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Tuesday, 11 September 1973
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Mr HAYDEN - I thank the House. Honourable members will note that the largest and most generous yearly increase in pensions in money terms and in percentage rates has taken place since this Government came to office. Unlike previous governments, the proximity of elections will not be a deciding factor in the rate at which pensions are increased; rather it will be our commitment to achieve social and economic justice for pensioners to establish pension payments at an adequate level and as a right, and to maintain these principles consistently. I would ask honourable members to contrast what this Government has done - the generous rates of increase in pensions, both in money terms and percentage rates, against the indices set out in the table - with the record of the last Government which in the year ended June 1971, for instance, when the average weekly male earnings increased by over 13 per cent, increased married and standard rates of pensions by a mean and miserable 7.6 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively.

Mr Chipp - What is the source for that table?

Mr HAYDEN - The Department compiled the table. It was the Liberal-Country Party governments in the past 23 years that presided over and indeed were responsible for the erosion of the standard rates of pensions from 26 per cent of average weekly earnings in the 1940s to as low as 18 per cent to 19 per cent of average weekly earnings in recent years.

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