The Pension Savings Account Myth.

I posted this at The Pub in July 2019. I’m posting it again here because the topic has come up again and I’m having a Twitter argument with a bloke who swears there was a scheme specifically to pay for pensions and “we all” paid into it. I think it might save me a lot of searching if I can keep all this information handy.

The current focus on pensions and a tweet I saw yesterday reminded me of some nonsense that keeps popping up on social media.

It’s the daft idea that Australians, in pre-compulsory superannuation days (some say it’s still going on) used to pay part of their tax into a special government pension fund set up to pay only pensions. Some versions of this myth tell us what sort of pension you ended up getting depended on how much you had paid in.

It’s all complete and utter rubbish, pushed partly by the same types that delighted in telling us the myth about Tony Abbott missing out by two days on getting his prime minister’s pension- he didn’t. He will be getting his full ex-politician, ex-PM entitlements by now.

How did this myth start? Most likely (like the Abbott one) by someone doing a half-arsed search, finding something that seemed to agree with their thinking, grabbing onto that and not bothering to read any further.

When the age pension started in 1908 (for men only, at first) it was financed from general revenue and it stayed that way. In 1945 new benefits were added to the Commonwealth’s social security payments, and the Chifley government introduced a system where a percentage of income tax funds would go towards social security. It was a levy, similar to the Medicare levy we now have, used to meet the increasing cost of wartime and post-war welfare, and was a way of increasing taxes while not seeming to increase them. A “National Welfare Fund” was set up to receive this money. This is where we get the misapprehension we still hear today, people talking about “paying tax all my life” and expecting to get an age pension in retirement whether they meet the assets test or not. Despite what some people still believe today the welfare fund did not mean Australians started contributing to their own pension funds or the government started setting aside money for each taxpayer in the event they might one day need an invalid pension or the dole. The amount each taxpayer contributed had nothing to do with how much they eventually might receive in benefits. In fact the tax income for the fund was not enough to meet the cost of social security payments and it had to be topped up from general revenue.

In 1947 the various social security cash payments were consolidated into a single payment by a new Social Services Act.

The Menzies government stopped the levy in 1950, and tax payments went back to going entirely into general revenue.

Despite that there are tweeters and Facebook addicts who assure us the non-existent legislation that allowed these mythical personal funds has never been repealed (it was, in 1985) and therefore the government has been secretly taking tax revenue and stashing it away. I’ve even seen people who have calculated that “the government” owes them hundreds of thousands, paid in over their working lives. I’ve seen them demand “their” money.

Yesterday someone tweeted at me about this, claiming there are people “still alive” who have paid into these funds and deserve their money. Somehow they had it all mixed up with deeming rates.

Some reading –

History of Pensions and Benefits in Australia.
https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/3d68c56307742d8fca257090002029cd/8e72c4526a94aaedca2569de00296978!OpenDocument

The National Welfare Fund.
https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:%22library/prspub/4511255%22

 

Update.

Since that was written I’ve found the legislation that finally repealed the National Welfare Fund in 1985.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2004A03063

The  1943 legislation to establish the fund –

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C1943A00012

The 1945 bill to amend the original legislation to allow age pensions to be paid from this fund.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2004A03063

Hansard of the 1952 House of Representatives debate on the National Welfare Fund Bill 1952, a bill to stop paying social security benefits from this fund.

https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A”hansard80%2Fhansardr80%2F1952-09-18%2F0087″;src1=sm1

And the Senate debate –

https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22hansard80%2Fhansards80%2F1952-10-16%2F0127%22;src1=sm1

There is a lot more information about the fund in the 1952 debate.

Nothing anyone says, no amount of facts, no amount of links to legislation and commentary will convince these fools that there never was a special government fund set up just to pay pensions. Many still believe “the government” is sitting on billions of dollars of “their” money.

I give up. You cannot argue with stupid people.

Painkillers and Me

This morning I saw this article from Sophia Irvine, apparently a freelance writer who managed to get this nonsense published by IA.

https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/pharmacists-are-overstepping-moral-boundaries,13151

I don’t pay much attention to IA, the articles are mostly poorly researched and there is never any real “news”, just opinion pieces run days after a newsworthy event has taken place.

This article was just more of the same. I found it absolute nonsense.

I have long experience in painkillers containing codeine.

Here goes.

In my younger days, like most young women I knew, I used Panadeine for period pain. I suffered badly from that, ordinary paracetamol or aspirin did nothing, I needed codeine as well.

