Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Labor divided over pensions

Minister for Family and Community Services, Amanda Vanstone, today said Labor was divided over the impact of GST on pensioners.

“While Wayne Swan claims the Government is ‘clawing back’ GST compensation for pensioners, Simon Crean admitted almost a year ago that “The real increase in the pension will therefore be two-percent…..”

“Perhaps Mr Swan should talk more to his own colleagues about the true position of pensions, before peddling misinformation to Australian pensioners.

“As the Prime Minister said this morning, if Labor is arguing that there’s been a cut, will they now promise to increase pensions if they win government? They won┬╣t because they know there’s been no cut.”

Senator Vanstone said pensioners had already received 2% of the next CPI adjustment, due from March 20 this year, paid in advance from July last year. The remainder of the CPI adjustment will be paid from March 20.

“Far from being any ‘clawback’, the Government has provided a bonus to pensioners, by granting 2% of the next CPI adjustment nine months in advance.

“In addition to the advance of 2%, pensioners also received a separate one-off 2% increase to pensions, to offset the impact of GST, leaving pensioners at all times 2% better off than they would have been under normal indexations arrangements.

“Labor’s position on this issue is total hypocrisy, appearing to be nothing more than an attempt to put fear into pensioners. Fear appears to be all that Labor can offer Australians. It is however, no substitute for policy.”