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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1760

Senator PUPLICK —My question is directed to the Minister for Community Services and refers to an answer he gave yesterday in relation to the appeal proposed by the Government following the decision regarding the status of Mrs Artwinska's age pension. I ask: In the event of the Government's appeal in this matter being successful, will his Government undertake to legislate specifically to exclude from the operations of the social security system and the taxation system the income derived exclusively by those people who are in receipt of compensation payments as a result of their suffering at the hands of the Nazis during the last war, given his admission that it is a very small number of people and that the amount of money involved as far as they are concerned is likely to be very small.

Senator GRIMES —I cannot give any such guarantee to Senator Puplick because such a decision would have to be considered in the future. This problem has been around for a long time and it has been considered by governments of both persuasions. Each time until now the Government has received advice from departmental sources and has considered the implications not just of the small number, as Senator Puplick says, of people who would be affected because they receive compensation payments from the Federal Republic of Germany as a result of the Second World War, but also of the possible flow-on to the many other people who received compensation payments as a result of war or persecution of this type. The estimated payment to that group of people is, I think, in the region of $80m to $100m. In those circumstances the Government would have to consider very seriously whether it could exclude one group in this area.

I also remind Senator Puplick-I am not referring to Mrs Artwinsaka's case or to any other specific case-that some people do receive such pensions and compensations as a result not of persecution or difficulties of their own but of their parents and others. I think it would be stretching it a little to extend to them compensation of that type. It is a matter that has worried governments for a long time; it has worried Ministers for Social Security for a long time. I will refer the matter to the Minister for Social Security to see whether he wants to add to my answer.