Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Opposition backs away from support for pensioners

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has again demonstrated he can’t be trusted to be across the important issues which affect Australians’ lives, with the Opposition backing away from supporting measures to help pensioners.

Mr Hockey has been quibbling about the cost of the Government’s plan to support pensioners make the switch to digital television.

But in 2009, when the Government first introduced measures to support pensioners make the switch, the Member for Mayo, Jamie Briggs said:

“It is right that the government does help Australians, particularly those at the lower end of the income scale, to switch over to digital TV.” (House of Representatives, 25 May 2009).

And Senator Nick Minchin said:

“For eligible households … such as pensioners, this measure will provide some certainty about their capacity to access and utilise the equipment needed to view a digital picture.” (Senate, 18 June 2009).

The Opposition needs to come clean on this issue and let Australian pensioners know whether they do or do not support the Government’s measure.

The Government is determined to make sure that pensioners are not left in the dark as a result of the switch to digital TV.

We make no apology for providing support to pensioners. Pensioners have worked hard all their lives. We will make sure they are helped to make the switch and get the full benefits of digital TV.

This Government has a track record in supporting pensioners, including delivering the biggest increase to the single age pension in 100 years.

In contrast, the Liberal Party is stuck in opposition mode and all they seem to be offering pensioners is empty rhetoric.