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Friday, 24 August 1923


Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) . - Many of the recent actions of this Government have been discreditable, but this is the most discreditable of all. It is almost pathetic to hear honorable members on the other side of the Committee trying to explain their attitude. They certainly have been placed in an unfortunate position through the Government having made this a vital issue. If the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Maxwell), the honorable member for Lang (Sir Elliot Johnson), and the honorable member for Corio (Mr. Lister), who have said that though they favour a pension of £1 they will support the Government and vote for 17s. 6d. a week, would only take a firm stand the Government would soon alter its attitude.


Mr Lister - I made my position very clear. I said that I intended to vote for £1 a week.


Mr LAZZARINI - I am sorry if I have done the honorable member an injustice. I certainly understood him to say that although he deprecated the action of the Government he would support it. If he did not say it, other hon orable members on his side of theCommittee 'did. A few days ago the honorable .member for Fawkner (Mr Maxwell) and some others on that side took a stand on a certain matter and the Government changed its attitude. I believe that if they made a stand now the Government would not risk suffering a defeat. By hook or by crook the Prime Minister intends to get to England, and if honorable members opposite, who say that they wish the pension to be £1, would stand by their convictions the Government would " climb down." I do nob think one honorable member opposite can really say that 17s. 6d. a week is an adequate pension. The honorable member for Eden Monaro (Mr. Austin Chapman) has advocated £1 a week before now, and the right honorable member for North Sydney (Mr. W. M. Hughes) is also favorable to the proposal to make the pension £1 per week. I remind that right honorable gentleman that when he was head of the Government he did not give any increase at all.


Mr W M Hughes - I increased the pension to 12s. 6d., and then to 15s.


Mr LAZZARINI - The attitude of honorable members opposite seems to be determined very largely by whether they are members of the Ministry or not. I hope that the amendment will be carried. Even if it be not carried I trust that the Government will agree to pay the pension of 17s. 6d. from the beginning of the financial year. We wish to make the increased payment retrospective for only a few weeks. The Government wished to make retrospective for six years a measure that it had before honorable members a few days ago.







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