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Wednesday, 1 September 1937


Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - I do not propose to make a long speech on this bill, nor do 1 propose to deal in general terms with the merits of the increase of the pension rate from 19s. to £1 a week.- I rise to make it clear that my views in regard to invalid and old-age pensions remain as they were in the past; I regret this increase from 19s. to £1, and I am personally opposed to it. I am perfectly aware that in saying this I may be isolated - I may be the only senator on this side of the chamber holding these views, hut I am not by any means the only person in the community subscribing to them. There are two points in. regard to this matter which I would like to put to the Senate : The first is that, as Senator Hardy has said with substantial accuracy, the hulk of the increases made in respect of the pension rate have been made by nonLabour governments. The parties they represented get credit for that at present, but if, later on, the credit becomes a debit will they accept responsibility for all of the increases they have made? When I came into parliament fifteen years ago, invalid and old-age pensions were costing the country £5,500,000 a year; for the current financial year they are to cost over £16,250,000, or nearly three times as much.


Senator Brown - Has the honorable senator always opposed the increases?


Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I have. I have always said that we should take note of what is done in other parts of the British Empire.. The pensions bill has trebled in 15 years; if it continues to increase at the same rate - and there is nothing to show why we should stop at £1 a week; why not make it £2 a week - invalid pensions will cost this country something like £50,000,000 a year. That will be a burden that the country cannot carry.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bil] read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.







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