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Thursday, 11 May 1939

Mr SPENDER ("Warringah) (Assistant1 Treasurer) .- I shall not address the House upon the justice of this measure, for I am satisfied to rely upon what has been placed before it by th(Mr. Menzies). There is no difference of opinion among members, irrespective of party, as to the need for some provision to be made for Dame Enid Lyons herself, and also for the education and maintenance of her family.

Mr Holloway - lt should be reasonable.

Mr SPENDER - The circumstances of this case are such that in the opinion of the Government there should not be any quarrel in respect of the sum to be paid. I rise to remove certain misapprehensions which, I think, have not yet been dealt with. In committee, an amendment will be proposed to provide first that the annuity to Dame Enid Lyons shall cease in the event of her re-marriage, and, secondly, that in respect of the amount to be paid to her as trustee, and to be used for the education and maintenance of her family, the amount shall be paid for only ten years from the commencement of the act, when the youngest child will have reached the age of sixteen years.

Mr Gander - That is not in the bill.

Mr SPENDER - In committee I propose to move that in clause 4 the words "until the youngest child attains the age of 21 years " be omitted, and the words " for a period of ten years," be inserted in lieu thereof.

Several honorable members have urged that provision be made to grant pension rights to members of this Parliament and their dependants. I realize the force of the representations that have been made, and am in a position to say that at the present moment a scheme to provide annuities to members, and provision for the dependants of deceased members, is under consideration by me, in consultation with representatives of each party in the House, and is receiving not only my sympathetic but also my urgent attention.

Referring again to the terms of the bill, it is sufficient for me to say, first, that the amount which is proposed in this bill is, in the belief of the Government, not more than is reasonable, and, secondly, that the Government is not losing sight of the necessity for providing some scheme of superannuation for members generally, in order to remove the possibility of their dependants becoming a charge on the country.

Mr Blackburn - That matter should not bo brought up at this stage.

Mr SPENDER - I should not have mentioned it at all were it not that more than one honorable member has already done go.

Mr Blackburn - Mention of it suggests that inducements are being offered to honorable members to support this measure.

Mr SPENDER - No inducement is being offered. Indeed, none should be needed. Had not the matter been referred to by a number of honorable members opposite, I should not have mentioned it.

The proposed provision for the family of the late Prime Minister does not mean that every member of that -family is to receive a specific amount for a period of ten years. The intention is that £500 per annum shall be paid to Dame Enid Lyons for the support and maintenance of the family as a whole. It does not follow that any portion of the sum will be paid to a child who has reached the age of 25 or 26 years.

Mr Rosevear - There is nothing to prevent that from being done.

Mr SPENDER - It does not necessarily follow that it will be done. It is intended that Dame Enid Lyons shall be granted this sum in order to enable her to apply it generally for the advancement and maintenance of the members of the family for a period of ten years. When one has regard to the burdens placed upon her in connexion 'with the maintenance and education of her family, the amount suggested is not unreasonable.

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