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Tuesday, 2 April 1968

Mr Webb asked the Minister for Social Services, upon notice:

1.   How many widows were there at 31st December 1967 in each of the three classes of widow in (a) Australia and (b) each of the States?

2.   How many in each of the three classes of widow were classed as deserted wives?

3.   Of those classed as deserted wives (a) how many had children and (b) how many were without children in (i) Australia and (ii) each of the States?

4.   How much would it cost to abolish the means test as it affects each class of widow?

Mr Wentworth - The answers to the honourable member's questions are as follows:

1.   Statistics relating to widow pensioners are compiled at 4-weekly intervals. The last date on which they were compiled in 1967 was 11th December when the number of pensioners in each State and Territory by class was as shown in the following table:


2.   The number of widows classed as deserted wives in receipt of widow's pension as at 11th December 1967 was- Class A 12,087; Class B 3,105. Widow's pension in Class C is not payable to deserted wives.

3.   The number of deserted wives in receipt of widows' pensions by class in each State and Territory on11th December 1967, was as follows:


4.   Under the provisions of the Social Services Act the term 'widow' includes, in addition to a de jure widow, a deserted wife, a divorcee, a woman whose husband is a mental hospital patient, a woman whose husband has been convicted of an offence and is imprisoned and has been imprisoned for a period of not less than 6 months, and a dependent female.

Information as to the number of 'widows' in the community who would be eligible for a widow's pension if the means test were abolished is not available, consequently it is not possible to estimate the cost of such a proposal.

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