SUBJECT: Age Pension
LINDA BURNEY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES, SHADOW MINISTER FOR PREVENTING FAMILY VIOLENCE, MEMBER FOR BARTON: Well, good morning everyone. Thank you for coming. What does Scott Morrison stand for? There have been five budgets since 2014, that he has been part of that have advocated pension age of 70. For three years as Treasurer he has argued time and time again, voted time and time again, that the pension age qualification should be 70. Why has he in a rush, come out on a morning breakfast program and announced a drop of the pension age? He has done it to get ahead of leaks. This government is dysfunctional. It is not working. And it is leaking like a sieve. Scott Morrison did not take this decision to drop the age of 70 in the pension to Cabinet. He has not spoken to his cabinet colleagues in a formal sense. He has made this announcement as some sort of right for him to do so. Pensioners and Australians will not be fooled. They know Scott Morrison has overseen three budgets where he wanted the pension age qualification to be 70 years old. Labor has talked to construction workers. We’ve talked to blue collar workers. We’ve talked to nurses. And they have said to us that 70 is too old. Scott Morrison cannot be trusted. He stands for nothing. And he has a dysfunctional government where he has to go and make these sort of very big announcements on morning television without actually going through the proper processes of his cabinet. This is a major major indication of just how dysfunctional and how much leaking is going on within the Morrison Government. The pension age and pensioners are very – Labor sees the pension age and pensioners as very important people. And Scott Morrison and his government have treated them with contempt; contempt without discussing things with them; contempt in saying that people can work ‘til they’re 70, and then suddenly back flipping on that today without any discussion or consultation with anyone. Dysfunctional, broken, leaking, that’s what this indicates of the Morrison Government.
JOURNALIST: Does Labor support the announcement itself, that the retirement ago should no longer be 70?
BURNEY: Labor believes through our discussions with blue collar workers, with nurses, with the community, that the pension age should be 67. That’s what we’ve talked about. And that’s what our position is. But the Morrison government for five – from 2014 onwards, had advocated that the pension age should be 70. It is the question you should be putting to Scott Morrison. What has brought about this backflip? And why haven’t you taken this through your cabinet processes? Is it because you don’t trust your cabinet colleagues? Is it because there is so much leaking going on?
JOURNALIST: Regardless of the reason, is this good news for pensioners?
BURNEY: It is really appropriate, as I have said, through Labor’s consultations that the pension age be set where Labor has set it, and that is eventually 67. That’s what people have told us as the appropriate age. The fact that Scott Morrison has back flipped on something that he has said for five years should be 70 is an indication of just where his thinking is at. He can’t be trusted on this. And pensioners know this. And Australians do as well.
JOURNALIST: Just on another issue, thousands of child care workers, early childhood workers around the country will walk off the job early today in protest of low pay. What do you think should be done to help them?
BURNEY: Well Labor supports early childhood workers and child care. It is such an important part of a person’s educational journey. Early childhood education sets a young person up for a life of loving, learning – and of learning. Child care workers are not babysitters. We value child care workers, we value the child care system and understand and support the action of child care workers today.
JOURNALIST: What would Labor do differently to avoid something like this?
BURNEY: Well Labor values child care workers and we have been working with the child care sector and the people around the child care sector in terms of making sure that child care workers are treated with proper respect and that early childhood education is seen as a very important part of the educational journey, not just a babysitting exercise.