Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixtyeighty-four?

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixtyeighty-four?

Like other Western countries, Australia’s population is ageing. In 1960, only 9% were aged 65 and older. In 2010, the proportion in that age bracket had increased to 13%.

This increase – and the increase is accelerating – raises a whole host of social and economic issues: employment, income support, health (and remember that for most people the last 12 months of life involve the highest health care costs), and aged care services for both independent living and nursing home accommodation.

This is a big issue, and one would expect that our politicians would have policies in place.

So, let’s compare and contrast.

This is the ALP’s policy for Senior Australians:

Through historic reforms to the pension and aged care system, as well as investing in services and supporting older Australians to continue to work, Labor is giving seniors the choice, support and certainty they deserve.

It was Labor that first put in place the pension system in 1909 and it was Labor that delivered the biggest increase to the pension in 100 years in 2009. Labor also put pensioners first with the Household Assistance Package to help with their household bills. Pensioners often have limited room to move in their budgets, which is why Labor is helping them make ends meet.

Only Labor will continue to protect the pension for those who need it most – people who worked hard throughout their lives and who have given so much to our community. Tony Abbott and the Coalition plan to claw back $1 billion of this extra support for pensioners, leaving them hundreds of dollars out of pocket.

Labor will continue to support self-funded retirees. Last year self-funded retirees benefited from tax cuts averaging more than $550 for 190,000 seniors and also made sure that self-funded retirees who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card receive the same household assistance as pensioners to help cover any price impacts from the carbon price.

It was Labor that introduced universal superannuation 20 years ago, and now Labor is building on that work with our commitment to further increases and greater protections by gradually lifting superannuation from 9 per cent to 12 per cent in 2019. The first superannuation increase of .25 per cent takes place in July this year.

Since 2007 Labor has invested more than 70 per cent more funding into the aged care sector, adding more than 21,000 residential care places and 18,000 home care places nationally.

Changes are being made to the aged care system which will lift quality in residential aged care homes and allow more people to access care in their own homes.

Older Australians who want to live independently in their own home are more likely to have that choice: Labor is increasing the number of Home Care Packages by 40,000 — to nearly 100,000 by 2017.

From next financial year, means tested care costs will be capped, giving older Australians financial certainty and peace of mind. The residential care cost cap is $25,000 per year and home care packages are capped at $5,000 for part pensioners and $10,000 for self-funded retirees. And no one will ever pay more than Labor’s $60,000 cap over their lifetime.

To help people keep their family home, and to prevent anyone being forced to sell their home, Labor will give families more choice about how to pay for care. From 1 July 2014, instead of a bond which can cost millions and might bear no resemblance to the actual cost of accommodation, you will be able to pay through a lump sum or a periodic payment – or a combination of both. And from April next year, providers of care will need to publish their prices and ensure accommodation pricing appropriately reflects value.

Any commentary in the “mainstream” media???

How surprising.

Now, what about the Liberals’ policy for older Australians?

But we do know what the Shadow Treasurer, Mr Hockey, thinks:

In his speech to the UK’s Institute of Economic Affairs on 17 April 2012, he said:

In September last year I travelled to Hong Kong …

Without a social safety net, Hong Kong offers its citizens a top personal income tax rate of 17% and corporate tax rates of 16.5%. Unemployment is a low 3.4% , inflation 4.7% and the growth rate still respectable at over 4% . Government debt is moderate and although there is still poverty, the family unit is very much intact and social welfare is largely unknown. The system there is that you work hard, your parents look after the kids, you look after your grandkids and you save as you work for 40 years to fund your retirement. The society is focussed on making sure people can look after themselves well into old age.

The concept of filial piety, from the Confucian classic Xiao Jing, is thriving today right across Asia. It is also the very best and most enduring guide for community and social infrastructure.

The Hong Kong experience is not unusual in Asia. Characteristics such as low inflation, low unemployment, modest government debt, minimal unfunded benefits and entitlements, and significant growth are powering a whole range of emerging markets and developing an Asian middle class …

The sense of government entitlement in these countries is low. You get what you work for. Your tax payments are not excessive and there is an enormous incentive to work harder and earn more if you want to.

