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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2800

Senator COLEMAN —Has the Minister for Social Security seen Press reports attributed to Mr Michael Hodgman, the member for Denison, that the value of gold fillings in teeth will be included in the assets test? Is there any justification for those statements or is this just another indication that the member for Denison is no longer capable of distinguishing fact from fantasy?

Senator GRIMES —Yes, I did see a report in one or two newspapers that Mr Hodgman claimed that the value of gold in people's teeth would be counted in the assets test. That statement bears as much resemblance to the truth as do most statements by Mr Hodgman. It is aimed at causing division amongst pensioner groups, as his statements on immigration were aimed at causing division in our society generally. Mr Hodgman is quoted as saying that he received that information from a senior Minister. I assume that that senior Minister is me. Mr Hodgman came to my office and asked whether gold was included in the assets test . I asked: 'Do you mean collections of gold like ingots?' He said: 'Yes'. I said : 'I do not know what you are up to but you can have your little fun and games as long as you are not disturbing people'. Mr Hodgman then released a Press statement making this ludicrous suggestion. I am pleased to say that most newspapers and most members of the Press either ignored it or made a check with my office. I am sorry that some did not take that precaution before publishing such nonsense.