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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1060

Senator DRURY (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -Can the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security inform the Senate of the amount by which the standard pension rate has increased in the last 10 years and, in particular, since 1972? Can the Minister also inform the Senate as to the present percentage ratio of the pension to the average weekly wage, compared with the percentage ratio of 1972?

Senator WHEELDON (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Repatriation and Compensation) -Yes, I can do that since, as it happens, the figures are right at my fingertips this very moment. In 1964 the standard rate of pension was $1 1.50. As a result of the increase announced in July it is now $31, so that over this period -

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Media) - Thirty-one dollars?

Senator WHEELDON -Yes, $31. If one were to compare it, by way of a percentage, with the weekly wage for the years 1964 and 1974, one finds that it has increased from 22. 1 per cent in 1964 to 24.5 per cent in July 1974. That is the seasonally adjusted weekly wage. The weekly wage, as it is otherwise described, has increased from 2 1.8 per cent to 24.1 per cent- a very considerable increase under the Labor Government. Since 1972 the pension has been increased from $18.25 to $31. It means that with regard to the comparison with the seasonally adjusted weekly wage there has been an increase from 19.2 per cent to 24.5 per cent. When Mr Snedden, the present Leader of the Opposition, was Treasurer in 1971 the pension was at its lowest percentage of average weekly earnings since 1946. It was then 17.9 per cent. In the 1971 Budget he actually increased it- in a very generous gesture one must say- from 17.9 per cent to 18.9 per cent of average weekly earnings.

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