Remember Aussie pensioners

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mr friendly guy
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Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-21 07:43pm

Remember when Korto posted an article about Aussie AGED pensioners bitching about how they don't get enough money and saying essentially boo hoo because people on unemployment benefits don't get as much and he did fine when he was in that position. Needless to say it turned into a bit of a bitchfest for a few posts. Any way, here is the follow up

Linky
$30 pay increase for pensioners

* Kerry-Anne Wash Political Correspondent
* February 22, 2009

SINGLE aged pensioners are in for a pay boost of about $30 a week in the May budget as the Government prepares to accept the findings of a review that criticises the current payment as inadequate.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin told The Sun-Herald yesterday the Government was committed in the budget to addressing the adequacy of the pension.

"The Government gave a down payment to pensioners in December, when we paid the $1400 for singles and $2100 for couples, because we really do understand how difficult it is for pensioners.

"We're serious about fixing this."

The wide-ranging review conducted by Ms Macklin's departmental head, Jeff Harmer, will be delivered to the Government later this week.

It will not make firm recommendations, but it is expected to conclude that the single aged pension rate will only be adequate if it is raised to two-thirds of the married rate.

Singles now receive $545 a fortnight. Such a raise would mean an increase of $35 a week, although the likely figure is $30.

During negotiations over the $42 billion stimulus package, Greens leader Bob Brown extracted a promise from the Government to lift the single pension by $30 a week in return for help in passing the legislation.

Fulfilling its promise to pensioners will cost the Government about $6 billion a year and could force the deferral of other spending initiatives as the Government grapples with plunging revenues and the global financial crisis.

The extra burden to the budget bottom line led the Liberals' Community Services spokesman, Tony Abbott, into hot water last week when he queried whether a pension lift could be afforded.

Ms Macklin retorted yesterday that, "unlike the Liberals", the Government was committed to helping pensioners.

Council on the Ageing NSW President Kath Brewster said she hoped the Government would not react to the Harmer report with "reflex and short-term solutions".

The council will reject as inadequate any recommendation for just $30 a week extra for single aged pensioners, and will instead push for a lift of about $100 a week for singles. Anything less did not consider the multitude of research undertaken into the real cost of living in retirement, Ms Brewster said. "We should not allow the current financial crisis to deflect us from the reform agenda. The task is to design a viable system of adequate pension entitlements as a genuine pillar of Australia's retirement income system."

The Harmer review has also scrutinised the level of support payments for carers and those on disability pensions.

The review will set the benchmark for the Government's May budget deliberations on those payments as well as an integrated retirement income support system.
From last time, Turnbull was bitching about how the government was taking its time and should increase pensions ASAP. Rudd was holding the line and saying, wait for the review. Now its come out and Rudd is acting on it. What does the opposition do. Well if you are Tony Abbott now say, they shouldn't get it because of the economic crisis.

Well excuse me, but if pensioners were supposedly doing it tough before the economic crisis, one would expect them to be in even more trouble since the Reserve bank has lowered interest rates by massive amounts (since pensioners are more likely to have savings than debt compared to say the average Australian).

It strikes me as the opposition can't make up its mind on things, and are opposing for the sake of opposing. It is not just on this issue, but it again illustrates the point.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-21 08:09pm

They probably haven't taken into account CPI in that pay rise which will likely account for the rest.

Gee, wouldn't be nice if Centrelink employees (or indeed many people with ACTUAL JOBS) got a guaranteed CPI payrise twice a year?

And for the love of god, enough with the poor pensioners talk. If the gov't it serious then they need to destroy Australian welfare and start from scratch. Get rid of middle/upper class welfare and make it focus on SUPPORTING THOSE IN NEED. That's right. IN NEED. Not those who want to bludge or can't be fucked or just want some extra money. Put all the billions that you'd save in not paying welfare to those who don't NEED it into actually getting people work, fixing the social problems and addressing issues like multi-generational-welfare-dependency and we can maybe avoid bankrupting this country completely when the boomers retire, because as it is - Centrelink has 6.5 million customers currently. The Tax Office - it has ~9.5 million tax payers.

Consider that the tax from my salary (INCLUDING MY HECS) per fortnight is insufficient to pay even one Pension-type payment each fortnight and you are beginning to see why welfare in Australia is fucking broken.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-21 08:52pm

I am interested in your suggestions at how to implement this, given your background as a centre link worker.

