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Thursday, 8 April 1965


Senator CAVANAGH (South Australia) . - It is my intention to propose the inclusion of a new clause, 6a, after clause 6. Before I do so, I should like some clarification of the proposed new paragraph (d), which reads -

The Secretary is satisfied that the person held acceptable savings through the period of three years immediately preceding the prescribed date.

This provision is for the purpose of determining eligibility for a grant. I am not opposed to the paragraph as it stands, but every statement made on behalf of the Department and the Minister's reply today has indicated that the grant was a reward for acceptable savings or continuous savings over a period. As I submitted at the second reading stage, this provision will not achieve what the Minister indicated. While it appears to be satisfactory if the Department is to administer the Act, as it has done in the past, on the basis of how it intended the Act to read and not in accordance with the wording of the Act, I think it is open to query. Honorable senators will recall that last night Iread correspondence in connection with my first raising with the Minister this question of whether or not there had to be savings for three years immediately preceding the prescribed date. The Minister said that it was the intention that savings be made over a period of years and that this would be dealt with in the amending legislation.

The paragraph that I have just read from the Bill represents his proposal to amend that provision. It refers to the Secretary being satisfied that the person held acceptable savings. Surely this does not mean that the savings must be over the period of three years. The person might hold the savings for the two years immediately preceding or he might hold the savings for the period of three years. To my mind, the intention of the paragraph is doubtful. Contrary to the intention of the legislation, as suggested by everyone, that savings must be over a period of three years, the proposed provision relates to the holding of acceptable savings - one does not have to make additional savings - throughout the period of three years immediately preceding the prescribed date. Acceptable savings are defined in sections 15 and 16 of the Act. They are savings within a period of seven years preceding the prescribed date. If one has such savings and holds them for the three years immediately preceding the prescribed date, he must get a grant upon those savings.

Under this provision there is no requirement to save over a period. The savings must be acceptable savings as defined in sections 1 5 and 1 6. in any savings bank over the7-year period. If, four years before the prescribed date, a person saves £250. which is the maximum per year under the Act, that £250 will be acceptable savings under sections 15 or 16 of the Act.If those savings are held,there is no other requirement in order to qualify for a grant.

Again I make a layman's interpretation, but I would like the legal minds in the chamber to give their interpretation. I believe there is no requirement to save for three years. For savings to be acceptable savings as defined in the two sections to which reference has been made, they must be held for three years. But the acceptable savings mentioned in the other two sections are savings in any year. There is no other interpretation.

I say in all simplicity that the true interpretation of this is directly opposite to what the Department desires to do and makes essential savings in the three-year period immediately preceding the prescribed date. I do not oppose this because it is more beneficial, but in future let us ensure that the Act is administered in accordance with its wording and not in accordance with the intention of the Department and the Minister.







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