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Wednesday, 6 June 1984
Page: 2621

Senator CHANEY —I cannot encompass all the inaccuracies in that answer, but I ask the Minister two additional questions arising out of his reply. In what year did the major increase in the cost of unemployment benefit rise? Was it the year of the last Fraser Budget of the year of the first Hawke Budget? Further, in terms of what he described as the propensity of the Fraser Government to hide matters of expenditure as tax expenditure, what was the effect of the transfer of tax deductions for children to family allowance? Did that not reduce tax expenditures and significantly increase outlays? That is quite the reverse of the situation Senator Walsh described.

Senator WALSH —I am afraid I did not hear all the question because Senator Grimes was reminding me, after listening to the beginning of Senator Chaney's question, that it was no wonder they sent a Chaney to the Kimberleys to stop Aborigines from voting. For as much as I heard of it Senator Chaney referred to the conversion of tax deductions for dependants to family allowances. He asked whether that had the same effect on government outlays as the changes from tax expenditures to Budget expenditures made by this Government. Yes, it did have exactly the same effect and that change was introduced by the Fraser Government in 1976 during its years of relative honesty. That was a very different Fraser Government from the one which was ultimately and ignominiously removed from office in 1983, at least in that respect. Senator Chaney also asked about the Budget in which the major increase in unemployment benefit payments occurred because of the rise in unemployment. I believe it was the 1982-83 Budget but there was a significant further increase in 1983-84. If he wants the exact figures I will get them. I am afraid I did not hear the rest of the question.