Age pension is not welfare

Only a few days until we all go to the polls to elect a party or person to represent the

Only a few days until we all go to the polls to elect a party or person to represent the current age pensioners of Australia. Time for one last look at the policies on offer by both major parties which are favourable to current age pensioners.



Surely this must be a mistake, for are we not the generation that has seen this country through some of the biggest industrial changes; technological advances, medical breakthroughs and changes to safety and workplace standards to name but a few.

Did we not bring up children who have never had to fear war or third world poverty? Did we do so without welfare benefits, other than a general family allowance? No baby bonus, no childcare, no nanny care, no child minding facilities , no single parent allowances, the list goes on and I’m sure you can all think of a few more. Did we not manage on what we had, on our own, in our own way, and as a family? One parent, normally the mother, stayed at home, and was there for the children when they came home. Crimes were less and respect was the norm. For those buying a family home, the interest rates reached 21.5%. but they managed. 

We paid our taxes, many for over fifty years, supplying government revenue to make all the advances of a modern society available to today’s generation.  We relied on the government of the day to ‘do the right thing’, budget our money and the books of the country, accurately and effectively. We felt safe, we had the knowledge and understanding in black and white that part of our taxes went to our future age pension to ensure that we could all retire – not all rich, but all with dignity.  

In any population base there will be those who have much, those who have little and those in-between. That’s a fact of life and not an argument to be used regarding age pensioners. Set some limits and expectations, that’s fine, but the base age pension should be just that. For those who have no other money to fall back on, this should still enable them to have a decent worry free retirement. Remember, a country can be judge how it supports and looks after it elder generation, and Australia is not doing very well. There should not be an aged pensioner who cannot afford to have a decent hot meal, keep warm in winter, cool in summer and know what tomorrow may bring.

The age pension is not welfare and those on full or part age pension are not receiving welfare. They should not be locked in with other welfare recipients, to do so is to insult Australians who have worked hard all their life asked for nothing and requesting only what they are entitled to. 

The age pension needs an immediate and substantial increase to bring it in line with average weekly earnings and a method to ensure it is maintained at that level. Free travel should be included, together with an assurance that all medical services will be bulk billed. Power bills and communications should be capped, allowing aged pensioners to be sure of their budgets as age takes over.

Current age pensioners make up about 27% of the voting population and could change the result of an election, as it has in other countries. It would be sagacious for political parties to secure their vote to achieve their own ambitions but current politics seem to favour middle income welfare  whether it is required or warranted, coupled with incentives for business.     

Why is there no policy for current age pensioners on the table? The truth is that the contrary exists and Political Parties are the same when it comes to Age Pensioners, they seek to reduce the buying power of the age pension and/or increase auxiliary payments and they are limiting wealth ability by reducing threshold limits?

Many will with good reason call politician names and criticise their pension arrangements, that is anger vented by current age pensioners and who can blame them. Current aged pensioners cannot supplement their age pension any further, and have to rely on the government to ensure the age pension is kept at a level relevant to the the living standards of today.  

How do current aged pensioners have their voice heard?  Why have Politicians dumped age pensioners? Do you feel betrayed? What would you like to see happening? 

Now is the time to voice your opinion.

  1. Dianne Evans  

    I look back and the only party I can see who tried to raise pensions to a reasonable level were Labour Party when pensions had not changed for years under Libs and Nats.

  2. Liz bonney  

    The politicians are making us feel like we are a burden on society by having to pay a meagre age pension. And you are right Paul in saying Australia should be ashamed in the way they are treating the elderly.

  3. Barbara Chapman  

    I think there is a bit of a contradiction in your statement Paul. Here you are saying, “Did we not bring up children who have never had to fear war or third world poverty? Did we do so without welfare benefits, other than a general family allowance? No baby bonus, no childcare, no nanny care, no child minding facilities , no single parent allowances, the list goes on and I’m sure you can all think of a few more. Did we not manage on what we had, on our own, in our own way, and as a family?” and then you bemoan the fact that we have to do it on a meagre pension. I believe we all have it too good in this lovely country of ours. We are becoming a mob of whingers. Lets celebrate instead the fact that we did all these things and set them up as an example for the upcoming generation instead of whinging about why we don’t have more.

