Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Age Pension – Bob Brown must have been asleep for a decade!

“Bob Brown must have been missing in action over the past decade, with his article in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald totally ignoring the facts on age pensions,” Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

“His claim that pensioners haven’t received a real increase since 1993 is totally wrong.

“The Howard Government legislated in 1997 to link the rate of Age Pension to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE). This is resulting in large real increases in pension rates

“As a direct result of this and other initiatives, a full rate pensioner couple now have $2,896.40 a year above what they would have had, had pensions remained tied only to inflation.

“Single full-rate pensioners now have $1,721.20 a year above what they would have, had pensions been tied only to inflation.

“As a direct result of the Howard Government’s strong economic management, over 2 million pensioners received bonuses of $500 in the 2007/08 Budget. Bonuses were also delivered in the 2006/07 Budget. These bonuses have ensured that pensioners have a share in the strong economic performance and strong budget management that have been a hallmark of the Howard Government.

“Also, over 300,000 pensioners will receive more pension from the 20th of September due to the Howard Government’s changes to the assets test.

“On top of this key initiative, to help with household costs, the Howard Government introduced an ongoing Utilities Allowance of $106 to over 2 million pensioners.

“Bob Brown has been representing the state of Tasmania for more than a decade. He has been a Senator while all of these Howard Government initiatives have been considered and endorsed by the Senate.

“As a Senator he is responsible for providing the Australian public with the facts not misinformation.

“Bob Brown needs a reality check. If he wants to enter into debate about these issues, he has an obligation as a legislator to get his facts straight.”