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Monday, 27 September 1999
Page: 8961

Senator LEES (7:58 PM) —Firstly, looking through some notes from the committee hearings as well as the recommendations from the actuaries report—the Trowbridge report, I think—I note that we were originally looking at an age of 75, and there is no mention of pensioners anywhere. It has now come down to 65. My reading of it is that the government is not discriminating against men or women or anyone. As for people who are veterans, they have gold cards. So I ask the minister: are they really going to be affected by this? Veterans generally are already in the system, if you like. Regardless of age, if they are a veteran, they will have a card that entitles them to access to the private system or the public system in a private capacity if that is what they want. As for people who are retired, they have the same choice as others. If a woman is able to retire—I think the age now is 62—she can now decide to join this and will have the option of coming in at age 30. I cannot see where your claim of discrimination is. There is no mention through any of the legislation of anything other than an age limit, and it has come down from the original suggestion of 75 to 65.