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Friday, 24 August 1923

Dr EARLE PAGE (Cowper) (Trea surer) . - The honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin) did not properly put the facts concerning the alteration of property value allowed. He pointed out that if fixed at £400, a person with property worth £399 would receive a pension of about f 10 10s. a year, but a person possessing £401 would get nothing. Under the Act where property is held worth £310 the owner gets nothing. Under the proposed amendment the pensioner will receive an increase, not of 2s. 6d., but of 7s. 6d. per week, which is a marked consideration. That continues throughout the extra £100 fixed by the Government. This is the first time that this limitation has been amended. The Labour party were in office in 1916, and they increased the pension by 2s. 6d., but made no alteration of the property limitation of £310. In 1919 the pension was increased to 15s., but this limitation was not amended. The Government have endeavoured to meet every anomaly. We admit that the Bill is not perfect, but considering the financial circumstances, we have endeavoured to make the pensions as generous as possible. Persons with property valued at from £310 to £400 will benefit by from 5s. to 7s. 6d. per week. I ask honorable members to agree to the Government's proposal. It is a substantial increase and all that can possibly be considered at present.

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