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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 546

Pensions and Benefits

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (15:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. Is it still his government's policy to make Australians work until they are 70 to get the age pension? And can the Prime Minister confirm that he is giving Australia the oldest age pension in the developed world?

Mr PORTER (PearceMinister for Social Services) (15:03): We have been asked about the age pension age, and so let me start with a very apt description that was given by the member for Jagajaga. She said:

Increasing the age pension age is a responsible reform to meet the challenge of an ageing population and the economic impact it will have for all Australians.

…   …   …

Australia must move towards a higher pension age over the next decade.

Source: Wayne Swan and Jenny Macklin media release, budget 2009.

But an even better description—a more academic, a cleverer and more well-rounded description—comes from the member for Fenner. He says:

A better approach would be to index upper age limits in all laws, …

…   …   …

How might age indexation operate in practice? One approach would be to mandate that all elderly age limits should increase by 3 months every year (approximately the rate at which life expectancy is presently rising).

Source: 'You're only as old as they feel', op-ed by Andrew Leigh in The Australian Financial Review.

I do feel a little bit sorry for the member for Fenner! He was put into the shadow ministry in a factional deal where he got in but he did not get any weight!

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order?

Government members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my right! The Minister for Immigration and the Treasurer! The Leader of the House!

Mr Burke: The question, once again, is one without a preamble and is one which goes directly to the question of the age pension age going up to 70. At no point in the answer so far has the minister referred to that.

Government members interjecting

Mr Frydenberg: Give the economist a fair weight!

The SPEAKER: On my right. Both the Treasurer and the Minister for the Environment and Energy do not need to interject when I am trying to address the House. I have made that very clear. The minister was completely in order in his preamble. But as he well knows, the preamble cannot last for the entire three minutes.

Mr PORTER: As I was saying, with respect to the issue raised again by the member for Fenner, I do feel sorry for the member for Fenner. In a factional deal that suited his leader he got more work and less pay! He is going to join the Clean Event support group! (Time expired)

Mr Dutton: Use your union credit card! Give them your AWU credit card!

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Immigration is warned! The member for Sydney.