Tony Shepherd is a businessman and a former head of the Commission of Audit.

Now he thinks he runs the country! And maybe he does!

Who is running the country?

With regard to the piece by Tony Shepherd published May 22, 2016, The Sydney Morning Herald needs to be severely chastened for publishing this type of fascist propaganda and for indulging in this type of wedge politics.

I wrote to the SMH to ask why they thought what he had to say merited printing and asked if he had paid them to print it. Cash for comment?  No answer.

If they are printing material by Institutes they need to say who has paid the Institutes to compile the material.

Reply to Tony Shepherd Article

This reply was sent to the Sydney Morning Herald but was not published.

Tony Shepherd seems ignorant, perhaps willfully, of the fact that the ‘Baby Boomers’ have paid for their retirement and their pensions.

A superannuation scheme to pay for the aged pension has been in existence in Australia for the past seventy years that every retired person has paid into and every non retired person still pays into. This is similar to the ones that exist in NZ, UK, US, Canada and most European countries. In these countries every retired person gets an aged pension as a result of their contributions. In Australia the majority of retired people get no pension or a partial pension only.

The Australian scheme was set up in 1946 by the Chifley/Curtin Governments in a bipartisan agreement with the Menzies opposition whereby a contribution of 7.5% of income would be lodged in a National Welfare Fund. Mr. Menzies insisted that the Compulsory Contribution (levy) should be kept separate so that “the stigma of charity should be removed from the Age Pension.  It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund.”

However in 1950, when the balance in the fund was almost 100 million pounds, the levy was grouped with ‘Tax Paid’ but was still collected.  The Whitlam government introduced the aged pension for all on the basis of this contribution as was done in the UK, USA and Europe much earlier. In 1977 Prime Minister Fraser transferred the balance of the Welfare Fund (by then almost half-a-billion dollars) to Consolidated Revenue, and ‘borrowed’ it for other uses.  In 1985 Labor introduced the Income and Asset Tests, excluding millions of Australians from receiving the Pension on the basis of their contribution, but still collected the 7.5% levy. There have been estimates that the trillions stolen from the fund would be enough to pay a non-means tested pension to every retiree of more than $500 a week. However politicians and a complacent/complicit media push the myth that the pension is welfare and denigrate those who receive it.  Not only that but Mr. Shepherd advocates that people pay all over again for their pensions by taking their homes where possible.

Apart from those who have contributed for their superannuation via this scheme a large portion of retirees have had separate superannuation schemes into which they made after tax contributions, sometimes up to one third of their after tax income throughout their working lives. Much of the money drawn down is not earnings but a redraw of their after tax contributions. What Mr Shepherd is proposing is that we steal the savings of retirees. Why stop there, perhaps the government could decide others such as wealthy business people do not need all they have saved and also take that so that business does not have to pay tax.

This article constitutes wedge politics at its ugliest attempting to pit generation against generation. Any changes made to pensions now will ultimately affect everyone. As it is, the Global Age Watch Index, 2015, reported Australia was near the top of the scale ranking 94th for the worst rate of old-age poverty. If Mr. Shepherd has his way things will get much worse.

Fascism is about targeting groups of people on the pretext that they enjoy advantages or wealth at the expense of others and justifying victimizing them and taking that wealth. 

This is what individuals like him have been doing to retirees over the past two years and probably longer, spearheaded by the various ‘Institutes’ such as John ‘leaking tax’ Daley’s Grattan Institute.

This is how fascism works; through the timeless technique of "divide and conquer".

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

It is happening again. In fact, it never stopped.