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Wednesday, 14 September 1983
Page: 852


Mr WILSON(2.37 a.m.) —I also ask whether either a married couple or a de facto couple, given that the Minister for Health is trying to put them on an equal footing, are required to aggregate their income for the purposes of determining whether they are entitled to the rebate or whether they can fail to disclose in a two-income household that there are two incomes and thereby get the benefit of the two higher single thresholds. If that is the case, it may be that it is in that area that de facto spouses are in a considerably advantaged position. If both of them are earning admitted low incomes they would not be required to pay any levy because each of them could have an income of up to nearly $6,700 without being liable to pay the levy. If a married couple were required to aggregate their income, instead of getting the benefit of a levy- free threshold of $13,396, they would receive a levy-free threshold of only $11, 293. It seems to me that that would be totally unfair because it is very easy to prove in the case of a legally married couple that they are so legally married, but in the case of the de facto spouses it is very much a matter for them to establish that they are living together on a bona fide domestic basis in order to claim relief from the levy. I ask the Minister to deal with that point.