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Wednesday, 22 June 1994
Page: 1906


Senator WEST (5.10 p.m.) —I will be very brief, as the chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs. We have already had one group of witnesses in our consideration of this bill, and the Australian Democrats have foreshadowed an amendment. We will be having further hearings on another small part of the legislation relating to reciprocal arrangements later this week. It is important to note that the allocated pensions are an issue, and that this legislation has arisen from a lot of hard work which was put in by the superannuation committee. The community affairs committee has received a letter from the Council on the Ageing. The council feels that it was adversely reflected upon by a witness appearing at our public hearing and points that out and seeks our assistance in having the letter incorporated in Hansard. It was not possible to have it incorporated in the Hansard record of the actual hearings because the letter did not arrive until a week or so later. I seek leave to have that letter incorporated in Hansard today.

  Leave granted.

  The letter read as follows

COUNCIL ON THE AGEING

15 June 1994

Dr Pauline Moore

Secretary

Senate Select Committee on Community Affairs

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Dr Moore

Re: Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 1994, Part 2, Division 2 and 5, Hansard Record, Page 17, 6 June 1994.

It was with some concern that I read the evidence of Mrs Olwyn MacKenzie to the Senate Committee. She stated "I also point out that COTA is not a grassroots organisation. It does not represent people at the grassroots level. Its membership consists of people like nursing home proprietors, funeral directors and so on. They are service providers to the elderly but, in my view, they are in no position to be talking on behalf of the ageing in our community."

The record is not correct. COTA is a "grassroots organisation". It is not an organisation of service providers, it has over 50,000 individual members who by definition must be older people. Our constitutions throughout Australia require that two thirds of the Boards of Directors must be older people.

Mrs MacKenzie's statement was so incorrect, I would seek the inclusion of this letter into the Hansard record. COTA developed a policy on the pension eligibility age for women through an exhaustive process involving all State and Territory COTAs.

We are concerned that another organisation has misrepresented COTA before the Senate Select Committee.

Yours sincerely,

Denys Correll

National Executive Director