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Greens, coalition defend pensions policy

Canberra [AAP]

The Abbott government and the Greens are defending a deal to tighten tests for the aged pension, saying Labor has made a mistake in deciding to oppose the measures.

‘I felt I had an obligation to support what was one of very, very few decent measures in the Abbott budget,’ Greens leader Richard Di Natale told ABC TV on Wednesday.

It will mean about 170,000 pensioners will get an extra $15 a week, while about 91,000 home-owning retirees will lose their part pension and another 235,000 will have their pension reduced.

The government, in exchange for Greens support, has agreed to give a six-week extension to its tax white paper to explicitly look at all retirement income arrangements, including superannuation.

However it maintains there will be no change to superannuation arrangements in this term of government, and has no plans for changes after that.

Labor says the Greens have sold out pensioners.

‘Tony Abbott has said day after day in the parliament that he is not going to change the tax concessions on superannuation,’ opposition families spokeswoman Jenny Macklin told ABC radio.

Senator Di Natale accepts the government is unlikely to act on superannuation.

‘But here is a blueprint for a future Labor government for them to be able to use and adopt,’ he said.

‘It also lays the groundwork should there be a change of PM in this government to change tact on superannuation tax concessions.’

Senator Di Natale says Labor has made the wrong call.

Social Services Minister Scott Morrison wasn’t surprised Labor is opposing the government changes to the pension.

‘Now he’s left stranded, absolutely stranded on an island of his own making,’ he told Sky News.

Mr Morrison said Labor was ‘quite divided and riven’ over the decision, claiming Ms Macklin supported the government’s plans.


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