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Australian Law and Politics

The aged pension is not welfare


The aged pension is an entitlement and Centrelink should not be treating it as welfare. All Australians should be entitled to it as a reward for a lifetime of contribution to Australia.

While it is true that some contribute more than others, we live in one of the most democratic countries in the world, and all Australians should be treated equally, regardless of social status.

Under the current laws, if an aged pensioner does any work, their pension is slashed drastically, or cancelled all together. This is not much of a reward for a lifetime of paying taxes and helping to build Australia to become a better country.

Similarly, if an aged pensioner has accumulated what Centrelink deem to be too much wealth, their pension is decreased or cancelled.

Centrelink consider too much wealth to be $419,000 for a couple that own their own house, and $643,500 for a couple that don’t own their own house – hardly a fortune in a world where a house can cost over a million dollars.

It gets better. If your partner is not at retirement age, they are expected to support you on a single income until they, too, reach retirement age.

In a world where financial independence is expected by society and the government, the government are creating situations where the elderly don’t have financial independence.

It wasn’t always like this.

The aged pension was introduced in 1909 as an entitlement for anybody that had reached the age of 65, with Australia being one of the first countries in the world to do this. The pension was also introduced for the invalid, who were unable to work.

In 1943, the Curtin government set up the National Welfare Fund, to ensure that there would always be money to pay the aged and invalid pension, as well as a support mechanism for the unemployed. It allowed that 7.5% of taxes collected would be paid into this fund. It was type of insurance policy for the old and infirm.

Over the years, the fund accumulated far more than what was needed to pay for pensions and welfare, so the Hawke government transferred the entire amount into general revenue in 1985. Not just the surplus, but the entire amount.

This meant that all the money saved for pensions and welfare was now gone. To make up for the loss, the Hawke government introduced compulsory superannuation, putting the onus on employers to make up for the shortfall the government had taken.

However, there was still an expectation that the pension would be available for retirees who did not have enough superannuation, which as it eventuated, is the majority of people.

The Morrison government put an end to that by declaring that the aged pension had always been welfare, effectively rewriting the history of the pension, and redefining the original purpose of the National Welfare Fund.

The solution is not simple. Successive governments since Hawke have failed to plan for the future of retirees, while ensuring that the government and their parliamentary colleagues were well looked after.

All federal MPs elected up until 2004 were guaranteed a full pension for life, regardless of whether they moved into high paying jobs after parliament. Their pension is not means tested the same as the aged pension currently is. Many are still collecting this while working in jobs that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Most MPs elected after 2004 are eligible for a similar scheme – it just has a different name.

The solution would appear to be to transfer the money taken by Hawke in 1985, adjusted for inflation and cost of living expenses, from general revenue back into a National Welfare Fund, and recommence putting a portion of taxes collected into the fund.

As stated earlier, it is not quite that simple, as the last nine years of LNP government have put Australia into almost a trillion dollars of debt. Finding the money in general revenue could be tricky.

There are a couple of possible solutions, the first being to cancel the stage 3 tax cuts. The most obvious is to start taxing large corporations and the super rich, who pay virtually no tax.

Aged pensioners deserve a better deal than what they are copping at the moment. The pension should be a reward for a life time of service, not a battle against the government and Centrelink.

Anthony Albanese needs to start earning his half million dollar salary, and find a way to look after our pensioners, making sure they get the pension to which they are entitled. I think all Australians would agree, as we are all planning on a comfortable retirement.

Note: I would be interested to hear from other people about their experiences with Centrelink. You can send me an email – contact@craighill.net

While I cannot promise that I can help in all situations, I can certainly give you the contact details of those that can, and I will do as much as I can.

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The costs of campaigning for changes to government legislation are considerable. If you appreciate this work, please consider donating so we can continue operating in this area.

The money raised will be spent on campaigning to state and federal MP s, as well as newspapers and other media across Australia, to improve social justice for all.

Please bear in mind that while I am a business consultant, I only work part time due to also being a disabled pensioner. I intend to take these matters to court, but that takes time and money.

Any money raised through donations will be kept in a separate bank account to cover these costs.

I would also welcome any help from legal professionals, or professionally qualified volunteers who are willing to assist.

