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Wednesday, 4 December 1935

Senator HARDY (New South Wales) . - The act states that -

In the case of a mentally-afflicted returned soldier, any person approved by an appeal tribunal as a proper representative of the soldier may lodge an appeal on his behalf, and shall for the purpose of the bill have all the rights of a soldier.

Advantage has been taken of this provision. Pensions have been granted to soldiers who received war injuries, and who at some later date become insane. One instance I have in mind is that of a crippled soldier whose disablement was due to war causes. Subsequently he became insane, and his pension of £28s. a fortnight was paid to the Master in Lunacy, who paid £1 a fortnight to the dependants of that crippled soldier, and retained the balance. There is a difference between that principle and the principle contained in proposed section 45ao. and I desire to know why the Minister draws a distinction between the pensioner whose injuries are directly due to the war and one who comes under the "burntout" clause. Section 45ao states -

If a service pensioner becomes an inmate of an asylum for the insane his pension shall, without further or other authority than this act. be deemed to be suspended.

If a man sustained injuries, which the commission recognizes as being definitely due to the war and two or three years after his return to Australia becomes insane and enters an asylum, his pension immediately becomes the property of the Master-in-Lunacy, who in turn may distribute whathe thinks fit to the man's dependants. There is a tremendous difference between that principle and the principle applied in this bill to a service pension, because any pension that the soldier may receive under this measure is immediately, forfeited in the event of his becoming an inmate of any asylum. What will happen to the dependants of that man?

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