OWN Australia strongly objects to these comments by Senator David Leyonhjelm.
Senator David Leyonhjelm calls to restrict pension, says being poor 'nothing to be proud of'
By political reporter Uma Patel
Crossbench senator David Leyonhjelm says people who receive pension payments should not be proud because it shows they are poor.
The Government has restricted access to the aged pension for 300,000 older Australians as part of a tightening of the assets test which began yesterday.
But Liberal Democratic senator Leyonhjelm said the restrictions did not go far enough.
"Taking the pension shouldn't be something you aspire to, it should be something you try to avoid because it signifies you're in a low income group — in other words you're poor, or close to poor," he told the ABC.
The crossbench senator wants the payment to be viewed as welfare — not an entitlement for taxpayers once they reach a certain age.
"We really have to get over this idea that you don't have to save for your own retirement and your own old age," he said.
He continued his calls for the family home to form part of the assets test for pensions.
The Government has been defending its changes to the pension during the summer holidays, as Labor ramped up their calls to have it reversed.
Senator Leyonhjelm said Australians should "reinforce the notion" that "when you retire you will only receive the pension if you're poor and it's nothing to be proud of".