    • Anita  

      You are lucky if you don’t depend on the seniors pension. But for the pensioners like many of as is really hard, after you paid you electricity and gas, phone and rent what is left you have to pick and chose what you get on you groceries shoping, choose if you get meat this fortnight or just mince, get the cheaper bread or butter, not way you can afford go to the movies or a show.
      If you the kind of person who can call as winches for asking for a decent pension after we work hard for more the 39 years you must be on a really good position and have and living a good life. Could be better before you call as winches if you have a fortnight in the life of a pensioner or a month went you have to paid all you bills and eat and closes your self.

      • Alec McCracken  

        I agree Barbara. Also, it’s easy to complain about all the perceived wrongs in the system. Most of us have a roof over our heads and food on the table, so just be thankful. The pension is not a God-given right. A lot of what we have left when we retire depends on how we choose to spend our money when we earn it. My wife and I would have been a lot better off in retirement if we hadn’t spent money educating our kids properly, but that was our choice.

    • Don’t die a Martyr Barbara, there is wrong with standing up for your rights. Just have a look at the rights that are demanded by todays generation , and paid for by your and my taxes.When I started paying into super in 1969 I was only earning $100 a week. There was no copayment by employers. The pension was paid by the government out of taxes collected. Super was an extra for your retirement to make it more comfortable. I listened to advice given by my parents rather than Joe blogs down the street because I thought experience counted. I began working for myself in the late eighties till 2000 still funding my own super. Received copayments till retirement in 2014. now being denied a pension because I saved money instead of wasting it on the moment. So instead of the young looking after retirees, we have gone full circle to old doing without to fund youthful excess. With governments actually saying there’s no such thing as a pension. How is that Justice? If your unhappy tell the Bas@%$#&*ds.

    • Phil wiseman  

      To good? Really, I was born in 1950, neither my parents or I have ever owned our homes..we worked hard and lived within our means. That meant we never took out loans we were afraid we could not repay so renting was our choice, we drove older second or third hand cars, we never said , when asked to do something at work” that’s not in my job description” we worked for the company and did what ever we were asked. Dirty work was the norm, I was a car detailed and an office cleaner, at the same time because one wage was not enough with two young boys, so second and at times 3 Rd jobs were needed. We got into financial difficulty even then and struggled through hard times. As a renter we never had the same security that was supposed to come with home ownership (but rarely did) and now we are retired we live on the the pension. We manage well enough and I am not asking for any sympathy my life has been great, but to say we all have it ” To Good” nope sorry we at the most, we have it adequate.

  4. Sue  

    Well said! I’m tired of being taken for granted because we have voted two party for years, so the major parties think we won’t change our voting patterns.

  5. rikda  

    Apparently there wasn’t to much attention paid to Labors policies on the aged for this article.
    I’m not & never have been a member of any political party, but historically, Labors record is better.
    In January 1946 they introduced the Old Aged Pension Trust.
    Try here;
    An Age-Friendly Nation

  6. I’m voting minor parties this year. I am TIRED of being subjected to endless weeks of scare-mongering, lies, politicians badgering me over not voting for minor parties and hearing the two major parties bringing out their secret plans a day before the election. I am tired of being badgered by endless TV advertisements and hearing how awful the opposition (from both parties) is and how corrupt they are. We KNOW that, we’re NOT stupid.

    Certainly, I am grateful for my pension – I’d starve otherwise – but I am also aware that the whole of the fortnightly aged pension would just about pay for ONE dinner out at a good restaurant for Malcome Turnbull, his wife, and about four friends.

