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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Julia Gillard's pension is $2000 a week
Try walking in our shoes, PM ... how Julia
Gillard might look in a few years.
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard might have questioned a tiny rise for pensioners but she will walk away from Parliament with a pension of more than $2000 a week.
If she wins the election and serves at least a year in the nation's top job, her weekly pension would be even higher.
She would get a gold air pass permitting 40 business class flights a year, a car, staff and an office.
Angry pensioners forced to exist on a maximum single aged weekly rate of $350.55 yesterday asked Ms Gillard to spend a day in their slippers as they battle rising rates, electricity and grocery bills.
Pensioner groups were also alarmed, fearing they would have to start their struggle again after last year convincing former prime minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan they could not survive on the pension.
"Rudd got asked, Swan got asked, could you live on $273 a week, which was the amount of the pension at the time," Michael O'Neill, CEO of advocacy group National Seniors Australia, said.
"They couldn't. I hope we don't have to remind them that pensioners have meagre existences."
Antione Mangion from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association said of pensioners: "Certainly they shouldn't be underestimated as a group. We'd still like to see more being done, we haven't heard anything in this election campaign. It has been very disappointing for people on the pension."
The Prime Minister yesterday denied telling cabinet colleagues "old people never vote for us" but her admission that she questioned the pension rise drew criticism from struggling seniors, including from other Gillards.
Beryl Gillard, 83, from Pretty Beach on the Central Coast gets a part aged pension of $250 a week and a small "stipend" from her late husband's superannuation.
She was angry the PM was against increasing the aged pension by $30.
"She's a liar and a communist and we don't want communists in power," she said.
With rates of more than $2000, electricity, water, car registration and other household bills totalling about $20,000 a year - not factoring in groceries - Mrs Gillard said the PM should "come down and be a normal person and not throw herself around like she's too important".
Other pensioners were grateful Mr Rudd granted them a rise. Dawn Baker, 72 took out a reverse mortgage on her house but said the increase had taken her payment to $701 a fortnight.
"I don't have to think twice now if I want a couple of lamb chops," she said yesterday.
Kevin Preston, 76 said he was running out of money.
"I am part of Probus group. Today there was a trip to Berry for Christmas in July. It was too expensive, you do miss out," he said.
Ms Gillard said her questioning of the pension increase and maternity leave payments showed she was cautious of making sure the $50 billion policies were affordable.
"I understand some might say that if you don't sign on the bottom line as soon as a proposal is put in front of your nose, somehow you lack passion or enthusiasm for it. Frankly, I believe that analysis is completely ridiculous and absurd," she said.