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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr F MCDONALD (BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES) .- I ask the Treasurer to so word his motion that I may propose, when the Bill is recommitted, the following amendment: -

Provided that in .those cases where a pensioner or applicant for a pension satisfies the Commissioner that he is possessed of moneys, or has outstanding moneys due and payable to him by instalments or otherwise, which he is employing or proposes within a reasonable time to employ in the purchase of a home for the pensioner or applicant, such moneys shall not be taken into account when assessing the amount of pension payable.

Section 25 provides for the exemption of the home in which the pensioner or applicant is living. No matter what the value of the home may be, it is not taken into account to the detriment of the pension. But a number of cases of hardship have arisen out of the interpretation of this provision. The most recent one that has come under my notice is that of two pensioners who had been living in their own home, but thought it advisable to sell it and purchase another. They sold on time-payment, and bought another on time-payment, the instalments from the sale of the first being applied to the purchase of the second.

Dr Earle Page - Are they -living in the second home?

Mr Groom - They are getting income from one house which is being devoted to the purchase of another house.

Mr F MCDONALD (BARTON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes; hut the proceeds from the first house are reckoned as income, and the pensions are reduced accordingly.' I am satisfied ,that that action is opposed to the spirit of the Act, but I understand that the Commissioner has no power to do otherwise. In such a case the Commissioners should have a discretionary power. My amendment will meet the case to which I have referred, and other similar cases. It is quite conceivable that applicants for the pension may have certain moneys coming to them in instalments, and if they use these moneys to purchase a home on time payment they should not be treated as income.

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