Perhaps some food stamps + minimal cash instead of just all of it in cash might be a better option at limiting the gambling and boozing.

The other option I think we need is to get rid of the baby bonus. Do we really need to encourage bogans to breed any more?

The other thing I would want done (although its not necessarily the Federal government's role) is to educate people on managing money, so General Y doesn't become too much in debt.

Australia like other countries have their own financial "gurus", eg Paul Clitheroe, Noel Whittaker, Scott Pape etc its pretty obvious that they all stress savings plus investment. At least stress in primary school the need to save. IIRC in my high school there was a course titled "money matters", but it didn't seem to make the same emotional impact as just reading one of these books and having them describe the people they have met over the years in debt.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by Lusankya » 2009-02-21 10:31pm

Out of curiosity, is this a real case of the Liberals just reflexively opposing a government initiative, or is it just a case of Tony Abbott being a dick? Because I can see it going both ways.
Perhaps some food stamps + minimal cash instead of just all of it in cash might be a better option at limiting the gambling and boozing.
I'd be in support of this. Plenty of poor people don't know how to handle money, because they've never had any to handle properly. (As an example, a quick look at the Adelaide census data shows that people in wealthier suburbs seem to have less household debt as a proportion of their income than people from less wealthy suburbs.) The people who are responsible with money would be spending it on food anyway, and hopefully it will make the irresponsible people spend their money on necessities. As long as there was enough money there for people who wanted further training to afford further training, I really don't see much of a problem.
The other thing I would want done (although its not necessarily the Federal government's role) is to educate people on managing money, so General Y doesn't become too much in debt.
This should happen too. It's a bit like sex-ed, really.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-22 12:59am

mr friendly guy wrote:I am interested in your suggestions at how to implement this, given your background as a centre link worker.
Fuck as a Centrelink worker, I've been on the other side of the counter. It's too easy to be on welfare. As a student paying my way through uni I was on Youth Allowance, that after taking out a gov't loan to top it up still only paid me $185pf.

$185pf for me to pay rent, bills, live and study. And of course work that I did counted against this income. That's not much encouragement for me to stay at uni when I know that if I was to be unemployed I'd get a far better living standard.

Meanwhile once I left uni and was doing nothing but sitting on my arse, that jumped to more than $400. And all you have to do to get that each fortnight was lodge a form. Then, after a few months of not finding work, rather than ramping up the support to help you find work and the pressure to get you off welfare, instead they put you on 12 weekly reporting or some other shit, where your situation isn't reviewed for 3 months at a time.

Why? Because then you aren't clutting a queue in an office to lodge a form which rarely even gets assessed properly. I was frequently told just to go to the phone book and put an extra few employer contacts on the form, because they can't accept it with less than X contacts on there. Nevermind that they are telling me how to rort the system - because who's going to chase up this crap? There's so many people on welfare and only so many staff - it would be counterproductive for everyone to stay on Newstart/The Dole.

Which is why there's active encouragement from some sectors to move people onto payments that don't reflect as badly - Disability Pensions, Carer Pensions, Parenting Payments. These are "hidden" welfare stats as they of course show that there are *LESS* people on Newstart, so obviously these people are finding employment... But they're not, they're going onto a payment which will pay more, has more generous income and asset testing and generally has a lot less in terms of "requirements" to stay on it. As long as people keep having kids, or can find a friendly doctor or even just complain long and hard enough they get the money.

It has to be a complete reform - top to bottom. Demolish the old legislation and start again. We're working off systems devised for the early 20th Century where people were meant to go on welfare for the few months or years before they died - when they simply couldn't work any longer. But the promise of free money has slowly spread through vote-grabbing political headlines, budget bonuses, stimulus packages and pressure from lobby groups who get naked pensioners at train stations to encompass nearly everyone in the country at some point.

