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Wednesday, 1 May 1957

Mr SPEAKER - Order! Did the honorable member for East Sydney refer to the honorable member for Swan?

Mr WARD - I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. I meant the honorable member for Stirling (Mr. Webb). In order to clear the matter up, I placed a question on the notice-paper. We claim that the Minister has deliberately reduced the list of people in receipt of unemployment benefit, to create the impression that there is no widespread unemployment in this country. I asked the Minister the following question: -

If the recipient of unemployment benefit, or his wife, obtains a little casual work which takes their income above the permissible figure in any week, is the name of the husband immediately removed from the list of recipients of unemployment benefit?

I ask honorable members to remember the exact terms in which the question was asked. The Minister replied as follows: -

No. A recipient of unemployment benefit does not lose his entitlement to benefit simply because he obtains casual work unless in each of any four consecutive benefit weeks his income, together with any earnings or other income of his wife, equals or exceeds the benefit plus allowable income. It is only after the fourth consecutive week that he would be required to lodge a new claim and serve a fresh waiting period of seven days. Payment of benefit is, of course, not made in respect of any week in which the total income exceeds the allowable limit.

If the income has exceeded the allowable limit and the husband is no lon er the recipient of unemployment benefit, how can it be argued by the Minister that his name is not removed from the list? Those figures have been, in my opinion, deliberately distorted with the idea of creating the impression that the name of the recipient of unemployment benefit is not removed when, in fact, that is exactly what is done and what the honorable member for Stirling charged the Government with doing. He said that the Government was manipulating these figures. If the wife gets casual work, it is quite obvious that there is no unemployment benefit available to the husband, and that the figures do no disclose the actual situation, lt is my impression, and also the impression of the

Labour party, that the Minister has, deliberately distorted these figures with the idea of trying to discount the argument advanced by the honorable member for Stirling.

I turn now to a matter which concerns, the Minister for Trade (Mr. McEwen). As honorable members will be aware, by legislation passed by this Parliament sometime ago, an export payments insurancecorporation was to be established. I was interested to learn that the Government had gone overseas to secure an appointee for this important organization, and I madesome inquiries to ascertain whether a suitable man could not be obtained in Australia.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorablemember's time has expired.

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