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Tuesday, 6 December 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I again draw attention to the system which has been in vogue for some time with respect to the allocation of an old age pension in the case of a pensioner who becomes an inmate of a charitable institution or a hospital. The home receives 10b. 6d. and the pensioner 4s.6d., the balance being retained by the Commonwealth. That may not be the exact allocation, but it is approximately right. I contend that the full amount should be paid to either the pensioner or the home. Even if the amount which the Commonwealth now retains were divided between the home and the pensioner, he would receive a little more of the comforts of life. He should not be penalized to the extent of 5s. a week because he is obliged to live in a home. I have made this appeal on several occasions but it has fallen on deaf ears. I urge that further consideration be given to it. I should like to refer alsoto the maternity allowance. The act under which that allowance is made was passed fifteen years ago. Under it this Parliament provided that a mother should he entitled to receive the sum of £5 after the birth of a child. The pur chasing power of that £5 has since dwindled considerably, and the mothers of our community are not receiving the assistance then intended. In every other walk of life we have recognized the increased cost of living and the consequent decreased purchasing power of money. I think we ought to realize the necessity for increasing the maternity allowance. It should be double what it is to-day.

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