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Wednesday, 22 August 1984
Page: 132


Senator COLLARD —I ask the Minister for Social Security: Is it a fact that the Budget granted pensioners an increase of only 35c a week after the medifiddle factor is taken into account?


Senator GRIMES —If the Government had followed the policy of the previous Government, pensioners would have received nothing on 1 November. In fact, single pensioners will receive an increase of $2.50 a week and a married couple will receive an increase of $4.20 a week. If in rented accommodation they will also receive an increase of $5 a week on the supplementary allowance, an increase of $2 a week if they have children, and an increase of $2 a week if they qualify for the guardian allowance. The Medicare effect, which I and others in this place have talked about, would probably account for about $2.15 a week, which means that the Government has added at least 35c, plus all the other increases.


Senator Walters —Thirty five cents!


Senator GRIMES —I ask Senator Walters and Senator Collard, who are so keen on cutting deficits and government expenditure, how much they would have increased the pension beyond the Government's figure, bearing in mind that an increase of $1 in pensions increases the Budget deficit by $100m.


Senator Button —We should look at the total deficit.


Senator GRIMES —If the present Government did everything that the Leader of the Opposition in the other place suggests, it would add $8,000m to the total deficit. However, people such as Senator Collard and Senator Walters are always extravagant when sitting on the Opposition benches. That is why they will be sitting on those benches for a lot longer.