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Budget woos Labor’s core: huge handouts for deceased voters

[Edition 40] CANBERRA, Thursday: The Federal Government revealed its re-election strategy with a budget aimed at winning back support from older Australians. In his Budget Address, Treasurer Peter Costello announced the government?s plan to make a “special one-off payment for each Australian pensioner in a beautifully presented vintage biscuit tin containing $300 worth of $1 and $2 notes”.

Happy self-funded retiree

[Edition 40] CANBERRA, Thursday: The Federal Government revealed its re-election strategy with a budget aimed at winning back support from older Australians.

In his Budget Address, Treasurer Peter Costello announced the government?s plan to make a “special one-off payment for each Australian pensioner in a beautifully presented vintage biscuit tin containing $300 worth of $1 and $2 notes”. The government’s projected spending on pensioners totals over $3 billion between now and 2004. Mr Costello said he is not concerned this spending will put the budget into deficit because, under the Government’s financial modeling, 65% of potential recipients will die off before most payments commence.

The Budget handouts show that the Coalition is pinning its hopes on aged voters in key electorates. In the latest “private” memo from former NT Chief Minister and Liberal Party President Shane Stone to the Prime Minister, Mr Stone reported:
Our polling shows that if we want to win marginal seats from Labor in this election we have to produce a budget deal that is carefully targeted to appeal to Labor?s support base of recently deceased voters who remain on the electoral rolls.

In line with these recommendations, the Budget includes an unprecedented “voter retention dividend” payment of $1,000 for all dead pensioners who vote Liberal in the upcoming election. Since the initiative was announced, support for the Government among deceased old people has increased to 1%, overtaking its support among living pensioners.

In associated moves, the Treasurer also announced that the Government would “reward those Australians who laid the foundations for modern Australian life in the Second World War” by offering a non-transferable payment to our war dead.