Age pension petition

By Terri Butler MP

30 November 2020

I present this certified petition at the request of an organisation based in my electorate, the Australian Pensioners and Superannuants League of Queensland. This group, based in West End, has gathered 1,238 signatures from people who argue that the current single age pension is not enough to cover the basic cost of living. They are arguing for a reduction in the difference between the couple age pension and the single age pension, from 33 per cent to 18 per cent. Pensioners and their families, not just in my electorate but across the country, know the Morrison government cannot be trusted with their pensions or their standard of living after retirement.

The government has a long track record of cutting or attempting to cut the pension, and just recently, in the middle of a recession, the Morrison government froze the pension for 2.5 million pensioners. The government were caught out by Labor, which is the only reason they acted on it. They still haven't adjusted deeming rates, which still remain significantly higher than interest rates, meaning pensioners are being short-changed every day.

Now pensioners and other payment recipients are concerned they will be forced onto the cashless debit card. The government is ideologically obsessed with this card and determined to expand it, no matter what. Pensioners have paid their taxes and contributed to the economy their entire lives. They deserve our respect. People in my electorate understand this. Why doesn't the Morrison government?

The petition read as follows—

The petition of Australian Pensioners' and Superannuants' League (QLD) Inc and citizens of Australia draw to the attention of the House that the current single aged pension is not enough to cover basic living needs as the current aged couple pension is $1407. As at the 20th of September 2019 when a person is widowed this reduced to $933.40 a reduction when support is most needed. Difference between coupled and widowed pension is $473.60. This has not been reviewed for a long time and we believe the difference should be 18% between the two pensions not 33%.

We the undersigned therefore ask the House to enact necessary legislation to ensure that the difference between the Aged Couple Pension and the Aged Single Pension is reduced to 18% from 33%.