HON. WAYNE SWAN MP
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LILLEY
CONSTITUENCY STATEMENT (ENERGY SUPPLEMENT)
FEDERATION CHAMBER, CANBERRA
MONDAY 20 MARCH 2017
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Over the four long years of the Abbott-Turnbull government pensioners in Lilley and right across the country have endured economic assault after economic assault from the Liberal Party. First of all the Liberals tried to cut the age pension by $80 a week over a decade. After that they decided to get stuck into the incomes of part pensioners, and some 330,000 part pensioners right across Australia had their incomes cut. Then they came up with the bright idea to slash pensioner concessions by $1.3 billion—and there is much more.
But now 1.7 million low-income Australians will lose their energy supplement if Malcolm Turnbull's cuts pass the Senate. For single pensioners this will be $14.10 per fortnight, or $365 a year. For couple pensioners this will be $21.20 per fortnight, which is around $550 a year. These are people who have worked hard all of their life to make our country great, and this is what the Liberals do to them. The response I have had in the electorate has been phenomenal. People are writing in and talking about the fact that they live in the dark now; they can barely afford their power bills.
This is a government whose top priority is to hack into the living standards of pensioners and other low-income earners whilst at the same time giving corporates a $50 billion tax cut. This is a government which is very strong in controlling the weak and very weak in controlling the strong. Labor has a record of fighting for pensioners. Labor, in 2009, gave pensioners in this country the single biggest increase they had ever received in the history of the age pension. Ever since then the Liberals have set about pulling that apart and cutting it. On this side of the House we are fighting these cuts every step of the way. We understand that we live in a community; we do not live in a corporation. The Prime Minister, the 'Prince of Point Piper', thinks we live in a corporation.
Pensioners are under assault daily through the Centrelink debt recovery system, the so-called robocall system. They have all been 'Tudged'. Mr Tudge has been out there hacking away at their income. I have had numerous pensioners in my local area come to me with bills that could not be justified. At every level—the level of the pension, the level of concessions and now the energy supplement—they are under assault. Pensioners in Australia, who have worked hard to make our country great, deserve a fair go. They deserve a lot more than the attacks they are receiving from the Turnbull government.