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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2485

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(4.29) —Clause 54 is the machinery part of the assets test. It must be conceded, even by Senator Messner, that we have debated this matter many times. He has had the opportunity time and again to express his view; he has availed himself of the opportunity to do that again. The Government's position is unchanged; that is, it seeks the Senate's support. I remind Senator Messner that changes have been made with a view to accommodating the hardship provisions. He asked for some of the figures. I am able to advise him that as at 25 October, the Department had received 717 hardship applications, mostly from farmers; 147 have been approved, and 465 rejected. Some 71 remain to be determined and currently priority is being given to this task. However, as it is the policy of the Government and the matter has been determined by the Parliament on several occassions it is obviously an issue that will be resolved at a future election. I suggest, therefore, that the Committee should proceed.

Question put:

That clause 54 be agreed to.