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Tuesday, 19 May 1942

Mr DUNCAN-HUGHES (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -HUGHE S . - My view is that we should not duplicate pensions in this way. As the Government has already introduced certain measures to provide for uniform income taxes throughout the Commonwealth, we are justified in asking that, where practicable, pensions also should be uniform throughout the Commonwealth. If we pass this bill we shall offer a direct inducement to States other than New South Wales to introduce widows' pension schemes in order that benefits available to widows may be uniform in all States. It is not desirable, particularly in wartime when, in my opinion, the country cannot afford such expenditure, that we should offer any such inducement.

The Commonwealth Government has already taken steps in certain directions to avoid duplication of pensions. I direct the attention of honorable members to Statutory Rules 1942, No. 9, covering National Security (War Injuries Compensation) Regulations. Regulation 19 reads -

A pension shall not be granted or payable in respect of the death or incapacity of any person if a pension is payable in respect of that death or incapacity under the Australian Soldiers Repatriation Act 1920-41 or the Seamens War Pension and Allowances Act 1940. or compensation is so payable under the Naval Defence Act 1910-34, the Defence Act 1903-41, the Air Force Act 1923-39 or the National Security (Civil Defence Volunteers Compensation) Regulations.

The object of the Government, in making that regulation, clearly was to obviate the payment of two pensions to the one person in respect of the same set of circumstances. I admit that, normally, both would be payable by the Commonwealth.

But surely the rule applies equally where one pension would be payable by the Commonwealth and the other by a .State ! I can see no difference; the result would be the same. The amendment is not only sound but also equitable. If adopted, a certain degree of uniformity would be maintained ; consequently, I intend to support it.

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