Senator explains why he opposes Life Gold Pass changes

It appears not every politician supports Malcolm Turnbull's plans to scrap the Life Gold Pass.
Liberal senator Ian Macdonald. Source: Australian Labor Party/ YouTube

Politician’s expenses and privileges have become a real talking point amongst everyone here at Starts at 60.

So it’s no surprise that Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement on Tuesday about scrapping the Life Gold Pass had widespread support.

But it seems not every politician is backing the move.

One Coalition senator has explained why he opposed the move and it’s got a lot of people angry on social media.

Long-serving senator Ian Macdonald told the ABC he argued in the party room that someone has to defend the politicians.

“Someone has to start arguing for politicians, arguing for parliamentarians, saying why they’re there,” he reportedly told his colleagues.

“Most parliamentarians, well those on this side, would have done infinitely better financially staying in their legal practice, staying in their business, staying in their veterinary practice, staying in their jobs they had before.”

He even told the ABC he plans to oppose the bill being put forward by his government.

Senator Macdonald said he wants former politicians to be able to have their say.

“They’re entitled to what was agreed upon in legislation 20 to 30 years ago and it should not be taken from them,” he told the ABC.

“No legislation that is retrospective should ever be adopted by this Parliament.”

Similar concerns were also reportedly aired by Liberal MP Warren Entsch.

Under the current Life Gold Pass rules MPs who retired before 2012 are entitled to 10 business-class airfares in Australia each year.

It’s being reported that scrapping the Life Gold Pass will save $5 million over five years.

What do you think? Do you disagree with Senator Macdonald?


  1. BILL  

    Nobody forced them to enter parliament, might have been a good idea for each of them to put money aside, and have some foresight, to cover a situation such as this, most of them are short term thinkers, serves them right.

  2. alan stonham  

    to enter parliament,is a personal choice,any aspirant would be aware of the benifits or sacrifices,i think a bonus for this is a bit rich,considering they are well rewarded when in parliament,it seems that serving the nation ,runs second to serving one self to this liberal passenger

  3. Caroline  

    Get rid of the gold pass .

    • Garry  

      The Gold passes were introduced a very long time ago, they were specifically for FIRST CLASS TRAIN travel, not Business Class plane travel.

  4. John Griffin  

    If one is not happy with the benefits of being a politician in Australia, resign, do not complain, and allow a more stable individual take your position.

  5. Margaret  

    Cuts to parliamentarians wages and or benefits are well overdue. Get rid of this gold pass as a first step…

  6. Dave Pritchard  

    ” They’re entitled to what was agreed upon in legislation 20 to 30 years ago and it should not be taken from them, ” Hello-ooh ! Mr. Head-in-the-clouds McDonald SO WERE WE…with pensions, retirement ages and a whole host of stuff YOU lot took off us…and keep taking off us. SO…some of us are in a militant mood, when we we see YOU lot consistently voting yourselves pay rises,etc. Sorry, mate ! – the old Ivory Tower Days are due to end. Suck it up, matey, like we’re supposed to !

    • Bronwyn Schulz  

      Love your response it hits the nail on the head.

    • Anna Katnich  

      Well said they can’t have it both ways, and they are not all in high paid positions before they entered the politics. How they behave in the parlament is a apsalute disgrace and they think they deserve lifetime of lucsuries most of us can only dream about.

    • Michelle  

      Couldn’t have said it better especially the bit about sucking it up! I’ve just celebrated my 60th birthday but I can’t retire on a pension as my pension age has been changed to 67 thanks to John HowRd and his cohorts!

    • Sandra  

      I agree with you, most of them are in parliament for their own gains they forget that we voted for them to look after our interest we can vote them out just as quick if we all band together.
      The Gold Pass was issued when travel was mostly by train to get around.
      Ex Polies abused and their partners have abused this for years and years this should have been abolished years ago.
      If they don’t like it well get out of politics we don’t need people that only think of themselves

  7. thecla roberts  

    Getting rid of the Gold Pass should be just the start

  8. They should be treated the same as us ordinary people are treated when we retire get a small pension each fortnight yes we do get free travel on trains but u would not say that was a gold pass we only travel second class.When those leaches retire they go out on a big payout and get a big pension for life payed by the taxpayer.

  9. Julie Wardle  

    This article makes my blood boil. He chose to go into this profession. No-one held a gun at his head. Just another snout in the trough expecting an unrealistic lifestyle after retirement. With this attitude no wonder people are sick to death of politicians. If it was put to the Australain public I think an overwhelming majority would be to get rid of the gold pass!

  10. Di Carmody  

    Let me see if I’ve got this right. It’s not OK for politicians to have “what’s agreed upon in legislation 20-30 years ago”, but it IS OK for those same politicians to take away superannuation tax deductions agreed upon with public servants, for some of them as long as 40 years ago. Is that correct?

    • Carol Stanners  

      My sentiments entirely. How easily they changed the superannuation rules for the workers, as well as the pensions but when it affects a politician they are entitled to vote against it – pensioners dont have that option!

  11. Keith McAlley  

    Harden up Princess, emergency service workers, doctors, nurses and many other professionals work to save lives, work long hours on not much more than a minimum wage. They have to wait for retirement age to get any benefits to recompense them for their dedication. Politicians, don’t make me laugh.

  12. Lynette De Reggi  

    Politicians should save towards their retirement the same as everyone else has too, all the privileges they receive does not make them keep them in touch with what the average Middle class Australian has to do to live and enjoy life. No one forces politicians into the job and maybe if the privileges were not so good they might get into it for the right reasons not financial gain.

    • Heather Wells-Jones  

      When they retire they should retire on what ever super they have same as we do. Let them also face the Centrelink assets test to determine if they are entitled to any other benefits, same as we do. Bet they would fail the assets test!!

    • Alex Benham  

      “They’re entitled to what was agreed upon in legislation 20 to 30 years ago and it should not be taken from them,” he told the ABC.
      Did we hear Senator Mcdonald making this statement when age pensions came under fire. Look at our history. All tax payers have been paying a 7.5% tax levy since 1946 so that they would receive a pension when they retire. Read up on what Sir Robert Menzie had to say about this issue, Senator Mcdonald. Such hipocracy!!!

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