The costs of campaigning for changes to government legislation are considerable. If you appreciate this work, please consider donating so we can continue operating in this area.

The money raised will be spent on campaigning to state and federal MP s, as well as newspapers and other media across Australia, to improve social justice for all.

Please bear in mind that while I am a business consultant, I only work part time due to also being a disabled pensioner. I intend to take these matters to court, but that takes time and money.

Any money raised through donations will be kept in a separate bank account to cover these costs.

I would also welcome any help from legal professionals, or professionally qualified volunteers who are willing to assist.

The costs of campaigning for changes to government legislation are considerable. If you appreciate this work, please consider donating so we can continue operating in this area.

The money raised will be spent on campaigning to state and federal MP s, as well as newspapers and other media across Australia, to improve social justice for all.

Please bear in mind that while I am a business consultant, I only work part time due to also being a disabled pensioner. I intend to take these matters to court, but that takes time and money.

Any money raised through donations will be kept in a separate bank account to cover these costs.

I would also welcome any help from legal professionals, or professionally qualified volunteers who are willing to assist.

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About Craig Hill

Social Justice Campaigner. Business and Education Consultant. Former Business/ESL Teacher. Lived in China and USA. Dealing with disability. My articles have been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and many other international publications.

Discussion

59 thoughts on “The aged pension is not welfare

  1. We are retired and my husband is disabled.
    Approximately 4 months ago we approached Centerlink to see if we could take out a type of reverse mortgage on our home to do some mostly maintenance on our home as because we are in our seventies we are not able to access any bank for loans etc. This makes maintaining our home very difficult !
    My husband is unable to do very much so we are now waiting for Centerlink to decide if this will be allowed?
    It just seems to take so long!!
    Fortunately our daughter lives with us and she helps when she can but there are jobs that she is not able to do like nailing etc.
    I was very interested in what you have written about how the pension is not so much welfare but what we are actually entitled to receive. Please take my thanks for sticking up for the pensioners who in most cases are powerless to do anything about the situation.

    Posted by Sandra Gulleford | January 4, 2023, 10:42
    • The banks have all pensioners under the thumb! Banks wont even consider a pensioner receiving a lower interest credit card. Don’t bother. They just want your money.
      They do not consider Centrelink Aged Pension as income.

      Posted by Janet Heap | January 4, 2023, 18:46
    • I totally agree. I would go back to work if my pension would not be affected. The Gov is complaining about not getting position filled, but will not give the age pensioners a fair go so we can live a little above the poverty line.
      Employers are screaming for the seniors to return to work but the idiot government is killing g both parties, the pensioner and employer. If you notice the Gov only insults pensioners by offering a very small amount of earnings that you would not get out of bed for and I can assure you that any politician if in out boat would not get out of bed, but they do not give a dam as their pension is bloody high.

      Posted by Michael Ellis | January 6, 2023, 13:09
  2. The battle with Centrelinm is real and promoted by them. When cha ges in circumstances, in their opinion, occur the pension entitlement is cut pronto and even ceased. Despite the fact that a aged pension holder may still e entitled to a senior medical card, the pe sion is ceased a d no trabsition to the SMC – the pensioner has to ‘know’ the pension has ceasec and they need to apply for a SMC.
    There is a definite time gap between these respective entitlements becoming applicable. When the pensioner is on cancer medication, expensive items, he or she will often find out at the pharmacy checm out when the attendant explains that the pension discount doesn’t apply because the pension has been withdrawn. Now vegins the application procees for the SMC and the delay of r – 5 weeks, at least. The trauma alone is dramatic – a compassionate system would seamlessly issue the SMC in lieu of the aged pension and ensure continuity of benefits – so simple but … not possible – squeeze the pensiober – let them know who controls their destiny – prolong the battle, create frustration, most people give up in sheerdesparation – Centrelink wins, again!

