Only Labor Has Delivered For Seniors (05/08/2010)

Older Australians have made our nation strong and prosperous, and deserve to be supported in their retirement, writes Jenny Macklin. seniors300.jpg


A GILLARD LABOR GOVERNMENT is committed to a strong and secure economy so we can provide services to the community such as world-class hospitals and aged care facilities.

In contrast, Tony Abbott is a risk to a strong economy. He does not understand the economy and has made it very clear that he will cut services to the community and take our economy backwards.

For 12 years in Government the Coalition ignored seniors and took them for granted. Federal Labor has delivered for seniors.

The Federal Labor Government delivered the biggest reforms to the age pension in more than a hundred years.

Over the last year, our pension reforms have driven increases for pensioners now worth an extra $100 a fortnight for single pensioner and an extra $74 for couples combined.

New pension indexation arrangements will make sure that the pension keeps pace with the cost of living.

Federal Labor has increased the single pension from 25 per cent to 27.7 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, and will keep the benchmark at this higher level. And we have introduced a new Pensioner Living Cost Index. Our changes were affordable and sustainable.

The Coalition ignored the needs of pensioners for 12 long years in Government.

In fact, Tony Abbott and the Cabinet of the former Coalition Government rejected a proposal in 2007 to increase the single age pension. (The Australian 11 August 2008; Lateline 10 September 2008)

Tony Abbott does not understand the economy, which will mean higher cost of living pressures for seniors and pensioners.

As Shadow Minister, Mr Abbott said he thought our pension increase wasn’t affordable – but he will make pensioners pay more for their groceries to pay for his unfair paid parental leave scheme.

Tony Abbott’s new tax on thousands of Australian companies like Coles and Woolies will increase prices.

While pensioners are doing it tough, Tony Abbott wants to give some mothers up to $75,000 when they have a baby. That’s eight times more than a single pensioner receives. And they’ll make pensioners pay for it at the supermarket checkout.

Seniors can’t trust the Coalition on the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

It was the former Coalition Government that removed the indexation of the income limits for the Commonwealth Seniors Health card.

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card was introduced by a former Labor Government, and Federal Labor strongly supports our self-funded retirees.

Tony Abbott is a risk to the economy and this will mean that seniors will have less financial security under the Coalition.

Federal Labor has delivered real support for self-funded retirees – including a new Seniors Supplement now worth $795 a year – and if re-elected more benefits will flow to seniors. Benefits that Mr Abbott wants to cut.

Tony Abbott opposes Federal Labor’s 50 per cent tax discount on up to $1,000 of interest earned by individuals, including interest earned on deposits held in banks, building societies and credit unions and annuity products from 1 July 2011.

Around 740,000 self-funded retirees and age pensioners will benefit from this tax discount.

Tony Abbott will scrap this reform, risking the financial security of older Australians

Tony Abbott also opposes Labor’s reforms to superannuation that will give more Australians increased support in their retirement.

In contrast, a Gillard Labor Government has a strong economic plan which will see increased superannuation for Australians to use to support their retirement.

That is why Federal Labor will boost the superannuation guarantee and reduce superannuation fees, giving an average worker about $150,000 more in retirement, building on the historic pension increase and a new tax break for savings accounts.

It is only with a Gillard Labor Government that we will have a strong economic plan for our future that supports the essential services and programs for current and future seniors.

Tony Abbott’s only economic plan is to cut services and take the economy backwards.