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Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2127

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) (Treasurer) - in reply - I thank those honourable members who have contributed to this debate from both sides of the House for their general acceptance of this measure. I am a little intrigued by the former Minister for Social Services, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) - whose Government had 23 years to do things in this country - who said what he might have done if only he had had another 12 months. The honourable member reminds me of all old reactionaries. He is in favour of every social revolution, except the next one. At least this evening there has been some acknowledgment that there are victims of inflation and that we should endeavour to remedy the circumstances of those people, where we can. We have begun in this legislation with a group of people who have been employees of the Crown at the Commonwealth level. What is being done under this legislation is to guarantee to them in retirement something like a standard which has a relativity to their last working years. I hope that eventually that can be done for everybody in the Australian community. This is why we are going to bring in for this country a scheme of national superannuation which will cover everyone, not just the fortunate few who happen to be covered either by private superannuation schemes - heavily subsidised by the tax arrangements - or those who are employees of the Crown at either State or Commonwealth level.

One thing that came out tonight is the fact that of every $7 that is received as a Commonwealth benefit by the average recipient, the Commonwealth pays $5 and the contributor has paid $2. At least they are in a more fortunate position than the something like two-thirds of the population of Australia who are still not covered by superannuation. We are looking after those whom we can look after, but eventually everybody ought to be looked after. This is the ultimate purpose of a national scheme. I say to the former Minister for Social Services who, with former governments, could have done something over i long period of years and who is now beginning to be critical in advance of this proposed scheme, that at least we are asking for communication from the public. As I said, he is the old reactionary.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - He achieved a great deal in the latter period when he was the Minister. I think you ought to be fair.

Mr CREAN - He achieved less than he might have achieved and he left this country in a position where its social service levels generally were in a deplorable state in terms of what the affluence of its economy could have afforded. This is what we want to redress in the years ahead. I hope that in that endeavour we will have the co-operation that has been indicative tonight in regard to this measure which at least does justice for some. We want to do justice for all.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.

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