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Understanding the retiring kind

By Myra Hamilton and Clive Hamilton - posted Monday, 9 October 2006

This sense of entitlement stems from an implicit bargain with the state, to the effect that, after a long working life, they are entitled to leisure time once they reach 65. Raising the retirement age, they argue, was not part of the deal.

The discourse in favour of compulsory saving is very different: everyone believes in saving for their own retirement, so compulsory superannuation is forcing them to do something they want to do. They are willing to make sacrifices now to have more choices when they retire.

The Government argues that encouraging people to work longer is also helping them do something for their own benefit. However, increasing the retirement age is asking people to contribute time at a life stage when time is scarce. For boomers, being compelled to work later means that individuals are giving up something - time - that they cannot retrieve.


With superannuation, individuals will get it all back, and more, at a time when they feel that they will need it most.

It has only been 14 years since the introduction of compulsory super. It is evident that it is transforming not just retirement incomes but the relationship between citizens and government.

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First published in The Age on October 3, 2006.

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About the Authors

Myra Hamilton is a doctoral candidate at the University of Sydney.

Clive Hamilton is professor of public ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

Other articles by these Authors

All articles by Myra Hamilton
All articles by Clive Hamilton

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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