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Thursday, 16 May 1985
Page: 2088


Senator MESSNER(4.26) —The Australian Democrats, of course, are having two bob each way with this amendment. In the first place the amendment seeks to recognise that there is some justice in the Opposition's case. Consequently, it is something which we-


Senator Haines —I can't understand this. You are supposed to be speaking to your amendment, Tony.


Senator MESSNER —Yes, I am. I am just setting the scene, if the honourable senator does not mind. The Democrats, through their amendment, are obviously trying to draw the conclusion that the action taken by the Opposition in the Senate today is aimed only at seeking the immediate removal of the assets test. Apparently Senator Haines has been imbued with the idea that this is all the people in the community understand is happening. That is not true. Indeed, we have been advocating this line of approach to put maximum pressure on the Government to seek changes to the legislation but at the same time remaining committed to the abolition of the assets test. For that reason we seek to amend the Democrats amendment. Therefore I move:

Leave out the words proposed to be inserted, insert:

'the Senate, recognising that agreement by the Senate and the House of Representatives to a Bill to repeal the assets test will assist farmers, and others, who saved towards the provision for their own futures, condemns the Labor Government for its failure to act quickly to alleviate the hardship caused to the rural community, widows, and those in aged persons accommodation by the administration of the assets test, and supports the return to an equitable retirement income system which supports self-provision and does not promote dependency on governments during retirement'.