The 7.30 Report this evening featured a report on the woeful level of both the Age and Disability Pensions. About $273 per week. There are many calls to urgently increase this level for a Single person.
Even if people own their own homes (and that is by no means a given in this generation), they still face the same outgoings as a couple who get just over $456 each.
And it defies imagination to wonder how anyone could pay rent out of $273 and have anything left over to buy food, insurance, rego, medical etc.
Mr Rudd and Mr Swann have both admitted they couldn't live on this amount but maintain that no change will be offered until after the general tax review in February next year.
The generation we are talking about here includes the people (especially women) who didn't have much opportunity to save because of poor wages, staying home looking after children etc.
And Disability Pensioners are probably even worse off, given that they have not reached retirement age, often have little in the way of savings, rarely own their own home because of sickness having interrupted their careers, and they have additional medical costs.
We have a large surplus in the government coffers. Should the government, prior to the taxation review, make a one-off payment to pensioners to help them with what we all agree is the rising cost of living in every direction?