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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr WARD (EAST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for External Territories) - The honorable member is entitled to put, whatever interpretation he wishes upon the action taken by the department in .this matter;' but every fair-minded person will recognize that this Government' has dealt very fairly and generously with these people. The Government has decided in respect of pension payments to treat the 'dependants of civilians who lost their lives in the territories in the same manner as it treats dependants of deceased members of the services. With regard to other benefits which would accrue to them under the Australian Soldiers' Expatriation Act, the Government is now examining certain difficulties which have arisen in that respect. At the moment, endeavours are being made to extend the education facilities to the children of such people and, wherever possible, give them the equivalent of whatever benefits are made available under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act. If the deceased civilians were at the time of their death members of the Public Service of the Territories, their dependants receive superannuation payments in addition to the pensions provided by this Government under the scheme already referred to. The honorable member may rest assured that this Government will continue to do everything possible to assist the dependants of those who lost their lives in the circumstances which he mentioned.

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