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Tuesday, 26 September 1972
Page: 1169


Senator BYRNE (Queensland) - I second the amendment moved by Senator Little. I propose to direct a few brief remarks to the first proposition contained in the amendment, as Senator Little addressed his remarks primarily to the second and third propositions. The amendment begins: but the Senate is of the opinion that a just, adequate and comprehensive social welfare system can be achieved only by the creation of a contributory national superannuation scheme. . . .

The whole history of pensions in Australia has been one of chronic dissatisfaction, of periodic adjustments and always frustration, disappointment and protest. This position is inevitably going to arise, despite the second proposition that we enunciate for the fixation of pensions by a tribunal, which is at least one step along the path of progress, until we have a comprehensive national superannuation scheme. We have been proposing this in the Democratic Labor Party for some years and we feel that we are now reaching the point of a possible realisation of this scheme. There have been reports in newspapers attributed - either directly, indirectly or by inference - to the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) which show that he has in mind and in planning the introduction of a national insurance and national superannuation scheme. We urge upon the Government the desirability of adopting our proposition. It is the only way in which the position can finally be remedied. It is the only way in which we can eliminate these constantly recurring social traumas in the community. As Senator Little has said, the Democratic Labor Party often has projected forward looking social and other policies. We feel that this is one of them. National attention to a national superannuation scheme now has a very long and receding history in this country. To my knowledge it was proposed originally by Lord Casey when he was Treasurer, The suggestion went a certain distance but was then abandoned, and it was not resurrected until the Democratic Labor Party did so.


Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - No, it was passed in both Houses.


Senator BYRNE - It was never implemented and was not resurrected until the Democratic Labor Party, finding a parliamentary presence in this place, produced the proposition. Since then it has been constantly in amendments that we have projected. Constantly it has appeared in our policy speeches and it appears again in this amendment today. We do urge upon the Government that it give earnest consideration to the project which obviously now has been studied in depth and has been the subject, as we understand it, of a recommendation from the Minister for Social Services. We can see no good reason why we should not accept such a scheme and adopt it quickly and comprehensively for the elimination of all these problems that cause perhaps more friction in this place than most other issues. I do not know why the Government would hesitate for one moment to support such a scheme and to implement it in the fullest sense of the term.

It is not my intention to prolong the attention of the Senate to this matter. It has been discussed in consideration of the Bill and by Senator Little in propounding this amendment. We commend its 3 elements to the Senate. We trust that the amendment will have the support of honourable senators from both sides, including our good friends, the Independents.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be added (Senator Little's amendment) be added.







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