“Elderly People are increasingly retiring on Newstart”

In October 2014, the coalition Government declared that it is “no longer acceptable for 55-59 year olds to effectively retire on Newstart”. Under the coalition’s plan, older jobseekers will be forced to hunt for full-time jobs – a task previously only required of under 55s – or face losing their Newstart payments altogether.

There are many things wrong with the government’s policy which blames elderly Australians for being unemployed. In fact, the reasoning behind it is based in a number of the myths already mentioned.

First: it upholds the myth that Australians can always find work if they try hard enough, regardless of how old they are. This myth could not be more wrong when applied to Australians in their 50s, who are becoming unemployed at a rate 5 times faster than those in their 20s. In a country where there are ten job seekers competing for every job vacancy, the fact of the matter is that elderly Australians are at a disadvantages in the Job market. Instead of blaming unemployed people for failing to find jobs that don’t exist, why doesn’t the government do something about it and create some jobs?

Second: it is clearly based on the myth that Australia spends too much money on welfare. Following on from this myth, the government views it as necessary to take a tough stance on all those dependent on welfare, or ‘leaners’ as it call them. Ironically, the opposite is true. Even suggesting that people would choose to retire on Newstart – which stands at 36% below the poverty line – is a cruel joke.


  1. How does one retire on Newstart? It is a transition payment to provide some income whilst looking for a job. Problem is that 55-59 year old job seekers find that jobs are not there. I’d rather be employed than an ‘retiree’ on Newstart.
    The governments role (both parties) should be creating jobs for all people, rather than casting them aside.

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