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Tax breaks because you are old and might vote for Howard.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Queensland

Senator John Cherry Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Employment & Employment Services

Dated: 09 September 2004 Press Release Number: 04/885 Portfolio: Employment & Employment Services

Related: Taxation, Finance & Corporate Affairs

Tax breaks because you are old and might vote for Howard The Prime Minister's announcement today of a tax break for mature aged workers is the most blatant election bribe of the campaign to date, according to the Australian Democrats.

"We pay less to young people, and now older workers get to pay less tax, " Leader Senator Andrew Bartlett. "There are better ways to assist mature aged workers including workplace flexibility."

"This is just a Government rewarding a sector more likely to vote for them. That's no way to make tax policy. Income tax should be on universal principles to achieve maximum effect for all those wanting to work AND needing a fair go. Raising the Tax Free threshold rather, would help ALL Australians.

Senator John Cherry, Democrats employment spokesperson said, "Youth Unemployment is much higher than unemployment amongst older workers. It is simply a bigger problem because without the experience of that first job, a young person will struggle to ever find a job."

While general unemployment fell in the last 12 months, youth unemployment increased. Despite strong economic growth, youth full-time unemployment rate for 2002-03 was 22.6%, 4 times higher than the all population unemployment rate of 5.7%.

One in 4 unemployed young people are long-term unemployed -unemployed for longer than a year.

"This is just another layer of discrimination against young people. Young people are already on youth wages, a policy the Democrats have fought against for years, but both the Government and Labor have blocked Democrat attempts to overturn this discriminatory practice.

"There are better ways to assist older workers including a more flexible approach to superannuation and pension rules to encourage people to phase in and out of the workforce at their choice.

"The Democrats would support the ability to access some superannuation while working part-time; the reduction of superannuation taxes for older workers without adequate retirement savings; and continued payment of superannuation guarantee levy for employees until they retire," Senator Cherry concluded.

Today's unemployment figures show part-time jobs are down yet they are the preference for many mature