The Abbott Government is gearing up to break its pre-election promise to thousands of local pensioners that there would be no cuts to their payment.
“Tony Abbott said time and time again before the election that he wouldn’t change the pension but today we learn that’s exactly what his Government is planning”, said Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird.
Before the election, Tony Abbott made a solemn promise to Australian pensioners:
ABBOTT: I can assure your listeners that there will be no cuts to health, no cuts to education, no changes to pensions, no change to the GST.
[Tony Abbott – 5 September – ABC AM]
“This is a Government with its priorities completely out of whack”, said Ms Bird.
“The Prime Minister thinks paying age pensioners around $20,000 a year to live is unaffordable but he's prepared to hike up taxes to pay wealthy parents $75,000 when they have a baby.
“At the last election, Tony Abbott looked millions of pensioners in the eye and promised he would not cut their pensions – today’s backflip is a complete betrayal of their trust”, said Member for Throsby Stephen Jones.
“Tony Abbott has not only broken his word but he is deliberately fabricating facts to create a sense of crisis as cover for his cruel pension cuts.
“The Coalition’s claim that the Age Pension is a ‘ticking time bomb’ is completely false.
“In 2009 Australia spent just 3.5 per cent of GDP on the Age Pension, compared with an average of 7.8 per cent across the OECD.
Sharon Bird said it was John Howard who legislated the indexation arrangements in 1997 linking increases in the Age Pension to wages rather than CPI, the cause, the Government says, of their current ‘crisis’.
“Tony Abbott and Treasurer Joe Hockey are concocting a fictional budget emergency – and they’re blaming pensioners for it. It’s a disgrace”, said Ms Bird.
“Budgets are about choices and this Government’s priorities are completely twisted.
Stephen Jones said it was Labor who gave pensioners the support and certainty they deserve through the historic Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms.
“The Abbott Government must immediately rule out any changes to the pension”, said Jones.