    Posted by Kev Bickhoff | January 4, 2023, 12:01
  3. Thank you for your wonderful article and work especially under your own circumstances.
    Centreline and the Government are keeping families and loved ones apart regarding the DSP.
    they are controlling when an Australian on DSP can participate in the following:-
    Family wedding
    Funeral
    Christmas
    Thanksgiving
    Easter
    Family illness
    By blocking Australians to only travel 4 weeks in a year and they choose the month and 4 weeks permitted to travel.
    It’s archaic and cruel.
    If you travel outside the time time they choose they cut your DSP OFF IMMEDIATELY. no.matter the circumstances.
    Thanks God I am no longer on that Pension. Advocating for others

    Posted by Trina Couzens | January 4, 2023, 13:26
  4. How true

    Posted by Kevin | January 4, 2023, 13:57
  5. The Age pension should be at least the basic wage ,there are still many pensioners still paying a mortgage with no help as a person paying rent get renters assistant I cannot see the difference ,the only thing is the person paying a mortgage is trying to have he’s own house with some future.

    Posted by Stephen | January 4, 2023, 15:03
  6. I believe the same thing on this pension should be what we payed in our life time in taxes and having it to help us through our time we have left to enjoy. Also should be the same all around in payments for all Australians.

    Posted by Darko | January 4, 2023, 15:15
  7. The pensioners in this country have been reduced financially to a nothing,10 years of coalition governments have left thousands down and out scratching around trying to restore some dignity,especially the last 3 years where the incumbent was led by a religious hypocritical fool

    Posted by Allan carey | January 4, 2023, 15:39
  8. Age pension is welfare, taxes are used on education, healthcare etc as well and few of us paid the amount paid out in tax deduction a fortnight.

    Posted by Rose | January 4, 2023, 16:10
  9. It is the way things going on now…which is not the way it should be….hope this article will impact on the authority, thanks

    Posted by Serg | January 4, 2023, 16:16
  10. Spot on

    Posted by Paul Kirrage | January 4, 2023, 16:35
  11. thank you
    l have been saying this for years our pension is not welfare
    l am sorry l am unble give you any money
    but l do want to say
    thank you for you words what you are going to fix .
    thank you
    mrs joy McMeekin

    Posted by Joy McMeekin | January 4, 2023, 17:16
  12. You have certainly got this right. Any person who retires on a pension in Australia is kept on the poverty line. The government doesn’t want pensioners to achieve a better standard of living. Aged pensioners are held back from making their lives better by laws that make it almost impossible to succeed without rejoining the work force, and there are laws that hinder that also.
    Let’s put some of the blame where it belongs, on the Hawk days when they stole the pensioners kits. They also introduced the provisional tax program, where a self employed person had to estimate their earnings in advance and pay taxes on that amount before the earnings came in.

    Posted by Tony Richardson | January 4, 2023, 21:10
  13. Not evry pensiona are rich ther is so many that are strugglinl and paying over $400 a week rent so it dasent give you much chainge so you dont injoy what is left of your life

    Posted by Mara worthington | January 4, 2023, 21:18
  14. Also, it sucks that my retirement age is 67 years of age as I was born in June 1961. I have been working and paying tax since I was 18 years old.
    It will get to the point where Australians will go from work to their grave – disgraceful and shame on those parasite politicians.

    Posted by C.Smith | January 4, 2023, 21:23
  15. Excellent the pensioners of today have made this country and should be entitled to a pension regardless of there wealth that they have accumulated throughout there working life
    We never got first home buyers grant, free child care, family payments, paid maternity leave and the list goes on and on
    The trouble with the system is you can go from cradle to grave on welfare and be entitled to every benifit that is avaliable, but if you work hard go without to get ahead you are not entitled to nothing as I am not even entitled to a seniors card

    Posted by Chris | January 4, 2023, 22:58
  16. In what year did DSS Department of Social Security become Centrelink??

