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Tuesday, 19 May 1942

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) .- This clause sets out the conditions upon which payment of the pension shall cease, but does not provide that a woman under 50 years of age who has been receiving a pension because she has been maintaining a child under the age of sixteen years, shall lose it. There does not appear to be any clause which makes such express provision. I suggest to the Minister that the pension should not be devested from the widow in such circumstances, and that something be done on the lines of section 38 of the New South Wales Widows' Pensions Act 1928-1941, which provides that the right to, or the amount of, a pension shall not be affected during any period covered by a pension certificate, by reason merely of the fact that a child of the pensioner has, within that period, attained the school-leaving age, or by reason merely of the death of a child of the pensioner. Under the New South Wales scheme, the widow applies for a pension certificate. She may qualify for it because she is over 50 years of age and childless, or because, although she is under 50 years of age, she has a child. If, after she has obtained the pension certificate, the child should die, or pass the school-leaving age, she does not, by reason of that fact, lose the pension.

Sir Frederick Stewart - What is the term of the certificate?

Mr BLACKBURN - Apparently, until it is cancelled.

Mr Holloway - The pension is to cease when the child reaches sixteen years of age.

Mr BLACKBURN - The clause does not say so.

Mr Holloway - Provision is made in clause 4.

Mr BLACKBURN - Clause 4 provides that that is a condition of obtaining a pension. The clause that I am now discussing, which contains the conditions upon which the pension right shall be lost, does not provide that it shall be lost by reason of the fact that the child has died or has reached the age of sixteen years. I suggest that this matter be favorably reconsidered, and that provision be made on the lines of the New South Wales section for the continuance of the pension, or that the Minister adopt the suggestion made this afternoon by the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Ryan) and myself, that the widows' pension shall not be interrupted merely because her child has reached the age of sixteen years or has died. That seems to be what the bill contemplates, although it does not expressly make that provision. If a child in respect of whom a widow is receiving a pension should die or reach the age of sixteen years, the pension is to cease. That is not how the New South Wales act appears to deal with the matter. I should like further consideration to be given to it.

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