PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2672


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 06/09/1972

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 2672

By the Prime Miinister, thie Rt. Hon.
William McMahon, CH, MP
Interviewer: Paul Lynch 6 SEPTEMBER, 1972
Prime Minister you were reported in the Press some
weeks ago as having said to members of your Party that they
had a good Budget and now was the time to go out and sell it.
It's quite obvious however, receiving calls at radio stations
from listeners, that most people don't have a very' clear
picture in their m'inds of just how good the Budget is for
them. Why do you think that is?
Pm. I think that the media in Australia doesn't give anywhere
enough publicity to what has been done in a Budget and that's
been a practice for years past. They're interested in
contemporary news not in explaining what has been done in
the past no matter how valuable it might be to the beneficiaries.
So therefore if I could just continue this, I believe it is the
responsibility of every member of Parliament, and of every
responsible Denartment, and particularly of members, of the
Cabinet itself to explain wh-at has to be done and to let people
know how they can go about getting the benefit of the Budget
Q. Teien you announced income tax cuts these were really
the only major cuts which were announced. How significant
are those cuts?
P! 1. W,, ell no there were others too, such as family allowances
or the allowances for dependants and many others as well. But
the cuts are pretty substantial. For example, you will not
now have to submit a return if your income is below S1,041 per
annum. Secondly with a person on an income of $ 2,000, his
taxation will now be reduced by something of the order of
$ 2.75 per week. So that his take home pay will be to that
extent increased. But I believe also that it is a pretty fair
Budget in that T~' e do concentrate on the lower and middle income
groups. ./ 2

0. There--has been a suacr-etion for Gorm. e time-that -the
figure of .$ 317, -the incnme tax'allowance--for * a iAfe-i---hould
be raised?
P~. Yes, tha! t is alwayo * being raised. What we did do is to
increase the allowances for all de endants and in this Budget
we did increase thos; e allo-ances bly $ 52 per annum. That
covers all dependants.
Again its quite obvious nearing calls from people to
open line progre-mmes that neorple anroaching nensionable age
or nensioned neonle have very little idea of ' That your
programme is a!) out easing and finally eliminating the means
PM. Well 1,7ave said that we -yould abolish the means test
within three years. That is clear cut and there can't be much
doubt ab-out it. P~ ut if there is then advise everyone who in
doubt to go to thei--r local , em! er or to the local Dep artment
of Social Service! 3 anP,. have it clearly explained to them. On
the -first part of the question you as,-ed that is, what we call
liberalisingq the means test, I think this should be ex * plained
because it is generous, it clives large benefits to an
increasingi num. ber of People. I've just jotted down a few noten
here and I think they igh behlpu because * try'v
nroposed to do is to increase the limits of w,. hat we call the
fremeans from $ 10 to 20 a -eelk in the ca~ e of a single
nensioner and from '$ J7 to $ 34.5f) a week in the case of a
married couple.
0. That's immediate?
That is immediate. Then That this means is that thie
proposed rates of pension, full p. ens: ion ill be payable until
the combined pension and means a3 assessed exceed douhle the
nenoion. T'hat'-, 40 a '. eek in the case of a single nensioner
and $ 69 a week for a married counle. And! we go further on this
occasion and say that eligibility for a part pension Will
not now cease until means as assessed reaches thiree times the
pension. 71hat'r. $ rO a week for a single nerson and $ 103.50 a
wTeek for marrieJ couples. " low w-hen w,, e look at the average
earninga -ihich are now about $ 98 a -, reek we can see how
generouq this chancre in nolicy is.
0. Prime M11inister in recent months, ' 4r. TThitlam on this
station and other critics have said there isi a fundamental flaw
in our income tax system~ hecause neople on higher salaries,
suclh as ' Ir. Mhitlam and indeed such as yourself, get larger
rebates for necesiary expenses such as narticipation in health
schemes than tVie neonle who earn much smaller salaries?
Pi I don't agree w:-itlh hirm. I think our present system is
a fair one b!: ut when you are answerin. 7 this you would ' have to
look at each incqredient of the rebate svstemi or tlie
concessional zystem. I couldn't give you a nroper ansNer to
that unless you were exnlicit as to w~ hich area you were talking
about. But I Ibelieve that our Budget this one that we've
just introduceO.--ras not only humanitarian, but I 13elteve-it
was fair. And T think it dealt witih-each section of t-he
norulation on a fair basis. And that I think re. Futes
! Ihitlam's argument at least in _ this area.

Transcript 2672