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Wednesday, 2 December 1936

Senator BROWN (Queensland) . - There seems to be a misunderstanding among honorable senators in regard to this matter. I submit that when an exsoldier is sick, he deserves more than when he is enjoying good health. In civil compensation cases, a man who may be earning £5 a week is granted only £2 10s. a week as compensation for loss of work through injury. I understand from the Minister, however, that if an unfortunate soldier pensioner enters an institution for treatment, the whole pension is cut off immediately.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is not quite so.

Senator BROWN - We say that if a man receiving a service pension is compelled to go into hospital because of increasing ill health, it is the height of injustice to take his pension from him.

Senator Dein - That is not so. Part is paid to the man, but nothing to the institution.

Senator BROWN - That is wrong; although we believe hi supporting such institutions, we do not believe that a soldier should be penalized simply because his disabilities compel him to enter an institution for treatment.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - What is his pension for?

Senator BROWN - It is paid as compensation for certain disabilities. To qualify for the receipt of a service pension, an applicant must have served in a theatre of war. Because his disabilities have increased, and he is forced to enter an institution for treatment, his pension is stopped.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The pensioner loses part of it.

Senator BROWN - We contend that if a man is compelled to enter such an institution for treatment, he should not be penalized.

Senator Hardy - He is granted a service pension, because he is permanently unemployable.

Senator BROWN - If a married pensioner goes into a hospital for treatment, his wife and family are dependent upon the service pension for a certain standard of comfort.

Senator Hardy - They also get pensions.

Senator BROWN - Service pensioners rely on the pension to provide for themselves, their wives and children in frugal comfort, but, according to the Minister's statement, immediately such a pensioner becomes an inmate of an institution because of disabilities, his pension is withdrawn. If an amendment can be evolved which will secure the continuance of the full pension in such circumstances, it will have my full support.

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