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Wednesday, 29 September 1971
Page: 1613

Mr BENNETT - I present the following petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That due to higher living costs, including increasing charges for health services, most aged persons living on fixed incomes are suffering acute distress.

That Australia is the only English-speaking country in the world to retain a means test for aged pensioners and that a number of European countries also have no means test.

That today's aged persons have paid at least 7i per cent of their taxable incomes towards social services since the absorption of Special Social Services Taxation in Income Tax and continue to make such payments. (7i per cent of all taxable incomes for 1966-67 amounted to $783,082,150 and this year will produce more than $800,000,000 more than sufficient to abolish the means -test immediately.)

That the middle income group, the most heavily-taxed sector of the community, subsidises the lax commitment of the upper income bracket through the amount of social services contributions collected by the government and not spent on the purposes for which they were imposed.

That the abolition of the. means . test, will give a boost to the economy by:

(1)   additional tax revenue .from pensions

(2)   swelling of the work force,- and

(3)   increased spending by pensioners.

That it is considered just ' and right to allow people who have been frugal,' have lived their lives with dignity and have been anything but an encumbrance on the nation, to maintain that dignity to the end of their lives- free from fear of penury.

Your petitioners most humbly pray that 'the House of Representatives in Parliament assembled will take immediate steps to abolish the 'means test for all people who have reached retiring age or who otherwise qualify for social service benefits or pensions.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.

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