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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2006

Senator HILL —My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security. Is it not a fact that home ownership has been supported by successive governments as a desirable aspiration and goal for all Australians? Would not failure to exempt the family home in a pensions assets test penalise many home owners by reducing pensions or denying them pensions? Is it not therefore inconsistent with support for the desirable aspiration to which I have referred?

Senator GRIMES —Yes, home ownership has been favoured by governments of all persuasions in recent years. In answer to the second part of Senator Hill's question, I point out that neither I nor this Government has proposed an assets test which does not exclude private homes from it. There are reports, and they have been confirmed by Professor Gruen, that one of his proposals is that the family home be incorporated in an assets test. I remind Senator Hill that a report has been written by Professor Gruen and other distinguished citizens, including representatives of the Civilian Widows Federation and the Australian Pensioners Federation. I would expect, and I am sure that the honourable senator would expect, that such a report would in fact contain other recommendations which would ensure that the incorporation of the family home in an assets test would not result in a great penalty being imposed on the ordinary home owner in this country. I think the honourable senator, other honourable senators and other members of the Parliament should wait until we can have a considered look at that report and a considered debate about that report rather than comment about speculations in the newspapers.