Junee’s John Hunter says pensioners are going to continue their fight for a better deal from government.
The 69-year-old is the NSW/ACT Australian Aged Pensions Group coordinator and he joined other pensioners at a rally in Canberra on Tuesday to raise awareness of their concerns.
The AAP Group is also pushing ahead with the goal of eventually become a political party, he said.
Mr Hunter said he believed governments took pensioners for granted and that as a group, they were under-represented in parliament.
Three parliamentarians – senators Rachel Siewert and Tim Storer and MP Andrew Wilkie – spoke with protesters, he said.
Mr Hunter said all three politicians had given their group a sympathetic hearing and listened to their concerns about the level of pensions in this country.
“Australia is second to last against most other western countries when it comes to pensioners,” he said.
“Only 2.1 per cent of our GDP is spent on the pension.”
Representatives of other pensioner groups, including others who were in the process of forming political parties, were also at the rally.
Mr Hunter said he “lost count” of the number of people who attended the rally, but was pleased with the turnout.
The visit to Canberra had reinforced his view that pensioners and older people in Australia were undervalued, he said.
“After the rally, I was walking around in Canberra and I walked past a young person, and suddenly it was like I was invisible. He just treated me like I was invisible,” Mr Hunter said.
The Junee man said he is also hoping to fight against what he decribed as “apathy” among pensioners.
“We’ve got to start telling the government that we are not going to be taken for granted,” Mr Hunter said.
After the Canberra rally, Mr Hunter said plans were now being made to stage similar events in public areas in Adelaide and Melbourne.