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Wednesday, 12 May 1920

Mr POYNTON (Grey) (Minister for Home and Territories) . - I think the honorable member could have presented his amendment in considerably simpler form if he had moved to leave out the words " one pound," with a view to insert in their stead " two pounds." However, by offering such a suggestion I do not imply that the Government intends to accept the honorable member's amendment. It is truethat, if it is agreed to, it will not increase the liability of the Government in regard to the amounts to be furnished soldier appli cants; but the honorable member apparently overlooks that the basis of £2 for £1 would reduce the Government's security by 50 per cent. The considerable risk attaching to the proposition generally has furnished probably the chief objection of the Government to the introduction of the original principle.

Mr Jowett - Still, the risk would be a good one.

Mr POYNTON - I do not think it would be. The Government cannot accept the amendment. I wish to suggest the most acceptable procedure in taking a test vote at this stage. Unless the division be limited to the amendment of the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett), or to the specific portion of the new clause on which his amendment is proposed,the effect may be that opportunity to subsequently amend the new clause will have been forfeited. I myself have one or two amendments to propose. It is desired to make it absolutely clear that a maximum of £150 may be furnished to each individual soldier, and the Government propose to provide that the aggregate amount of loans shall be £500,000. instead of £250,000. I also propose to amend paragraph d of subclause 7. This provision prevents the granting of loans if, in the opinion of the Commission, the applicants have been satisfactorily established in civil life. I propose to amend it to read as follows : - .

If, in the opinion of the Commission, the. applicants have been reasonably and satisfactorily assisted to re-establish themselves in civil life.

In many cases men have had considerable assistance from the Repatriation Department to re-establish themselves in civil life, and surely they ought not to be given assistance again under this scheme.

Mr Mahony - The Department take the view that if they give a man pick and shovel work they are finished with him.

Mr POYNTON -If they do so we shall hear about it. I have indicated the amendments I propose, and also the fact that the Government cannot accept the amendment of the honorable member for Grampians.

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