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- Start of Business
- MINISTERIAL ARRANGEMENTS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- DISTINGUISHED VISITORS
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Hull, Kay, MP, Macklin, Jenny, MP)
Medicare Levy Surcharge
(Saffin, Janelle, MP, Roxon, Nicola, MP)
(Marino, Nola, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
(Adams, Dick, MP, Tanner, Lindsay, MP)
(Turnbull, Malcolm, MP, Gillard, Julia, MP)
(Burke, Anna, MP, Swan, Wayne, MP)
- Age Pension
- URGENT RELIEF FOR SINGLE AGE PENSIONERS LEGISLATION
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS TO THE SPEAKER
- AUDITOR-GENERAL’S REPORTS
- MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS
- MATTERS OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE
- URGENT RELIEF FOR SINGLE AGE PENSIONERS BILL 2008
- AUSTRALIAN ORGAN AND TISSUE DONATION AND TRANSPLANTATION AUTHORITY BILL 2008
- SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS (EQUAL TREATMENT IN COMMONWEALTH LAWS—GENERAL LAW REFORM) BILL 2008
- Member for Richmond
- Australian Football League: Grand Final
- Cowan Electorate: Warwick Greenwood Junior Football Club
- Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters
- Swan Electorate: Mental Health Care
- Focal Extended Inc.
- Member for Richmond
- Gippsland Electorate: Education
Beijing Olympic Games
Beijing Paralympic Games
Mr Peter Leek
- Dickson Electorate: Community Spirit
- Pensions and Benefits
- Polio Awareness Month
- Stirling Electorate: Beaches
- National Youth Leadership Forum
- Royalties for Regions
- Petrie Electorate: Relay for Life
- AUSLINK (NATIONAL LAND TRANSPORT) AMENDMENT BILL 2008
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Mr TURNBULL (Leader of the Opposition) (2:01 PM) —My question is addressed to the Acting Prime Minister. Does the Acting Prime Minister stand by her statement that it is impossible to live on the single age pension?
Ms GILLARD (Acting Prime Minister) —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. On the question of pensions, which have been the subject of so much discussion in this House, let me make the following things perfectly clear. The government acted in the budget to make some moves to lift some of the pressure on people who receive the age pension and other forms of pensions and benefits. In particular, the opposition leader might like to note that we increased the utilities allowance to $500—$128 of that amount will be paid to pensioners this week. We provided a cash bonus of $500.
Of course, I acknowledge and the government acknowledges that it is tough for pensioners. We understand that. We speak to pensioners. We understand how much pressure is on them. What the government has determined to do, above the budget measures which have already made a difference for pensioners, with $128 being received by them as part of the utilities allowance this week, is have the question the subject of a thorough investigation so we can look at the pension base rate—
Mr Turnbull —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question related to her statement that it was impossible to live on the single age pension, not that it was tough. Is it impossible? Do you stand by that?
Mr Hockey interjecting—
The SPEAKER —Order! The Acting Prime Minister will respond to the question.
Ms GILLARD —I note the member for North Sydney plays the fool as usual. On the question of pressure on pensioners, we have said that this will be the subject of examination because, of course, the age pension is the bedrock of our pensions and benefits system. Its rate relates to a number of other measures, and consequently we want to work through all the issues.
Can I conclude with these remarks. There is always a stench about hypocrisy and it is in this room right now, because the Leader of the Opposition, who asked this question, was a member of a government and at the cabinet table that did nothing for 12 years on the basic rate of the pension. Indeed, he sat at a cabinet table where the then responsible minister suggested increasing the base rate of the pension. He must have said ‘no’ because certainly the government said ‘no’. Then, earlier this year, when the shadow minister for ageing had the temerity to suggest that there should be an increase in the pension—
Mr Randall —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We want to know what the Acting Prime Minister said herself.
The SPEAKER —Order! The Acting Prime Minister has indicated that she is concluding her answer.
Ms GILLARD —The Leader of the Opposition earlier this year in his capacity as shadow Treasurer slapped down any suggestion that there be an increase in the base rate of the pension. The hypocrisy of the opposition on this is manifest. Whilst they continue with their hypocrisy, with their cobbled together measures—measures that leave out more than two million Australians who receive a form of pension—the government will get on with the business of delivering practical measures, like the $128 this week, like the $500 utilities allowance, like the $500 bonus, and we will address the question methodically and comprehensively in a thorough-going review, and we will not be listening to those who had 12 years to act. Let us line them up: the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Manager of Opposition Business, the new spokesman on the ETS—and the list goes on. None of them did anything in government to make a difference on this question, and that is how they will be judged.