People forget that welfare was never intended to provide a liveable wage or support a lifestyle. It was meant to keep people off the street and not starving until they could find their feet again. That's what we've forgotten. We need to have a welfare system that keeps support there for as long as people need it. But as soon as people merely want it - that's when it has to be cut off.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-22 01:38am

*Ghetto edit - because I'm not done yet*

The Job Network was a goddamn sham - while unemployed (had several stints at being that) I was usually only contacted when I had to attend a mandatory course (usually on how to write a resume) or when I'd notified Centrelink that I'd found a job and suddenly the Job Network member wanted me to come in and say that they'd gotten me the job so they could claim another funding stat for their books. I attended lots of courses with them and occasionally even got some real support (one of them paid for me to get a suit and shoes so I could go to interview looking presentable) - but the majority of it was crappy make-work that they only did because they legally had to. If people didn't show up, misbehaved, turned down jobs - whatever, there were no consequences, because all it takes is one hint of an excuse and all is forgiven. Why? Because it's TOO HARD to fix the problem.

I was volunteering at Edge Radio during this time (which I'd later become the President of - this is an important thing to note) and in one course that I had to attend we went around the room and each had to say what our dream jobs would be. There were a great variety of people there - male and female, good spread of ages and backgrounds. A few I recognised from uni, a few were recently redundant heavy-industrial workers a few were school drop-outs and a there was also a smattering of others. The older workers who had been laid-off said that their goal was to stay on welfare until they reached pension age or find a way to get onto disability - of course, this was just ignored and they said nothing and did nothing for the rest of this course. Anyhow - back on track - one of the school drop-outs says that they'd love to be in the music industry. I came out straightaway and said - if you really want to get involved, I can give you a phone number and tomorrow you can be starting to learn how to run a studio, mixing desk and start making contacts - it might be a volunteer job, but if you did it, it would count towards your "job search" requirements. And he of course, flatly refused. Because he just wanted something for nothing. During my time at that station I saw people go on to be picked up by world-wide broadcasters, poached by national outlets - I watched as Triple J (the MAJOR nationwide youth station) went apeshit when we stole events and promotions from them, we were often the first to play major artists and god only knows how many top tier contacts the people who worked there full-time got (the station manager seemed to be constantly turning down offers from major media groups). I really pushed to keep the station as a breeding group for new talent - be it in administration, the studio or just as confidence building for people who wanted to try their luck (which is the category I fell into). Given the way that station worked and what I saw people who passed through there achieve, I have zero doubt that had that kid been willing to step up, he would have made it far - because talking to him at other times, he knew music back to front and had the kind of savvy that it's hard to teach. He could have been selling ads for a national broadcaster, scouting talent or hell - he could have even had his own syndicated show. Instead, he's probably still on the dole or in prison.

How is any of that relevant? Simple - because that kid would have turned down ANY job offer he got unless it was the perfect one. And there's no punishment for people who do that. Sure, they can be "breached" under the current rules, but it's so fucking hard to do that, let alone enforce it all that it rarely gets done. And even if it does, they still get payments - but instead from a charity group who also gets gov't funding, so it really doesn't change anything.

People who take welfare as their first and only choice don't deserve it. There, I said it. And people have to realise that welfare needs to be about more than money - the foodstamps are a great idea, but we've also got to make a system that cannot allow multi-generational dependency to continue. This isn't just a job for Social Security - it's a job for education, industry and nearly every aspect of gov't. And there has to be a fundamental change in the public perception of the welfare recipient in Australia.

Look at the shenanigans going on over income management and the intervention. We've got people jumping out of their skin to shout down a gov't initiative designed to minimise potential mis-spending in at risk families, is it the greatest implementation? No. But it's a start. After all - there's private income management companies that are doing the same thing for people for a fee if people sign up with them - but the gov't wants to do the same thing for the people who aren't prepared to admit that they have a problem? That's apparently wrong. Bullshit.

People need help. Always have, always will. I hate to trot out the line, but it's a hand-up, not a hand-out. Or at least it's meant to be. But as soon as you try and make that argument suddenly you're an enemy of the Aussie battler.

I know people who have worked in various other groups - religious charities, employment agencies and all manner of other organisations that form part of Australia's welfare empire. And the stories that they tell are ridiculous. I'd like to point out a few things.

If you are on welfare, you probably shouldn't be able to buy a house or a car. You probably shouldn't have Pay TV. You probably shouldn't be trying to live a middle-class lifestyle on a payment intended for people who have lost their jobs and need urgent financial assistance. But people do - every time I talk to these people I hear new example of just how ridiculously dependant people have become. They spend all their gov't payments on paying off their new house and car, paying off credit purchases of new Plasma TVs and lounge-suites to furnish their house, on Pay TV and ADSL... Then they come along to the secondary organisations (like the Salvo's, Vinnie's etc) and put their hands out to take food-aid because they've spent all their money on shit that families with 100k jobs would think seriously about purchasing.

