Scott Morrison scraps plan to raise pension age to 70

By @chelean on
An elderly lady shields herself from the sun with an umbrella while waiting for a bus in Sydney October 14.
An elderly lady shields herself from the sun with an umbrella while waiting for a bus in Sydney October 14. Reuters/David Gray

Scott Morrison has scrapped the pension age rise to 70. In his first policy backdown since becoming Australia’s prime minister, Morrison said the plan to increase the pension age from 65 was “gone.”

The eligibility for pension is at 65 and six months. This will increase by six months every two years until it hits 67 in 2023. The Coalition had been planning to raise the retirement age to 70 since former treasurer Joe Hockey announced it in 2014.

But on Wednesday, Morrison told the Today Show that he had changed his mind. The pension age will not increase anymore.

“Next week, cabinet will be ratifying a decision to reverse taking the pension, the retirement age to 80. It will remain at 67,” he said.

“I don’t think we need that measure any longer when it comes to raising the pension age and it is one of the things I will be changing very quickly,” he further explained, adding he has already talked to his colleague about the change.

“We will ratify it next week. The pension age going to 70, gone.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said increasing the pension age to 70 was always a “dumb idea.” He said Morrison’s about-face was indicative of the prime minister’s indecisiveness.

“Who is the real Scott Morrison,” Shorten was quoted by 9News as saying. “And do you really trust him? Scott Morrison was the treasurer and wrote the last three budgets. He wanted to increase the retirement age to 70 from the very first time it was suggested.

“Is he the man who was the treasurer for the last three years or is he someone different now?” he continued. “Scott Morrison needs to explain what he really believes in.”

If the Coalition won control of the senate at the next election, Shorten said they would bring back the lifting of retirement age.