By western standards this highly constrained public safety net may, at times, seem brutal. But it works and it is financially sustainable.

Contrast this with what we find in Europe, the UK and the USA.

All of them have enormous entitlement systems spanning education, health, income support, retirement benefits, unemployment benefits and so on. Some countries are more generous than others and in many instances the recipients of the largest amount of unfunded entitlements are former employees of the Government.

In all these areas people are enjoying benefits which are not paid for by them, but paid for by someone else – either the taxes of those who are working and producing income, or future generations who are going to be left to pay the debt used to pay for these services.

* * *

These entitlements have now begun to hang like a millstone around the neck of governments, mortgaging the economic future of many Western nations and their enterprises for generations to come.

* * *

The road back to fiscal sustainability will not be easy.

It will involve reducing the provision of so called “free” government services to those who feel they are entitled to receive them.

It will involve reducing government spending to be lower than government revenue for a long time.

It is likely to result in a lowering of the standard of living for whole societies as they learn to live within their means.

The political challenge will be to convince the electorate of the need for fiscal pain and to ensure that the burden is equally shared.

So, there you have it – straight from the IPA songbook. Rugged individualism writ large – God helps those who help themselves. Tough if the kids don’t want to help out – your fault for not fostering that Confucian concept of filial piety. As for Mr Hockey’s unctuous statement that

The political challenge will be to convince the electorate of the need for fiscal pain and to ensure that the burden is equally shared

we all know what the Liberals’ idea of equal sharing is: What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine too.

And don’t forget that interesting comment from a Young Liberalthug which, apparently, Mr Abbott thought was a Very Good Idea:

As the Baby Boomer population of Australia gets older the younger people can’t afford to support them through the pension. So, if an Aged Pensioner owns a house or has some other property they would … have to sell the property and live off those funds.

Well, at least that would mean the children wouldn’t be fighting over the estate once the parents fall off the perch – hmmm, maybe there is an upside to becoming a member of the SKI Club … After all, I’d never end up like this:

(Credit: Breakfast on Radio Adelaide)


502 thoughts on “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixtyeighty-four?

  1. billie,

    I have some problem with the questions asked. That aside, only bias would prevent Tom Watson MP from airing his views.

  2. Tom Watson will be on the Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler on Thursday, apparently.
    ABC regional @ 11am

  3. Having now watched Q&A my impression is that Tom Watson could have contributed more had he wished. Did he have to wait to be invited by Tony Jones? I thought he was doing some active listening there.

    For the first time since Julia’s ousting I gained some appreciation of Bill Shorten’s part in it.

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Oh dear. Surely not a secret carbon tax from the Opposition!
    Yesterday the marine parks went overboard and today the pokie barons get the green light. The guy Abbott is simply dangerous!
    And here is Abbott pandering to ignorance.
    MUST SEE! Alan Moir on the Coalition’s “costings”.

  5. And from the Land of the Free –

    Now why did I think of Abbott’s costings when watching this effort?
    Some cartoons on the Repugs’ continued, ridiculous opposition to Obamacare.
    More proof of FoxNews’ despicable values.
    The religious right is winning.

  6. Tony Abbott last week –
    “I regard myself as a conservationist.”

    Tony Abbott yesterday –
    “One specific commitment I want to give to you is we will suspend the marine protected areas that this Government has recently declared.”

    So when is someone going to ask Abbott about this contradiction?

  7. He’s now announcing more largesse to compensate victims of overseas terrorism. So he would provide additional compensation to victims – first steps will be taken within 100 days of his grabbing power. Wonder if anyone has bothered to add up all his promises that will begin within those magical 100 days.

  8. When i watch K. O’Dwyer gulping out sound, I’m reminded of our top paddock gate….; it’s a biggie!, it’s a clunking beast and it makes a terrible groaning sound when opened!

  9. The abbott reckons the cost of compensating all victims so far would be $30m – this is another abbott brainfart that hasn’t been well thought through. Journos questions are tying him in knots.

