Iain Hall's SANDPIT

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Oh Joe, you might have just blown it

(Reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion)

Oops, there goes the over-55's vote.

“We need to compare ourselves with our Asian neighbours, where the entitlements programs of the state are far less than they are in Australia”

Every political party has ’em. Jovial looking big boys of wide-girth whose demeanour and sales pitch more resembles that of the used car salesman than a parliamentarian. Blokes who shoot their mouths off. Who talk first and think later, or don’t even think at all.

The ALP has one but he’s a back bencher and I can’t even think of his name. You know, the largish chap with the beard who’s no fan of the carbon tax but who Gillard manages to keep out of the spotlight.

The Nats have one too, albeit not-so-large, in Barnaby Joyce. He doesn’t do a lot of real damage either, even though he gets confused between millions and billions, because most people think Barnaby is half-pissed most of the time.

As for the Liberals though, well they’ve got the biggest buffoon of all and, worse still, he’s their Shadow Treasurer meaning, potentially, he will hold the purse strings of the nation and the second highest office in the land if Abbott wins the next election. His name is Joe Hockey of course.

And ‘Big Joe’ might have dealt a serious blow to Abbott’s election hopes with his big-noting address in London titled ‘The End of the Age of Entitlement’ followed by his foot-in-mouth (but revealing) interview on Lateline where he foreshadowed his party’s plans to “scale back the size of its welfare bill” if they are elected :

“We are all living longer, and the longer we rely on government handouts, the greater the burden for taxpayers and particularly those that follow,” he told Lateline.

“We need to be vigilant. We need to compare ourselves with our Asian neighbours, where the entitlements programs of the state are far less than they are in Australia.

“If we talk about the Asian century … then the Asian countries are our competition, our children’s competition.

“Hong Kong is our direct competition, as is Singapore, as is Korea in different ways, Vietnam, Indonesia.”

Hmm, Hong Kong, Joe? Where they have a top tax rate of just 17% benefitting the top-end, but where they also have no welfare safety net whatsoever – i.e. no old age pensions. Is that the type of system you want to model Australia’s future on?

Maybe so ….

When you look at Europe in particular, and France in particular, nearly 30 per cent of GDP is going towards public welfare and health care and pension costs. “That compares with other countries in Europe which are between 20 and 30 per cent. Australia is at 16 per cent, Korea at about 10 per cent. So, obviously the age of entitlement is coming to an end because governments are running out of money and the debt is now crippling governments.”

So our welfare at only 16% of GDP is too high, Joe? And you’d like it to be closer to the likes of Korea? Tell me, Joe, will you need an old-age pension when you retire? No, of course not – you’ll be on a fat parliamentary pension of about $250,000 per year for life!

You know, I reckon the quickest way to lose a massive amount of voter support is to do exactly as Joe has done – to threaten older people with their loss of ‘entitlement’. Well done, Joe – you just shot your own party right in the foot.

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10 Comments

  1. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain said (on the other thread):

    if you read what he is actaully suggesting I think you will find that he is focusing much more on the so called “middle class welfare” than old age and disability pensions. In any event both sides of politics have been furiously promoting superannuation over the last decade precisely because they want to reduce the obligations of the commonwealth to pay the old age pension in the face of an aging population.

    No, Iain. No way. Hockey was definitely talking about families looking after the elderly in lieu of a pension, like they do in Asia.

    Yes, both sides have been pushing self-funding and I agree with that principle (*). There will be too many people on pensions otherwise. However, you and I (and everyone else) know full well that due to several factors (**), most people’s super will go nowhere near funding any kind of retirement and, for the next 10 years at least, most retiring will be needing assistance.

    (* I think the best way is to manage your own portfolio but that’s hard to do if you’re a salary earner because you can’t touch it until it’s not there!)