    Posted by Steve D | January 5, 2023, 01:04
  17. This company that is in the advertising called Now fincance is not try to its advertising it doesn’t give pension loans if you don’t have a full time job you are not able gable you pension is not good enough it is fulse advertising

    Posted by Wayne | January 5, 2023, 02:43
  18. Your a champion Craig.
    pensioners don’t have much of a say or respect at Centrelink.
    Australia signed and help compile the UN Human rights/articles which comes under international law.
    (Now watered down with wording changes from the originals)
    If a country can afford a aged pension
    then the govt. is obliged to pay it.
    Centrelink dosen’t have any say in the matter apart from ‘means tests’ set in parliament
    So
    The respect of the pensioner should not be ‘dole que’ mentality.
    A separate section with comfotable chairs and timley help should prevail, some of us oldies have back pain circulation issues and water works,
    Get real up to the standard of the “Odd Fellows” who started before the Unions.
    Glenn Woodley

    Posted by Glenn Woodley | January 5, 2023, 02:44
  19. I feel cheated. After doing my tax return I got a tax statement which showed how the tax I paid was distributed. Around 20% of it goes to welfare. During the last 18 months, I was paying 47c in the dollar. Centrelink treat me like a dole cheat, but I have already paid for my pension and I do feel I am entitled to it, but it is not enough to live on and I have no super. I had to save the roof over my head by drawing out my super to buy out my ex-partner for the house. I had not accumulated much as I have had five children and was a stay at home mum for a while when living in New Zealand. The cost of childcare was not cost effective given the low wages. When I returned to Australia my partner left me as he had become mentally ill with paranoia, I studied part time when my younger children were school age so it took six years to get my degree. I then commenced my career at the age of 53. I am now 66 1/2 and feel I can’t retire but it is also increasingly difficult to get work as I get older because of ageism. The
    pension is 1/5 of my net pay and I still have some debt that I need to pay before retiring.
    On top of that. I got a robo-debt which I paid because although I couldn’t understand how I came to have a debt, within a couple of days of receiving the debt notice, it was placed with a debt collector. I had paid it out on a payment plan. I had to fight Centrelink to get their data to prove I had a debt, they handed it over with great reluctance and it didn’t prove anything. It did not match my bank statements. The next year I got issued another debt notice for the same period but the dates were slightly different but mostly the same period. I went to the AAT but that made it worse being issued with a further debt. I did not get a fair trial and they were not interested in my evidence; however, this was after the government threw out the whistleblowers from the AAT. They did not give enough time to cover the case and claimed that the income I reported did not match the income declared to the ATO. I was not registered for unemployment benefit for the whole financial year so was not obliged to report any income once I had secure work. This is why there was a difference between income reported to Centrelink and to the ATO.
    I joined the class action but did not get paid back the robo debt that I had paid twice over. Now they have charged me with another $650.
    Women in particular, are treated badly and we are more vulnerable because of the time taken out of the workforce to raise children and do the unpaid work. In my efforts to improve my situation by going to university as a single parent, I was not able to accumulate any super. The social disadvantage is horrendous. I don’t know how I can survive in old age. I might have to die.

    Posted by Linley Jose | January 5, 2023, 02:47
  20. All my life l paid taxes with my wife working long hours as PMG linesman and my wife a nurse ,we moved around a lot paying taxes stamp duty on top of normal taxes .In later years we worked for our selves work 7 days a week all hours for 20 years .In my life time I have moved 48 times three quarters of this stamp duty plus tax.My wife developed cancer l looked after her for 4 years before she died and l have had a heart attack and a mild stroke, l continued on . No one under stands that the pension does go that far as they are on extremely high salaries and they expect us to keep with the bills like we are on salaries . Some times l think is the struggle worth it no one care less about pensioners
    Regards Don Foster ( thanks for your efforts).

    Posted by Don Foster | January 5, 2023, 05:52
  21. Isn’t there a fund resembling the old fund
    It’s called the Future Fund

    Posted by Ray Malyon | January 5, 2023, 06:28
  22. I could not agree more. I have always believed that once you reach retirement age you have worked a long time and paid your taxes along the way that the pension should be there for you regardless..The retirement age should not be going up it should stay the same as it was in my Mum and Dad time 60 for women and 65 for men..retirees are able to contribute to the economy in their own way.. by spending

    Posted by Susan | January 5, 2023, 06:29
  23. It was Menzies who shifted funds into general revinue in 1961,and it was Ben Chifley who set up the pension fund

