woes, right?

    • I agree the pensioners are going with out politicians wont go with out anything plus look what they retire on how about they live on a normal pension when they retire. .

    • Gerry wils  

      Starting with these clowns at “centre for independent studies” time to get a job… And a life bloody pen pushers !!!

    • National Welfare Fund – What happened and where did it go?
      Once apon a time in Australia we had a retirement fund they called the “National Welfare Fund”
      It was 1949 and set up by Chifley, to help with contributions to our aged pension so the pension was sustainable.
      All working Australians contributed 7% of gross earnings to the fund and it was very, very successful.
      The Australian people were happy, they knew that the National Welfare Fund offered them security in their golden years, they could afford utility bills, put food on the table, they trusted the government, the government had the respect of the people.
      But on one stormy night in Canberra behind closed doors the Parliament decided that the National Welfare Fund was so successful and such a big honeypot, that they just had to get control of it. They just had to somehow get the money!
      But how…. how could they get hold on the money?
      After much deliberation it was decided the only way to do this was to make Parliament the sole Trustee.
      By 1952 The National Welfare Fund was was pilfered.
      Mission accomplished! £52 Million in trust GONE!
      That £52 million pounds today would be $Trillions.
      Our pensioners wouldn’t be living under the poverty line, the government wouldn’t be talking about pensioners reverse mortgaging homes to subsidise retirement, aged care funding wouldn’t be cut by $1.3 billion. Australian pensioners wouldn’t be worried about how they will survive and what cruel blow the government will take next, or the lies, broken promises and corruption, because they would be happy in their golden years, enjoying life as they so rightly deserve.
      Australians nearing retirement would be counting down the days knowing full well that they paid 7% of their gross income from the first pay cheque towards their pension plus compulsory superannuation for those young enough to be included, or were not in small business, but they are not!
      Australian families wouldn’t be worried about their parents or grandparents and how they would / could survive on the pension.
      The same 7% that built the National Welfare Fund to £52 Million before it was misappropriated are still rolling in but the account was closed in 1986 by Hawke and Keating because it was empty.
      Where’s the 7% going?
      Where has all the money gone?
      How much have aged Australians lost from this pirating of their funds?
      Who can put a $ amount on it?
      Mature Australia is fighting for the pensioners and self funded retirees of Australia.
      Mature Australia will be asking the big questions, holding the government accountable, demanding open and transparent governance and fighting corruption.
      July 2 is judgement day! Your vote is a democratic right and your chance to tell the government exactly how you feel.
      Pensioners of Australia we have the numbers. This fight is, for us and future generations.
      Authorised by Terry Snell 232 Goodnight Road Morganville Qld. Phone 0408 000 038 for Mature Australia


  3. This does not account for the fact that most people, especially women, did not have access to saving for super. The next generations will not need to rely only on a pension so the argument isn’t valid.

    • Sylvia Harvie  

      We all know that this is the last generation who worked 50 odd years without superannuation the previos governments forward thinking getting the workers employers to pay superannuation hopefully will fix this if the present government can not change the rules, the trillions of dollars in superannuation needs to be taboo to anyone wanting to get a slice of it.Sylvia

      • Now I am 65 and going back to my parents 30 something they were taxed a percentage of there wages for just that what ever happened to that now back to now well we worked bloody hard no computers in those days infrastructure,dams etc wore mostly manmade and the women well they wore at home working equally as hard no dryers air-cons dishwashers and more importantly no pill so more children no childcare facility,s so personally I think we deserve every bit of what we get and more

  4. Although I believe a pension is a privilege and not a right, I worked from age 15 to 60 when I retired and moved to the country. I paid taxes all those years but superannuation only came into being in the final years of my work life so didn’t get the opportunity to have money for a self funded retirement. I am grateful for the age pension and find I can manage relatively ok.

    • Gloria  

      Totally agree worked all my life put as much as I could in my super to boost it along but we were too late in our working life when super started…….

    • Phil  

      I’m with you Pauline , I was in employment that has only recently started paying super , wot do we do starve ?

    • Pauline it is NOT a privilege, it is my right, I worked for 45 years and paid all my taxes, there was very little super around when I started work. What will happen if they reduce pensions ? We will be living on the streets. I have no one here and a Sister in the UK so what will happen to me ? As I said worked all my life for what??
      Why can’t they cut back on things like child care, why are taxpayers paying to look after other peoples children, if these couple didn’t have such big fancy ideas of 5 bedroomed houses with the pool etc etc they could look after their own children, don’t penalize the folks that have supported the country all their working lives. Yes that means me and millions more.

    • Ellen Thompson  

      Yes I feel exactly the same and am happy and save some …

    • brian amos  

      agree they should try living on a pension for twelve months ,we have paid our dues over 50 years of paying taxes ,super wasnt around then , try getting entitlements and pays like the pollies ,swap jobs for twelve months ,i’m sure some of us pensioners could due a better job than the rabble we got now ????

  5. They were big tax payers all their life. Time for them to be helped out not all the bludgers who have never tributes a cent to the tax

  6. No, but a lot of people are getting pensiions that shouldnt get them. They were meant for people who had fallen on hard times. My generation did not have big super funds, it wasnt brought in as a compulsary government measure until I was just about ready for retirement.

  7. Its generally those that underachieved in their lives that feel they’re owed the most. For most people, the tax they paid or didnt pay, wouldnt cover the cost of the street lights and road in front of their house. Its those that did plan for retirement that suffer the most.

