Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Single age pensioners misled by Nelson

Brendan Nelson’s empty pension proposal has been exposed as a political stunt.

Dr Nelson has been promising to introduce a private member’s bill to seek to increase the single base rate of the pension.

But a notice of motion has not been given by the Opposition and the bill has not been listed.

As of the end of question time, the Opposition had failed to lodge a private member’s bill or even a private member’s motion.

Instead, the Opposition leader has been caught out playing politics with pensioners.

By failing to produce the promised legislation, Dr Nelson has confirmed that his stunt was a desperate attempt to distract from his terminal leadership woes.

Dr Nelson does not seem to care that he has been making promises that he cannot deliver on to single age pensioners.

The Liberals had 12 years to fix the pension system properly, including last year when the Howard Cabinet voted against raising the base rate of the pension.

When the Liberals had the chance to increase the pension they did nothing.

Unlike the Opposition, the Australian Government is determined to give pensioners security and get this right for the long term.

The Government has provided a down payment on reform – increasing the Utilities Allowance from $107 to $500, and extending it for the first time to carer payment and disability support pensioners.

We also provided bonus payments for seniors and carers.

Much more needs to be done to fix the system to guarantee all Australian pensioners certainty and security into the future.

That’s why we ordered a comprehensive investigation into the structure and adequacy of the pension.

A wide range of opinions are being expressed about the best way of improving the system and these views will be given the careful attention they deserve.

When that review is complete, the Government will respond swiftly.