Perhaps this whole economic crunch will start to limit that, but I doubt it. Instead, we'll just have tens of thousands more people realise just how much welfare really is. I mean I worked my arse of in some jobs - shift work, weekends the lot - working full time? For what? An extra $150 above what I was getting from Centrelink on the dole? That's a third more than what I was getting in exchange for working 80 hours per fortnight. And most that $150pf went on fuel, parking and all the other miscellany that comes along with suddenly having to be part of the real world. If I had been a more fundamentally lazy person then of course I would have said "fuck it", packed it in and gone back on the dole. After all, $150 per fortnight in exchange for 80 hours work - and that's how you have to look at it, because that's what it really is - I wasn't getting $600pf for 80 hours of work, what I was getting was $150 MORE for my 80 hours of work, that's not a great deal.

No wonder people on welfare don't want to take jobs. And I'm just talking about Newstart. If we start talking about Pension type payments, add in Family Tax Benefit and the budget bonuses every year and it adds up. Suddenly someone who's being offered an entry level job might be looking at taking a theoretical pay cut in exchange for starting work.

The Social Security Act and all it's accumulated detritus have to go. We need Social Security that gives people a safety net and the ability to get back on the feet. A system that doesn't rely on ongoing payment is a great start - payments need to be strictly reviewed, compliance issues need to be enforced, training and (re-)education need to be part of it.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-22 03:02am

weemadando wrote: How is any of that relevant? Simple - because that kid would have turned down ANY job offer he got unless it was the perfect one. And there's no punishment for people who do that. Sure, they can be "breached" under the current rules, but it's so fucking hard to do that, let alone enforce it all that it rarely gets done. And even if it does, they still get payments - but instead from a charity group who also gets gov't funding, so it really doesn't change anything.
I remember when I was in high school, there was a 60 minutes segment (before 60 minutes turned to shit) about unemployed young Australians arranged by the show to meet those who aren't, usually those who run businesses.

It was plain to me some of them were just looking for excuses not to work. For example one employer suggested we should be more like Asia (in obvious reference to work ethic) and some woman dressed with a beanie started asking whether we should adopt Asia's sweat shop conditions as well. Seriously, that was a strawman and a pathetic attempt to moan.

Another person was dressed, how can I put it, well he was pretty dischevelled. He refused to change his manner of dress for work because "his dress represents who he was", ie a bum.

Now how does this relate to your point. Well there was another young chap who allegedly had an economics degree, couldn't find a job and refused to do menial jobs because it was beneath him. What struck me was in school (I wasn't the only one who saw it) people (ie high performing students, I think the dumb ones wouldn't even know what 60 minutes was) defended him because doing menial jobs is degrading. Yeah, but being on the dole is so much more liberating.

You know what, if Hong Kong actor Anthony Wong ( the Mummy III) had to star in shitty movies which he admits were shit but have no regrets because he needed the money to support his family, these guys can work in crappy jobs until they get a better one.
People need help. Always have, always will. I hate to trot out the line, but it's a hand-up, not a hand-out. Or at least it's meant to be. But as soon as you try and make that argument suddenly you're an enemy of the Aussie battler.
I am starting to wonder whether the Australian battler really exists, except maybe on the Norman Gunstan show and in right wing propaganda.
If you are on welfare, you probably shouldn't be able to buy a house or a car.
Damn those NINJA loans.
You probably shouldn't have Pay TV. You probably shouldn't be trying to live a middle-class lifestyle on a payment intended for people who have lost their jobs and need urgent financial assistance. But people do - every time I talk to these people I hear new example of just how ridiculously dependant people have become. They spend all their gov't payments on paying off their new house and car, paying off credit purchases of new Plasma TVs and lounge-suites to furnish their house, on Pay TV and ADSL... Then they come along to the secondary organisations (like the Salvo's, Vinnie's etc) and put their hands out to take food-aid because they've spent all their money on shit that families with 100k jobs would think seriously about purchasing.
I remember back during the mining boom WA has been having, welfare was complaining about how people with jobs had to take welfare handouts because of high interest rates and paying off their mortgage. No one actually asked the obvious question why they were buying such expensive properties to begin with or why didn't they just fixed their home loans?

