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Tuesday, 9 June 1970

Mr MARTINpresented from certain citizens of Australia a petition showing that due to higher living costs, including increasing charges for health services, most aged persons living. on fixed incomes are suffering acute distress; that Australia is the only English-speaking country in the world to retain a means test for age pensioners and that a number of European countries also have no means test; that today's aged persons have paid at least H% of their taxable incomes towards social services since the absorption of special social services taxation in income tax and continue to make such payments. (7i% of all taxable incomes for 1966-67 amounted to $783,082,150 and this year will produce more than $800,000,000, more than sufficient to abolish the means test immediately.); that the middle income group, the most heavily-taxed sector of the community,' subsidises the tax commitment of the upper income bracket through the amount of social services contributions collected by the government and not spent on the purposes for which they were imposed; that the abolition of the means test will give a boost to the economy by - (1) additional tax revenue from pensions, (2) swelling of the work force, and (3) increased spending by pensioners; and that it is considered just and right to allow people who have been frugal, have lived their lives with dignity and have been anything but an encumbrance on the nation, to maintain that dignity to the end of their lives free from fear of penury.

The petitioners pray that the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to abolish the means test for all people who have reached retiring age or who otherwise qualify for social service benefits or pensions.

Petition received.

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