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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr NELSON (Northern Territory) . - One anomaly to which the Treasurer has not given the least consideration is the varying economic value or purchasing power of the pension in different parts of the Commonwealth.

Dr Earle Page - The Constitution does hot permit of discrimination between different parts of the Commonwealth.

Mr NELSON - No, but the anomaly arises out of the fact that the pension seems to- be based on the purchasing power of the sovereign in, say, Melbourne. As one proceeds from Melbourne that purchasing power decreases by as much as 50 per cent., yet the old-age pensioner is expected to live upon the same amount of money. In effect, the pension in the Northern Territory is 50 per cent, below the pension paid in Melbourne. Every

Arbitration Court allows Government servants in certain latitudes a special allowance equal to from 35 to 40 per cent. of their salaries. The same principle should apply to pensions, because, after all, if the amount is only sufficient in the southern States to keep the wolf from the door, it must be a starvation rate in other latitudes where its purchasing power is 30 to 50 per cent. less.

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