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Wednesday, 10 October 1984
Page: 1553

Senator TEAGUE —by leave-I claim to have been misrepresented in remarks that the Minister for Social Security (Senator Grimes) made during Question Time today. Certainly he is not misrepresenting me in saying that I am totally and resolutely opposed to the assets test. However, he alleged that reports of remarks that I had made in South Australia were contrary to the announcement he made today. I have never claimed-it would be wrong to claim-that as a normal course every pensioner in Australia would have a departmental officer, from the Department of Social Security or any other department, intrude into his or her home. I was protesting about two things. One was that as I genuinely understood the situation-until the assurances freshly given by the Minister here today in the Senate-in the case of any disputed valuation there would be a knock on the door and a visit by a representative of the Department of Social Security to an age pensioner. The other circumstance I had in mind was that there would be random checks of pensioners by way of a departmental officer knocking on the door. Those are the two circumstances that I had in mind in my references to that. I acknowledge now to the Minister that I have heard for the first time in the Minister's unequivocal statement that in no circumstances will a departmental officer ever knock on the door of an age pensioner.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator is now debating the matter and going beyond the point of a personal explanation.

Senator TEAGUE —Mr President, in concluding my remarks I maintain that I have been bona fide in my remarks in opposition to the assets test. I take the Minister's total and unequivocal assurance as a fresh statement not only to the Senate today but also to the public of Australia.

The PRESIDENT —Order! The honourable senator is exceeding the terms of a personal explanation.