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Wednesday, 4 December 1935

Senator ALLAN MACDONALD (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) . - I join with other honorable senators in congratulating the Government on having introduced this measure, which is framed to relieve the position of persons, especially the widows of returned soldiers, who are in very straitened circumstances and to whom the preserving of a roof over their heads is a most important consideration. The most favoured clause in this bill is that which deals with the formation of the trust fund referred to by Senator Brown. I think that this is an excellent way of meeting the situation of these unfortunate widows. I hope the Minister, when he replies to the second-reading debate, will give some information with regard to the agreement with the Government of Western Australia concerning the administration of war service homes in that State. I do not know when that agreement will expire, but, in several quarters, the statement has been repeated that the State government department makes a handsome profit annually out of the transaction. That is all very well for the State, but the question arises whether that profit might not be better directed to giving greater facilities to owners or prospective owners of war service homes in Western Australia. The administration of the War Service Homes Act in that State is admirably carried out, but it has been suggested that, as this legislation is purely a federal concern, it might be preferable for a federal department to control the administration. I do not agree with that assertion, but I should like to hear the Minister's opinion on the suggestion. I am very pleased to support the measure.

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