ABBOTT BETRAYS HOWARD’S LEGACY OF A FAIR PENSION FOR WOMEN

March 08, 2015


On International Women’s Day 17 years ago, Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard delivered a speech on the importance of linking pension indexation to wages for women pensioners.

Prime Minister Howard stated:

 

“The Government’s enshrining of pension entitlements at 25 per cent of male total average weekly earnings is an important safeguard… I will continue to regard the security needs of older women in Australian society as a special priority.”

 

JOHN HOWARD, 8 MARCH 1998

 

The benchmarking of the Age Pension to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) was legislated by the Howard Government and took effect in 1997.

 

Labor improved on this benchmark further as part of its historic pension reforms in 2009, making sure pensions kept pace with pensioners' rising cost of living. 

 

But Tony Abbott plans to reverse John Howard’s policy and Labor's historic pension reforms by linking the indexation of the pension to only CPI.

 

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) estimates that this will result in an $80 a week cut to the pension over the next decade.

 

John Howard knew the importance of a fair pension for women.

 

Now Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison are betraying John Howard’s legacy.

 

As the Minister for Women, Tony Abbott must drop his harmful cuts to pension indexation, immediately.

 

Yesterday analysis by Professor Peter Whiteford showed that if Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison get their way, the pension will drop from 28 per cent of average weekly earnings today to just 16 per cent by 2055.

 

This threatens to create an underclass of Australian pensioners living below the poverty line.

 

The only way to protect pensioners is to scrap the proposed cuts to indexation entirely.

 

Labor will continue to oppose any cuts to the indexation of the pension by the Abbott Government.

 

SUNDAY, 8 MARCH 2015

 

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