Member messages - Winter 2020

  • Winter 2020
  • Member Messages

Letter of the month

The system penalises working pensioners. The Federal Government would like to see retirees live on their super, which would save the government millions of dollars. But even they know that is not possible unless every retiree had a minimum in super when they retired.

The government would like to see the older generation back in the workforce but what you earn will affect your pension. If you are on a pension you still have to declare it to Centrelink to ensure you are not earning more than $300 a fortnight, and if you do you lose 50c in every dollar you earn from your pension. The bottom line is, if you want to retire and continue to work, Centrelink is saying ‘why do you want the pension?’

When you do retire, unless you have damn good super, you are forced to live on that because it can take up to four to six months before your pension starts. You still have bills to pay and live and eat but not the money you used to have.

– Frank and Kerry, Western Australia

Editor’s note: National Seniors fought for the increase in the pension work limits and won an increase of the amount you can earn without affecting your pension from $250 to $300 a fortnight from 2019. Government can do better. Our article on the universal pension in this edition gives one option for reform so pensioners can work more.

Readers remember: In the Autumn 2020 edition of the magazine, ‘A moment in time’ we asked readers for their favourite agricultural show memories

The show must go on

Congratulations on your article A moment in time, which provided an amazing overview on agricultural shows. Sadly, some of the regional shows may not recover after COVID-19 and are destined for closure. The agricultural shows bring the country to the city and allow many city-dwelling Australians, young and old, the opportunity to see where their food comes from and how it is produced. Australian farmers deal with many situations that test their resolve, such as drought, fires and floods, with the desire to ensure fresh produce is available to all Australians, our overseas markets and on our plates three times a day. It has been the theme at the Perth Royal Show to ‘thank a farmer’ ... That couldn’t be more apt at this time and in the many months to come during these challenging times.

– David Thomas, WA

Sydney Royal Easter Show

I was the cashier for the Royal Agricultural Society from 1986 until 1990. It was a very busy position for 12 months each year. Some people used to ask me how I could be in permanent employment at the showground. Little did they realise just how hectic the six months prior to the show could be, and the following six months after the show. I remember the entries for the show, all of which I had to process with the relevant payments through my cash register. It was the Arts and Crafts entries that came in first. The most entries were generated by the owners of the horses, as there were dressage fees, show-jumping entries, stall fees, etc. There were entries for the dog shows, the cat shows, the poultry shows,all giving rise to payments to be processed, and there were also the membership fees to the RAS. I well remember Ray Meagher (‘Alf’ in Home and Away) calling at my counter to collect his membership card, and socialite Rebel Penfold-Russell coming to enquire about filming locations.

– Anthony William Ruhl, NSW

The Sydney Royal Easter Show was cancelled this year because of COVID-19, about the same time as the Autumn issue of Our Generation arrived. Oh, the memories! The visit to the Easter Show was a childhood treat. A train trip from Gosford, bus from Central Station, boarding the special bus to Driver Avenue. I have vivid memories of standing in front of the Radio 2UE studio with the smell of cow pats on the soles of my shoes! Then there was the mandatory Darrell Lea chocolate showbag, while Mum and Dad would buy the Vincent’s Powder bag. The Bank of New South Wales bag even included a “free” sixpence! The currency of that experience probably lead to me joining the Wales some years later. Next year, all things being equal, the show will go on.

– Allan Gibson, NSW

Queensland show memories

Going to the show was an extra special event for our family back in the ’50s. A family of seven dressed in their Sunday best in the Morris A40 Somerset to travel to the Nambour Show from Kenilworth. Gravel roads in those days and our visit had to be fitted in between milking dairy cows morning and night. We loved it. We also had our local Kenilworth Show and Rodeo where everyone was involved. From early teen years, girls in the district were trained to wait on tables for the sit-down lunch provided to all and sundry for a small fee. It was the best two-course lunch, with cold meat and salad, and then plum pudding and custard made from an age-old recipe by the matriarchs of the town. Another trip we made, not so often, was to the Exhibition in Brisbane. Once in Brisbane we would catch the train, which was such a novelty for us country kids, and lean out the windows of the with such excitement that Dad would say, “Smell the gum leaves!”

– Narelle Gruar, QLD

Image supplied by Narelle Gruar

What's old is new again

I just wanted to share my thoughts on the very strange world we live in in 2020. I think it is strange that old-fashioned ways are now the norm: Pack your own groceries, bring your own bags(remember the old string bags?), grow your own veggies, be self sufficient, have chickens in backyard, phone book/newspaper used as toilet paper, fuel under $1!

– Virginia Sullivan, QLD

The dinnertime delivery dash

I really enjoyed Mal Leyland’s story in your Autumn issue where he recounted his daughter Carmen’s birth, because the same thing happened to me. It was back in 1967, and my husband Graham had been in the delivery ward with me since about 3:30pm. Just after 6pm I heard the doctor say to him, “It looks as if you’ll be here until the wee small hours, so you’d better go and get something to eat.” My first thought was “Like hell he will!” The pain was getting too strong for another six hours. Anyway, Graham had just arrived home with a meat pie, when the phone rang and he was told to get to the hospital quickly. Fortunately, he arrived in time for the birth of our daughter Kirsten, who was a healthy 8lbs 12¼ ounces.

– Hazel Beneke, QLD