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Wednesday, 17 September 2008
Page: 7712


Mr TURNBULL (2:22 PM) —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to today’s Financial Review, which reports that government backbenchers have endorsed the immediate push for extra financial assistance to age pensioners. If the Prime Minister will not heed his own 83-page report, if the Prime Minister will not listen to his own backbench, if the Prime Minister will not listen to pensioners, then who will the Prime Minister listen to on pension fairness?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —When the opposition delivered the budget reply, the then shadow Treasurer said: ‘We have not got a policy to raise the base rate of the pension.’ That is what you said. That was the formal response by the Liberal Party in response to the Australian budget of this year—


Mr Pearce —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order, which goes to relevance. The Prime Minister was asked who he will listen to.


The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister is 25 seconds into his answer. The Prime Minister will respond to the question.


Mr RUDD —I would say to the Leader of the Opposition, and he knows exactly what I am talking about, that, if he was really serious about pension reform in the 12 years that the Liberal Party was in office—and let us narrow it right down to the shorter period that he was in cabinet—why was the matter of pensioner reform raised only last year, 12 months ago? You did not do a thing to adjust the pension.