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Wednesday, 8 November 1967

Dr Everingham asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

1.   Is it a fact that under the last Labor Government totally and permanently incapacitated persons were 123%, and old age pensions for a married couple were 100% of the then basic wage?

2.   Will he investigate the relative capacity of the economy, which has raised the basic wage since that time, to provide a similar rise for pensioners who have done their share to provide the means to increase wages and pensions?

Mr Sinclair (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Industry) - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   The combined pensions of a totally and permanently incapacitated pensioner and his wife rose to 123% of the Commonwealth basic wage (six capitals) following an increase in the pension in May 1943. At the same date, the combined age pensions paid to a pensioner couple amounted to 55.2% of the basic wage.

In November 1949, immediately prior to the Labor Government relinquishing office, the comparable percentages were 100.8% and 65.9% respectively.

Similar figures at 4th June 1967, the prior to the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission's announcement of the replacement of the basic wage concept with the total wage were 105.3% and 71.6% respectively.

2.   It is the practice of the Government to review the whole field of social services, including the rates of pensions, each year in connection with the preparation of the Budget when any chances considered desirable and practicable are made. This practice will be continued.

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