House debates

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Urgent Relief for Single Age Pensioners Legislation

Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders

2:55 pm

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | Hansard source

I am glad this is so welcome! I move:

That so much of the standing and sessional orders be suspended as would prevent the Leader of the Opposition from moving immediately—That the House of Representatives:

(1)
recognises that the Prime Minister and his Government:
(a)
have acknowledged that it is virtually impossible for single age pensioners to meet essential expenses on the current pension rate, yet have refused to act and instead expect struggling pensioners to wait until yet another review is completed; and
(b)
have a responsibility to act immediately to ensure that the entire pension payment system appropriately addresses these pressures;
(2)
affirms the urgency of the Coalition’s pension bill in proposing to:
(a)
increase the single age pension, single age service pension and the Widow B pension by $30 per week;
(b)
provide immediate relief to single age pensioners, single age service pensioners and Widow B pensioners struggling with the rising cost of living pressures; and
(c)
provide the first step in ensuring that the Government acts immediately and accepts its responsibilities to take the urgent action required to assist all pensioners;
(3)
demands that the Government:
(a)
allow the Opposition proposal to be debated immediately and in doing so, reflect the will of the Senate in passing the Urgent Relief for Single Age Pensioners Bill 2008 last night; and
(b)
recognise the urgency of the Coalition’s bill and support its enactment without further delay; and
(4)
should it refuse to deal with the Coalition’s bill, demands that the Acting Prime Minister immediately introduce the Urgent Relief for Single Age Pensioners Bill 2008 in the House of Representatives with full knowledge that it will pass through this place and through the Senate.

We have seen the plight of pensioners trivialised and mocked by this government today. We have seen pensioners who are living on a pension that the Treasurer, this man who claims to be so in touch, says he cannot live on, and that the Acting Prime Minister says that she cannot live on. We have seen this move to give single age pensioners $30 a week described by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs as ‘a stunt’. We have seen it described by the Treasurer as ‘a ploy’. And we have seen it described by the Acting Prime Minister, after listening to the comic antics of the Treasurer during question time, as ‘low-rent politics’. Low-rent politics indeed—we have had a gutful of that from the government today!

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