    • So true The people who paid the most tax are most likely self-funded while those who paid little are the loudest whingers

    • How very condescening talk to some of these 70 and 80 year old whingers who went through world wars depression no super and scrape through on a pittance per fortnight

    • Fay Burn My grandparents went through 2 wars and a depression with 7 children on $4.00 a week. Never whinged in fact always considered themselves lucky to receive a pension. So I don’t believe I’m condescending at all. The way many pensioners complain you would think they built Australia single handedly.

    • Pam Hanrick I agree. My Grandparents had 13 children, he worked as a labourer on main roads, yet still managed to own their home when he retired. There’s doers and theres whingers. Our generation have lived through three or four housing booms, it wasnt hard to set yourself up.

    • Marg Byrne  

      By ” under achieved” I can only assume you mean ” made lots of money”! Many low income earners have contributed a great deal to our society, and can only be considered as under achievers if all you value is money. Likewise, many very wealthy people were given the huge leg up of being born into weath, an old boys network, and a great inheritance. They actually did far less to earn their wealth than those who earned far less. Often people on very low wages had nothing left to put away for retirement.

      • I agree…many of the so called under achievers worked in low paid jobs but jobs that contributed greatly toward the infrastructure of this country. They looked after their families but were left with little to put away for old age. The morons who carry on about the aged pensioners should consider how much the taxpayer is contributing to the pollies huge lifelong pensions

  8. Don’t you just love these highly paid Government lackies tell us that we are getting too much while at the same time they are holding their hands out for hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payers funds every year.

    They need to look at who it was that paid taxes to give them an education, health care, roads to drive on, protective services, ambulance services, armed forces, fire services, libraries, child health centres, etc etc etc.
    They are where they are because of the taxes we age pensioners have paid over 50 years of work. And now that our past taxes have given them all these things, they want to tell us that we are greedy for asking for enough money to live on in our old age.

    As for the fact that every current taxpayer is paying more now then they did 30 years ago; perhaps that is because wages are twice as high now as they were 30 years ago. And in 20 years time the wages will be even higher and therefore the contribution will be higher.

    • Ruth you forgot that people our age DIDN’T have SUPER funds until the late 80’s, therefor we were required to pay higher taxes which was SUPPOSE TO PAY US A PENSION, which the GOVERNMENT NOW WANTS TO RENEG ON.

    • Jan inwood  

      I agree, why is the pensioner made to feel that they have not contributed enough even though we have paid taxes since starting work at Fourteen till the age of sixty eight. We are not asking for the amount politicians are receiving, who receive large pensions and perks when they have not worked for as many years.

    • well said Ruth ,well said, have the current batch of politicians of LOCAL, STATE and FEDERAL ,look into their own pay packets and then swap with age pensioners for a year ,not a day as was the case on A C A a few weeks ago ,and everyone knows that the majority of consultants or think tank people tell you what you want to hear ,in my opinion

    • June Montgomery  

      Thank you Ruth Hourigan for your comments. Your comments are my thoughts also. The fact that their wages are so much more than ours was back then. They need to wake up to themselves and be thankful that we pensioners went out to work and also looked after our families. Also most of us didn’t have the mod cons that are available now to help make our lives a little easier.

    • Elizabeth  

      No, true aged pensioners are not expecting too much. Many of us were not in a position to either save for the future, or to get enough put into Super to help much. However, there are many aged people who were fortunate enough to retire with quite large amounts of funds/assets, who availed themselves of “good” financial advice, which allowed them to arrange their finances/assets in such a way as to be eligible for the Age Pension. And of course, we have our Polititions who are financially catered for in a way that is far beyond reason…….no matter how well they may have run our country (or otherwise). If all of these unnecessary payments were taken into account, there would be more than enough to go round. We manage on our pension plus a small amount of Super paid monthly, so I’ not complaining. Just stating something not often put into the equation.

      • Jim G  

        Agree with you entirely, we are in the same category, we scrape through and do not complain as it would be futile anyway. Don’t see the pollies or the top end of town being in the same category as pensioners.But the less we get, more flows through to them.

    • shazza  

      Thankyou Ruth.
      I agree with you Ruth.
      Yes it is a privilege, so is the unemployment benefits that are handed out to multi generations of families that have never held a job. Its about time we as the elder generation vote with our conscience elect a government , that will stand up for the people that made this country the beautiful place it is.
      I wonder if the people who believe that we the aged pensioners get too much would like to come and live with me for a month.
      Don’t forget its your vote

    • katie smith  

      My husband and I are currently trying to help a neighbour budget her pension and how she can survive living in her own home with very little in the bank as back up support. I know she will get by however, by the time her weekly, monthly and annual bills are paid…there is about $180.00 left a week for petrol, food, entertainment, clothing – not to mention Christmas and birthday gifts for her family. Who are the only joy in her life..not to mention posting a birthday card or Christmas cards…or paying for the internet….paying someone to mow her lawn….do I need to say more

    • Mary Manning  

      At least Doreen is in touch with the reality of living on the Pension. I worked from aged 20 to 62 in responsible, well paid positions. I put 2 children through private schools to Yr 12, paid very high taxes, worked long hours & worked very hard & had only $10,000 in Super when I retired. Try paying private rent & living on the Pension – it’s next to impossible, believe me!!
      I am however very grateful there is a Pension payment for me to eke out the rest of my years. However I believe the original provision of the Pension as a Safety net has been lost in translation over the years. I know many with over $1m in Super, own their McMansion unencumbered, but have very clever Financial Advisors or Accountants & receive either full or part Pensions as well as Health Cards enabling them to access prescriptions for $5.20, get free dental including dentures & add considerably to the long waiting lists for cataract removal & joint replacements in the Public system because they won’t pay for Private Health Care.. Go figure why this is allowed because I can’t.

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