The thing is, if welfare groups are using resources to support people with jobs who should have known better, then what is going to happen, they are less likely to be able to support those who really need help.

On another note, with our generous welfare coverage, this is one reason I tend not to give beggars any money. If I was in some foreign country where I know they don't have much welfare, I would consider it. However people here don't have that luxury.
Perhaps this whole economic crunch will start to limit that, but I doubt it. Instead, we'll just have tens of thousands more people realise just how much welfare really is.
How much does the dole actually give you?
The Social Security Act and all it's accumulated detritus have to go. We need Social Security that gives people a safety net and the ability to get back on the feet. A system that doesn't rely on ongoing payment is a great start - payments need to be strictly reviewed, compliance issues need to be enforced, training and (re-)education need to be part of it.
Why do you hate Aussie battlers? Don't you know, they are what this great country is all about. They made this country, unlike those immigrants who actually have jobs.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-22 06:37am

Newstart is currently:

single, no children $449.30
single, with dependent children $486
single, aged 60 or over and receiving payment for 9 months $492*
partnered $405.40 (each)

And that's before looking at Rent Assistance.

I know that it mightn't seem like a great amount, but as I said - you're getting this in exchange for NOTHING. And then you want people to work full time for maybe 200 bucks more? And then wonder why they aren't willing to?

I'm not saying minimum wage is too low - I'm saying it's too easy to turn down a job (or not even look for one) and stay on welfare.

If you are unemployed and taking the tax-payers money, then you should have a legal obligation to take a job. So what if it's menial, get over yourself. I've worked in jobs that I didn't like. Hell, if anyone thinks that I like working at Centrelink they're fucking insane - I don't like the customers, I don't like doing glorified data entry and I certainly don't like the management (the current or previous ones), what I like is having a secure job that pays the bills. And I just swallow my pride, knuckle down and DO MY GODDAMN JOB WELL day in, day out in order to make sure that the people who I deal with get what they are entitled to under the law.

My opinions on these things are just that - my opinions. I'd love to say that I have any influence on it at all, but I only have as much as the next Australian and do my best to exert it every few years.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-22 06:51am

One more example - my wife and I want to have a kid, but we know the numbers - if she goes back to work, then we have to pay for child care. Which costs a goddamn fortune. And if she does go back to work then we will, as a family, be above many of the current thresholds for any gov't assistance or concessions.

Effectively, what this means is, that she would be better off on welfare and raising the baby full-time than returning to work. Consider that proposition for a moment. That the current welfare system would mean that someone is better off leaving their job to have kids because it gives them time with the kids, there's no costs for child care and if you can get your family taxable income down low enough you start to qualify for all sorts of fun things that can help you along. It's exactly the kind of thing that we wouldn't want to do, but because we know just how much is out there for the taking, it means that you have to consider all the options.

Middle class welfare. It's the way of the future apparently.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-22 06:58am

What are your opinions for extending paid maternity leave. Do you think this will increase the likelihood that women will want to eventually get back to work instead of taking the welfare route?
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-22 07:05am

mr friendly guy wrote:What are your opinions for extending paid maternity leave. Do you think this will increase the likelihood that women will want to eventually get back to work instead of taking the welfare route?
Most women who work do want to get back to work in my experience (then again that still a fairly limited pool) simply because if you have even 1/3 of a brain you understand that the welfare route, though appealing in the short-term is simply fucking yourself over in the long-term. And fucking your kid over.

Extending paid mat leave is a great start. We also need to address child-care, get centres up to a really high standard, get fees more competitive and increase early learning programs at schools - make it an even more attractive alternative.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by tim31 » 2009-02-22 08:15am

It took us about eighteen months to get all the kinks of childcare fees reduction sorted out(FTB-A or B?), with no thanks to the care centre. And this was to have two children in for a total of two days a week each. Once it was sorted out though, it was easy street. As I said though, that's two days each, not full time(which was prohibitively expensive). Thus, in order for Emily to continue her dog-and-pony show of PhD and lecturing/tutoring(although UTAS have her co-ordinating this year too), I continue to work a night job so that I'm available during the day. Does that qualify us for Aussie Battlership? :lol:
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-23 01:37am

OK - here is my reform agenda for welfare in Australia.

