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Friday, 17 December 1993
Page: 4990


Senator PATTERSON (3.20 p.m.) —The coalition will not be supporting this amendment. The Democrats have put forward this amendment on a number of previous occasions, without success. We recognise that many farmers and their families are struggling because of a number of factors, not least the economic mismanagement of this Labor government. It should never be forgotten that this Labor government introduced the assets test for the family allowance and has progressively tightened that assets test.

  The coalition recognises the importance of maintaining equity between families as well as targeting assistance to those in greatest need. If we provide an across-the-board exemption in the family payment assets test for the family farm and related plant and articles, should we then, on the grounds of equity, exempt all business premises, plant and equipment? There are huge ramifications. It is not an easy issue. We have outlined our concerns on previous occasions.