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Friday, 20 August 1920

Mr MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports) . - I desire to draw the attention of the Treasurer (Sir Joseph Cook) to a matter relating to the administration of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act. A girl who is nearly nineteen years of age, and is suffering from tuberculosis, applied for ah invalid pension, but met with a refusal because her father is earning £3 9s. per week, while her brother, now in hospital with a broken leg, will bc able to earn something for the family when he comes' out, and a sister, now oh strike, will also he able, it is said, to contribute to the support of the family when she resumes work. The Minister for Home and Territories (Mr. Poynton), when Acting Treasurer some time ago, promised to consider this matter. The whole trouble is due to the fact that the calculation of the Department as to what it costs to maintain a family is based on data four or five years old. By regulation, the Treasurer could so alter that calculation as to meet a case of this kind. It should be brought up to date, inasmuch as the cost of living has greatly increased during the last few years.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - How many are there ki the family?

Mr MATHEWS - There are four children. If the father chose to turn the girl into the streets, she could at once secure a pension ; but because he is trying to assist her, she cannot.

Mr Austin Chapman - There are many similar cases.

Mr MATHEWS - There are. It is unreasonable to charge a father with the up-keep of a daughter nearly nineteen years of age, who, because of her infirmity, should be receiving an invalid pension.

Mr Makin - We ought to have an early opportunity to amend the Act.

Mr MATHEWS - Yes. Meantime, I ask the Treasurer to inquire into this case, and ascertain whether it is not possible so to alter the regulations that this unfortunate young woman may receive the pension to which she is justly entitled.

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