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Thursday, 22 November 1973
Page: 2037

Senator WEBSTER (VICTORIA) - I direct my question to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I view it as a very important question. Can the public feel confident that the Labor Government is ever alert to the needs of all disadvantaged sections of the community? In particular did this socialist Government promise aged persons that the pension would be increased progressively until it was 25 per cent of average weekly earnings? Is the Government aware that while it has been in office, due to the inflation which it in part has created, the basic pension has already decreased from 20.7 per cent of average weekly earnings as it was when Labor took office in December 1972 to 19.5 per cent of estimated average weekly earnings, as it is at this time? If the Minister challenges the authenticity of my statistics -

Senator Murphy - Mr President,first of all this question was directed to me when it ought to have been directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security. But now the honourable senator obviously is debating the matter beyond all reason.

The PRESIDENT - I ask you to conclude your question, Senator Webster.

Senator WEBSTER -I accept your ruling, Mr President, but on each instance I have asked a question of the Leader of the Government -

The PRESIDENT - Order! I have asked you to complete your question, not to make any comments on my observation.

Senator WEBSTER - Will I repeat the question?

The PRESIDENT - No. I ask you to conclude the question.

Senator WEBSTER -I intended, Mr President, to direct my question to the Leader of the Government and the -

The PRESIDENT - Order! Just conclude the question. I will determine who will answer it.

Senator WEBSTER -Mr President,the Leader of the Government interrupted my question. You directed me to complete it.

The PRESIDENT - Then please complete it.

Senator WEBSTER -Mr President,I do not accept that ruling at all.

The PRESIDENT - All right.

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