    Posted by Calvin heath | January 5, 2023, 06:41
  24. This is so true of my husband and my situation. We have had to work until 66.5 years. We have always worked except for the years of forced life threatening ill health and consequent cancer treatment and recovery. It has been a nightmare dealing with Centrelink. We followed the correct process and put our applications in 13 weeks prior to our eligibility dates. (My husband was due six weeks before me). With the overlap of times and the fact I was working extra shifts to make up the shortfall of my husband finishing work, Centrelink cancelled my husbands application. My husband suffers from anxiety due to his long term illnesses. We were living a nightmare. I am eligible for my aged pension on 7/1/23. After contacting our local member to advise of our situation and the difficulties dealing with Centrelink we were told that Centreline would contact us within a week. At the last hour they did. We both have now been recognised as eligible. To date my husband has received $50.67 for his eligibility as at 19/11/22. I work as an Assistant in Nursing so my wage is extraordinarily average. Add Christmas into this mix and our savings are looking very grim. Due to our life threatening illness and lost wages whilst having treatment our superannuation was used to pay off our mortgage and car. I intend to continue working shifts to supplement the pension. However we will be taxed so high – is it worth my energy! All I ask is – let me work as I offer an essential service! Please don’t penalise me more!!

    Posted by Leonie Moore | January 5, 2023, 06:55
  25. Politicians make many mistakes while determining what’s best for Australians Economically with which at times leaves them struggling financially , sadly and at their end of employment they go into retirement and payed handsomely for the rest of their lives. As one who struggled through School and apprenticeship to obtain a skill and life in general Now retired after 60 years in the workplace I struggle from week to on the Pension .Luckily what Super funds I had has allowed l to Pay for my own Home with which I now own! In Short Politicians don’t have to obtain a trade certificate to qualify them on how to run economy ? So why do they dictate on the way we should live our Daily lives when their qualified to do so.n

    Posted by Bob Whitelaw | January 5, 2023, 07:03
  26. I completely disagree. The Australian Age pension is part of a social contract that if you are unable to look after yourself, you will get an allowance to help. There is nothing to suggest that age pension is “earned”. Yes there is a debate about its adequacy, but to turn it into some sort of universal superannuation would serve no purpose other than to increase costs to benefit those who don’t need it

    Posted by Anthony | January 5, 2023, 07:06
  27. Craig your professional opinion/input as a business consultant relating to the Aged Pension is spot on. I agree with everything you have stated.
    Centrelink legislation is definitely in need of reform asap.
    Thank you for striving to take the matter to court which I hope results in a successful outcome.

    Posted by Rae Sawyer | January 5, 2023, 07:38
  28. Hi there,
    in a 3 years time I will be 67 . I’m on DSP will I loose sum óf my payment when I become an age pensioner.? Also my partner will be an age pensioner a year early will she be affected as well ?

    Posted by Paul Candis | January 5, 2023, 08:11
  29. Hi Craig,
    Great article and very true.
    Personally I would like to see the message get out there urging every voter to lodge an incomplete/invalid voting form which would make the election invalid.
    I think this should continue until the politicians agree to scrap all after political entitlements. Eg, pension, free airfare, office, staff and any government appointed job such as Governor/Ambassador etc.
    I believe this would be the most effective way of the people getting better entitlements.
    Thanks
    Gary

    Posted by Gary Dowell | January 5, 2023, 08:17
  30. Thanks for pointing out these issues about Centrelink entitlements which I have been trying to understand. I’ve retired 12 years ago after 37 years of full time work, juggling family responsibilities and housework. My husband retired early at 56 years old after becoming redundant and after two years I retired too. We waited at 65 years and applied for old age pension. Would you believe, our centrelink pension was $7/f, barely enough for 2 cups of coffee. We were both receiving Defined Benefit super where 90% is calculated as income. We owned our home, no major assets except home contents and cars. Then my mother in law passed and my husband got share from her estate which he immediately reported. Deeming rates come into effect so we lost our old age pension. Then we decided buy an old house, we’ve used the inherited money. Again, we qualified for the pension of $65/f. Now at age 73, my husband passed 6 months ago, I have to report to centrelink that I will be receiving my husband’s super. This again will cut me out of my pension entitlements.

    My point is every changes in our life cycle affects our entitlements. And if you missed it, you are punished. Why can’t we just have one system that fits all. In UK and other countrues, once you reached pension age, you can collect it whatever assets or income you have.