    (** One of the reasons super has failed is that Howard failed to increase contributions from Keating’s initial 9% base during his 11 years in office. He also failed to rein in dodgy super fund managers who lost/ripped off a lot of investor’s money for them)

  2. Iain Hall says:

    No, Iain. No way. Hockey was definitely talking about families looking after the elderly in lieu of a pension, like they do in Asia.

    No Government would abolish welfare Ray and to claim that is what Hockey is suggesting is rather disingenuous, that said do you really think that encouraging people to help look after their elderly relatives would be any worse than the system we have now where the infirm and elderly are warehoused until they cark it at great expense to both the family and the community?

    Yes, both sides have been pushing self-funding and I agree with that principle (*). There will be too many people on pensions otherwise. However, you and I (and everyone else) know full well that due to several factors (**), most people’s super will go nowhere near funding any kind of retirement and, for the next 10 years at least, most retiring will be needing assistance.

    Personally I’m rather unimpressed with the concept of superannuation mainly because it seems to be wholly predicated upon an every growing economy and an ever raising stock market. My Mother in law has been very prudent with her investment only to find that her returns have been shall we say less than impressive.

    (* I think the best way is to manage your own portfolio but that’s hard to do if you’re a salary earner because you can’t touch it until it’s not there!)

    well I think that the best thing that you can do toward your retirement is own the roof over your head ASAP

    (** One of the reasons super has failed is that Howard failed to increase contributions from Keating’s initial 9% base during his 11 years in office. He also failed to rein in dodgy super fund managers who lost/ripped off a lot of investor’s money for them)

    I would not be so hard on Howard here Ray because as may brother pointed out with regard to recent raising of the super levy it just makes it more expensive to employ anyone

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    I repeat, Iain, Hockey was definitely hinting (strongly hinting) that there’ll be a big crack down on aged pensions if the coalition gets in. I didn’t say he would abolish it altogether but there is no doubting what he meant. He’s not “encouraging people to help look after their elderly relatives” he’s talking about forcing people to provide the care of their elederly if they have the means … by taking the pension away from the elderly person even though they qualify for one in their own right. So you’ll only get the pension if your kids are poor too. Do you think that’s right?

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Ray
    that is just not going to happen and the only reason you are grabbing on to the idea that is that you think it makes a good scare headline that might possibly slow down the rush of voters away form the ALP.
    It won’t do that because I won’t happen.

  5. Ray Dixon says:

    It will happen, Iain. The coalition will be means-testing the kids of aged pensioners, if they get in. Wanna bet?

  6. Iain Hall says:

    A bottle of red says they won’t do it Ray 😉

  7. Ray Dixon says:

    You’re on. I prefer that to Scotch. Make it, um, oh (I won’t go too grand), how about a Victorian Shiraz at least 5 years old and in the $20 – $30 range? Plenty of great wines in that bracket.

  8. Iain Hall says:

    Well I’ll enjoy trying that Ray 😉
    Shall we say by the end of Tony Abbott’s first term or his third?

  9. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, if Abbott gets in by a sizeable majority he’ll do it first term and hope he hangs on for a 2nd. So first term it is.

  10. Simon says:

    The Tony Jones interview on Lateline, and what should have been a simple segment about Joe (Hockey) telling the European’s to tighten their belts if they expecting to get any Aussie promises for the IMF financial fire-wall, degenerated to almost political hara-kiri. Poor Joe must have been tired because he seemed to dig a deeper and deeper hole for himself without much prompting from Tony (Jones). I do wonder if part of the problem is an unwillingness by the opposition to establish strong positions as to what they will and wont do, instead of this “keeping all options on the table” as to what they may or may not change when they come to power. Might have helped Joe from appearing apprehensive in staking a position and instead of giving the impression that anything and everything might be slashed from future government spending. They could never be elected on a Hong Kong style platform of 15% tax but no social security, and I’m sure the liberals and nationals would never dream of proposing it – but thanks to Joe it’s now out there, and potentially scaring away voters.

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