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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (1:12 AM) . - The Minister said that this was a quite generous provision, having regard to what the State acts provide.

Mr McMahon - I said that it was not out of line with the general State position.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I accept that correction, but I do not agree with that statement of the position. In Victoria, there is no limit whatever. In New South Wales, there is a limit of £625, with a provision that in special cases extra amounts may be paid. I think the honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) made a telling point when he asked the very pertinent question: What circumstances could one visualize in which the commissioner would step in and say that the amount should be increased? The provision presupposes that £350 is ample to cover all normal cases, but in special cases - to use the wording of the act - the amount may be increased. I should like to know what are the special cases.

Mr McMahon - Can you give me one single case where the commissioner has refused to give the extra amount? Perhaps the honorable member for East Sydney may help. It would be just nonsense toask for an amendment unless it were based on facts.

Mr Ward - May we put it in another way? Can you give us one single casewhere the commissioner has increased the-, amount?

Mr McMahon - Yes, I can, but I have-, asked you to give a case. You, not I,, are putting up \thfi amendment. You cannot give a case to support your amendment.

Mr Ward - Yes, we can. I have cases,, but I have not got them in my pocket, as you have the unemployment figures,, which you promised to give to me beforethe House adjourned.

Mr McMahon - I am glad that this lsbeing recorded, because your veracity can now be tested.

Mr Ward - So can yours - and that isnot said in the vernacular.

Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - A worker could suffer serious injury to the spine, and quite conceivably - this is no exaggeration - could find himeslf lying on thebroad of his back for a year before even, getting into a wheel-chair. It might beanother year before he was fit even towalk. No one would say that the cost. of hospital and medical treatment for a year or more would be less than £1,000. Must such a man rely upon the goodwill of the commissioner to determine whether he is to be paid the difference between the £350 and the £1,000, say, that is the actual cost? I think it is quite wrong. Unless there is a valid reason for limiting the amount to £350 when injuries can occur which involve the expenditure of, perhaps, double, treble or four times that amount, there ought not to be any such limitation.

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