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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2483


Senator LEWIS(4.16) —Clause 54 introduces into the eligibility criteria for a service pension the iniquitous assets test which this Government has introduced to this nation. The assets test has caused enormous heartache in the community. The Government is to impose this test on ex-servicemen who have given so much to their country when we have said time after time that what we want to do for ex-servicemen is to provide them with the best that a generous government can provide. The Government will now say to them: `Oh yes, but now we cannot really afford to be generous with you; we are going to impose an assets test on you'. This will create enormous concern among people. I am thinking in particular of those who served in the earlier world wars and who set up their lifestyle on the basis of criteria that existed prior to the introduction of this iniquitous assets test. No doubt some have helped their children on farms and in other ways and set up their assets on the basis that they would get the sevice pension for the rest of their lives. But along came this Government and introduced this measure which has created absolute havoc, particularly among country ex-servicemen. They are the people with whom I have most contact. It has caused them enormous distress. The Opposition is prepared to put the Government to the test again on this clause.