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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 672

Dr WATSON —My question is directed to the Minister for Social Security. I refer him to his previous answer to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and to the claim made in his speech last night that 'the vast majority of pensioners and welfare beneficiaries would not be assisted by cuts to personal income tax and broader indirect taxes'. He stated further:

. . . it will drive poor Australians into debt, run down their savings, force them to sell off assets or tighten their belts to make ends meet.

Is it not a fact that any price rises resulting from the introduction of a broadly based consumption tax would be recouped by such pensioners and beneficiaries through the process of automatic indexation?

Mr HOWE —I have very little to add except to make the point that the honourable member obviously does not understand that, while the principal pensions tend to be indexed, many of the other associated benefits, particularly for children, are not.