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Thursday, 3 April 1941

Senator CLOTHIER (Western Australia) . - I welcome this bill because it does not discriminate between States. For once the people of the eastern States will derive no more benefit under this bill than will those in the less populous States of the Commonwealth. Western Australia will get its share.

Senator Leckie - Western Australia very often gets more than its share.

Senator CLOTHIER - If it does, it is because its representatives fight like tigers. However, this measure cannot arouse State jealousies, and that is one reason why I have pleasure in supporting it. The bill is designed, not only to protect the children of this country, but also to make contented parents. In times gone by we have all seen children living in most depressing circumstances. The 5s. a week which is to be paid in respect of all children in a family after the first child, will make a big difference in almost every home in which there is a family. I am also gratified to find that the bill provides for the payment of the money to be made to the mothers, because if the payments are made in that way, the money is more likely to be used for the benefit of the children. I also support the provision for the cancellation of payments should the children leave this country. I do not know what the position would be should they subsequently return, but I surmise that, as is the case with invalid and old-age pensions, endowment will again foe payable. A regrettable omission is in respect of the exclusion of endowment on the first child of a widow. This measure will be very popular, not only with the families who will benefit, hut also with the trades-people generally, because a greater amount of money will be circulated, and in that way the whole community will derive advantage. The scheme might be amended later to include widows with one child, or the Govern ment might consider introducing a scheme of widows' pensions. I regard the amount of the endowment, 5s. for each child, as insufficient. I should prefer the payment of 5s. for the first child, 6s. for the second and 7s. 6d. for the third and subsequent children. I welcome the bill because I have advocated child endowment for many years. I am pleased that all the States will share in the endowment.

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