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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr SEABROOK (Franklin) .- I am in accord with the Government proposals. I believe that the pensioners will be well satisfied with the increase of 2s. 6d. per week, together with the liberalizing of the provisions of the Bill. Many of these old people live with friends, and their pensions are of considerable help. I agree with the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) that if we cannot get £1 per week for the old folk, the next best thing is to accept -I7s. 6d., especially as the old-age pensioners are allowed to supplement their income to a certain extent. If we directed more attention to the younger generation, and saw to it that they reached manhood or womanhood in a robust state of health, there would be less likelihood of their joining the ranks of invalid or old-age pensioners in the closing years of their lives. Let us take the case of any young working man who gets married. In the course of time, perhaps, he has around him a family of five or six children. If, unfortunately, through no fault of his own, he contracts a disease and dies, or meets with an accident and is killed, his unfortunate wife is left to struggle along as best she can with this young family. To some extent the children must be neglected. Their chance of growing up robust men and women must be seriously jeopardized. If, unfortunately, they should prove to be weaklings, they will become a burden on the State much sooner than otherwise they would. If both parents die, the children become wards of the State, and they may be placed with foster parents at 12s. per week.

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