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Friday, 29 October 1920

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I am glad the honorable member has brought this subject up, because it gives me an opportunity to say that the other day I received a deputation from all sides of both Houses regarding it. My inclination was then, and is still, to permit the blind pensioner, who is otherwise hale and well - his only disability being his blindness - to earn up to the minimum wage, including his pension. I asked honorable members who were on that deputation to ascertain if the opinion of the House would be favorable to putting through a very short measure, dealing with that subject only, without any delay. I regret to say that I have been informed that the honorable member's side of the House will not agree to an arrangement of that kind.

Mr Riley - That is not true so far as I am concerned.

Mr Mahony - Nor so far as I am concerned.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I am informed that it is the intention to load the Bill with other amendments if I bring it forward.

Mr Mahony - Who told you ?

Mr Tudor - That is quite right. Some of our fellows said they would object.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I -am surprised at the Deputy Leader of that party raising this question. He ought to know, if he does not, exactly what the position is.

Mr Considine - The matter should be threshed out on the floor of the House, and not settled by private agreement.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I am suggesting that it should be threshed out here; but I asked for an undertaking, to which I think I am entitled. When I try to meet the difficulty arising out of the position of blind soldiers alone, I may fairly ask for a guarantee by the House that the whole question of pensions will not be raised.

Mr McWilliams - You may have a guarantee from this party that it will not be raised.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - Thanks; but I cannot get it from the Opposition.


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