The Coalition government has never openly acknowledged, as the rest of the world has done, the effectiveness of the financial management of the ALP in the GFC, in their payments to business and lower income groups to sustain the economy.
The fact that the government has now implemented a similar package has, however, given unspoken recognition to those actions.
And they should be applauded for that.
There was one further step taken by the ALP which cannot be overlooked.
When we speak of pensioners, the picture conjured up varies from one individual to another.
As a migrant, my knowledge of Australian history is pretty shaky, but I believe it was Menzies, as Opposition Leader in a Chifley government who insisted that the stigma of welfare should not be attached to the Age Pension, as it was a payment which recognised the contributions to the national economy made by recipients during their working life.
Sadly, the low level of payment for those whose sole source of income is the Age Pension, indicates that their lifetime contributions are not valued adequately!
For many people, these are the group referred to when talking about pensioners.
But income and asset testing allows many other retirees to be entitled to a part-Age Pension.
These people include a group who have rolled over their superannuation into an Allocated Pension, or similar fund, and these people require immediate attention.
Their fund is invested in the market which is currently beyond volatile!
They are required to withdraw a minimum amount, based on their age, designed so that – in theory – the fund will be exhausted when they die.
Actuarial calculations of age expectation do not match individual situations, and when, as now – and as was the case during the GFC – the market nose-dives, withdrawing any funds, let alone the stipulated minimum is potentially disastrous.
The government needs – as an emergency issue – to review the policy concerning mandatory withdrawals.
Since many of these pensioners make regular withdrawals, maybe they should get financial advice as to whether they should reduce the regular amount or even leave any withdrawal to the end of the financial year.
Meanwhile, the government must hasten to re-think their situation, since, if these individual funds are exhausted prematurely, the government will have greater Age Pension costs further down the line.
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