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Tuesday, 16 March 1965

Senator MCKELLAR - I wish to inform the honorable senator that Mrs. Partridge lodged a claim for a war widow's pension on 30th April 1964. Following an investigation, the Repatriation Board in New South Wales determined on 16th September 1964 that her husband's death was not due to war service. Mrs. Partridge then followed the normal procedure. She appealed against this decision on 1st October 1964 and the appeal was disallowed by the Repatriation Commission on 10th December 1964. Then once again she exercised the rights to which she and other applicants are entitled. She appealed to a War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. This appeal was lodged on 29th December 1964 and at the hearing, on 8th March 1965, the Tribunal upheld the appeal with effect from 24th March 1964, the day after Mr. Partridge's death. I was in Perth when I heard of this and, unfortunately, some of our newspapers made it appear that this pension was granted as an act of grace, which was very far from the truth. I accordingly immediately issued a Press statement saying that the pension was granted following her appeal to a War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. I said this was the normal procedure open to any applicant for a war pension. I also said that there was no question of any special act of grace to Mrs. Partridge nor of any battle with the Repatriation Department which the newspapers alleged had occurred. This was the normal procedure. I cannot give any reason at all for the decision of the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal. It is an independent body set up to decide these cases on an independent basis. Reasons are never given for decisions. In the 12 months period ended in June of last year, the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal allowed 1.555 appeals. This case was one of these appeals that the Tribunal has allowed from time to time.

Senator McClelland - They were not all appeals by war widows.

Senator McKELLAR - No, they were not all appeals by war widows, but Mrs. Partridge exercised the right that a war widow has and, in her case, the War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal granted her application.

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