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Proposed assets test discriminatory

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Labor's proposed asset test discriminated against the majority of age pensioners who invested in traditional forms of savings, it was claimed today.

Senator Tony Messner - the Shadow Minister for Social Security - said that the proposed test would favour sophisticated investors who, during their working lives, had invested their money in antiques, jewellery, paintings and the like.

"The announced exemptions allow these people to have unlimited sums invested in these forms."

"However, the proposed test only exempts the first $1500 for single people and $2,500 for married couples of bank account savings and sums above those amounts are deemed to have returned 10%."

Senator Messner said that he understood that Treasury had recommended that investments in antiques and the like be exempted only to a certain limit.

"The Government rejected that option and so discrimination will occur."

"It should be noted that the people who are presently pensioners have grown up with the traditional belief that banks are the safest forms of savings."

"Many of these older people would also still have money in the older type passbook accounts which return low interest rates, yet the test will deem that they get a higher return than is the case."

"These are not dishonest people; they are ordinary Australians who are concerned about their later years and are loathe to tie up their money for fear of the proverbial rainy day. "

Senator Messner said that this example of discrimination against traditional forms of savings was -unfair and was indicative of Labor's ill-thought out approach to the - retirement . income field.

"They have continually caused confusion, uncertainty and distress in the senior section of the community with its incoherent major changes in this field."


"The Opposition lias initiated a public Senate enquiry which· would conduct a comprehensive reviewe of Australia's retirement income systems and provide a basis for rational policies.

"The Opposition, upon re-election would repeal Labor's proposed assets Lest and superannuation legislation as part of a total co-ordinated approach to retirement income policy."

Senator Messner said that he thought that matters like the apparent discrimination against bank savings would be likely to be raised during the Senate inquiry.

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7 September 1983

Senator Tony Messner Shadow Minister for Social Security (062) 72 6966