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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr POLLARD (Ballarat) .- I cannot allow to go unchallenged the arguments of the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) and. the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony), that in respect of men in possession of considerable estates who lose their lives in the war, rights should be created which are not granted to other citizens. The argument implies that a hardship is being inflicted on the men themselves. Actually they are not affected ; the duties would fall only on the beneficiaries of their estates. It is asserted, in effect, that the children of such men should enjoy privileges denied to the children of those who were unable to enlist, or who were not disposed to do so.

Mr Holt - Those who remain behind have an additional expectation of life.

Mr POLLARD - That is true, but if we investigate the conditions of enlistment, we find that expectation of life was not taken into account by the last Government, nor is it taken into account by this one. The terms of enlistment are that a man volunteers to serve his country overseas or in Australia at so much a day, and that, in the event of the death, his dependants shall enjoy the benefits of the Repatriation Act. The honorable member for Wakefield and the honorable member for Richmond have argued that the dependants of the rich man shall, over aud above their rights under the Repatriation Act, enjoy certain advantages not enjoyed by the children of the poor man. That is an untenable argument. As a matter of fact, I believe that the concessions now proposed are very generous. How do men become rich? Is the rich man a more worthy citizen than a poor one? One man may become rich by inheritance, another by hard work and close application to business, another by gambling. The fact that a man is rich does not always imply the possession of personal merit. Therefore, I cannot accept the argument that the children of a rich solider who loses his life overseas deserve a better deal than the children of the man who, before his enlistment, earned only the basic wage, or was, perhaps, on the dole.

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