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
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
"It will be the budget we were elected to deliver," he told
the Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne on
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
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
"There is no such thing as a free visit to the doctor," he
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