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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2369

Mr GROOM —I direct a question to the Prime Minister. What has happened to his promise to increase zone allowances by 25 per cent?

Mr HAWKE —Mr Speaker, we have started to deliver that promise. As you will recall , in the Budget provisions were made for meeting the needs of the most disadvantaged-the pensioners-in zone A. You will appreciate that because of the way in which the taxation system operated they had been disadvantaged. We moved, therefore, to give assistance to those most in need.

I do not think the Opposition really wants another serve as to the constraints that were imposed upon this Government when it came to office and discovered the $3.6 billion deception which had been practised. Honourable members opposite lied to the Australian people during the election campaign. They lied to the extent of $3.6 billion. When we came to Government we were, as a result of the Opposition's deception, $3.6 billion-

Mr Groom —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I asked the Prime Minister a straight question and I expect a straight answer.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr HAWKE —As I was saying, because of the utter deception of those opposite we were confronted with that devastating situation and we had to re-order our priorities. Fortunately, I had indicated on the Wednesday before the election that if when we came to government we discovered that we had been lied to-of course, being the charitable soul I am, I hoped that it would not be the case-we would have to re-order our priorities. The test is quite clear. We did that. We have moved to give effect to the most important of our promises. We have indicated that during the life of this Government, and the two, three or four that will follow, we will give effect not only to the promises of February-March but also go far and away beyond that. The test is there. We have now been in government for some eight months and all the opinion polls show that we have improved our standing considerably since the election of March. That has been most recently confirmed by the miserable performance of the Liberal Party in the Moreton by-election when it was capable of getting a swing of less than 1 1/2 per cent against the average of 4 per cent.