The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, asked the following question of the Prime Minister in Question Time today:
“Prime Minister, a backbencher gets a quarter of a million dollars in wages, superannuation and vehicle. Big business is still being promised a tax cut, and now you’re promising income tax cuts.
“But at the same time, people relying on government pensions and payments are struggling terribly. For example it’s not unusual for a single Age Pensioner to go without meals and medicines in order to pay their rent. Indeed according to a recent survey 61 per cent of pensioners go without necessities including fresh food.
“Prime Minister, do you really think this is okay, and when will you start talking about increasing government pensions and payments to sensible levels?”
Mr Wilkie also tabled a motion today, which calls on the Government to boost the Age Pension rate. A copy of the motion is attached./a>
“One of the constant things I hear from the community is that pensioners are struggling and that the rate of payment has not kept up with the rising cost of living,” Mr Wilkie said.
“Moreover the single rate of the Age Pension is especially inadequate, because many single people have to deal with all of these costs themselves.
“It’s unacceptable that in a country as rich and fortunate as Australia, we have so many pensioners living below the poverty line. It’s shocking, for example, that according to research by ACOSS and the Social Policy Research Centre 13.9 per cent of pensioners are living below the poverty line. And in Tasmania the Sunday Tasmanian revealed that a staggering 61 per cent of pensioners go without necessities including fresh food.
“But instead of addressing this, the Government seems determined to go after older Australians by taking the axe to retirement incomes. And there’s no sign that the devastating cuts to residential aged care will be reversed.
“Yes this will cost the Government money. But it’s one of the core responsibilities of the Government to look after pensioners, many of who have worked hard and paid taxes for most of their lives.”