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Wednesday, 13 June 1984
Page: 2920


Senator BJELKE-PETERSEN —My question, directed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, concerns the war widow's pension. The Government has announced its intention to reactivate the former war widow's pension if widows remarry after the amending legislation. I ask the Minister: Will the Government include war widows who have married prior to 1984 and who advise the Department of this, particularly in view of the fact that war widows who live in de facto situations and who have not advised the Department of this still draw the war widow's pension?


Senator GIETZELT —I indicated in the second reading speech on the legislation to review the Repatriation Act as it dealt with the determining system that the Government intended, in the Budget and in the legislation that dealt with the repatriation system itself, to take into account and amend the regulations as they apply to the capacity of war widows who lose their war widow's pension on remarriage. The Government had agreed in principle to amend the legislation to provide for the war widow to maintain her war widow's pension on remarriage. Whether that will be dealt with retrospectively is of course a matter which will be dealt with specifically in the legislation. Having regard to the Opposition's general attitude to retrospectivity, I imagine that it will not support such a proposition.