Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Labor Hypocrisy on Pension Bonus Scheme

"The Labor Party’s hypocrisy on supporting older Australians has been exposed in Jenny Macklin’s latest comments on the Pension Bonus Scheme, which provides up to $32,000 to eligible participants," Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

"The Howard Government announced in the Budget that, as a result of good budget management, it would further improve the scheme by allowing bereaved partners to receive the bonus.

"In an act of blatant political opportunism, Jenny Macklin now demands the scheme be further extended.

"This is a dramatic turnaround on Ms Macklin’s past position on the PBS. In 1998 she said; "..the opposition has very serious doubts about this proposal. We considered it and abandoned it when we were in government".

"After considering helping older people remain in the workforce – if that is their choice – and abandoning the idea of assisting them, Labor now has the audacity to attack our scheme.

In 1998 Ms Macklin also said that members of the PBS; "….stand to get a windfall gain for doing what they would have done (remaining in the workforce.)" She also described measures to support older workers as "mickey mouse".

"Labor didn’t like the PBS at all. Labor begrudged this additional support for older Australians who defer claiming the Age Pension. Now, in a classic piece of political cynicism, she suddenly pretends to support the relatives of deceased members of the scheme.

"The Howard Government believes in providing real incentives for older Australians to stay in the workforce, if that is what they choose to do.

"Older workers are invaluable in the Australian economy, with a wealth of experience that many companies wish to retain. The PBS helps them do so and helps the workers have greater flexibility in planning their retirement.

"It is the Howard Government’s approach to these sorts of issues that has provided record job growth combined with a 33 year low unemployment rate, providing the strongest possible base for Australians to continue to enjoy a secure economic future.

"Labor’s stance highlights the risk to pensioners of a Labor Government. Not only do they have the most to lose from a badly run economy and budget, but despite Jenny Macklin’s pre-election façade, we know she hates the PBS."

All quotes of Jenny Macklin from Hansard 2nd Reading Debate on PBS 8th April 1998