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Friday, 6 August 1926

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) .- I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

This measure does not deal in any way with the rates of pensions or the conditions governing the granting of pensions, but merely asks Parliament to provide the money to pay the pensions. The number of pensions in force at the 30th June, 1916, was 252,609, the annual liability being approximately £7,220,000. The number of war pensions is steadily increasing, and it is estimated that at the 30th June, 1927, the annual liability will have increased to £7,450,000. The increase in the annual rate of expenditure is due to the granting of new claims, the majority of which are in respect of new dependants, such as newly-born children and recently-married wives of ex-soldiers who are pensioners. The total expenditure to the 30th June, 1926, on war pensions was £58,154,625. The last appropriation was made by Parliament in September of last year, the amount then appropriated being £10,000,000. The balance of that appropriation which remained unexpended at the close of last financial year was £6,343,100. This amount will be sufficient to cover payments of pensions to the end of April, 1927; therefore, further appropriation is required to meet the total payments for- 1926-27. The usual practice of asking Parliament to vote a lump sum has been followed, and the amount of £10:000,000 has accordingly been included in the bill.

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