I never took much, usually two tablets taken together would sort me out and by next day I’d be fine. I didn’t use painkillers much, apart from that, except for very rare tension headaches. A packet of 24 tablets would last me months, maybe a year.

Years later I began to experience severe back pain with accompanying pain down the back of my right leg. My GP and I both knew the likely cause – the return of cancer of the cervix we both thought I had beaten five years earlier. (Note – I had always had regular Pap tests, they had always been clear, but it’s not uncommon for these tests to return a false result). My GP sent me off for scans and tests, my gynaecologist told me my pain was due to me stopping HRT. He was no help at all

None of the scans or smear tests returned a positive result. As it turned out the new tumour was tiny, higher up, wrapped around my spine and nowhere near where anyone was looking.

During the year it took to finally get a diagnosis I took aspirin and codeine for pain relief. I took the strongest tablets I could buy without a prescription – 30 mg of codeine. I used about 6 every 24 hours. My GP prescribed Endone, it was useless. He sent me to a pain clinic, where I was given Epilim (sodium valproate)an epilepsy drug which was supposed to control my pain, plus uppers for daytime and downers for night. None of those helped either.

Eventually I swapped to paracetamol and codeine tablets, still with 30 mg of codeine. This is the same level as Panadeine Forte, back them you could just buy them off the shelf in the chemist – walk in, grab a packet or a bottle of “strong pain” tablets and head for the checkout. In January 1990 I went to hospital for a biopsy and a final diagnosis. They put me back on Endone, saying it was best for “your kind of pain”. When, again, it did nothing the specialist said it was either Endone or morphine, there was nothing else. He assured me morphine was not addictive, but five years earlier I’d spent a few days in a hospital room next to a man who was withdrawing from morphine. He was off his face with withdrawal symptoms. I knew the stuff was addictive and refused it. I had my mum smuggle me in some Pandeine and pretended to take the Endone until they started my chemo. The chemo, meant only as palliative care because they told me I had only weeks to live, months if I was lucky, killed the pain immediately. I went home with a prescription for Endone, in case I needed it.  I never did. I endured four more chemo treatments, one every month, and recovered.

But – there were side effects of that tumour. It had pretty much killed the sciatic nerve in my right leg. Every so often the nerve would try to spring into action and I would suffer random bouts of neuropathic pain. It’s hard to describe. Let’s just say it’s like an electric shock. It comes, it stabs and goes away, only to keep returning every few minutes. It can be excruciating. Your whole body feels the spasm.

This random pain is why I have been relying on painkillers with codeine for almost 30 years. I don’t need them often, can go months without a bad attack, can usually manage mild ones with plain ibuprofen, but sometimes they can last for a few days, or keep me awake at night, and for that only codeine works.

For years I kept buying my paracetamol/codeine tablets off the shelf at the chemist, still using the 500 mg/30 mg mix. Then a government decided the 30 mg variety would no longer be available without a prescription. I started asking my GP to prescribe them but found I rarely used them at all. Just this week I found a box unopened, prescribed in 2014 and past their use-by date. Must have been the last time I asked for a prescription. I chucked them out.  I still bought painkillers over the counter, ones containing 10 mg of codeine, and coped with a lower dose. However to get the same effect as one tablet I used to take I now needed two, so I was taking more paracetamol than I had before.

Then a government decided that painkillers containing codeine would not be sold off the shelf, you had to ask for them and have a chat with the pharmacist before you were allowed to buy them. This new regulation meant I started buying the biggest pack I could – 40 tablets – instead of the smaller packs I used to buy, just to avoid the embarrassment of being asked questions – “Does your doctor know you take these?” “Do you know they are addictive/can increase your blood pressure?” “Do you know you have to stay well hydrated when you take these”. “Have you tried other kinds of pain relief?” Yes was the answer to all those. The interrogation was even worse if I tried to but an ibuprofen/codeine mix, which was actually better for my issue. I stopped trying to buy those, it just wasn’t worth the fuss.

So now I was taking twice as much paracetamol as I once used to take and was buying bigger packs of pain killers. So were many others.

Then about three years ago a government decided that all codeine users were addicts and a register was set up. This meant every time I wanted to buy painkillers with codeine I had to produce photo ID, even though I had been using the same pharmacy for years and was on first name terms with the pharmacists and the staff. I had to wait while the online register was checked, to make sure I had not been shopping around for extra codeine. This meant I held up the line of people waiting to pick up prescriptions, it also made me feel like a criminal. I kept on buying the biggest packs I could, to avoid this process as much as possible.

