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Wednesday, 30 June 1937

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [3.4]. - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of this bill is to appropriate out of the Consolidated Revenue fund, for the purposes of the relevant trust account known as the invalid and oldage pensions fund, a sum of £15,000,000 for invalid and old-age pensions. It is customary to ask Parliament to provide, from the Consolidated Revenue fund, the amount of approximately one year's expenditure to enable the fortnightly payments of these pensions to proceed without interruption. The last provision for this purpose was made in October of last year, when a sum of £12,000,000 was appropriated. The annual rate of expenditure on invalid and old-age pensions has been progressively increasing, and in the financial year 1936-37, which concludes to-day, it will be within a relatively few 'pounds of £14,000,000; in 1937-38 a larger sum will be required owing partly to the fact that there will be 27 pension pay. days in that year, and partly to the natural increase of the number of pensions over recent years. The total amount appropriated by Parliament for invalid and old-age pensions up to the present time is £195,250,000, and the actual expenditure to the 31st May of this year has been £190,910,000, which left as at that date a balance of £4,340,000 to meet future expenditure. Honorable senators will, therefore, see that by this appropriation ample provision is being made for the regular payment of the invalid and old-age pensions. The provisions of the measure are not connected with rates or conditions under which pensions are payable; but are concerned solely with the total amount of money required for this social service. Question resolved in the affirmative.

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

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended; report adopted.

Bill read a third time.

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