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Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Page: 8966

Mr ABBOTT (3:04 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Given the relativities of the lump sum payments for pensioners in today’s package, does the government now accept that the coalition is right and that the single pension should be raised to two-thirds of the married rate?

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —In response to the honourable member’s question about pensions, can I say a couple of things. The first is that we, in the measures we have announced today, have indicated that we will cover all pensioners and carers, not just one group of them. Secondly, we have indicated that, if you take the amount we are proposing by way of a one-off bonus to single age pensioners, that is equated over nine months to an amount of about $35 a week. It seems to me to be a number in excess of one floated recently by a certain political party, even narrowly ascribed to one particular group of pensioners. Thirdly, I say to those opposite, if the honourable member who asked the question was really serious about pension reform, what did he do for 12 years?