-Every welfare recipient has to go through a detailed interview about their finances - income, expenses, assets - the lot. And then they have to trim the fat. If there is a way for them to support themselves, then they do that BEFORE getting any money. And by support themselves I mean give themselves an income equal or greater than the amount they'd receive in welfare. Right now you can be getting 3x the amount you receive in welfare in income before your payment would be stopped (though it would certainly be affected). By having much harsher income and asset testing and a requirement that people use their own income and assets to support themselves before taking government money, then that fixes a lot of the problems to do with middle-class welfare.

-Every welfare payment is quarantined. You get a fraction (maybe 25% if that) of your payment in cash in your bank account. The rest is directly paid to your landlord or mortgage holder, utilities companies and the rest onto a "basics card" type setup. Unpopular as hell? Sure, but you have to make welfare a survival, not a lifestyle option. Plus by enforcing financial planning (again this ties into the first point) through regular appointments to negotiate any changes to your payment and their use, you educate people in how to look after money and identifying what is important.

-A welfare recipient is ineligible for: personal loans, car loans, home loans, credit card limits above a certain amount, non-prepaid phone plans, Pay TV... The list could go on and on and on. Again, it comes back to making welfare unattractive as a lifestyle choice and making it all about survival. This would take some major re-working of banking laws and the like, but it would probably be for the best.

-Anyone wishing to claim disability needs to have regular SERIOUS medical reviews. There are people who I've worked with at Centrelink who have been deaf, legally blind, paraplegic, amputees - and who knows what else (all the conditions that aren't physically obvious)... But all of these people are eligible for disability payments (and some are in fact on them and still working full time - mmmm, loop-holes). Just because someone is disabled, doesn't mean that they are incapable of work. Assess, treat, rehabilitat and re-assess. Make sure that the problem is that someone CAN'T do a job, and not that they don't want to do a job.

-Tying into the above, Carer payments need to be SERIOUSLY medically reviewed too. Establishing an internal process where someone has to be assessed by a doctor (or team thereof) for their need for care and interviews done with the carer regarding the care provided and capacity for care would weed out a great deal of unnecessary cases. Carer's do save the country a huge goddamn pile of money, but only when the person who they are getting paid to care for would otherwise be a burden on the country's health system. Not because they've got a skin rash. Or asthma.

-Enforcement has to be brutal (and I don't want to use that phrase, but it's the best one). If someone is being dishonest or won't take a reasonable job offer (this is a current clause, but it's laughable - a reasonable job offer has all manner of outs)...

I'll post more later - being interrupted now.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-23 02:30am

Right to pick up where I left off (on enforcement). There needs to be serious repercussions for choosing to remain on welfare rather than taking an opportunity for study, training, employment or whatever. Having payments further limited is a good start, but you also need a genuine disincentive. Bring back hard-labour/chain gang work, but instead put these people on it. It's work for the dole done properly.

-Working for the dole. In times like this when there is going to be rampant unemployment and a genuine lack of jobs some form of work for the dole needs to exist in order to prevent people from becoming reliant or expecting their payments for nothing in return. Building roads, train lines, doing all manner of basic labour. There are plenty of spaces for people to volunteer in nursing homes and all manner of things like libraries, tourist stands - who knows what else. Fact is, if you are on welfare, then you might as well be doing something constructive for your money from the taxpayers until you can find a real job.

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There were more points that I had that I can't recall immediately, I'll make them when I remember. But that should get people talking to start with.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by Lusankya » 2009-02-23 06:24am

Ok. Some questions:

1. Do you have any idea how much this would cost to enforce? I assume that the initial cost of enforcement, when people are still used to the old system would be greater than the cost later on when everyone just 'knows' that Centrelink are hard-arses.

2. Whatever happened to work for the dole? I remember when Howard instituted it, and about two people in all of Adelaide rocked up for it. Then they got jobs, because some employers noticed that they had work ethics, and then I never heard about it again.

3. Do you have any specific ideas for how training could be managed? We'd want a balance between training being affordable and making sure that people don't just constantly do training courses to get out of work. Could we have some kind of system to increase trainee numbers in critical areas (say - the government pays x% of your tuition, but in return you have to go work where we tell you to).

