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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr BOWDEN (Parramatta) (Minister for Defence) . - This is a question in which I have been interested for some years. The institution mentioned by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Coleman) was formerly in my electorate. During the last election campaign I held meetings at the Liverpool and Parramatta institutions, also at the ones mentioned by the honorable member for Reid, and on every occasion I was asked if I would support an increase from 2s. to 3s. in the payment to inmates of such institutions. At Lidcombe the question was typewritten, and I believe it was provided for me by Mr. Peter Curran, a very strong supporter of the honorable member for Reid. In every instance the subject of increasing the payment from 2s. to 3s. was specifically mentioned, and I promised to do all I could to secure for them the increase asked for. The only other request was that the 3s. should be paid to all inmates, not only to some. I was never at the Waterfall Sanatorium, so I do not know what the feeling is there, but I am quite sure that the inmates of other institutions were perfectly satisfied with my promise to endeavour to get 3s. per week for them. I pointed out that the New South Wales Government had objected to the payments of any further amount to the pensioners, and had asked that the whole of the balance of the pension should be paid to them on the ground that it cost more than 15s. per week to maintain their patients. I was asked if I would be in favour of. that course, and I replied in the negative. As soon as the House met I brought the matter before Cabinet, and found that the extra ls. per week could not be authorized by regulation, so it had to come before Parliament for an amendment of the Act.

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