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Wednesday, 25 November 1959


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (2:31 AM) . - I move -

Omit the clause, insert the following clause: - "9. The First Schedule to the Principal Act is amended -

(a)   by omitting paragraph (1.) and inserting in its stead the following paragraph: - (1.) The amount of compensation shall be -

(a)   where the death of the employee results from or is materially contributed to by the injury -

(i)   if the employee leaves any dependants wholly dependant upon his earnings, an amount calculated by multiplying the worker's award rate by two hundred and sixty, but in so calculating that amount any amount by which the workers' award rate exceeds £25 shall be disregarded. If no award rate is applicable, the special compensation shall be an amount calculated by multiplying the worker's weekly wage at the date of his injury (but disregarding any amount in excess of £25 per week) by two hundred and sixty and, in addition, an amount of one hundred pounds in respect of each child who, being a dependant under the age of 16 years at the date of either the injury or the death of the employee, was at the date of the injury wholly or mainly dependent on the earnings of the employee;

(ii)   if the employee does not leave any dependants wholly dependent upon his earnings, but leaves dependants in part dependent upon his earnings, - such sum, not exceeding in any case the amount payable under clause (i) of this subparagraph as is considered by the Commissioner to be reasonable and proportionate to the injury.

(iii)   such sum as is necessary for the cost of the employee's funeral, burial or cremation.

(b)   Where the employee is totally incapacitated for work by the injury - a weekly payment during his incapacity equal to the worker's award rate up to £25 per week. If no award rate is applicable, the weekly payment shall be an amount equal to the worker's weekly wage at the date of his injury (but disregarding any amount in excess of £25 per week).

(c)   Where the employee is partially incapacitated for work - by the injury - a weekly payment during his incapacity -

(i)   of the amount - (if any) by which the weekly amount he is earning, or is able to earn in some suitable employment or business, after the injury is less than his weekly pay at the date of the injury.

(ii)   of the amount (if any) by which the weekly amount he is earning, or is able to earn in some suitable employment or business, after the injury is less than the weekly amount that would have been payable to him under paragraph (b) of this paragraph, if he had been totally incapacitated. whichever is the greater.';

(b)   by omitting sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (1a.) and inserting in its stead the following sub-paragraph: -

(a)   Where death results from or is materially contributed to by the injury, any amount paid or payable before the death of the employee by way of weekly payments in respect of his total or partial incapacity for work shall not be deducted from the sum payable under clause (i) of sub-paragraph (a) of that paragraph, or shall be disregarded in determining the sum payable under clause (ii) of that sub-paragraph, as the case may be.'; and

(c)   by omitting clause (iii) of sub-paragraph

(b)   of paragraph (1a.).".

Schedule proposed to be amended - (1a.) Notwithstanding anything contained in paragraph (1.) of this Schedule -

(a)   where death results from the injury -

(i)   any amount paid or payable before the death of the employee by way of weekly payments in respect of his total or partial incapacity for work shall not be deducted from the sum payable under clause (i) of subparagraph (a) of that paragraph, or shall be disregardedin determining the sum payable under clause (ii) of that subparagraph, as the case may be; but

(ii)   The amount by which any lump sum, paid to an employee in pursuance of paragraph (10a.) or paragraph (11.) of this Schedule or section twelve of this Act before the death of employee, exceeds the total of all weekly payments which would have been payable under subparagraph (b) or sub-paragraph (c) of that paragraph, if they had continued until the date of his death, shall be deducted from the sum payable under clause (i) of sub-paragraph (a)of paragraph (1.) of this Schedule, or shall be taken into account in determining the sum payable under clause (ii) of that subparagraph, as the case may be, provided that the sum so payable is not reduced to less than Four hundred pounds;

(b)   where the employee is totally or partially incapacitated for work by the injury -

(iii)   if the employee is a minor who is not entitled under the terms of any award, order or determination of an industrial authority, any industrial agreement or any law toreceive the same rate of pay as an adult, the words " Six pounds ten shillings " shall be deemed to be substituted for the words "Eight pounds fifteen shillings" in the application of the provisions of sub-paragraph (b) or sub-paragraph (c) of that paragraph in relation to the employee while he remains such minor; and

This amendment deals with the first schedule of the principal act and has the effect of making the changes which I will now set out to explain. In the first place, it adds to sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (1.) of the first schedule the words - or is materially contributed to by

Sub-paragraph (a) will then begin -

Where the death of the employee results from or is materially contributed to by the injury -

This, of course, has already been explained in an earlier amendment and I will not weary the committee with any further explanation of that part of the amendment. But the sub-paragraph then goes on to say -

(i)   if the employee leaves any dependants wholly dependent upon his earnings, an amount. . . .

