THE USE OF DEROGATORY TERMS TO UNDERMINE PENSIONERS

Millionaire pensioners: The term millionaire belongs to a bygone era; an era none of us lived in; the early nineteen hundreds in fact. One would need to have more than a hundred million dollars to have the same impact on the economy today.

In 1901, the average weekly wage for an adult male in Australia was about $4.35 for a working week of almost 50 hours. The average weekly rent for a three bedroom house in 1901 was $1.30. Those were the days of ‘millionaires’.

And the billion dollar savings that they talk about will not be made from the so-called millionaires either. In the governments’ table of ‘Single home-owner’ the number of pensioners with assessable assets in the range $800,000 and above, there is the grand total of 3. In all other cases it is divided between two people and even then the number is small. You can’t combine people to make them into a ‘millionaire’. In fact the savings from so-called millionaires wouldn’t pay a politicians expense account: Definitely not Bronwyn Bishop’s.

Most of the savings will be made from people who have a lot less than a million dollars and who have never seen and will never see a million dollars. There was this implication that ‘pensioner millionaires’ were somehow ‘rorting the system’. The people making these assertions failed to state that the million dollars actually represents $500,000 per person and that this money is meant to last people for the rest of their lives and combat inflation.

This is an unprovoked slight on the generation that went to work at the age of sixteen and paid for the aged pension for the older generation. They went to work in the mines the mills and factories and in the fields and the building sites for the good of us all. They built the roads the bridges the dams and ran the mines for the future generations to enjoy. Yes, there were factories in those days.

Dr Brendan Nelson said the WWII generation now leaving us was the greatest generation this nation has produced. It’s funny how it ended with them.

And no there was no free university for this, the post war generation. That came for the Hockey and Abbott and Turnbull generation. The current retired generation not only paid for the aged pension of the generations before them but they paid for their own education if they went to university, and they also paid for the education of a younger generation for longer than was ever experienced before and longer than anyone thought possible and then along the way they were expected to provide for their own retirement as well. Also, throughout their working lives they paid for retired politicians entitlement i.e. pensions and benefits plus their generous super scheme. No other generation was expected to do that.

The next generation will have the benefit of superannuation for their entire working lives although the first thing this government did was to reduce that too by freezing the super guarantee at 9.5 per cent until 2021, at which point it will start increasing incrementally in order to reach 12 per cent by July 2025.

The so-called ‘intergenerational theft’ has been visited on this generation of retirees and not on posterity as is the claim. This is the generation that did so much and invented so much and are leaving so much. If it’s possible to steal from one generation (which it isn’t) then the future generation would be the ones stealing from the current generation of retirees. All the luxuries that they enjoy were made possible by the sweat of this generation of retirees. All the expensive houses that they can’t afford now will be theirs one day too.

No generation has ever managed to take their wealth with them.

They laid the foundations of this great nation under the toughest of circumstances. They overcame the shame of the past and won admiration by their commitment and ability to rise above adversity. That resilience and hardworking spirit is evident in their stoic approach to all challenges even the disparagement by the current government.

The pensioners of today borrowed money at between 10 and 20% all their working lives. They paid off their houses, their cars, their business loans, their personal loans at this high rate. On the up side, they witnessed their parents getting as much as 18% return on bank deposits during their retirement. It seemed easy enough to prepare for retirement. Just work hard, live frugally, save for the future and everything will be fine in the end. That’s what they believed because that’s what they were led to believe.

Now that they depend on their savings, for what they thought would be a comfortable retirement, they are getting 2% return on their hard earned ‘nest egg’. So basically for the last seven years the Australian stock market has never really looked like heading towards the high of 2007.

According to the Grattan Institute, if the Government quarantined negative gearing losses, initially it would save around $4 billion per year, and $2 billion each year after that. This would also have effect of making housing more affordable for the next generation, by putting downward pressure on property prices.

There's a whole suite of loopholes the Treasurer has chosen to keep open, that's costing the Budget bottom-line about $1 billion a year. For example, The Treasurer recently abandoned an important anti-avoidance measure (by allowing deductions under section 25(90) of the Income Tax Assessment Act) in his Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which was projected to recover $600 million alone.

Otherwise it’s all just a waste of time. We will slip even further down this list.

Back to Index