April 10th 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Economic underclass behind marriage and fertility decline

EDITORIAL: Uncommunicative patients - a call on our compassion

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Latham Iraq gaffe signals the honeymoon is over

STRAWS IN THE WIND: The next Four Corners? / Granada

SOCIETY: Who benefits from drugs?

AGRICULTURE: Farmers rallying to fight for industries

ECONOMY: Australia's foreign debt set to grow

The Passion (letter)

Sugar prices (letter)

Tobacco and pharmaceuticals (letter)

Ageing population (letter)

ETHICS: The ethical responsibility of a Christian politician

ECONOMY: US-Australia Free trade agreement and the national interest

TAIWAN ELECTION: Saved by commonsense

PAKISTAN: Inside Pakistan's nuclear weapons program

HONG KONG: Poll battle looms over democratic reforms

BOOKS: Benign or Imperial? Reflections on American Hegemony, by Owen Harries

FILM REVIEW: The Last Samurai

Books promotion page

Ageing population (letter)

by Janos Paskandy

News Weekly, April 10, 2004

I couldn't agree more with your article, "Band-aids won't solve Australia's ageing problem" (NW, March 13), but as a Hungarian proverb says: "Blind chickens find grain too". Of the four options our Treasurer listed, the one that would have retirees not take their lump sum and keep on working longer may well be the best option, if developed a little further.

Taking a lump sum at retirement and using it to fulfill a life's dream was, and is, the primary long-term motivator to battle on for many of us, no matter what. It allows us to make sacrifices and do the right thing by having children in the first place, sending them to an independent school, driving them from sporting activities to the music lessons etc, instead of spending time and money on ourselves, driving flash cars and/or regularly holidaying overseas. It will be all right when we retire.

Costello's idea would take that motivator away and shatter many decent and dutiful citizens' life-long dream. It would be most unfair to punish those, who have made the right choice and provided society with the next generation of taxpayers. If, however, the idea would become means-tested to the number of children in a family, the picture would be quite different.

A no-children, no-lump sum policy, with the old-age pension means-tested to the number of taxpayers people gave society, could go a very long way not only to band-aiding the taxpayer shortage, but to cure many ills of today's society, including those that contribute to the ageing problem.

Janos Paskandy,
Mirabooka, WA

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