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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2007

Senator WATSON —Has the Minister for Social Security noted the comment by the Assets Test Review Panel that it favoured option 2, 'potentially the most intrusive of personal privacy'? That statement is from paragraph 5.57 of the report. Has he also noted that views of the Department of Social Security that option 2 would be more difficult to administer than other options because few pensioners would have an accurate idea of the net market value of their homes, furniture and other household items? Does this mean that if this option is chosen pensioners will have to have all their assets valued at regular intervals by government bureaucrats?

Senator GRIMES —The answer to the last part of the question is no. The answer to the first part is that I cannot recall paragraph 5.57 of the Gruen Panel's report, nor do I think it sensible that I comment on individual pieces taken out of it in that way until the report is in fact tabled in the Parliament, and I do not intend to do so. The second part of Senator Watson's question I do not recall.

Senator Watson —That the Department of Social Security believes it would be more difficult to administer option 2.

Senator GRIMES —Again I do not wish to comment on any response from my Department to that report. Any government response to that report will include the Department's assessment of the administrative difficulty, the costs of administration and the gains to be expected from the implementation of any one of the various options outlined in the report. I suggest that Senator Watson and other senators should wait for that report to be presented.

Senator WATSON —I wish to ask a supplementary question. In view of the difficulty the Minister for Social Security has in understanding the contents of the report, I seek leave to table that report.

Senator GRIMES —I reject the claim by Senator Watson that I have any difficulty in understanding the report. I certainly do not think the Senate should allow any honourable senator to table what may or may not be an unauthorised copy of that report.

The PRESIDENT —Order! Is leave granted?

Senator Grimes —No.

The PRESIDENT —Leave is not granted.