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Friday, 6 August 1926

Senator McHUGH (South Australia) . - While I have no serious objection to offer to the passing of this bill, it seems strange that we should legislate to grant 'pensions to coloured people born in other countries, when, for technical reasons, they are refused to our own white people. I realize that these BritishIndians are now entitled to vote at Federal elections. Are they also entitled to vote at State elections ?

Senator PEARCE - In some of the States, they are entitled to exercise the franchise.

Senator McHUGH - In that case, some of these coloured people are entitled to vote at State Legislative Council elections, whereas some of our own white women are refused that privilege. A black man born in another part of the world is granted greater privileges in Australia than are white women born ia this country! It is gratifying to know that the liability of the Commonwealth under this bill will diminish from time to time, and that no more British-Indians can become domiciled in Australia. Nevertheless, I am strongly of the opinion that our first duty is to our own Australian people. Australian women whose husbands have died as the result of war service, have been denied pensions because the Medical Board has attributed the death of their husbands to causes other than disabilities arising from active service. In several instances which have come under my notice, women whose husbands died as the result of war service have to go to work because the Government will not grant them pensions, whereas it is prepared to grant them to black men born in other countries.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and reported from committee without amendment.

Report adopted.

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