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Wednesday, 11 April 1973
Page: 1346

Mr HAYDEN (Oxley) (Minister for Social Security) - I thank the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth) for his endeavour to be helpful, but as the Bill has been drafted there is in fact adequate provision to protect the people about whom he is concerned. If he looks at clauses 14 and 15 he will see that in relation to the first matters he raised, people who go overseas now have the right when they return to collect an accumulation of a maximum of 30 weeks pension entitlement. That is provided for specifically in clause 15. Clause 14 relates to people in the Territories. So those matters are adequately catered for. There is no need for the amendment which the honourable member has proposed. In relation to his concern about the reciprocal agreement, I must confess that I found the honourable member's arguments a little hard to follow. As far as I can establish from what he said I am convinced that there is no substance in the point he is trying to make. In fact he admitted that it was a fine and questionable legal point he was trying to make. My information is that adequate provision is made in the Act and the regulations to ensure that, for instance, a person who draws a pension in Australia under the reciprocal agreement does not take that pension benefit, that supplement, away with him overseas. This seems to be the main point that the honourable member is worried about. Steps have been taken or are about to be taken - if they have not been initiated they should have been - to renegotiate the agreements with the United Kingdom and New Zealand. I am certain that in the light of developments which have taken place, and the provisions of this Bill, both countries will want to re-assess their position vis-a-vis the agreements. The Government does not accept the honourable member's amendment. In fact, as I analyse the wording of the amendment I can see no difference in import between what is proposed and the provisions of the Bill. The Government does not accept the amendment.

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