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Tuesday, 9 April 1946


Mr Francis (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) s. - Asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

As the- Department of Post-war Reconstruction has apparent^' been assigned the duty of dealing with demobilization and training problems of ex-servicemen, has the Repatriation Commission any present responsibility beyond the payment of pensions and the treatment of sick and wounded ex-servicemen?


Mr Frost - The answers to the honorable member's question is as follows: -

Yes.

Apart from the payment of war and service pensions under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act and the provision of medical treatment, including the supply of artificial limbs, surgical aids and appliances for incapacitated members of the forces, the Repatriation Commission is the prescribed authority for dealing with the following benefits under the Re-establishment and Employment Act 1945:-

(1)   Business re-establishment loans to certain classes of discharged members of the Forces and widows of deceased members.

(2)   Supplementation of apprenticeship wages.

(3)   Re-employment allowances.

(4)   Rc-establishment allowances.

The following benefits under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Regulations which are associated with re-establishment are also administered by the commission : -

(1)   Gifts and loans for the purchase, of tools of trade to enable diseharged members and widows to undertake employment.

(2)   Transportation to Australia of the wives, widows and children of members of the forces who marry during period of their active service abroad. (.3) Transportation to countries outside Australia of incapacitated members and. their wives and children and the widows and children of deceased members in cases where material benefit is deemed likely to result.

(4)   Transportation and removal expenses of a dischargedmember and his family from one locality to another within the Commonwealth to enable the member to enter into occupation of land, establish himself in business or to establish a home where he has obtained employment.

(5)   Furniture gifts to seriously disabled members and widows with children.

The following additional provisions of the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Regulations also come within the purview of the commission : -

(   1 ) Soldiers' Children" Education Scheme - Allowances for maintenance during secondary and university education to the children of deceased, blinded and totally and permanently incapacitated members and of certain tuberculars ; also grants for books, materials and tuition fees in certain cases.

(2)   Medical benefits, similar to those provided through the Friendly Societies, to widows and children of deceased members and widowed mothers of deceased unmarried members.

(3)   Grants towards funeral expenses of members who die after discharge as the result of war service or in a Repatriation institution; also in cases where a member's death is not due to war service but he dies in indigent circumstances. Grants may also be made in cases of widows, children and certain other dependants of deceased members who die in indigent circumstances.

The commission is also responsible for the training and/or placement of blinded and other seriously incapacitated members who are unable to resume their pre-war occupations either with or without training by normal methods.

The Ministry of Post-War Reconstruction is largely a planning and co-ordinating body, and the Repatriation Commission is represented at both Commonwealth and State levels on the various committees (comprising such bodies as the services, and the Departments of Post-war Reconstruction, Labour and National Service, Commonwealth En.ployment Service and Repatriation) which deal with the various phases of demobilization and re-establishment of members of the forces.

Under the Seamen's War Pensions and Allowances Act pensions are paid to or in respect of members of the Mercantile Marine incapacitated or deceased in consequence of war injury, and the commission also administers the National Security (Wages of Seamen Detained by the Enemy) Regulations, which provide for the continuance of wages of mariners during captivity by the enemy.

Other matters administered are as follow: -

(1)   National Security (Patriotic Funds) Regulations and National Security (War Contributions) Regulations, providing for the general control of such funds and contributions.

(2)   Various schemes of compensation in respect of the following: - Members of the forces not within the scope of the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation A/ct; Commonwealth employees and representatives of philanthropic bodies attached to the forces in the field; civil aviation personnel operating in association with the forces: mariners not within the scope of the Seamen's War Pension and Allowances Act.

The commission acts as agent for the United Kingdom,' New Zealand and Canada in the payment of pension and provision of medical treatment and certain other benefits to members of the other country's Forces resident in Australia.

Mr.White asked the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

1.   What is the rate of war pension for approved dependent parents of deceased servicemen ?

2.   What is the moans test that is applied?

3.   What is the number of dependent (a) mothers and (b) fathers receiving war pensions as such?

4.   How many applications were rejected for. casualties during the 1039-45 war?

5.   What is the qualification and amount of pension for a de facto wife?

6.   How many pensions are being paid to de facto wives?


Mr Frost t. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   In the case of a widowed mother of a deceased unmarried male member, who became widowed cither prior to or within three years of the death of the member, the rate of pension varies from £2 10s. a fortnight to £6 '16s. a fortnight according to the rate of pay of the member at the time of his death. No means test is applied to such pensions. In the case of other parents the pension varies in accordance with the circumstances of the parent and at present cannot exceed £4 10s. a fortnight.

2.   A parent -cannot be granted pension at such rate as will make his or her income exceed £4 10s. a fortnight, and a parent who has property, apart from the home in which he resides, to the value of over £400 'is not eligible. 3. (a) 10.223: (b) 1.275.

4.   1.130.

5.   The term " de facto wife " does not appear in the Australian Soldiers' Repratriation Act 1925. It is deemed, however: that the honorable members's question is intended to relate to certain female dependants referred to in Section 42 of the Act, which contains the particulars required and read as follows: -

In the case of any person who, at the time of the occurrence of the event resulting in the death or incapacity of a member of the forces (including a member of the forces within the meaning of section one hundred of this Act), was recognized as the wife, of that member though not legally married to him, if the commission is satisfied that that person was wholly or partly dependent upon the earnings of the member, a pension under this division at a rate not exceeding the rate of pension which may be allowed under this division to the wife or widow of any such member of the forces may be allowed to that person. (2.)' Any such pension may be allowed to any such person under this provision as well as to the widow of any member of the forces.

6.   252.

International Affairs : Spain.


Dr Evatt t. - Mr. Archie Cameron has asked me the following questions : -

1.   What is the attitude of the Commonwealth Government towards the Government of Spain ?

2.   Was the Commonwealth Government nonsuited recently by any other Government in reference to Spain; if so, by which Governments ?

3.   What attitude, if any, was adopted by the Commonwealth Government on each ofthese occasions?

The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   The Australian Government has no diplomatic . relationship with, the Government of Spain. It supports the view stated in the resolution regarding Spain adopted by the United Nations Assembly on the 9th February, 1946. The resolution recalls -

(a)   The resolution of the San Francisco Conference according to which . paragraph 2 of Article 4 of Chapiter II of the United Nations Charter " cannot apply to States where regimes have been installed willi the help of armed forces of countries which have fought against the United Nations so long as these regimes are in power."

(b)   The decision made at the Potsdam Conference not to support the request for admission to the United Nations of the present Spanish Government because of the nature of its origin and subsequent record.

The Assembly recommended that the United Nations should act in accordance with the letter and spirit of these statements ( (a-1) and (b) above) in the conduct of their future relations with Spain. 2 and 3, The Australian . Government has kept itself informed regarding the situation in Spain and the attitude of other Governments to the question generally. In such informal discussions as it has had from time to time with representatives of other Governments, the Australian Government has maintained the attitude stated in the answer to question 1.







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