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‘How dare she’: The moment the Social Services Minister sparked an angry backlash from pensioners

Pensioners have reacted angrily to comments from a senior minister that the pension payments are “generous”.

The federal government has reduced deeming rates for about one million retirees after a concerted campaign by seniors groups.

It means many part-pensioners will receive up to $1000 per year in extra income.

The government has flagged it will change the deeming rate more often, after leaving it on hold for the past four years.

But in an interview with Neil Mitchell about the change, the below comments from Minister for Social Services Ann Ruston (pictured above) prompted a huge reaction from listeners.

Ms Ruston: I don’t think a debate about whether I could live on (the pension) or not is relevant. It is a generous amount of money that the Australian taxpayers make available to our older Australians.

Neil: The pension is generous?

Ms Ruston: The other thing that we also need to realise is…

Neil: I’m sorry, did you say the pension is generous?

Ms Ruston: In terms of the amount of money that taxpayers fund our social welfare system, we put a lot of money into it.

Click PLAY to hear the full interview

Later, as the angry calls and emails poured in, Neil Mitchell described the $66 per day as “adequate, but in no way is it generous”.

“I think that what’s she’s done here is a slip of the tongue, and then not willing to go back and fix it.”

Click PLAY to hear the comment and some of the reaction — “How dare she?” one caller started

Image: Mike Leyral / Getty