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John Passant

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December 2015



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Pensioners in poverty – Australia is the second worst in the OECD for paying its pensioners


More than one third of Australian pensioners live in relative poverty. The OECD average is 12 percent of pensioners. Of OECD countries only South Korea is worse. Let that sink in. Slovakia, Greece, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia and Turkey, for example, all treat their pensioners much better than the Australian government does. Instead of Australian Productivity Commission suggestions that pensioners reverse mortgage their homes or downsize, maybe we should tax the rich and abolish their superannuation and other tax concessions to pay for an increase in pensions in Australia to takeĀ all pensioners out of poverty. To read the whole OECD report click here. Pensions at a glance 2015.

Note: These are relative figure based on the level of the pension compared to average wages. Imagine if Australian pensioners were paid a pension or were receiving superannuation payments the same as their counterparts in other countries. If retirement incomes were for example the OECD average that would be 87% of the average wage, i.e. around $70,000. The pension in Australia for a single person is $788.40 per fortnight, plus a maximum supplement depending on circumstances of $64.50 per fortnight and energy payment of $14.10 per fortnight and rental assistance if the circumstances are appropriate. $788.40 per fortnight is almost $20,500 a year. The average wage in Australia is a bit over $77000 before overtime is thrown in, which takes it to just over $80,000.

The poverty line in Australia is the internationally accepted 50% of median income. According to ACOSS for the year 2012 ‘for a single adult was $400 per week. For a couple with 2 children it was $841 per week.’ They say 15% of pensioners (around 300,000 pensioners) are below the poverty line.


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Comment from Chrissy
Time December 4, 2015 at 12:01 pm

The Australian government should be ashamed of themselves! It discusts me that our seniors have to live like this!

Comment from Lorikeet
Time December 5, 2015 at 9:46 am

You made some excellent points here, John.

I have read a large part of the Productivity Commission Report and it seems clear they are working for capitalists and, to some degree, for the younger generations.

Baby Boomers had to pay all of their own child care costs even though they were younger parents on lower incomes. They were also hit with huge mortgage interest rates in 1980s and, now that they need more money to live on, interest rates paid to depositors are flat lining. The safer superannuation investments also pay very low interest.

We need a government which will rein in the banks (including investment bankers), and cease giving handouts to the young and the strong, especially those who are on a good wicket.

Getting back to the older people, the government clearly wants to force us out of our homes into Agenda 21 poky little high rise apartments that cost a fortune to buy, and have ongoing overheads.

Failing that, they want to link pensions to the value of our homes. I was disgusted to notice that the lowest housing value receiving a cut could be for someone living in a tiny unit in a lower socio-economic area.

I am also sick of superannuants complaining about government pensioners. If these attacks on older people continue, I am sure superannuants will be having some unpalatable rules imposed as well. So older people need to think twice before attacking one another.

Comment from Kay
Time December 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm


“I am also sick of superannuants complaining about government pensioners.” Where on earth have you seen this?

I have never heard any superannuants complaining about pensioners. The only ones complaining about older citizens are young journalists and others who probably pick up thousands of dollars of family payments, and are too lazy to do without and save. And they mainly complain about superannuants!

Comment from Kay
Time December 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm

Those countries at the top of the graph all have compulsory EMPLOYEE contributions all their working lives – as well as compulsory employer contributions (like we have in Australia). In Germany, for example, workers must pay 10% of income every week, and so must the employer. This then funds the government pension on retirement.

For some unknown reason, in Australia only public sector workers, politicians and workers in some big private firms actually make personal weekly/monthly super contributions. And, naturally, they are rewarded at retirement with better super pensions than those who rely solely upon what their employer saves for them.

Comment from John
Time December 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm

Good point. Workers pay for their pensions out of compulsory savings (ie forgone wages.) However even those that do not do that have better spending on pensions than Australia. Tax the rich to pay for better pensions.

Comment from John
Time December 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Yes Kay, me either.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time December 7, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Let’s not all fall into the journos’ trap of describing people as “that” instead of “who”.

I think public sector workers are making a big mistake by adding extra cash to their superannuation accounts. Once the government has started punishing Age Pensioners further for saving instead of spending, I think they will allow global bankers to inflict the same on superannuants (more negative changes).

Kay, I have heard lots of older people (superannuants and those ineligible for government pensions due to comparative wealth) criticising Age Pensioners as if they are bludgers on society. If you don’t do this, it is a definite plus.

I agree with your comments about young journalists. Like our mate, Bob B, I agree that their attitude at the National Press Club after Mark Butler, former Minister for Ageing, gave his address regarding senior citizens was insulting, condescending and disinterested.

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