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Tuesday, 9 March 1971
Page: 694

Mr JARMAN (DEAKIN, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for Social Services preparing any major changes in the social services structure for eventual submission to Cabinet? If so, has he received any help and advice regarding this matter from either the Government Members Social Services Committee or the Opposition Members Social Services Committee?

Mr WENTWORTH (MACKELLAR, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - The question of major changes in the social services structure has been engaging my attention for some time and I shall, in due course, be making a submission to Cabinet. 1 think, because it is a policy matter, that 1 had better not discuss details now. I have had some preliminary conversations with the Government Members Social Services Committee and I shall look forward to the advice and help that members of that Committee can give me in the preparation of various plans and, perhaps, in distinguishing between various alternative plans which might be proposed to be brought forward. I have not had any communication from the Opposition Members Social Services Committee nor, indeed, would 1 expect any in view of the equivocal nature of their approach to this social service question which they regard always as one of gaining political advantage rather than honestly trying to help pensioners. I would at some stage in the House, when an opportunity presents itself, make a statement but I do not want to take up question time with a lengthy reply. However, there is one matter of veracity which has to be settled in this House between the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Shortland. I would not, of course, say, and you, Mr Speaker, would rightly rule it out of order, that one of them was a liar.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister, by imputation, has reflected on those 2 gentlemen and I suggest to the Minister that he withdraw that remark.

Mr WENTWORTH - I do, Mr Speaker. I just say that it is impossible to reconcile the statements which have been made in this House one with another.

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