May 11, 2017

Labor has forced the Coalition into an embarrassing backflip on its cuts to pensioner concession cards.

For two years Labor has highlighted the unfairness of removing the pensioner concession cards to older Australians who lost their pension as a result of the changes to the pension assets test.

In Tuesday’s Budget, the Treasurer announced $3 million to reinstate the pension card to around 100,000 older Australians who lost their pension as a result of the assets test changes. 

Just a few months ago, the Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge said the issue of pensioner concessions was a matter for state, territory and local governments:  

PRESENTER: But do they lose their pensioner concession card because that gets them discounts on things like rego and council rates, utility bills as well?

TUDGE: That’s up to each local council and each state and territory government as to how they’re going to deal with that. I mean we deal with what the federal policy is…

PRESENTER: But you can’t give them any guarantee that on the other stuff. 

TUDGE: Well it’s up to each state and territory government what their policy decisions are.

Alan Tudge, RN Breakfast, 15 December 2016

All of a sudden Mr Tudge has realised the Federal Government can restore pensioner concessions to these seniors.

Pensioners know they can’t trust the Coalition.

In the 2015 Budget speech then Treasurer, Joe Hockey said:

Anyone who currently has a Pensioner Concession Card will continue to receive a concession card that provides the same benefits, such as subsidised utilities and transport.

Joe Hockey, 2015 Budget Speech  

It turns out Mr Hockey lied, and now the Liberals have had to scramble to fix the problem.

Pensioners remember the Turnbull Government’s pension cuts.

Pensioners remember that the Liberals tried to cut the pension indexation in the 2014 Budget – a cut that would have left pensioners around $80 a week worse off over a decade.

Pensioners know that Mr Turnbull is two-faced - giving a one off payment of $75 - less than $1.50 a week - to pensioners and at the same time he’s ripping away $365 every year from new pensioners.

Pensioners know Mr Turnbull still wants to increase the pension age to 70 – meaning that Australia will have the oldest pension age in the developed world.

They know the Liberal Party is the Party of pension cuts.

As soon as they get the chance the Liberals will always go after pensioners again and again.


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