In response...

In response to Joyce de Kretser (YT April), concerning elderly folk living on their own, I would like to bring to your attention a service offered by the Red Cross organisation.

Red Cross can provide a daily telephone call to check on your wellbeing through a service known as Telecross.  It is for people who live alone and are at risk of an accident or illness that may go unnoticed, in particular people who are frail and aged, have a disability, are housebound or recovering from an illness or accident. For more information go online to or call1300 885 698. I am not associated with Red Cross, just a concerned reader who is aware of this service.
Kathy Bakker

In response to Joyce de Kretser, on her next visit to the doctor ask for an explanation of the federal government’s packages. A package obtained in this manner means Joyce would not pay for her alarm system. A great number of other items would also be covered. The packages range one to four depending on the health and needs of the person seeking  assistance.  I hope this will be some help.
Y. M. Miller

I’m not certain but I thought personal alarm services were free or thereabouts, for people on a pension.
It was, I believe, funded through HACC. No pensioner could afford $35 a week. Let’s get serious!
Rose McLennan

There are a number of articles relating to superannuation matters (YT March). I think the readers should rally behind a push to re-instate certain parts of the recent superannuation regulations.
Being on a part pension and not wanting to touch super funds until they have accumulated to represent a feasible sum to maintain some quality of life,  I think it immoral that the Government would remove super funds from an exempt pension asset test  to a non- exempt  inclusion to reduce, if not eliminate, the pension entitlement or part thereof.  In our case it meant reduction to a laudible  payment of $1.80 a fortnight. That’s right $1.80. How do you live on that? It would show some semblance of compassion,  at the least, for the Government  to make a respectful  and thoughtful action to allow over 65s to retain a reasonable amount (let’s say up to $400,000) of super for use later in life as a Centrelink asset exemption for the asset test. Funds above this amount could be treated as non exempt.

A written request to all politicians along these lines by those affected may just have some credence and hopefully some impact,  so please consider doing so.

How many are aware that the Governments’ so called downsizing present means that, firstly, if over 65 you cannot contribute to a super fund and secondly, the so called “benefit of up to $300,000” if obtained becomes an asset to be taken into account against the asset test, thus eliminating your pension or part pension. They say the impact is minimal but it’s mostly on over 65s, a growing voting lobby.

Strange how this” downsize present” was made after the super funds were made non-exempt, isn’t it?

These facts are often ignored by younger folk who fail to realise that these and other measures will seriously impact their living standards in the future. Are we destined to become a third nation country for over 65s if not younger?
Brian Irving

It is sad to read letters from senior Australians in Your Time regarding social support and part support and Desley Kassulke’s complete lack of understanding (Letters, March YT) of what is happening.

My local member said he was going to relay my concerns to the appropriate parliamentarians, but guess what? He lost my vote. What I told him was that politicians do not know how to manage portfolios or budget and do not wish to try. My example is two areas – immigration and social services.

Immigration brings in immigrants and refugees as they see fit and those people can drain on support mechanisms that have been built up over many years to support nationals.

The immigration department should be forced to manage and budget for those people from the Immigration budget until they are self-supporting.

The social services budget should not be used for this. This is the real reason social assistance will be restricted in the future and not as Desley explains, people jumping on the gravy train.

I for one don’t want roads and fast trains while my fellow senior Aussies who have volunteered and fought for what we have now are getting treated as social outcasts. I would rather walk than increase the social divide.

Remember, full employment for people to contribute to super is getting less and less now as work evolves to part time and sporadic casual work and therefore people will have less opportunity to build wealth.
Mick Hickson


It is offensive to hear any criticism about Australia’s procedures, services and politicians from immigrants of any nationality (letter, March YT).   Immigrants should be either self-funded pensioners or they are an extra burden on the budget.  I agree, “the government should be thanking the aged for their service to the country”.     I have to wait until I’m 67, before I get a pension and then the 20 years I’ve saved in my super (about eight years support) will cut short any pension I might get for that time. So, I am not entitled to a full pension until I am 75.  
Peter Crispin

LEN Rutledge’s article (YT March) in which he suggests travellers to Thailand visit the Monkey Theatre or take an elephant jungle ride, indicates he is not conversant with the extremely cruel training methods used by handlers to force these wild animals to perform unnatural acts and tricks.

Sadly, the gentle and intelligent elephants who, in the wild, form strong family bonds, are not exempt from inhumane and brutal training methods.

These can involve forcibly spearating bapy elephants from their distressed mothers at a young age, chaining or tethering them to prevent movement, and using bullhooks – long wooden poles embedded with sharp spikes or nails – to break their spirit.

 Thailand has an appalling record of animal cruelty and has no animal protection laws which means animals used for entertainment and tourist attractions are often victims of horrific abuse at the hands of trainers.

 Thailand, with its stunning landscapes, magnificent beaches, great food and shopping has many cruelty-free attractions available and tourists can enjoy all these with a clear conscience.
D. Blake