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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1666

(Question No. 5148)


Mr Wright asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 25 February 1987:

(1) What increases were given to pensioners during the Whitlam Government and what increases have been given during the Hawke Government.

(2) How does this record compare with the McMahon and Fraser Governments.

(3) What other initiatives to assist pensioners were undertaken by the Whitlam Government and have been undertaken by the Hawke Government.


Mr Howe —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) The table below shows, for all categories of pensioners, the standard and married rates of pension applying during the McMahon, Whitlam, Fraser and Hawke Governments.

(3) Initiatives by the Whitlam Government in the Social Security portfolio included:

removing the age limit of 21 years on entitlements to mother's/guardian's allowance and additional pension in respect of full-time dependent students;

extension of portability provisions so that pensions granted in Australia could be taken to any country;

the introduction of supporting mother's benefit (now supporting parent's benefit);

the removal of residency requirements for invalid pension in respect of persons becoming permanently blind or incapacitated for work in Australia; extension of eligibility for the standard rate of pension to class B and C widows;

the extension of wife's pension entitlement to de facto wives of age and invalid pensioners without needing to have lived with the pensioner for at least three years;

an increase in the rate of supplementary assistance from $4 to $5 a week;

three increases in additional pension for children taking the rate from $5.00 to $7.50 a week.

Initiatives by the Hawke Government in the Social Security portfolio have included:

introduction of remote area allowance;

introduction of spouse carer's pension and, later, carer's pension (which subsumed spouse carer's pension);

indexation of income limits for fringe benefits eligibility;

introduction of a single (higher) rate of mother's/guardian's allowance, which has been extended to pensioners who are living apart from their spouses because of illness or infirmity;

extension of supporting parent's benefit to a person whose spouse is living apart because of illness or infirmity;

extension of supporting parent's benefit to include unmarried persons who legally obtain custody of a child or student;

three increases in mother's/guardian's allowance, taking the rate from $6 to $12 a week;

four increases in additional pension for children, taking the rate from $10 to $17 a week; and

an increase in rent assistance from $10 to $15 a week.

Initiatives by the Hawke Government to come into effect from 1 July 1987 are:

an increase in the weekly amount of private income disregarded for income test purposes from $30.00 to $40.00 for a single person and from $50.00 to $70.00 for a married couple;

abolition of the separate income test for rent assistance; and

an increase in the amount of income to be disregarded for each child from $6.00 to $12.00 a week.

PENSION RATES APPLYING DURING THE McMAHON, WHITLAM, FRASER AND HAWKE GOVERNMENTS

($ per week)

Government

Date from

Age/Invalid Pension

Standard

Married

Date from

Class A

Widow's

Pension

Class

B and C

Widow's

Pension

Supporting

Parent's

Benefit

McMahon Government

8.4.71

16.00

14.25

13.4.71

16.00

14.25

. .

7.10.71

17.25

15.25

12.10.71

17.25

15.25

. .

4.5.72

18.25

16.00

25.4.72

18.25

16.00

. .

5.10.72

20.00

17.25

10.10.72

20.00

17.25

. .

Whitlam Government

14.12.72(a)

21.50

18.75

5.12.72(a)

21.50

21.50

. .

4.10.73

23.00

20.25

9.10.73

23.00

23.00

23.00

4.4.74

26.00

22.75

26.3.74

26.00

26.00

23.00

8.8.74

31.00

25.75

13.8.74

31.00

31.00

23.00

1.5.75

36.00

30.00

6.5.75

36.00

36.00

36.00

13.11.75(b)

38.75

32.25

4.11.75

38.75

38.75

38.75

Fraser Government

13.5.76

41.25

34.25

from 13.5.76, the same as for standard rate pension

11.11.76

43.50

36.25

12.5.77

47.10

39.25

10.11.77

49.30

41.10

11.5.78

51.45

42.90

9.11.78

53.20

44.35

8.11.79

57.90

48.25

8.5.80

61.05

50.85

6.11.80

64.10

53.40

7.5.81

66.65

55.55

5.11.81

69.70

58.10

6.5.82

74.15

61.80

4.11.82

77.25

64.40

Hawke Government

5.5.83

82.35

68.65

3.11.83

85.90

71.60

3.5.84

89.40

74.55

1.11.84

91.90

76.65

2.5.85

94.30

78.65

14.11.85

97.90

81.65

1.5.86

102.10

85.15

25.12.86

106.20

88.55

25.6.87

112.15

93.50

(a) Backdated from 16 March 1973.

(b) Came into effect during caretaker period of Fraser Government but established by Whitlam Government.