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Friday, 8 May 1942

Mr MORGAN (Reid) .- I support the contention of the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) that the Minister should deal with the permissible income limitation. If there is an objection to making an appropriate amendment in the bill, the matter could be dealt with by a national security regulation. I have had several typical cases brought to my notice. An oldage pensioner who is a constituent of mine wished to assist in the war effort. He obtained employment that lasted for only two weeks. He had given up his pension, in the meantime, and not until two months after he had applied for a renewal was the new pension granted. He had incurred obligations in the meantime, and the pension was not renewed as from the date when he had relinquished his employment.

Another case brought to my notice was that of a man who is a justice of the peace and an alderman in the municipality of Granville. He has been an invalid pensioner for fifteen years, as a result of heart trouble. He was certified by the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Department as being completely incapacitated. A few years ago some one wrote an anonymous complaint about him, and his pension was cancelled; but, on the representations of my predecessor, it was renewed. Recently, he offered his services in connexion with the national emergency, and was appointed chief air raid warden for Granville district. Later, some kind person, because the pensioner had a position of prestige, wrote another anonymous complaint, and said that if the man could do the work he was doing he was not entitled to a pension. He was working, of course, in an honorary capacity. Possibly by occupying his mind in that work he would be diverting his thoughts from his own physical condition, and I understand that that is one of the reasons why he has taken up social and philanthropic work in the district. EEs work as chief warden was work for the community. When the report was sent to the department the case was referred to the local doctor, who, apparently, does not agree with the pensioner's views. The result was that the pension was cancelled. I brought the case to the notice of the commission, and later the Minister, who appointed a medical board to investigate it. The hoard reported that the pensioner was 50 per cent, incapacitated. In spite of that, however, he does not come within the provisions of the act. He cannot obtain employment because, being 50 per cent, incapacitated, he is, for the purpose of obtaining employment, totally incapacitated. Cases such as these should be dealt -with under the national security regulations.

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