Crikey Says

Feb 6, 2014

Crikey says: a new age has its limits

The Abbott government is softening the fall for financial planners, Crikey has learned. The media scramble for Schapelle's story -- but does she want to tell it? On the streets of Griffith ahead of Saturday's byelection. Meet the British stockbroker who brought down ANZ. An insider account of Thailand's political drama. And how to beat the taxman (and stay out of jail).

"The age of entitlement is over, the age of personal responsibility has begun."
So said Treasurer Joe Hockey on Monday. Fine sentiments. Hockey is to be congratulated for them, and for being willing to take tough decisions on General Motors and SPC Ardmona to illustrate them. But like any salesman's pitch, there were some hidden terms and conditions in the declaration, some fine print that you won't find in the media articles or transcripts. What Joe actually meant was that the age of entitlement is over -- unless you're:
  • Building "tourism infrastructure";
  • Getting a grant and not a "co-investment";
  • Not operating in a perfectly free market;
  • In a marginal seat;
  • The financial planning industry;
  • A high-income earner;
  • The big banks;
  • A private school;
  • A private health fund;
  • Redeveloping the Prime Minister’s local footy ground;
  • Rorting fringe benefits tax;
  • A major carbon emitter;
  • A transnational mining company; and
  • An MP or senator.
In which case it’s fine -- you’ll be looked after.

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8 thoughts on “Crikey says: a new age has its limits

  1. CML

    ….an investor, buying property and negative gearing it!

  2. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    No Wynn, only drought stricken farmers and only if they want to take on more debt. If they are orchardists in the SPC Ardmona catchment tough titties.

  3. Wynn

    Hugh yes very good point, although in the fullness of time I’ll be surprised if they leave the SPC suppliers completely high and dry (though I suppose they might reason there are casualties in every war). It’s also not right to put farmers in the bucket with the other rent-seekers, my point was they are traditional conservative voters.

  4. David Hand

    What an absolutely typical puerile editorial. This is the sort of shallow commentary replete in letters to the editor. You know, Holden is going and someone says “What about MP’s pay!!!”

    There’s no discussion to be found here about reining in the out of control social welfare beast that is gobbling up an ever greater slice of taxpayers’ money or locking in eternal deficits EC style. There’s not even any comment regarding that word much abused by Labor and the unions – fairness.

    Nope, just a low rent unfunny poke at the government.

  5. Malcolm Street

    David Hand – fine, let’s have a social welfare review that includes age pensions, which make up the bulk of welfare spending. Right? Or is it going to be like the UK, bashing non-age pension welfare recipients as the cause of the problem?

  6. David Hand

    Yep absolutely go after pensions. The main sin that pensioners might commit is to hide or gift assets in order to qualify. I would think that Australia’s trillion dollar plus super pot should begin to reduce pensions.

    But it’s no help for advocates to wheel out a deserving pin up to justify social welfare spending. What is real is if you add up all spending on health and social welfare, the size of the beast and its exponential growth means that our society will be simply unable to pay for it all very soon. The NSW health budget is $17bn and rising so fast that it will gobble up the entire NSW state budget in about 25 years. What that means is that a fiscal train wreck is coming.

    This is what has caused Hockey to attack the age of entitlements.

    Go after pensions if you like. You are going after people who have retired. Who have withdrawn from the labour market and who will die soon. OK I get your sentiment as they are coalition voters. Nothing to say about the 1.5 million Australians who draw unemployment and disability support payments and who are of working age? Ah that’s right. They vote for the left.

    My comment was not about deserving or undeserving. It was about our society’s ability to pay. And that’s what Hockey was talking about and this lefty puerile editorial was not.

  7. Malcolm Street

    Calm down David, I’m talking about including aged pensions in a *review*. The point is that due to the increase in the proportion of old age pensioners in the population due to longer lives and lower population growth rate aged pensions are going to be a major part of the increase in social welfare spending. There are plenty of actions that could be taken – include the primary dwelling in assets tests, bring back death duties, reimpose taxes on super lump sum withdrawels after 60. All political dynamite though…

    The “left puerile editorial” was simply saying that despite the rhetoric this government is only too happy to splash public money around to a whole raft of favourites.

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