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Friday, 23 October 1931

Mr ARCHDALE PARKHILL (Warringah) . - I am glad that the Government has introduced this measure. Only those who know the suffering which the closing of the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales has caused to large numbers of people in that State can realize its importance. In moving the second reading, the Minister said that the persons affected by the closing of that bank were among the best people in the community. With that sentiment I entirely agree. The very fact that they have money deposited in the savings bank is evidence of their thrift. As I understand it, the proposal embodied in this measure is that those who have money in the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales, and are dependent on it for their maintenance, shallassign that money to the Commonwealth, whereupon they shall be eligible for a pension, to be paid out of their own money until it has become exhausted, after which the pension will be continued in the ordinary 'way, provided they are still eligible to receive it. The bill will enable such people to have some access to their own money. It is further provided that, in the event of the State Savings Bank re-opening for savings bank business, and there being still a balance to the credit of these depositors, the money will be returned to them. I assume that the proposal has been carefully scrutinized by the Government, and that no difficulties are anticipated in connexion with the assignment of their money to the .Commonwealth by the depositors. I take it also that there will be no difficulty with regard to the pass books of depositors, and matters of that kind. I do not propose to make any extended references to the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales; to do so would be to go beyond the scope of this measure. Moreover, I made some references to that subject last night when speaking on another bill. I am glad that the Government proposes to render this measure of assistance to a deserving section of the people. My only regret is that action along these lines was not taken earlier. I desire to pay my tribute to the fortitude and patience shown by depositors with the State Savings Bank who have been deprived of access to their savings. Many of them are aged persons who had saved a portion of their income to provide for their sustenance in their old age. They never contemplated what has happened. The spirit that they have displayed is worthy of the commendation of this Parliament and the people of Australia generally. In other countries similar happenings would cause a revolution. The splendid spirit displayed by these depositors entitles them, not only to the measure of relief which this bill proposes, but also to the most sympathetic consideration of the Government, when it is possible to return to them their deposits in full. I support the bill.

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