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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Mr KENNEDY (Moira) - I am disappointed that the Treasurer has not continued his appeal to the sentimental feelings of the House, thus giving further evidence of his generosity at the expense of the taxpayer.

Sir John Forrest - I am as liberal at my own expense as the honorable member is at his.

Mr KENNEDY - No doubt the right honorable gentleman is more liberal than I can afford to be, but that is not the question with us now. What does a vote of £500 mean to men who have always been well paid, and appear nevertheless to have been unable to keep the wolf from the door? How long willthis vote be of assistance to them? Can it. be more than a temporary benefit? Honorable members who are supporting the Bill have done well to appeal to sentiment, because no solid reason can be adduced in favour qf the proposal. It has already been abandoned in connexion with the consideration of the Estimates, because honorable members would not countenance it.

Mr Deakin - This is a different proposal. The vote in the Estimates was for compensation for loss of office. This is for injuries sustained.

Mr KENNEDY - Is the Government going to provide similar compensation for all others who served in South Africa and came back wounded?

Mr Deakin - The State has recently made provision.

Mr KENNEDY - To my knowledge, men who have come back crippled are in the Benevolent Asylum to-day. I know of a case in which a man was brought back unable to move, and was thrown on his own resources and on those of his friends, by whom he was enabled to obtain such medical treatment that he is now able to get a living for himself.But the State did nothing for him. Another sturdy young fellow, who was one of the best who left our shores, had to be carried off the steamer on his return, and became quite blind within a fortnight. Repeated appeals were made to the Government for consideration in his 'case, but nothing was done, and he is in a charitable institution now. Are the Government prepared to make the- Bill wide enough to meet all such cases, or will they deal only with cases with which they are compelled, by social influence, or threats, to deal? It has been stated publicly that Colonel Price has threatened to write a book, but no attempt should be made to appease him, or to prevent such action, by granting, him £500. If the Government have the numbers, of course they will carry this measure; but, to be consistent, they should include all similar cases.

Mr BRUCE SMITH (PARKES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Ask them to introduce a Bill to deal with similar cases.

Mr KENNEDY - It is difficult to get consideration for men who have no political or social influence to bring to bear. Appeals on behalf of such men have been made to Commonwealth Ministers of Defence.

Mr Ewing - Not to the present Minister.

Mr KENNEDY - The present Government has not been long enough in office to have had many appeals made to it. Moreover, we know that when one Minister refuses point blank to grant a request, his successor always considers he is justified in 'following his example. I know of many appeals that have been made to Ministers of Defence on behalf of men who were crippled as the result of injuries received in South Africa. Their applications have invariably been referred to the States authorities, and any appeals made at the present time would be treated in the same way. Honorable members have the fullest justification for opposing this proposal, because, according to the statement made by the honorable and learned member for Corinella, one of the most careful Ministers of Defence that we have ever had, Colonel Price received special consideration. His term of service was extended beyond the retiring age, and he was paid in full, notwithstanding that he was unfit for dutv for a considerable period. I regard it as an outrage upon common sense to introduce a Bill of this kind at this period of the session. The

Government appear to me to have lost their heads over the Capital Site question, and I must record my protest against the course they have adopted.

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