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Wednesday, 10 November 1976

Mr BAUME (Macarthur) - I had the very good fortune on Saturday night of going to a dinner addressed by the former honourable member for Grayndler- the Honourable Fred Daly. It was a cricketing dinner and he described the events of last November in cricket parlance. He said that Gough had appointed the umpire, had been given out caught, stumped and bowled and still claimed that it was a no-ball. I am glad that at least the former honourable member for Grayndler is aware of the absurdity of the position currently being maintained by his former colleagues.

I believe that the House should be made aware of the historic significance of tomorrow in Australian political terms. It is, of course, the day on which the first automatic adjustment to Australian pensions will take place as a result of the introduction of legislation by this Governmentlegislation which it had undertaken in its policy speech to introduce. The pensioners of Australia probably will have cause forever to celebrate 1 1 November on 2 counts now. Firstly, it got for them a government which promised to introduce such just legislation. Secondly, 1 1 November marks the day on which payment in fact will be made automatically and without reference to Parliament, so that there can be no political intereference with the rights of pensioners to receive adjustments in accordance with rises in the cost of living.

Mr Hodgman - Because we care for them.

Mr BAUME - Exactly. Because this Government has a deep concern for the welfare of pensioners, particularly after 3 years of massive inflation which did more to damage pensions and more to damage the position of pensioners than can be conceived by people who have not been in that situation. The people who are now quite justifiably in Opposition are in Opposition because of the votes of the people. It was not the Governor-General who put honourable gentlemen opposite where they are now with the numbers that they have now. It was the people of Australia who did that. It was done by the same people who had been conned in 1972, and who were not prepared to admit by 1974 that they had been conned, into believing that they were going to be given something on a plate without noticing that that something on a plate was coming out of their own hip pockets. I believe that the facts are very clear. I believe that the pensioners of Australia have a great recognition of the things that are being done for them by this Government compared with what was done for them by the previous Government, which, for example, taxed their pensions.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! It being 1 1 p.m., the debate is concluded. The House stands adjourned until 1 1.45 a.m. tomorrow.

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