4. I'm assuming that you support having student payments being equal to the dole, even though you didn't say it in your agenda. My sister lost her job last year (not her fault - the entire SA section of her job was closed down) and now she's doing an aged care course at TAFE, so her income has decreased. Luckily for her, our father, despite being a Port supporter, is not a complete bogan, so she gets an allowance now, but it's still dodgy.

5. How do you strike a balance between being tough on people beating the system and being accessible to people who actually need it?
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-23 02:23pm

Lusankya wrote:Ok. Some questions:

1. Do you have any idea how much this would cost to enforce? I assume that the initial cost of enforcement, when people are still used to the old system would be greater than the cost later on when everyone just 'knows' that Centrelink are hard-arses.
It wouldn't cost any more than it does now, and would probably cost less as if we were to be serious about enforcement we'd probably only have 1/2 to 1/3 of the current welfare recipients. Trimming back stuff like FTB and other middle-class non-income support payment welfare would also cut a huge chunk out of expenditure.
2. Whatever happened to work for the dole? I remember when Howard instituted it, and about two people in all of Adelaide rocked up for it. Then they got jobs, because some employers noticed that they had work ethics, and then I never heard about it again.
People got pissy that they were asked to do something. Lobby groups got pissy that people on welfare might be asked to do something. And it all just died away quietly. IIRC Labor very quietly axed a lot of that stuff when they came into office, it barely made the news cycles at the time...
3. Do you have any specific ideas for how training could be managed? We'd want a balance between training being affordable and making sure that people don't just constantly do training courses to get out of work. Could we have some kind of system to increase trainee numbers in critical areas (say - the government pays x% of your tuition, but in return you have to go work where we tell you to).
That would be an awesome idea - better structure for apprenticeships and some form of "sponsored" education is a good start for generating employment following graduation.
4. I'm assuming that you support having student payments being equal to the dole, even though you didn't say it in your agenda. My sister lost her job last year (not her fault - the entire SA section of her job was closed down) and now she's doing an aged care course at TAFE, so her income has decreased. Luckily for her, our father, despite being a Port supporter, is not a complete bogan, so she gets an allowance now, but it's still dodgy.
Student payments would have to be proportional to course load - if someone is only studying a 50% load, then they only get 50% of a student payment. But student payments need to be sufficient to support them - so having them equal to unemployment would be a good start. And please note that I am talking about Tertiary education here. Student payments for kids in High School is bullshit.
5. How do you strike a balance between being tough on people beating the system and being accessible to people who actually need it?
You don't make that balance. Need is king. As I said - if someone needs it, they should get it. When they merely want it, they don't.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by Lusankya » 2009-02-24 04:10am

weemadando wrote:
5. How do you strike a balance between being tough on people beating the system and being accessible to people who actually need it?
You don't make that balance. Need is king. As I said - if someone needs it, they should get it. When they merely want it, they don't.
Ugh. I probably phrased that poorly. How likely would it be for these changes to make it difficult to give it to people who need it? Say someone gets laid off or has some injury that makes them eligible for disability. Is it easy enough to do these checks that they can get it more or less immediately, or are they likely to have to wait? (I'm guessing that the people who have to wait are probably the people who don't need it anyway, but you know the system better than me.)
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-24 04:12am

Right now, the most common this is people go onto Newstart (which can be a "then and there" grant) immediately and then get an jobsearch exemption for a month or so while they gather evidence and lodge a claim for Carers, Disability or whatnot.

It's a good system, but you need to be a lot stricter on who you let onto the longer-term payments.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by Lusankya » 2009-02-24 04:20am

weemadando wrote:Right now, the most common this is people go onto Newstart (which can be a "then and there" grant) immediately and then get an jobsearch exemption for a month or so while they gather evidence and lodge a claim for Carers, Disability or whatnot.

It's a good system, but you need to be a lot stricter on who you let onto the longer-term payments.
Ah. Fair enough. It shouldn't take longer than that to get the evidence. Especially since I'd assume that being on Newstart would give them a healthcare card which would allow them to be bulk billed, and would pretty much remove any cost issues regarding stuff.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-25 05:53pm

Rather than start a new thread, I will post this
linky
Millionaires blasted for claiming pensions

* Stephanie Peatling
* February 26, 2009
THE pension system is so badly organised that more than 50,000 people with disposable income of more than $60,000 receive the age pension and a further 14 per cent are paid the benefit despite their assets being worth $1.6 million.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence, which commissioned research into the pension system, wants the Federal Government to include owner occupied homes in the means test for the pension to stop payments going to people who do not need them.

