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Thursday, 9 March 1972
Page: 589


Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) - I present the following petition:

The Honourable the President, and Senators in Parliament assembled. The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That on December 10, 1948, Australia signed the 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights'. Article 25 reads: 'Everyone has the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age and other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.'

Yet, 23 years later, in our country of great national wealth and abundance it is to the nation's shame that many thousands of our people live in a state of being inconsistent with the dignity and worth of the human person - languishing in poverty and want, neglect and the lack of proper care necessary for their health and well-being.

We, the undersigned, respectfully draw your attention that the conscience of the nation is not at ease while the records of our country show that social services are not comparable with those of other advanced countries administering such services, therefore, we call upon the Commonwealth Government to immediately legislate for: Base pension rate - 30 per cent of the average weekly male earnings, all states, plus supplementary assistance and allowances based on a percentage of such earnings. Unemployed benefits equal to the foregoing. Completely free health services to cover all needs of social service pensioners - hospitalisation, chronic and long-term illness, fractures, anaesthetics, specialist, pharmaceutical, hearing aids, dental, optical, physiotherapy, chiropody, surgical aids and any other appliances.

Commonwealth Government to promote a comprehensive national scheme in cooperation with the States and make finance available to provide for the building of public hospitals, nursing and hostel-type homes necessary to effectively meet the special requirements of aged people, in conjunction with a comprehensive domiciliary care programme to enable aged people to stay in their homes.

Mental illness placed in the same position as physical illness.

Substantial Commonwealth increase in the $5 subsidy a day per public bed pensioner patient in general hospitals.

Ten per cent of Commonwealth revenue to local government for general activities which now include social welfare, health, conservation and other community needs. Commonwealth subsidy for the waiving of rates for pensioners.

Commonwealth Government to increase the non-repayable grant to the States for low rental home units for pensioners.

Royal Commission or other form of public enquiry into Australia's social welfare structure that Australia may be brought into line with accepted world standards of the most advanced countries.

And your petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray.

Petition received and read.







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