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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6305

Mr WINDSOR (1:41 PM) —I would like to take a few minutes if I could—and I promised the minister that it would only take a few minutes—to congratulate the government in taking this fairly momentous step in relation to the increase in pensions. It is something that, as the former speaker said, has been long overdue and something that has been required for many years now. Obviously the pensioners in my electorate are very, very pleased. They recognise that it does not solve all their problems, but I think at least they recognise now that government is taking them seriously in terms of the level of the pension.

I would also particularly like to thank a woman called Betty Moore, who is a resident of Inverell. She is a former councillor on the Inverell council. She has led a campaign in that part of the world to increase the pension, and she was instrumental in me organising a number of rallies across the electorate, where she spoke. She was also one of the invitees at the 2020 Summit, where this issue was raised. I know that she is delighted that the government has actually listened to the voices that have been out there, and there have been many of them—champions at a whole range of levels that have been campaigning for the increase in the pension.

I know there has been an amount of politics played in relation to this issue, but I think it is tremendous that we do see that those people—people that in the main were working very hard when the hard yards were on in terms of this nation—are at least being recognised by the government with a relatively small increase in terms of the global economy, but nonetheless a significant increase and in many cases I think an unexpected increase given the activities of the last 10 or 15 years in terms of pension increases. I will conclude at that point and thank the minister on behalf of the pensioners of New England and elsewhere because of the changes that have been made.