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Daily Archives: September 16, 2008

Dr Nelson looks forward to a diet of jam and baked beans…

I think not.

What a performance that was by Dr N in Parliament yesterday! I’m not referring to the fact that in a few hours he may no longer be Leader of the Opposition, but to his poncing around with his tin of baked beans and his jar of jam in fake sympathy for the plight of pensioners. His real aim of course was to embarrass the government and go down the populist path of seeming to be the Santa of the Senior Set.

I write this, just so you know, as a person on the Single Aged Pension myself. I don’t need Dr Nelson-Turnbull to tell me the rate is very low. I do remind Dr Nelson-Turnbull that the rate is exactly the same as it was when he/they were several Ministers in the Howard government. And that rate is, as Dr Nelson-Turnbull well knows, pegged at 25% of the average male weekly earnings, and that has been so for a very long time. All this talk about an extra thirty bucks a week is just talk. As Dr Nelson-Turnbull well knows. Only a systematic review, such as the government is undertaking, holds out any real hope, and even there I am not holding my breath.

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Dr Nelson-Turnbull

The true beliefs of Dr Nelson-Turnbull’s side of politics are transparent anyway: just look at this patronising git from the Centre for Independent Studies:

The rate of the pension is currently set at one-quarter of average weekly earnings and is indexed annually for inflation. Contrary to what has been claimed, the pension has therefore increased every year. However, the base rate has been set at – and should be kept at – the present level for sound policy reasons.

The old age pension system has never been structured to replace the earnings people forgo when they retire. It has always been designed to alleviate poverty. The government taxes people still in the workforce to provide a ‘safety net’ for those who have failed to provide for their own retirement.

The expectation, in other words, has been that people who are now retired or about to retire should have provided for themselves over the 30 to 40 year span of their working lives by purchasing a home, by accumulating assets, and by investing and saving. To reinforce this expectation, and maintain the integrity of existing government policy, it is essential to keep the pension at the current rate to discourage people from trying to shifting the cost of their retirement onto others.

That is the tune Dr Nelson-Turnbull would be singing in government. They know that. I know that.

Anyway, I find kangaroo sausages at around $3.50 for 7 bangers, the basis for three meals, are a much better bargain than baked beans…

The whole performance aspect of this just sickens me.

Politicians! Rot them!

Seriously: see The Institute of Actuaries Australia and The Australian Government Pension Review Background Paper.