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Mean and tricky: budget package for older Australians unravels.



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Wayne Swan - Mean And Tricky - Budget Package For Older Australians Unravels http://www.alp.org.au//media/0501/wsmsage230501.html Monday, 28 May 2001

Mean And Tricky - Budget Package For Older Australians Unravels Wayne Swan - Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

Media Statement - 23 May 2001

Day one after the Budget and already the Government is tying itself in knots over its compensation to older Australians.

After Question Time today, retirees who thought they were getting a windfall will know to check the fine print.

Today the Prime Minister and Treasurer said a retiree under age pension age is not a retiree.

As a consequence, those retirees under age pension age (almost one quarter of all retirees) will not receive any benefit from the retiree measures announced last night, but an ex-politician on $80,000 over age pension age will get a raft of concessions.

Today I asked the Prime Minister:

Can you confirm that under your Budget a retired married politician living on a parliamentary pension with a joint income of $80,000 per year will receive an ongoing tax reduction of $2,844 per year or $55 a week; a seniors health card; and a pensioners telephone allowance of $17.20 per quarter. But a full rate pensioner living on $10,500 per year will get a one-off payment of $300?

●

How can you say your Budget is fair? ●

His response showed he doesn't even understand his own measures.

The budget papers clearly show that older Australians with incomes of up to $80,000 for a couple are eligible for concessional pharmaceuticals under the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Telephone Allowance (BP #2, p 109-110).

The Treasurer's own tables in the media lock up last night claimed that these couples would have a reduction in tax of $2844.

The only person confused in all of this is the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister then tried to excuse the misleading tables distributed to the media last night by pointing to a footnote saying the claimed benefits included last year's tax cuts.

This Prime Minister just doesn't get it - you can't mislead in the headline and try to weasel out with a footnote - that is what got him into trouble with the $1000 bonus and clawback.

Older Australians are not stupid they do not appreciate being misled. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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