Then at the beginning of 2018 a government decided codeine was prescription-only. I now ask my GP for a prescription every six months, when I renew my prescription for blood pressure drugs.

There is no requirement for any doctor to write a reason for prescribing codeine on prescriptions, so Ms Irvine is either making up crap when she makes this claim or needs to find a new doctor. I’ve checked the guidelines and while a doctor is supposed to advise on alternate forms of managing pain there is nothing about giving reasons on a prescription

I’m not put through the third degree every time I buy painkillers now. All pharmacy staff have ever said is “I’ll just check we have that in stock” because these days pharmacies tend not to carry big stocks of painkillers containing codeine, and because I am prescribed an unusual dose.

That dose is my doing. When I first asked my GP for a prescription he asked only what strength I needed. I had a bit of a brainsnap and said 15 mg of codeine, so that’s what I get. My new GP just kept on prescribing the same thing when my former GP retired. Both understood why I need to take these painkillers. We have tried other things, like Lyrica, the standard treatment for neuropathic pain, but it did not suit me or my needs. I’m experimenting with folate supplements. Folic acid is said to be excellent for neuropathic pain, but I can’t take it. I have a genetic mutation that means my body can’t process folic acid, instead it builds up and causes an increase in homocysteine levels, very bad for someone with a family history of cardiovascular problems. I take folate instead, but it’s too early to tell if it is helping. I considered other over-the-counter products offered as alternatives to codeine,  like Voltaren (diclofenac) and decided they were not for me because they clash with existing health problems. So it has to be either ibuprofen (I’m aware of the risks) or paracetamol with codeine.

I don’t like taking pain killers. I rely on a magic oil called Be Relieved that is wonderful for muscle pain, headaches and does help with some of the neuropathic issue, but cannot completely kill the pain. I’m a firm believer in the therapeutic benefits of a good cup of tea and a rest. I do not like the drowsiness that codeine causes and will hold off taking it even when I know I need it.

So there you are – I need painkillers with codeine, and thanks to increasing government regulation I now take more paracetamol than I used to and buy bigger packs of painkillers. I don’t think that is what the government had in mind when they started down this road of regulation.

Update – 18 February 2020.

The ABC just had an item on their midday news about Lyrica. AsI mentioned, I tried it – took just one pill, it turned me into a zombie, it did not help with the pain and I decided it was not for me. It was prescribed by a GP (not my usual GP) because he said it was better than codeine for neuropathic pain.

Apparently doctors have been prescribing Lyrica – handing it out like packets of Smarties by the sound of things – because it was thought to be non-addictive. That despite it’s well-known side effects of suicidal thoughts, depression, blurred vision, drowsiness and more.

Well, guess what! Turns out the vile stuff is addictive as hell.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-18/lyrica-pbs-drug-linked-to-depression-anxiety/11921882

Just as well I decided to stick with codeine, to which I have never become addicted, despite a few years when I took it twice a day, every day. When that particular health issue was fixed I just stopped taking it, no problems at all.

Twitter Myths

Latest Twitter myth –

Hillsong is getting government funding.

No, not true, not yet, anyway but who knows what FauxMo might decide to give them.

It started when someone posted a link to an article from 2005 which reported grants given to Hillsong over five years, from 1999.

That part was true, but now everyone believes it is still going on..

Here’s one of many articles from that time outlining what had happened –

Church blessed by liberal handout
https://www.theage.com.au/national/church-blessed-by-liberal-handout-20050218-gdzm7z.html

A year later there was this- about the misuse of grants intended for indigenous purposes.
Church’s benevolent arm stripped of grant

https://culteducation.com/group/971-hillsong-church/9661-churchs-benevolent-arm-stripped-of-grant.html

Apparently the grants kept flowing until Labor got into government Then all funding and programs involving grants to Hillsong were stopped.

An annual report from 2010 includes a financial statement that shows no income from grants – not that it’s worth much, as financial reports go, but it’s about all that is required for any charity.

https://mumbrella.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Hillsong-Annual-Report-2010.pdf

Now I’m having an argument with someone who insists he’s right and the government is still funding Hillsong, he posts links to ancient articles from 2005 and insists they are made today.

People believe what they choose to believe. You just can’t change minds, no matter how much information, how many facts you give them

The delights of having a disabled parking permit.

One of my pet hates is people parking in disabled spots when they are not entitled to use them.

Usually the excuse is “But no-one was using it”.