  10. Breaking news!!!
    The missing Abbott daughter has been found. Louise Abbott “is busy this year progressing the policies/aims of the current Australian Labor Government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Sen. Bob Carr, as an Executive Assistant with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva.”
    And there’s a picture to prove it. No wonder Tony refuses to so much as say her name these days.

  11. Well, Louise is the abbott black sheep – who’d a thought it. Wonder how long it will take the media to ask how daddy feels about having a leftie daughter fratenising with the enemy?

  12. Abbott lying again –
    ‘Gold Coast Nurse ‏@GoldCoastNurse 47m
    Friends and I in Bali helping during second bombing & none of us saw Abbott in the Hospitals as he says for 15 hours #auspol #qldpol

  13. Good morning all

    TA has given the ALP some ammunition with his comment that the Howard government was past it’s prime. How many of his ministers were members of that government. Now, is the ALP savvy enough to call him out on that or will any of the press sheep call Abbott out. I seriously doubt it.

  14. Good morning Pubsters.

    Halloween, the ALP is – maybe – savvy enough, but those journos would just stick their fingers in their ears and go “la la la-la la”.

  15. Today, when asked why nothing was done about compensation for Bali victims during hiss time as a minister Abbott said
    “I suppose we were perhaps a little past our prime back in those days”
    And yet he wants to return those same past their prime relics to the front bench. Vote for Abbott, vote for change – a change back to 2007.

  16. Hi Pub dwellers,

    Just a reminder Tanya & some bloke from the opposition who is apparently the shadow health minister at the Press Club 12.30pm on 24 today.

  17. Essential Research 2PP – Labor 50.1 to Libs 49.9.

    I suspect Mr Bowe doesn’t think much of it though so make of it what you want. Personally I still think this is going to be a very close thing but the psephologist seem to have called it for the LNP. Interesting times indeed.

  18. Indonesian academic finds Abbott’s policy is not only ridiculous & offensive but shows a deep misunderstanding of his country. Great, let’s see if the journos ask Tony his opinion on that.

  19. I’ve wondered about Louise Abbotts non appearance fro quite a while – now it makes sense. A bit like Phillip Ruddock’s daughter. The ‘past its prime’ comment is pure gold if only Labor USE IT

  20. Catalyst

    Who knows what she thinks politically – just best for her to stay well away from it.

    Kirsty Ruddock on the other hand left us in no doubt when she decamped from AGS and left the country.

  21. Sorry to have to say it again, but Latika Bourke is a frigging moron. This morning she’s noticed something in an IKEA catalogue. It’s a kitchen with the name ‘Ruddik’. Seeing as the election is near, and the name of the kitchen is somewhat similar to that of the current PM, they’ve titled the page it’s on “Kitchens fit for a PM”. Mildly amusing title, nothing more. Everyone knows that IKEA products have all sorts of odd names, and this one happens to be a coincidence. But she’s convinced herself there’s something deeper in it, and she wants to get to the bottom of it. She’s now wondering if The Gruen Transfer could look into it.

    I see now she’s found it via the Daily Telegraph, who obviously want to get some mileage out of Rudd’s Kitchen Cabinet appearance. She doesn’t get the ‘joke’. It might take her another hour or two to figure out that there isn’t one.

    This is how she spends her days on the election campaign trail.

  22. One interesting aspect of the Louise Abbott story is that it hasn’t surfaced till now in the media. Obviously plenty of people in the Labor government would have know but as far as I can tell nothing has been said about it. You can imagine the hysteria that News Ltd would have whipped up if it was Rudd’s child.

  23. mikehilliard

    Waleed Aly spoke to the editor of the Jakarta Post yesterday. The editor said when it came to Abbott’s boats plan and Aus personnel in Indonesia he said “It will never happen.”

  24. Aguirre

    I for one never tire of people knocking Libtika. It was interesting on 24 yesterday they had the journo following Rudd & Latika up at the same time on the screen. Latika’s all dolled up pouting a toothy gushing about Abbott’s launch, the other is a bit frumpy with a slightly pained expression.

