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Thursday, 5 December 1974


Mr WENTWORTH (Mackellar) - Mr Deputy Speaker,I am very much astonished that this motion has been brought on only at the last moment. It has been on the notice paper for a long time and I have spoken in regard to it for only 30 seconds, I think. It is one of a series of motions in regard to the improvement of our social services which I have brought forward and one which I would have thought that the Government, if it had any bona fides in its approach to the social service question, would have wanted to have debated. I have tried to bring this series of motions forward in a non-partisan way because I believe that most of them would incorporate policies which if they were understood by the Government would be approved by the Government. I want to look briefly at the notice paper and the motions which stand in my name because I believe that they do form a consistent policy. First, we have this motion today, on which I have spoken so far for I think 30 seconds. I think I should read out that motion. It is Order of the Day No. 1 and it states:

That, in the opinion of this House, restrictions upon the granting of supplementary assistance to pensioners are too severe.

The pensioners who get supplementary assistance are the poorest and most needy of all pensioners. One would have thought that the Government would have given some time for the proper moving of this motion. Another motion in my name appearing on the notice paper states:

That, in the opinion of this House, finance should be made available to assist pensioners who own their own homes to meet rates and other necessary outgoings.

These 2 motions should be read together because, whereas it is the most needy who need supplementary assistance- and they get it because they pay rent- something should also be done for pensioners who own their own homes and pay rates; not necessarily the same kind of thing should be done, but something should be done. For example, in the United Kingdom there are advances made for this purpose- not grants but advances- and in this respect perhaps we should take a leaf out of the United Kingdom 's book. Whether this be done or not, it is surely something which should be debated and it should be engaging the attention of this House. I have been Minister for Social Services and I know the gaps that still remain in our social services structure.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Martin)Order!It being 12.45 p.m., the time allowed for precedence to general business has expired.


Mr Wentworth - I am very sorry about that.







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