I put up with this ignorant behaviour while No 1 Son was growing up. We had the necessary permit and he really, really needed disabled parking.

I am still totally flummoxed by the way too many people rush to defend parking in these places. I’ve even had people get aggro (not with me) because someone with a disabled permit was parked in a “normal” spot, obviously because they could not find a disabled spot.

Yesterday Michael Pascoe tweeted this –

Someone criticised Pascoe and those who agreed with him that this behaviour was despicable for daring to “pile onto” this ignorant person, saying the staffer was “only” 21 and deserved some understanding. I replied that age is no excuse for ignorance. This morning I discovered two responses to my tweet, one demanding to know if I have children and one demanding to know if I have a disability and a sticker.

FFS! What business of theirs is it if I have kids or a permit? Ignorance and bad behaviour should be called out no matter what age the offender may be.

I have a disabled adult child who recently had to deal with his own able-bodied manager parking in a disabled spot at the local TAFE. I do have a disability, but I don’t have a permit because I don’t really need it. I’m supposed to walk, the exercise is good for me.

I sometimes come across people who just cannot understand why people with disabilities need special parking spots.

A few years ago, on a now defunct forum, I came across someone whining about a person with a disabled permit parking in a “normal” spot. This fool said something like “How dare they take up a spot I could have used”.

Me! Me! Me!

The disabled person would not have been able to find a disabled spot, possibly because not enough are provided, or maybe because some ignorant, able-bodied knob had parked in the last free one.

We need to learn to be more considerate of people with disabilities, we should not be attacking those who defend them.

The Hillsong Agenda and how FauxMo fits into it.

Tanya Levin’s piece on FauxMo and his religion contains a huge, glaring error, and an astounding omission.

The error –
“Houston created and presided over the Australian Christian Churches (ACC), an umbrella organisation of more than 1100 Pentecostal churches, which includes Morrison’s Horizon Church.”

No, he did not. Tanya is a former Hillsong member, so perhaps she believes whatever rubbish she was told while she was there.

Here’s what happened –

Houston’s father, Frank (more about him later) moved to Australia from New Zealand in 1977 and played a large part in building the Assemblies of God churches in Australia, He established the Sydney Christian Life Centre, later to become Hillsong soon after his arrival in Sydney.

Brian Houston did not come onto the scene until the late 1990s, when he set up the Hills Christian Life Centre. That church was merged with Frank’s Sydney Christian Life Centre to become Hillsong in 1999.

Brain Houston was already a leader in the Assemblies of God churches.
<blockquote>In May 1997 Pastor Brian Houston was elected the new National President of the Assemblies of God in Australia, and under his leadership, the movement continued to grow and expand its influence into the 21st century. It was renamed the Australian Christian Churches in April 2000</blockquote>
https://www.acc.org.au/about-us/

The ACC don’t mention Frank Houston’s name these days. If you read their propaganda you will find nothing about him, which is strange, considering he spent over 20 years as a senior leader in that organisation.

Here’s the omission, it’s why they no longer want to talk about Frank Houston. Frank was a pederast. If you are going to write an article in which Brian Hosuton and his church are mentioned then you really have to also mention Houston Senior.

During his time as leading pastor in New Zealand and once he was set up in Australia Frank Houston sexually abused at least nine children. He liked his victims to be young – one was only seven years old when Frank started abusing him – and he liked them male. There are also claims he abused a trainee pastor.

His son knew all about this but broke the law by turning a blind eye.

Here’s an article from 2015, which contains an audio clip of a radio broadcast where Grant Goldman from 2SM radio publicly challenged FauxMo’s willing and slavish relationship with Brian Houston. It’s part of an ongoing campaign against both Houston/Hillsong and the C3 churches started by Phil Pringle. (That’s a story for another day.)
Breaking News: Goldman calls out Scott Morrison & his association to cults covering up paedophilia

FauxMo never responded to that challenge.

Now he likes to be photographed beside Houston, and by doing that he shows us his endorsement of Houston’s support for a pederast.

FauxMo is doing himself no favours by continually shoving his beliefs and his cult in our faces.

Here’s another article from Tanya Levin, written for her blog only last month. It is terrifying.

Scott Morrison, the New Australian Idol.

http://www.tanyalevin.com/

 

The Danger of a Pentecostal PM.

This article was published in January 2017, in the wake of the 2016 US elections. It is very relevant to Australia now we have a Pentecostal PM who has installed like-minded politicians in his inner circle.