  25. “One of former treasurer Wayne Swan’s toughest critics has turned on the Coalition, saying Australians should be alarmed by the possibility an Abbott government would take a decade to return the budget to a strong surplus.

    Stephen Anthony, head of Canberra-based budget forecasting firm Macro- economics, said the opposition’’s fiscal strategy was “very troubling” given what he described as a “complete and utter lack of detail.”
    Mr Anthony – who correctly warned last year of the vulnerabilities in Mr Swan’s ill-fated promise to deliver a surplus in 2012-13 – said Mr Abbott’s timetable was inconsistent with the Coalition’s bipartisan support for maintaining budget balance over the economic cycle.

    Mr Abbott’s failure to provide a hard budget target meant “that essentially we’re rudderless for a decade”.

    “That’s not good,” he said.”

  26. The worry is that people putting a prepolling vote in now are doing so without a chance to compare policies.

  27. I’ve said this from the beginning, it was apparent right at the start of 2010. The Coalition campaign has simply been to make the ALP unelectable. It’s the only thing they’ve concentrated on. They had to get the Australian people to vote the ALP out, because they sure as hell weren’t going to vote the Coalition in.

    They never intended to release policies and costings – or even have them. They could never win a policy battle against the ALP, so even getting into one was considered a danger. It’s been smear, sneer and denigrate all the way. The proof of this, if we even needed one, is that the sole policy they’re campaigning on in 2013 is exactly the same one they were offering in 2010 – PPL. Which is a load of rubbish, but does appeal to the ‘aspirational’ side of Australians, this dream that when they get rich they’ll get all these perks that are coming to them.

    They’re happy to have anyone who cares to criticise them for their lack of policy, shonky costings, blatant mistruths or whatever. They’ll just come back with, “But the ALP are worse!” And having sold that furphy for three long years, they’ve gotten the country used to the notion.

    A lot of Australians are still sleepwalking to the election. There’s a chance enough of them will wake up before the end of next week. Last night was a bit of an eye-opener. For me, the vague spectre of how horrible an Abbott government would be came into sharper focus, and I assume a similar thing is happening to a lot of others. Next week the spectre moves from a possibility to something actually real, that people have to face up to and decide on. After crapping on about all sorts of ephemera for years, people have to put their money where their mouths are, and actually commit to a choice they take responsibility for. I think some will get cold feet and stick with the devil they know. Enough of them? We shall see.

  28. What’s all this carp the journos are asking Rudd about whether Labor has given up on trying to win the election & are now just in damage control? Where did that come from?

  29. jaycee
    I’m pre-polling this afternoon. I’m not waiting for policies because I have no intention of changing my vote. Nothing the Coalition comes up with could make me vote for them.

  30. Did Rudd make any hay out of TA’s gaffe on Howard’s govt being past it’s prime? Thought not.

  31. The abbott still continues to announce more spending despite his saying there is a ‘budget emergency’ and still refuses to put out his costings. Not one journo (other than Crikey) has bothered to add up all his campaign spending promises. I reckon that if he is honest when he says he isn’t going cut, cut and cut nor sell off whatever assets still exist, then he’s going to add the lot to the deficit, and down the track a bit will blame Labor for it all. No wonder his surplus has been pushed out to the never, never.

  32. Hmmm I will have to address my dress sense and throw away my dopey track suits. Always thought they were appropriate attire when one is exercising.

  33. Just iviewed Media Watch from last night, didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know but I liked the interview of Murdoch at the end. Heres part of the transcript if you missed it-

    Rupert Murdoch: I think the important thing is that there be plenty of newspapers with plenty of different people controlling them, so that there’s a variety of viewpoints, so there’s a choice for the public. This is the freedom of the press that is needed. Freedom of the press mustn’t be one-sided just for a publisher to speak as he pleases, to try and bully the community.

    — ABC, Five Australians: Rupert Murdoch, 25th July, 1967

    As usual I scrolled through the comments of which there are some good well thought out positions. Then there are the short & vicious, believe it or not people actually feel it necessary to get on line & support Modor.

Comments are closed.