Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Nelson ignores 2.2 million pensioners

In his rush to score political points, Brendan Nelson has forgotten about 2.2 million married age pensioners, carers, widows, veterans and disability support pension recipients.

Under Dr Nelson’s policy to increase the single rate of the pension by $30 a week, 2.2 million pensioners would miss out altogether.

Single age pensioners are doing it tough but so are millions of others on disability support pension, carer payment, wife and widow pensions and veteran and partner service (DVA) pensions.

The Liberals had 12 years to act and did nothing. Their Cabinet decided against raising the base rate of the pension – a Cabinet including Dr Nelson, Julie Bishop, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull.

When the Liberal and National parties had the power to act they did nothing.

The Australian Government understands that pensioners around Australia are finding it very difficult to make ends meet.

This is why we permanently increased the Utilities Allowance to $500 and paid a $500 Seniors Bonus in June. But we know more needs to be done.

The Government is determined to get this right for the long term.

Comprehensive reform is essential to give pensioners the security and certainty they deserve.

We will soon be completing a comprehensive review into the structure and adequacy of the pension.

Hundreds of submissions are being made about how the system should be improved and those views need to be given the careful attention they deserve.

When that review is complete, the Government will take decisive action to fix the pension system.

The number of pensioners who miss out under Brendan Nelson’s policy:
Income support recipients Number
Age Pension Couples 1,120,000
Disability Support Pensions 732,000
Carer Payment 130,000
Wife & Widow Pensions 32,000
Veterans & Partner Service pensions 200,000
Total 2,214,000