    Posted by Tessie Mooring | January 5, 2023, 08:37
  31. Think about the poor buggers who came to Australia after a long life working in the UK. The pension from the UK is fixed from the time you start claiming it ,so after 20 years it is almost worthless

    Posted by Peter | January 5, 2023, 09:53
  32. After working for eight years past retirement age was made redundant and they even taxed the redundancy payout after paying those extra years of paying tax.

    Posted by R.Hardway | January 5, 2023, 10:40
  33. “a reward for a lifetime of paying taxes and helping to build Australia to become a better country.” versus “an entitlement for anybody that had reached the age of 65”. Make up your mind. The latter is true: eligibility based on age, residency and income/assets, not on “paying taxes”

    “In 1943, the Curtin government set up the National Welfare Fund, to ensure that there would always be money to pay the aged and invalid pension”. No. The fund, which was a fiddle to justify income tax increases so as to restrain consumer expenditure during the war, as initially enacted in 1943 did not entail funding for the age pension.

    Posted by Anthony | January 5, 2023, 11:22
  34. I retired in June 2019, my wife had to stop work a couple of years earlier because of health issues. She could not access the pension during that time because I was earning too much money according to Centrelink. ( About $ 87,000 gross annually)
    It took over three months for them to approve our pension ! And many visits to their office’s. From then on I had to report income as I. Was still doing part time work for my old Company. When I reported my gross income they reduced not only my pension but also my wife’s and she has never worked since about 2017. But here is the real catch! They take how much I have earned during the financial year from part time work and add that to my pension amount and tax me on the lot! So my first tax return done in July 2019 I expected a return of about $4,500 as I used to pay about $100 extra per Fortnight to make sure everything was covered. I got back $1500! So I’m saying to myself what’s the point of working?? They reduce my pension, my wife’s pension and tax my pension!
    My thoughts are: why don’t they tax pensioners say a flat rate of 10 or 15 percent Upto a given amount of income ( something reasonable) they just keep that money end of story and if they reduce my pension I can live with that ( also to a reasonable degree)but don’t reduce my wife’s pension or tax mine at the end of the financial year. For us we spend money in the community when we can because we can’t take it with us to the grave. And the Government gets the GST to boot.
    Kind regards

    Posted by Danny Sturgeon | January 5, 2023, 11:30
  35. Hi
    My wife just retired and claimed the pension and because I still work she only gets $41.30 a fortnight for 45 years of working she only has about $28000 in super but she take that no doubt they will take that pension off her and what get me is they take my wage on before tax amount which I don’t see the government gets how is that fare.
    It’s very frustrating something needs to be done about it.
    Thanks Mark

    Posted by Mark Breen | January 5, 2023, 12:32
  36. “The Morrison government put an end to that by declaring that the aged pension had always been welfare, effectively rewriting the history of the pension, and redefining the original purpose of the National Welfare Fund” . If the purpose of the National Welfare Fund was, as the name clearly suggests, to fund “welfare”, and in your reckoning this was meant to include the aged pension, surely Morrison calling the aged pension “welfare” is entirely consistent with your reading of the historical record and the Fund’s original purpose?

    Posted by Anthony | January 5, 2023, 12:43
  37. Something definitely needs to be done about centrelink I fell off a roof in 2013 fractured 5 ribs punctured a lung multiple fractures to my hip angle pelvis straight out of hospital centrelink tell me I can still work 15 hours per week I had to laugh at them applied for disability support pension twice and rejected both times due to lack of evidence now going for total permanent disability claim on super absolutely wrecked my relationship with family I’ve been homeless because of centrelink

    Posted by Wayne sheldrick | January 5, 2023, 13:20
  38. Hi I’m 64yrs old on a DSP
    Pension.
    I work 2 days a week as a pharmacist courier from 20 to 25 hrs per fortnight.
    I earn roughly $440 to $580 a fortnight.
    Centrelink deducts $160 to $198 a fortnight from my Pension.
    The services of Victoria says I am intended to receive $300 working credits per fortnight but I don’t.
    Also on the 1st of December 2022 Age & Dsp Pensioner’s working credits have gone up to $11800 per year.
    I’m not getting any of these discounts and can’t get an answer from Centrelink staff as to why ?
    They tell me I’m only intended to earn $190 a fortnight and every dollar ubove that they take 50cents .
    Very frustrating and I thought we need workers.
    Thank you in advance if you can help

