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Monday, 26 November 1973
Page: 3832

Mr FOX (Henty) - I rise to register my protest at the removal of the age allowance for income tax purposes. This allowance was introduced by the Menzies Government to ensure that persons of a pensionable age who did not receive pensions would not have to pay tax on an income the equivalent of which in the hands of pensioners was tax-free. The Government devised a scale to ensure that this occurred and the scale also provided a very small tax advantage for those nonpensioners who were in receipt of a slightly higher income and in a higher bracket over persons who had not reached pensionable age but who had a similar income. I believe that this was not an unreasonable arrangement because many of these people who could have stayed at home and drawn a pension preferred to go to work. In doing so, they contributed to the national economy. This Bill, which we are now discussing in the Committee stage, not only removes this concession but also leaves some single pensioners $1 a week worse off than they were before. Some married couples are more than $4 a week worse off than they were before. 1 admit that as a result of this action quite a number of pensioners are in a better position than they were previously. But I am of the opinion that no pensioner should be worse off. The Labor Government has gone back already on one promise it made to pensioners. This was to provide an immediate increase of $1.50 a week following the election, and thereafter $1.50 a week every spring and every autumn until the pension reached 25 per cent of average weekly male earnings. Not only have the pensioners been taken down for one of these increases of $1.50 because they have received only 2 increases since the Government came to office 12 months ago, but, by removing the age allowance in a time of high inflation and an increasing rate of inflation, this Government has left some pensioners worse off than they were before this Bill was introduced. I believe that this is inexcusable. On behalf of the pensioners I register my protest at what this Government has done.

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