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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3748


Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 23/05/1975

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3748

Z. I U Th
Press Statement
j w~ 23 May 1975
The Prime Minister and member for Werriwa, Mr Gough
Whitlam has reminded pensioners that they can soon
expect lump sumR payments of pension benefit/ increases
backdated to I May. The pension increases had been
del. ayed by Opposition tactics in -the Senate, and
reflected the low priority the Opposition parties gave
to social welfare payments.
" The standard rate of pension for aged persons,
invalids, widows and supporting mothers has risen by
a week. to $ 36 a week," Mr Whitlam said. " The rate
for a married couple has been increased by $ 8.50 a week
to $ 60 a week," he added. Additional payments f or
children of pensioners and other beneficiaries have also
been increased by $ 1.50 to $ 7 a week for each child.
" Most importantly, this latest legislation has*
kept the Australian Government's promise to abolish
the means test for people aged between 70 and 74 years,"
Mr Whi-tlam said. This meant that an estimated 56,000
people in that age group who were previousl~ y ineligible
for pensions under the means test were ncw entitled to
draw pensions. Mr Whitlam urged people to apply to the
nearest office of the Department of Social Security if they
thought they were now entitled to a pension. Ile stressed
that this was especially important for first-time pensioners.
The full pension will also be paid to about 43,000
aged between 70 and 74 who had only been getting partpensions
because of -the means -test. Mr Whitlan said the
full pension payments would be backdated to 1 May.
However, Mr Whitlam pointed out that guardians
allowances, additional payments for children and supplementary
assistance would remain payable subject to existing means tests.
In addition, " fringe benefits" such as entitlement to a
Pensioner Medical Service card would also remain subject -to
a means test.
Mr. Whitlam explained that widows and supporting mothers
would receive a special cheque about June 4, covering the arrears
back. to the May 6 payment date. They will receive benefit at
the new rate of $ 36 a week in their normal cheque on June 17.

Old ago and invalid pensioners will receive a single
cheque on June 12, covering the fortnight's payment at the
new rate and lump sum payment backdated to May 1.
Mr. Whitlam. said he was proud that since the Australian
Labor Government had been elected in 1972, the standard rate
of pension had been increasad by 80% and the combined married
rate by nearly 74%. Costs generally had risen only 31 .6%
in that time so it meant that pensioners had more real purchasing
power now.

Transcript 3748