Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's time to double double the Disability Support Pension!

Well, it's been a while since I've blogged, but hell; in the true tradition of 2008; the year where things keep on happening..... and happening...... have those politicians suddenly found a bone of compassion; or perhaps more to the point; a guilty conscience? or being serious, have the poles moved to opposite sides? :) :)

It was early September when to my amazement, and somewhat amusement, I actually saw Wayne Swan, Julia Gillard, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd and a host of other politicians declare that they "COULD NOT LIVE ON THE PENSION".  The sights and sounds of pensioners stealing the headlines of the day, on the evening news and current affair shows was a somewhat strange reality.

At first, I was very excited and hopeful that us "Disability Support Pensioners" would be lifted out of financial poverty, up to an income were we could afford things like dining out, take away food, wardrobe updates, broadband internet, and yeah; the occasional luxury... a holiday.

Though the momentum was charging along, to my disgrace, two issues were hijacking the debate; a single group of pensioners just thinking about them selves, rather then thinking of all pensioners, and the same old politicians attitude; there's no urgency, we've got the next twenty years to figure it out.

This segment from ABC Radio's AM program from Tuesday morning 23rd September highlights the firery debate in parliament, and how us "Disability Support Pensioners" are left out in the cold.
5 minutes and 18 seconds

The Liberal manager of Business in the Senate, Helen Coonan puts forward the pension rise bill, but only covers old age pensioners.  Why just one group?  That must of been the reason why Labor voted it down.

In the second portion of the above podcast, Tony Eastley notes how disability pensioners face considerable costs above food, clothing and housing.  Faye Druett, a vice-president of the lobby group, People with Disabilities Australia, notes how she recently paid a $550 electricity bill for her heating.  This is something I relate to very much, as the heater remained off at my place, just a case of wearing ten layers of clothes during our last winter.

One of my friends from Kingsford has to take taxies everywhere, because of the condition of her legs.  Though she receives the MT40 taxi subsidy, her transport costs are very expensive.  Another one of my friends, who I worked with in Blacktown radio twelve years ago, had his pension totally consumed by home-care costs, as he suffered Spina bifida.

This next news-bite from ABC's 7:00 news later on that day shows the politicians taking their time, debating how to do something, that really is a no-brainer.  I suppose you can imagine the analogy of 40 politicians getting together to ad a dollar in change, and them taking five months to do it.
About 3 minutes

On Tuesday 9th September, ABC's Nightlife presenter; Tony Delroy aired a program with Centrelink's general manager; Hank Jongen.  This show generally covered several centrelink issues; however note one of the people, Martin, who rings in eighteen minutes into the show, expressing much disgust on the little amount of money that is the DSP.
43 minutes and 25 seconds

Wednesday 10th September saw Nightlife's Tony Delroy deal again with the pensioner issue, this time with the "Issue of the Day" segment.  One of his first callers is June who notes "AGAIN" how more then half of her pension is eaten up by her rent.

Note about ten minutes into the program, Roger who meagerly exists with having to leave his car in the garage, because he can't afford to run it, and lives on cereal and a small meal every day.  I wonder if Keven Rudd has any real idea?
44 minutes and 25 seconds

Though Tony notes that Australia's Welfare bill is somewhere in the facility of $60 million a year (possibly billions), the conservative argument here would be that social security is a bottomless pit, and that pensioners can't always get what they want.  It is the conservative argument that these people should just go out and get a job.

Funny though, when the tables are turned, and when it comes to the corporate world of manager directors and Wall Street, taking sloppy, irresponsible risks with huge amounts of money, there seems to be an open "entitlement" attitude.  There seems to be an expectation where the government of the day should just "bail them out".  As noted in the recent congress bill of the United States, this "just bail them out" attitude was in the path of US$700 billion.

Without the bagging of any right or left view, or the cry of any pity or shame, I think that it is time for all to sit up and have an honest look on the plight of disability pensioners.  In particular, those who really would like to work, but genuinely can't, because of the nature of their disability.  They still is a fixed idea in many minds that those who have such a condition should just rot on the scrap heap.

Without gloating, I guess I've been very lucky this year, and have found several people who have been able to look at me with a different light, to view my strengths, rather then my weaknesses.  I guess it's a time when I'm able to progress in life, and on the way, hopefully highlight some of the issues I've had with the pension, particularly so with Asperger's Syndrome.

For the last media bite in this blog, I have dug up a segment from Sunday 5th October that went to air on 2UE's weekend program with George Moore.  He is interviewing Barbara (finance journalist for Money lift out of the Sydney Morning Herald) who notes that the average annual pensioner amount is $19,000.

Unfortunately this program like many of them were skewed toward the old age pension, but she spoke about a Westpac retirement index where they estimate how much money would be required for a basic standard of retirement.  Again the issue here was that the recipient would not be able to eat out, have take-away, couldn't have holidays and would have trouble trying to run a car, if the rate was 19 grand a year.  This is $4,000 more then the disability support pension.

The main focal point of this bite is George Moore statement on how all pensioners are at the MERCY of the government.
10 minutes and 25 seconds

So to rap up, it is quite an incredible thing to hear that so many of the power-brokers of this country note how they can't live on a pension, but they seem to have all the time in the world to commission reports and find excuses.

So until a miracle happens, happy pensioning. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment