History of Australian pensions

Parliament house flag post

History of Australian pensions

Posted 24/02/2011 by Dale Daniels

 The long running Parliamentary Library publication Social Security Payments for the Aged, People with Disabilities and Carers 1901 to 2010 has been updated to include policy changes since 2006.

At federation in 1901 the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia gave power to the Commonwealth Government to legislate for invalid and old-age pensions. A Royal Commission on Old-Age Pensions was conducted during 1905‐6 and legislation for both age and invalid pensions was passed in 1908 during the Deakin administration.

These pensions were unusual compared with other countries in that they were non-contributory (paid for through general revenue, rather than social insurance contributions), non-discretionary and means tested. This design has been the cornerstone for Australia’s social security system ever since.

This paper provides chronologies of developments over the years for all the Commonwealth income support payments, supplementary payments and concessions for the aged, those with disabilities and carers along with brief overviews of major changes since their introduction.

The update to the paper includes the Howard Government Disability Support Pension reforms of 2006 and the Rudd Government pension reforms of 2009. The paper is a valuable reference tool for tracking down policy changes and includes tables of payment rates, means test thresholds and numbers of recipients for the payments covered.

Companion papers covering payments for families and payments for the unemployed and those in special circumstances are also available.

Image: Royal Australian Mint

*Updated 28 October 2012

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




immigration refugees elections taxation asylum Parliament criminal law election results Australian Bureau of Statistics social security disability citizenship Indigenous Australians political parties United Kingdom UK Parliament Census statistics banking early childhood education Middle East Australian foreign policy OECD Australian Electoral Commission voting mental health Employment military history by-election election timetable China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament Productivity Defence income management asylum seekers High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title Senate ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories leadership aid Papua New Guinea emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding Electoral reform politics refugees immigration asylum Canada procurement Australian Public Service firearms Indigenous health constitution High Court e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament women 2015 International Women's Day public policy ABS Population Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade skilled migration Private health insurance Medicare Financial sector EU national security fuel China soft power education violence against women domestic violence Fiji India Disability Support Pension disability employment welfare reform Tasmania Antarctica China Diplomacy Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency Sport ASADA Federal Court WADA ADRV by-elections state and territories terrorism terrorist groups Bills corruption anti-corruption integrity fraud bribery transparency corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform science innovation research and development transport standards Afghanistan Australian Defence Force NATO United States social media Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism higher education Higher Education Loan Program HECS welfare policy pensions social services welfare ASIO Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Australian Secret Intelligence Service intelligence community Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 sexual abuse online grooming sexual assault of minors labour force workers

Show all
Show less
Back to top