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Tuesday, 20 October 1970

Mr Allan Fraser (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Monaro) - As 1 am not sure whether I will be able to speak on the estimates for the Department of Social Services I take this opportunity of bringing to the attention of the House and of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) some matters relating to the application of the tapered means test. During recent days many senior citizens have received official letters requiring them to surrender their pensioner entitlement cards. Some of these letters contain the additional grim words: 'Your pension has been suspended' and they require the recipient to give up not only his medical entitlement card but also his pension card. The letters are not individual ones but are form letters, requiring only the pensioner's name to be written in at the top. The sender is the all-powerful Department of Social Services. 1 say 'allpowerful' because in this field there is no appeal against the departmental decision. The receiver is stripped of all personality and dignity as well as sometimes of his pension and in all cases of his medical entitlement.

If one looks at the form letter one will see that the pensioner is not only instructed by the Department but also told exactly how he must reply. The reply is written for him. All he has to do is put his name on it. This is the stereotyped reply that the Department requires:

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