Before the election the Liberal Party promised it would not attack age pensions in any shape or form. There would be no surprises and no lame excuses, it said.
The Liberal Government must now stop undermining support for the age pension, and rule out any attacks on the pension in the forthcoming Budget. Age pensioners are not living the high life. I have come across age pensioners freezing in winter because they cannot afford the cost of heating.
Nor should they have the value of their own homes included in the assets test. Many pensioners in my electorate built homes in working class suburbs like Brunswick, Coburg and Pascoe Vale in the 1950s and 60s. These properties are much more fashionable as a result of population-growth rises in property values, but these pensioners are not “better off” – they are merely living in the house they’re always lived in, and all they ask is to be allowed to keep living there – a perfectly reasonable desire.
The baby boomer generation has already fitted up age pensioners with the GST and utility prices rising much faster than the rate of inflation. By all means let us balance the books, but the Liberal Party could save many billions of dollars in the coming decade by
Not introducing its extravagant the Paid Parental Leave (saving $3 billion per annum).
Not increasing defence spending to the plucked out of the air figure of 2% of GDP within a decade (which would see the current $26.5 billion per annum rise to $50 billion!).
Not building the East-West Freeway through Melbourne’s Royal Park ($1.5 billion and rising).
Not getting rid of the price on carbon (this would save $4-5 billion per annum, according to Dr Ross Garnaut).
If they still need money, they should cut back on some of the family payments which were introduced by the Howard Government when the money was flowing in from the resources boom. If there is a genuine argument that we need to tighten our belts because money from the resources boom is no longer coming in, that is where the belt tightening should occur.