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Thursday, 13 October 1955

Mr T W Andrews (Anti) (Communist Labour Victoria) sought to amend the bill to establish a royal commission to ascertain and inform Parliament on what would he true pension rates.

The report further states -

The effect of the amendment would have been to delay payment of pension increases which the Government proposes to pay from the 27th October. The Opposition also voted with the Government against Mr. Andrews's motion.

That report could have two effects. In justification of my claim regarding misrepresentation I point out that the position was not as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. We indicated quite clearly in our amendment that we sought the appointment of a royal commission by the Government, after the payments had been made, to inquire into the suitability or otherwise of the rates proposed by the Government, but our main purpose was to have a higher rate fixed if that was found to be justified.

The Sydney Daily Telegraph, in its report on the matter to-day, said -

Mr. Andrewssaid that immediately after paying the new pension rates the Government should set up a royal commission to investigate whether the new pension was high enough

That seems to me to be a true report, whereas the matter was reported, probably through inadvertence, quite wrongly in the Sydney Morning Herald. It is important that a correction should be made, if the newspaper will make it, because I repeat that I moved the amendment on behalf of my party to seek the appointment of a royal commission, after the payment of the increases provided for in the bill that has just been before the House.

The other effects of the Sydney Morning Herald's report could be to justify the Opposition in voting in the way that it did. It should be emphasized that my party's position was perfectly clear, and I think that inadvertently, and not maliciously, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported, the matter incorrectly. However, I think that it is the only newspaper that reported the matter in that wrong form, and it is therefore important to me that a correction should be made. It was not the intention of my party to delay the payment of the pensions beyond the date that the Government determined for their payment. That is the explanation that I desired to make in justification of the position taken up by my party in relation to this matter.

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