    Posted by Debra McDonagh | January 5, 2023, 13:24
  39. The disaster that is the superannuation scheme has been ransacked and constantly raid as advised to do by the lnp, they also taxed any withdrawl. It has never lived up to its job. Anyone other than the pollies who have a huge lumpsum, would be a rarity. My dealings with centrelink have not been positive in any way

    Posted by Ann | January 5, 2023, 13:35
  40. D entire welfare should be scrapped altogether, U only have 2 look at d lazy people abusing d system, like at Frankston boat ramp for example, lazy guys living in their cars at D boat ramp, n refusing to do any work, all Centrelink should be abolished .FULL STOP

    Posted by Wayne | January 5, 2023, 14:50
    • and then you can have hundreds more homeless at the boat ramp for you to complain about, along with 6.5 million other Australian across the country, then all those home owners lose tenants as they can no longer pay rents, and small business lose money and lay off more staff to join the homeless , please tell me where the gov’t will then get 550 billion in revenue that social security recipients contribute to the economy, after all we spend 200 billion for a return of 750 billion in economic return, who is going to make up the lost revenue?? wages for most workers don’t even pay rents and many rely on social security top up, great for companies to not pay liveable wages to workers, so what will you do with all the people living on your streets in tents, kids being forced to get ready for school in public toilets, etc, working parents that can’t earn the magic $125,000 a year to be clear of the social security system, and the housing crisis and rising costs for everyone, what sort of Australia do you want, ?? 25 % of the population turfed out on the street unable to buy food, pay bills, this is not the 1920s , I guess you think only wealthy people should have a life and basic food, the rest can go starve, die, or just disappear ? not very smart are you, when you have gotten rid of all the poor, who will be doing all the shitty poorly paid jobs, the rich kids wont do them, yet you expect poorer people to be cut off payments that barely afford them rent and food,

      Posted by Kathryn Wilkes | January 5, 2023, 21:12
  41. So over time the government move the goal posts around. My opinion, they are thieves. We also know that they are 2 faced nothing new there. I think it’s simple. You server as a government minister, you leave or lose your seat. Get a great job on big dollars, good for you. When you retire just like everyone else you can be means tested and you get the same pension as the rest of us. You are not entitled to more…. you did a job you wanted to do; your no more special than anyone else who has worked their entire lives. You qualify for a pension under the same rules the rest of us live by.

    Posted by Mal | January 5, 2023, 16:02
    • How can you say that the Age pension isn’t welfare without defining what welfare is? Here is a definition :- Money, or other support, given by the government, or other bodies, to help people who can’t fully support themselves. The Age Pension fits this definition exactly. The Age pension is paid by a welfare organisation and is income and asset tested, the intention being that only those in need receive it. It is a targeted, not a universal, payment. It is the dole for old people. Whether it shouldn’t be welfare is a different question. The article is so full of holes.

      Posted by Glen Mason | January 5, 2023, 22:05
      • Centrelink’s Charter specifically states it is NOT a welfare organisation.

        Posted by Craig Hill | January 6, 2023, 20:35
  42. I am 74 on the age pension my wife works and I have to report her earnings . Why is it in 3rd world country’s this doesn’t happen . They them self can work there wife can work and they still get the full pension . The age pension we have worked for it’s not a gift .! Now my pride is gone because the little pension I get .. the wife is keeping me

    Posted by Leonard James Osborn | January 5, 2023, 17:02
  43. This comment was on a FB copy of this article: “This account is inaccurate. It was Menzies and not Hawke who transferred the funds from a separate levy into general revenue.
    During WWII the PM, Ben Chifley established the National Welfare Fund financed by a levy of one and sixpence in the pound on all personal income. This National Welfare Fund would fund welfare measures like age pensions, unemployment relief, child endowments, even health care. The fund is often seen as the launch of Australia’s welfare state. The then opposition leader, Bob Menzies, stated that the levy should be paid into a trust account and not mixed with General Revenue. The Compulsory Contributions levy commenced on 1/1/1946 and was shown separately on personal Tax Assessments between 1946 and 1950. The balance in 1950 was almost 100 million pounds.
    Menzies became PM in 1949 and introduced Bills to amend the Acts governing the National Welfare Funds. Shortly afterwards the Compulsory Contributions Levy of 7.5% was paid into General Revenue. That levy remains in place today.
    To quote Bob Menzies whilst in opposition, “The stigma of charity should be removed from the Age Pension” and that “It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund.”