The act provides for the payment of a lump sum of £2,350 which the bill proposes to increase to £3,000, in addition to an amount for a wife and child. Here again the Opposition injects into the first schedule the new formula which we have already talked about - that the amount should not be a set, flat sum of money for compensation but should be a sum arrived at by multiplying the average weekly earnings of the employee by 260.


Mr Harold Holt - The committee has already disposed of that.


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I realize that; but there are other principles inserted into this schedule which I will have to explain. The Opposition is asking that instead of a flat rate of £3,000 being prescribed as the amount to be paid, the amount be unspecified but be arrived at by multiplying the average weekly earnings of the employee by 260 - which would be the equivalent of five years' earnings - with the proviso that where the average weekly earnings are in excess of £25, then £25 shall be the amount to be used to calculate the maximum amount of compensation payable.

The same principle is introduced in subparagraph (b) of paragraph (1.) of the first schedule. Sub-paragraph (b) relates to an employee who is totally incapacitated for work by an injury and states that a weekly payment of £8 15s. shall be made. The bill proposes to increase this sum to £10. It provides, in addition, that a sum of £2 10s. for the wife and 22s. 6d. for a child under sixteen years of age shall be paid weekly.

In our proposal we omit the reference to £10 and in its place we use again the formula that I have already explained.

We are now dealing with weekly payments, not lump sums, and we suggest that the weekly payment shall be the award rate up to the figure of £25 a week. If there is no award rate applicable then an amount equal to the worker's weekly wage at the date of his injury shall be taken, but disregarding any amount in excess of £25 a week. Reference to an additional weekly amount for a wife or dependent child is not necessary because we are now insisting, as an Oppositon, on the principle that while an injured worker is incapacitated he ought to receive his full average weekly earning or the full award rate where there is an award rate and not a lesser amount.

I should like to state the position of a man and wife where he was earning say £18 a week. Under this proposal, and even under the bill, they would receive not more than £12 10s. a week during the period of his incapacity. No one can justify that. It is true that if he has a large family a man on £18 a week would probably still get that sum weekly, but if he were earning £25 a week, he would have to have a very large family indeed before his weekly compensation payments would reach that figure, or the amount represented by his award rate, whichever the case may be. For those reasons we believe that the committee ought to adopt the proposals which we are now putting forward.

Now I come to sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (1.) of the first schedule. It reads -

(c)   where the employee is partially incapacitated for work by the injury - a weekly payment during his incapacity -

(i)   of the amount (if any) by which the weekly amount that he is earning, or is able to earn in some suitable employment or business, after the injury is less than his weekly pay at the date of the injury, or of the amount of Eight pounds fifteen shillings, whichever is the less; or

Honorable members will see that the amendment reads -

(c)   Where the employee is partially incapacitated for work - by the injury - a weekly payment during his incapacity -

(i)   of the amount - (if any) by which the weekly amount he is earn ing, or is able to earn in some suitable employment or business, after the injury is less than his weekly pay at the date oi the injury.

But the act adds the words " or of the amount of Eight pounds fifteen shillings, whichever is the less." In the bill that sum of £8 15s. is increased to £10. In our amendment the second proviso is deleted because we are not prepared to accept a sum less than that which we have indicated to be fair and reasonable.

We find it is necessary to make some drastic alterations to sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (Ia.) of the first schedule as it now reads. First of all, there are the words again " or is materially contributed to by the injury " which have to be inserted in the first part in order to follow consistently the view that we have taken in this debate - that where death results from or where death is materially contributed to by an injury, then compensation ought to be paid. But we have deleted also from the principal act the proviso that in the case of death the commissioner may deduct from the total lump sum payable on death whatever lump sum payments may have been made in respect of the injury which led to the death prior to the death. The only qualification is that the amount allowed after the deductions have been made from the lump sum payment for death shall not be less than £400. There are other laws, such as the New South Wales and South Australian acts, under which, no matter what lump sum payments were received by an employee prior to his death, those lump sum payments cannot be deducted from the lump sum payment to which his wife is entitled upon his death. This bill does not alter that position one iota. It still allows the commissioner to deduct from the lump sum payment payable upon death any other lump sum payments paid to the worker with respect to an injury sustained prior to death, or which led to the death itself. We say that the provision as to the right to deduct those lump sum payments ought to be deleted from the act, and our amendment seeks to do that.







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