    It’s been a long time since any politician had to worry about the electricity bill.

  7. Ive voted early and no i didnt vote for the two major parties tired of the lies and why vote for a party that keeps changing leaders its all about power as for a few more dollars for pensioners thats not going to happen we have become a burden we live well below the poverty line but still manage what does that tell us ……..we are strong and determined old buggas and we aint going to lie down and quietly pass away

    • Sandy dixon  

      I fully agree. .i just voted and did not vote for lib or lab..they will never have to survive on a pension..

  8. I think it’s time to get rid of the senate, just think of the money we would save. Also we wouldn’t have minor parties and independents over ruling the elected government. We haven’t had an upper house in Queensland and I don’t think anyone misses it

    • If you don’t have a Senate the elected government can run roughshod over everyone. There has to be a group that can hold the government to account, weigh up the good or bad policies & pass or reject them. Without a Senate, Joe Hockey would have got his Budget through & Tony Abbot’s hair-brained schemes would have become law. The Senate is the most important house & the more diverse the better as they are more likely to reflect the will of the people.

      • Ione Gilbert  

        I agree with you Mhoira. Abolishing the Senate is probably on the wishlist of those who desire a dictatorship!

  9. I think it’s time to get rid of the senate, just think of the money we would save. Also we wouldn’t have minor parties and independents over ruling the elected government. We haven’t had an upper house in Queensland and I don’t think anyone misses it

  10. Joan Marshall  

    Age Pensioners have worked hard all their lives to have the old age Pension our taxes have paid for it and as Pensioners we are still paying for facilities in Shire rates reduced to some extent but still paying because the Pension is no big deal. By Budgeting on a meager Pension we still pay. Nothing comes from nothing and nothing ever will.
    I do not like people who do not try to better their lives by working instead of living on Social Security and envy people who work hard.

  11. Lorraine Walker  

    Thank you Paul for articulating my thoughts and feelings so succinctly.

    How we can have a voice is something I contemplate often!
    Of course there is our opportunity to vote this week….there is a party that has the two big parties concerned at the moment that has a policy for pensioners…one just has to take the time to read all the policies and weigh it up.

    Social media sites such as this one and campaign/petition sites are providing us with a forum to voice our concerns…but just as some of us ‘younger pensioners’ were on the cusp of learning new technology not all pensioners were and do not have the resources, capabilities, or any interest in it, to provide the numbers to make politicians take notice.

    Writing/emailing government officials and other political parties is a waste of time unless there are great numbers (voters) and how does one go about reaching out to every pensioner, the government are the only ones with names and addresses.
    Maybe a ‘gofundme’ petition to cover costs of printing a ‘letter of concern’ sent via Auspost to every Australian citizen to sign and send in prepaid envelope to the Prime Minister.

    Then there is a public protest but for the very reasons of being elderly and often incapacitated, the ordeal of travel, babysitting grandchildren, or just not being available, are not prepared to protest (or bare their nakedness) on the steps of Parliament House.

    A public profile could be helpful … a non political public persona (in the vein of a Derryn Hinch) who is prepared to take up the fight for elderly Australians….but who!

    I look forward to reading other responses on this issue.

  12. Sue  

    I am well over age pension age…..and still working 6 days a week!
    It’s a pity we had a senate who knocked back Joe Hockey’s budget repair agenda. We were told there was no problem with the deficit…..and here we are now……less than 3 years later in hotter water economically!!
    I would like an age pension which was liveable too…..but Entitlement must currently take a back seat to steadying the ship financially. Governments have, unfortunately, made a rod for our backs by expanding the Welfare State to uncontrollable levels. Generation after generation of welfare recipients……to a point where we have whole families who are totally unemployable. This is the reason current age pensioners are being forgotten in the here and now!! What we need to do is insist on recognition of us as separate……..for we are entitled…….it is just that others have dipped too far into the Treasury coffers!!

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