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Wednesday, 19 May 1920


Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) .- I should like to refer briefly to an obvious injustice that has been done to old-age pensioners who, through force of circumstances, are compelled to enter institutions. When the pension was 10s. per week the institution in which an old-age pensioner found a refuge was allowed 8s., and the pensioner himself 2s. for pocket money. Then the pension was increased to 12s. 6d., and the institution's allowance was raised from 8s. to 10s. 6d., leaving still 2s. for the old person. To-day the pensions have been increased to 15s., and the institution still gets only 10s. 6d., and the pensioner 2s., while 2s. 6d. is held over. It was the intention of the Department, I believe, to allow this 2s. 6d. to go to the institution, and I believe that that is to be done.


Mr Burchell - Last session, when the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Bill was before us, I moved that 12s. be given to the institution, and 3s. to the pensioner, in order to make it four-fifths of the amount for the former and one-fifth for the latter.


Mr LAZZARINI - I hope that will be done, but I am informed on good authority that it is the intention to continue the allowance of 2s. to the pensioner, and give the extra 2s. 6d. to the institution.


Mr Burchell - I sincerely hope not.


Mr LAZZARINI - This 2s. is intended for pocket money, to allow the old men and women to buy tobacco' and other little luxuries they may desire. I remind honorable members that tobacco has been considerably raised in price, and that it constitutes one of the main comforts of the old men in their declining years. I do not think the Department should be niggardly in this regard, and I hope that the suggestion of the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Burchell) will be carried out - at any rate, that an extra1s. will be given to the pensioner.

There is another matter connected with the invalid pension that requires ventilating. About 1912 it was laid down by the Department that £1 per adult and 10s. per child was a reasonable allowance in respect of wages and salaries in computing the pension. That allowance is now altogether inadequate, and an injustice is being done to these afflicted people. I do not wish: to labour the question, because I realize that those in control are just as anxious to do right as I believe every honorable member is; but I must say that a family which has the misfortune to have an invalid pensioner in it should be granted a larger allowance before the pension to the invalid is affected. The allowance, I think, should be increased to at least 26s. or 30s., and at least1s. more granted aspocket money to the old-age pensioner, though, in my opinion, the amount should be 2s. 6d.







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