    Posted by Del | January 5, 2023, 17:45
  44. If someone has been on welfare all their life, or most of it, I would consider the aged pension as welfare because they haven’t contributed any taxes toward paying for the pension

    Posted by Dave | January 5, 2023, 20:36
  45. The way it is structured I get hit with a “double whammy.” John Howard shafted me when he scrapped the department I worked for (CES). Later i was successful in getting into the ATO. I contributed as much as possible to my defined benefit scheme in the full knowledge I would be dependent on Centrelink because I would not get enough.

    As it is, I get a pension from the CSS which Centrelink defines as household income so my wife and I get equal amounts of the pension. Whenever my CSS is increased our Centrelink pension is reduced by 50c in the dollar.

    Worse than that, my defined pension scheme is, for the most part taxable and my assessable income is determined as being my CSS pension plus my Centrelink pension.

    My wife’s income for tax purposes is only the Centrelink pension which falls below the threshold. So I get taxed disproportionately high. It would be far better if the pension was paid in accordance with our respective means so that my wife got most of the Centrelink pension as it should be and reduce my assessable income accordingly.

    Posted by John Colborne | January 5, 2023, 20:36
  46. No wonder that pensioner attacked Morrison on the campaign trail last year. Good on him

    Posted by Georgina Speirs | January 5, 2023, 21:51
  47. Centerlink ! What a vile government burocracy, my dealings with this government department has left nothing but a bad taste in my mouth, my wife got breast cancer and had to give up work because of it and I had to restructure my life to look after her and our autistic daughter, so I went into Centerlink and tried to apply for a carers pension, I had absolutely no cash whatsoever, they would not give me anything unless I sold off my assets until I got down to $66,000 in assets value, my wife died 8 weeks later and I had to borrow money from family to live, I could not even get a seniors card for the same reason, most of my superannuation was decimated by my wife’s ongoing cancer treatment, which regardless of how good your medical fund is cripples you financially, she died 6 years ago and once again I find myself in the same situation, I got injured at work and work cover and the company, which is a well-known multinational company paying little tax in Australia have created a financial nightmare for me again, I have not had any money at all for the past 11months and once again I cannot get the pension or financial support from the government until I sell my assets to bring my assets down to $66,000 ,once again I have had to borrow from my family to survive and to support my autistic child ,I have had to put my house on the market but it is not selling because of the state of the economy, my age is 69 and have paid high taxes for most of my life and it is everybody’s right to be entitled to the pension in this country for their contribution to this country and sacrifice that the workforce have made to make this country great, when governments through their arrogant denials of the contributions of their senior citizens ignore what is blatantly a social responsibility then all signs point to a 3rd world dictatorship mentally that can have social repercussions for the population!!!!!

    Posted by Dennis Finch | January 5, 2023, 22:19
  48. As you mentioned, the solution is not easy and there is no spare money available to the government considering high debt level. Simple solution could be to increase all current threshold used by Centrelink. Just for example current threshold of $419k wealth for couple to be increased $750k and further increased every year by a reasonable amount.

    Posted by Nilesh prasad | January 5, 2023, 23:07
  49. Western Australian government recently made 5.3 billion dollars in royalties. Are they sharing with those who are struggling?
    If I saw a politician drowning in a puddle I would not take my foot off its head to save it.

    Posted by Paul Bubb | January 6, 2023, 00:34
  50. Thanks Craig,
    Very well written and historically informative. I wonder if a petition under “change.org” might also be of some value in putting pressure on our Government and politicians.

    Posted by Kevin | January 6, 2023, 11:23

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