"The system is a mess and in dire need of reform," the Brotherhood's general manager of communications and development, Nicola Ballenden, said. "The system is looking after people who earned money throughout their lifetime but is not looking after people at the bottom."

Most people over the age of 65 - 77 per cent - receive either some or all of the age pension.

But 2 per cent of them, or 51,200, have at least $61,630 in disposable income while still receiving the pension, according to the analysis of the system to be released today. The analysis, done by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra, found single age pensioners, women and people in private rental accommodation were barely surviving on the pension.

Single, aged women were the most disadvantaged group because they were less likely to own property or have savings.

Nearly two-thirds of women in the pre-retirement age group - from 55 to 64 - had less than $20,000 in superannuation making them the most likely recipients of the age pension. Pensioners living in private rental accommodation were also badly off, with 83 per cent having less than $20 a week to top up their pension.

But, the report noted, they also had to pay for accommodation, giving them much higher living costs than people who owned their homes.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence said people with high levels of private income or with houses worth over a certain amount should no longer receive the pension. "These are people who should arguably be doing more to support themselves. The age pension is there to support the most disadvantaged," Ms Ballenden said.

The Brotherhood will recommend to the Henry review into taxation that houses be treated in the same way as other forms of savings or assets.

It suggests that people who own and live in houses worth more than $1 million should not be eligible for the pension.

"You don't want to force people to move [but] there are ways to draw down on the equity of your house," Ms Ballenden said. "We have ignored this form of wealth and we need to recognise it as that."

The Government will receive a report on the pension system tomorrow. The Harmer review - conducted by Dr Jeff Harmer, secretary of the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Department - is widely expected to report that the single age pension is not enough for people to live on and should be raised by between $30 and $35 a week. The review will not be made public this week.
So how much money will this save. 51,200 people have over $60,000 income and still receive the pension. A further 14% of that, lets round that to 7150 also receive it despite being asset rich. Now if only I know how much the age pension pays out annually.

I also don't like the fact that these people who are asset rich but income poor can claim the pension. I know they will bitch and say that they don't have much income, but seriously, there is such a thing as a reverse mortgage. Use the equity in your house and live off that.

Ideally when one retires, one would like to have income generating assets such that they can live off the income. Unfortunately thats not the case, so you have to make do with draining your assets.
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by weemadando » 2009-02-25 09:25pm

Blame the Howard gov't for introducing the new "Asset Taper" laws. And Labor for not opposing them.

That's the problem, you can NEVER vote against giving out more welfare in this country or you won't ever win an election again.

This is the kind of shit that I see every day. People who are WAY better off than I am (and my wife and I both work full time), but still DEMAND welfare because it is their entitlement.


*edit* and I'm so glad to see it only took someone in the media TWO WHOLE FUCKING YEARS to pick up this story.

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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by mr friendly guy » 2009-02-25 09:38pm

Thats it, when my dad retires, I am going to tell my parents about this awesome welfare scheme and convince them to take the pension. Considering how much taxes he has paid (his salary is in 6 figures, I figure he deserves some of it back). :lol: :twisted: :wink:
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Re: Remember Aussie pensioners

Post by Korto » 2009-02-28 08:42am

This may amuse people, but due to "circumstances" I've recently gone on to Carer payment. Still working, along with it. It's effectively the pension, as far as I can tell.
So I guess that's changed my opinion, and pensioners deserve more?
Hell, no. It's the bloody gravy train, particularly compared to the dole. Ignoring the fact it's more base money, and the little extra payments they slip in; you also get this little thing called a Pensioner Concession Card. With it, public transport for $2.50 a day (it's cheaper in to work than my postie-bike, for God's sake, and if it wasn't for the fact there's no busses when I finish for the night, I would seriously consider it), and every time a bill comes in, I ask about pensioner rates. I've had $125 off my council rates, my water bill is being reduced, and rego's soon.
The rate of withdrawal for my earnings is less (40%, I think, as against 60%), and kicks in later too, I think.
Anyone without dire problems who can't live easily on money like this deserves to starve.

I agree with anyone who says they're giving me too much, but if people are going to insist on shoving money down my throat.
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