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Tuesday, 19 May 1942
Page: 1369

Mr HARRISON (Wentworth) . - The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson) argued that, since invalid and old-age pensions are uniform throughout Australia, a widow's pension ought also to be uniform throughout the Commonwealth and saw in the amendment a means whereby to achieve that uniformity. Commonwealth social legislation is introduced on the assumption that conditions in each -State are equal, but honorable members cannot hoodwink themselves that conditions do not vary as between States.

Mr Paterson - The honorable member is splitting hairs.

Mr HARRISON - How does the honorable member explain why the Commonwealth basic wage varies as between the States ? I cannot be accused of splitting hairs. If we had unification, every piece of social legislation would have to contain a provision similar to that contained in the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act for adjustments to be made in accordance with the rise or fall of the cost of living in the different States. But we have not unification, and under the present conditions I do not see how I can logically support the amendment.

Mr Paterson - The honorable member cannot logically oppose it.

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