Seniors’ party puts superannuation, ageing on election agenda  

ELECTION: Among the political parties vying for votes on 2 July is the Mature Australia Party, which says it has a special commitment to the interests of people aged over 50.

ELECTION: Among the political parties vying for votes on 2 July is the Mature Australia Party, which says it has a special commitment to the interests of people aged over 50.  

A dispute in a Queensland retirement village two years ago prompted a group of seniors to form their own political party, now called the Mature Australia Party, which is campaigning on issues including aged care and superannuation ahead of the 2 July election.

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While the party originally sought to focus on Queensland issues and contest state elections, the positive response from seniors all over Australia encouraged them to go national, according to Colin Walker, one of the party’s original executive members.

“The party had its genesis in discontent at the treatment of senior citizens in a retirement village on the Gold Coast who felt they needed their own party to make their voices heard, their needs and aspirations to be considered and realised, and some political redress for what they saw as official discrimination against pensioners, self-funded retirees and people in aged care and their carers,” said Mr Walker.

While the initial focus was on Queensland, the mood for change was spreading and the party’s focus changed to reflect that, he said.

“We became aware that the discontent and disenchantment – with politics, political parties and politicians generally – was far wider than initially realised and it covered many more areas of political policy and action. That too is reflected in Mature Australia’s policies it is taking to the 2 July election,” said Mr Walker.

The party is fielding Senate candidates in every state and one in the ACT, and House of Representatives candidates in Queensland, Western Australia and NSW. It has membership in all states and territories aged from 18 to 80-plus, said Mr Walker.

The party has described its core principles as being equity before the law, eradication of discrimination, increased accountability by government, and more direct say for the public at all levels of government.

But it stressed that it had a very special commitment to the interests of the over 50s “on whose shoulders, contributions and efforts the party was launched and has grown.”

Some of the party’s age-related policy proposals include:

  • the establishment of a national system of health clinics for the ageing, similar in style and operation to postnatal clinics for babies and their mothers.
  • raising the aged pension base rate to 75 per cent of the statutory national minimum wage – to around $500 per week, on present levels – and maintaining all existing benefits and entitlements
  • maintaining levels of government support for family members and other carers of older people, those living with disability and the disadvantaged, and “adequate recognition” for the efforts of the volunteers and their economic contribution
  • removing restrictions on self-funded retirees superannuation savings and benefits, and specific legislation prohibiting future governments from “pirating” super funds

You can read all the party’s policies on its website.

Paul Quinn, 61, one of the party’s Senate candidates in NSW, told AAA that the political landscape had changed and the traditional parties had “lost their way.”

Seniors were being ignored by governments, and the lack of certainty around retirement and superannuation policy was causing worry for many people, but seniors in particular, he said.

“It seems to be focused on the younger people… and not the people who’ve worked most of their lives, contributed to the economy over that time, paid off a home, put their kids through school, and are now are being classified as wealthy because they own a home,” Mr Quinn said.

Many older people had no security or certainty of their standard of living in retirement as governments were frequently changing their positions on superannuation, he said. “Their retirement plans can’t be set in stone; I can’t tell you what my retirement plans will be for the next five years, because I can’t tell you what the government will do in the next five years.”

Mr Quinn said he believed the party would grow over time as it sought to support and defend “Australia’s maturing population.”

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Tags: aged-care, colin walker, election-2016, Mature Australia Party, paul quinn, policy, superannuation,

2 thoughts on “Seniors’ party puts superannuation, ageing on election agenda  

  1. I have not heard any comments by any party on reducing the entitlements for pensioners traveling overseas for 6 months down to 6 weeks before they lose their pensions. Is this not an issue for seniors. I understand it is coming in to force on the 1 of January 2017.

  2. I didn’t hear anyone query the lowering of the assets test which comes into effect on 1st Jan 2017. I feel the drop was too dramatic surely it could have been eased in. Did the Seniors party have any say in this? Surely there had to be someone who supported the pensioners. Obviously not.

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