The policies, plans and thought bubbles coming from this government do not bode well for us. They focus on punishment and taking things away, not on nation-building and equality.

It is particularly relevant in its comments about Mike Pence. I’ve long said that those pushing for Trump’s removal don’t realise just how much worse Pence would be as President. He, like FauxMo, comes from the mob that believes prayer will fix everything, and if it doesn’t then it’s God’s punishment for some sort of sin. Both men believe destruction from climate change and the ramping up of more wars in the Middle East will hasten the End of Days scenario their faith preaches.

I was Trained for the Culture Wars in home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah

 

 

Freedom of the Press?

In today’s SMH lawyer Lou Dargan said  this –
<blockquote>Changes to espionage laws passed in 2018 – and backed by both major parties – criminalise dissent. These laws could be used to target think tanks and other NGOs whose advocacy is unflattering to the government of the day</blockquote>

https://www.smh.com.au/national/dangerous-and-undemocratic-reworked-espionage-laws-criminalise-dissent-20190625-p5210n.html

Well, who would ever have thought that might happen?

Only a lot of very concerned people who talked, wrote, blogged and tweeted about this when the legislation was being debated. Only a stack of people who petitioned Labor not to support this.

Now it’s law, and there is nothing we can do about it until one day we have a government with the guts to repeal draconian legislation introduced with Labor’s full support, possibly introduced only to placate Peter Dutton.

Labor eagerly supported this, Labor always supports bills that impose newer, stricter restrictions on freedom and they always do it in the name of “Keeping Australians Safe”.

Safe from what?

Media articles never mention the names of the acts and bills they refer to. I suppose that’s because journalists cannot be bothered spending a few seconds looking up these details. After all, who cares about legislation? It’s so boring!

The passage of this bill – National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill 2018 (and it’s companion the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Bill 2018) is interesting. The bill was introduced to the Reps in December 2017 where it languished until June 2018 while the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (made up of only government and Labor members) looked at it and recommended more than 60 changes, which were made. It was then pushed through both houses in three days at the end of the 2018 winter sitting with Labor’s complete support.

We can now look back and realise Dutton needed to be placated back then, needed to be made more important, needed to be given even more powers than he already had. We now know why.

Only the Greens, CA and a couple of the Senate crossbenchers tried to have these two bills debated separately. That made sense. As Rex Patrick said –
<blockquote>Centre Alliance will be supporting this motion to deal with the bills separately. We note that it’s very important national security legislation and, in principle, we are in support of it—although we don’t necessarily understand all of the details. And that needs to be drawn out, as Senator McKim has suggested. This has gone to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. There has been considerable discussion both in the PJCIS and in the media in relation to these bills. It’s a very complex set of legislation that involves powers to protect national security, but it also inhibits conduct of citizens. That may be necessary, but we need to explore that in much more detail. There have been two reports that the PJCIS has generated in relation to these—754 pages worth of reports—with 60 recommendations from the first report and 52 recommendations from the second report. We do need to consider this carefully and properly. As I said, Centre Alliance will be supporting the motion</blockquote>
Labor voted with the government against that motion and two very complex bills were treated as one.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansards/bccfc0a7-1a8d-4257-b829-fa7e3b0f0fc7/&sid=0000

Attempts to amend the bill by the Greens and CA on 28 June 2018 failed because Labor refused to support them. Labor politicians had already made whatever changes they thought necessary during the confidential committee stage and were noit going to allow any other changes.

The full Hansard of that day’s debate is here –
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Hansard_Display?bid=chamber/hansards/9eef6b31-3509-4f19-aff2-298cba8a8db6/&sid=0000

Thanks to Labor’s willing support of this legislation we have seen AFP raids on ABC offices and the home of a NewsCorp journalist, during which police officers rummaged through her underwear. (Female officers, of course, because it was assumed that females would not become excited by the sight of bras and knickers.)

Another time bomb waiting to explode is the so-called “encryption bill”, the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, rammed through both houses on the last sitting day of 2018, with Labor agreeing to waive their amendments on condition this legislation was reviewed by a committee when parliament resumed this year.

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r6195

That review ended when parliament was dissolved for the election. Whether or not it is ever resumed is a question for FauxMo and Dutton. If the AFP raids had not happened then chances are that abandoned review would never have been restarted. Now, with media bosses about to speak at the NPC and everyone hopping mad about raids it’s possible the government might re-open that inquiry and try to blame the whole mess on Labor. After all, it’s always Labor’s fault when this mob stuff up.