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Tuesday, 29 November 1960

Mr ROBERTON (RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Social Services) - May I be permitted to direct the attention of the House to the fact that one or more honorable members at this time of every year since the passing of the first piece of social service legislation in 1908 have suggested that an additional payment be made at Christmas. Largely because the rates of pensions and allowances under the Social Services Act are determined when the Budget is drawn up, no provision is made for additional payments of that kind. Every honorable member knows the procedures, Mr. Speaker, and every honorable member knows that it would not be possible for me or any other Minister for Social Services to make a special payment at Christmas.

Social service pensions, benefits and allowances are paid once a fortnight because, from long experience, it has been found that that is the most convenient way to make such payments. It is a gigantic task to pay pensions and allowances to 700,000-odd people, and it is done once a fortnight with superlative efficiency.

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