Wednesday, 7 September 2022
Questions without Notice
Pensions And Benefits
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister of Social Services, Senator Farrell. Why is the government's temporary announcement to support pensioners to keep most of what they earn time-limited to the end of this financial year?
I thank the senator for her question. I think it's fair to say that this government is doing so much more for pensioners, even in its first couple of months, than you've done in your previous 10 years. We're going to continue down this track to try to improve the lives of Australian pensioners that you—
Thank you, President. I thank the senator for her intervention. As I made very clear in the few seconds I had to answer this question before I was rudely interrupted by Senator Reynolds, we are going to do more in the time that we have in the government than your government did in the previous 10 years. These are issues that are, of course, constantly under review by the Minister for Social Services.
President, I have a point of order on relevance. It's agonising that Mr Farrell can't get beyond the broad concept of pensioners and hasn't even turned to the actual policy proposal of the government— which is a copy of part of an opposition policy proposal—for an extension to pensioner work rights, when the precise question from Senator Reynolds was about those pensioner work rights and why the government has adopted it only to the end of the financial year.
I do have a supplementary question, and, in fact, given the Minister representing the Minister for Social Services didn't answer the question, I will ask him the same question again: Can the minister please explain why it is only time-limited until the end of this year?
Thank you, Madam President, and I thank Senator Reynolds for her question. This government continues to do whatever we can to assist Australian pensioners in a way that the previous government never ever did. One of the ways in which we are doing that, of course, is that we are now strengthening the—
Thank you very much, President. I was going to ask whether they would look to extend it beyond July of this year, given there is a great need. However, given that I didn't get a straight answer to my first two questions, I will ask the same question again.
I note that Senator Wong said she had the answer. Maybe she might like to hand it over to Senator Farrell. The question, again, is: Why is it time limited? Is it time limited until the end of this year? (Time expired)
Government senators interjecting—
I thank the senator for her a supplementary question. One observation I would make is that there is a facility under the decision that has been made to extend the period of time in extenuating circumstances. So I think your general principle is not completely accurate, in the sense that there is an ability, under the proposal, to—
I've tried to be as directly relevant as I can, President. The proposition that's being put to me by the senator is not correct. There is an ability, under the proposal, in extenuating circumstances to expend— (Time expired.)