Backflip on bonus payments welcome
TWEED Heads pensioner Jan Salton and Opposition ageing spokeswoman Margaret May yesterday welcomed the federal government's "Ruddflip" that carers' and seniors' bonuses will be paid as lump sums. The confirmation by Treasurer Wayne Swan came after national outcry over a Budget "razor gang" plan to ditch the payments. "The Rudd government style appears to be one of%negative talk and generating panic and anxiety in the community," said Mrs May, the Gold Coast-based McPherson MP. "What has been particularly offensive was the way that Labor speakers (in Parliament) on this Matter of Public Importance (debate) kept talking like automatons on Work Choices,rather than about carers and pensioners. "The Minister for Ageing (Richmond MP Justine Elliot) did not even participate in the Matter of Public Importance debate. "This is disgraceful considering that carers and elderly Australians are her areas of responsibility. "The Rudd government and the Minister for Ageing did not acknowledge or recognise the importance of these bonuses. "So much for Labor's social inclusion policy. This was all about social exclusion." Ms Salton, 58, who has chronic breathing difficulties, requires a permanent artificial oxygen supply and relies on 79-year-old full-time carer Jimmy Winikerei, said she was pleased the bonuses had been retained. But she said payments%overall for pensioners and their carers were nowhere near enough. In Tuesday's Tweed Daily News, Mrs Salton wondered how Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would go as a full-time carer, getting up in the%middle of the night to deal with emergency situations. Ms Elliot said on Monday that she would always stand up for locals, and seniors and carers made invaluable contributions.