Clive Palmer says he’ll work to reverse pension changes.
Clive Palmer says he’ll work to reverse pension changes. Warren Lynam

Palmer vows to fight changes to age pension

MEMBER for Fairfax Clive Palmer has vowed to fight changes to the age pension which many fear will impact middle-class retirees.

Legislation was this week passed to tighten the assets test for pensioners, which is set to raise the bar for homeowner couples by almost $90,000 to $375,000, but will double the rate at which the pension is reduced.

This will mean for every $1000 worth of assets above the threshold will change from $1.50 to $3.

The moves were expected to deliver a $30 fortnight increase for low-level pensioners, resulting in a boost for more than 170,000 pensioners, according to Social Services Minister Scott Morrison. These figures have been contested.

The deal to propel the legislation through both the Lower House and the Senate came on the back of an agreement between the Coalition and the Greens.

Mr Palmer said he had spent much of the past week negotiating with Greens' senators in a bid to block the move, which he believed would negatively affect Sunshine Coast pensioners, and vowed to fight to reverse the legislation if re-elected.

"I've been working with that in the Senate and we're trying to stop that," Mr Palmer said yesterday.

"There's a lot of people on the Sunshine Coast in that lower income bracket and we're fighting this as hard as we can.

"I don't care if I get re-elected or not, I'd rather try and make a difference and get things done rather than just appear to do so."

Mr Morrison had questioned those opposing the legislation in Parliament on Monday.

"If you have assets of up to $451,000 or thereabouts and your own family home, you would be getting an increase in the pension," he said.

"More than 90 percent of pensioners either are not affected by this change or get an increase."

Mr Palmer responded in Parliament on Monday, telling Mr Morrison he would continue his opposition to the amendments.

"If I am elected to the next parliament, I will be voting to reverse these measures because I think they are totally unfair and unreasonable," Mr Palmer said.

Mr Palmer had been absent during sittings last week, when preliminary votes on readings of the legislation were held, a pointless exercise for him to be involved in he said, given his work behind the scenes.



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