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Thursday, 20 November 1941

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - That has not been suggested.

Mr Holt - Will the Minister give consideration to that aspect?

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I have already answered that point. Departmental figures show that approximately 1,000 men have already voluntarily relinquished their pensions because they have obtained work. It is generally known that 10 per cent, of the people who take the old-age pensiondo so because they are unable to find work. When work is available, they take it.No need exists therefore for an amendment of the act to enable old people to go to work. They have two courses open to them : they may earn £32 10s. a year without suffering a reduction of pension, or they may relinquish their pension altogether and take employment.

Mr DUNCAN-HUGHES (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -hughes. - Is that generally known among pensioners ?

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I should think so, hut perhaps not. The honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt) at least knows that scores of superannuated engineers, toolmakers, fitters and turners of 65 to70 years of age have been called back into industry. The point raised by the honorable member. for Watson (Mr. Falstein) as to whether the flexibility extended to the invalid pensioners will be extended to old-age pensioners is easily answered. If people are 85 per. cent, incapacitated and not quite of the age at which they become entitled to the old-agepension, they become eligible for the invalid pension. The honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Jolly) used a twisted argument when he raised the subject of property qualifications. I do not think that honorable members who raised that argument had any evil intent, but, whilst theyfight strenuously against an increase by 6d. of the rate of pension, they are apt, as was done by the honorable member for Lilley, to claim that, because people of the pensionable ago have property to the value of, say, £1,000 from which they earn little or no income, they should: be entitled to draw the old-age pension. Why should a person who has property to that value be entitled to keep it and leave it to some one else and draw the old-age pension? The points made by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron) have already been well answered. I think that the bill appeals to honorable mem bers generally, and I hope that it will be passed through its remaining stages without delay.

Mr Calwell -Could provision be made in this measure for the pensions to be paid into the savings bank accounts of the recipients?

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - When I was Assistant Treasurer in a former administration that request was made, but the Government was inundated with protests from pensioners who did not desire their pensions to be paid into a bank. The practice couldbe adopted, but it would be expensive. Child endowment is paid into the banking accounts when the recipients so desire.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In committee:

Clauses 1 to 5 agreed to.

Clause 6 (Conditions of payment of invalid pension in certain cases).

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