Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Don't Clock off at 65; Compton Vows to Fight on for Later Retirement

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Don't Clock off at 65; Compton Vows to Fight on for Later Retirement

Article excerpt

Byline: Tracey Johnstone

EVERALD Compton controversially remains an enthusiastic supporter of retirement at 70 as Australia's politicians back down on the planned change in the pension age.

The outspoken champion of senior rights and past chairman of National Seniors has plenty to say about the recent "vote-grabbing" decision by newly appointed Prime Minister Scott Morrison to scrap the plan to increase the pension age to 70 by 2035.

When it was first proposed in 2014, Mr Compton said he pushed for the age to be increased to 70 and his attitude hadn't changed.

"Australia simply can't afford people retiring at 65 unless they are physically unable to do the work that is required," he said.

Nor does the gravelly voiced 86-year-old think 65 is old.

"Back when the pension was introduced by Deakin and Fisher in 1909, they chose 65 because that was the age when most people died," he said.

"Therefore they said, 'Anyone who lives beyond that age, we better look after them.'

"A hundred years later, life span has increased by 20 years so the equivalent of 65 in 1909 is 85 so I don't know why we are getting terribly excited about having to raise it to 70."

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's Older Australians at a Glance report, released this month, notes: "In 2014-16, Australian men aged 65 could expect to live another 20 years and women another 22 years."

Dollars and sense

Mr Compton believes older Australians shouldn't be a financial burden on younger generations. He notes the rising pension cost as more Australians live longer and adds that another five years of work means another five years of superannuation contributions.

His solution is twofold. Raise the retirement age to 70 to slow down the cost of the pension and create more job opportunities for older workers.

"It's up to governments to create work for people in their senior years instead of denigrating seniors who want to work or simply declaring seniors as a burden," Mr Compton said. …

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