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Tuesday, 1 November 1983
Page: 2094

Mr DOBIE —Is the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security aware that the Hawke Labor Government's callous attack on the very aged in our community, those over 70, begins today? Is he aware of Press reports that 'more than 16,000 old age pensioners stand to lose their pensions . . . because the Department of Social Security has been unable to confirm details of their incomes'? Does the Minister agree that to withdraw the pension pending finalisation of income details is a callous disregard of the need for security among the aged? Will the Minister assure the House that pensions will be withdrawn only after the Department has completed an assessment of the individual's position under the income test criteria?

Dr BLEWETT —The Government has made all possible efforts to secure information about the position of pensioners over 70 in relation to the means test. It has also made it quite clear to all groups that, if people miss out on a pension now , they may place the required information before us and all pension back- payments will be made. So, nobody will be unfairly treated by a decision which the Government made in order to distribute resources more effectively to those in need in this community.