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Tuesday, 19 May 1942

Mr BLACKBURN (Bourke) . - This clause is taken in substance from the New South Wales act, and I offer two criticisms of it. It is not so generous as the provision contained in the New South Wales measure as recently amended. The clause as it stands, and as the New South Wales act stood before the recent amendment, provides that a widow not maintaining a child and less than 50 years of age, but still, in the opinion of the department, in necessitous circumstances, may, at the discretion of the department, get a pension for a period of not longer than 26 weeks immediately after the death of her husband. The New South Wales Parliament has inserted in the State act a provision that where, at the end of 26 weeks, it still appears to the Deputy Commissioner that the widow is in necessitous circumstances, he may grant the payment of the pension for a further period of 26 weeks, but not more than twelve months in all. I submit that proposal for the favorable consideration of the Minister. My second criticism is that the benefit of this clause is not extended to the widow who loses her pension by reason of the fact that her child has died or has reached the age of sixteen years. I suggest that the benefit of this clause be extended to widows in that class, and that if they cannot have their pension continued, it should be within the power of the Commissioner to grant to them the temporary allowance provided for in this clause. That would necessitate a redrafting of the clause.

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