Pension age to rise to 70

Joe Hockey
Joe Hockey
Australians born from 1965 will have to wait until they turn 70 before being eligible for the age pension, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has confirmed.

But even more immediately, Australians who visit the doctor are likely to have to make a $6 co-payment, and retired politicians might have to live without some of their entitlements.

In his last major speech before the May 13 budget, Mr Hockey vowed there would be no "accounting tricks".

Instead, the budget would be based on solid, realistic assumptions.

"It will be the budget we were elected to deliver," he told the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne on Friday.

The treasurer justified the need for an increase in age pension eligibility, saying it gave people time to get their financial arrangements in order.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was dismissive, telling reporters: "We don't believe the way to get the budget doing better is by attacking the vulnerable, the poor and the sick."

Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan believes the government must address as a high priority the needs of older people wanting to work now.

"We need to address age discrimination," she said in statement, adding the treasurer's plan provided a window of opportunity to change employer attitudes, social infrastructure and training programs.

Mr Hockey also said the budget would not be asking Australians to pay for entitlements politicians receive but would never get themselves.

Earlier, he declined to confirm talk that retired politicians would lose their "gold pass" for travel.

As well, the government should only do for people what they cannot do for themselves "and no more".

In his strongest indication yet about a Medicare co-payment, Mr Hockey said government services were not "magically free" and a contribution to their delivery seemed a logical and equitable step.

"There is no such thing as a free visit to the doctor," he said.

The National Commission of Audit, in its report to the government, recommended a $15 charge after 15 visits.

While Mr Hockey has said the government will wait until the budget before responding to the commission's 86 recommendations, his leader has been more forthcoming.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott ruled out abolishing a commonwealth scheme that subsidises freight transport between Tasmania and the mainland.

Retailers are starting to worry about talk surrounding a deficit levy or higher income tax rates.

Myer boss Bernie Brookes says the department store is prepared for a potential drop-off in consumer spending following the budget.

Nevertheless it was getting "pretty good" at working through such events, citing the global financial crisis as an example.

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