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Friday, 6 August 1926

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I realize that this measure is, to a certain extent, complementary to the legislation which we passed last year to amend the electoral laws to enable Indians domiciled in Australia to exercise the franchise, and to be admitted to the full rights of citizenship. I should not have supported the measure, however, if there was any danger of increasing the number of Indians whom it would affect. I understand from the Minister's remarks that the bill applies only to those British Indians who are already domiciled in Australia, and whose numbers must neces sarily decrease as time goes on; and that,' consequently, the liability of the Commonwealth will also decrease. Having voted for the amendment of the electoral law to enable these natives of British India to take part in the government of this country, I cannot now raise any valid objection to granting them the privileges conferred by the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act, particularly as their numbers will decrease with the passing of time. I support the second reading of the bill.

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