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Thursday, 29 May 1941

Senator BROWN (Queensland) . - This afternoon I asked a question in relation to child endowment, and if the reply of the Assistant Minister (Senator Leckie) was right, then the department administering the scheme is wrong. I asked whether it was not a mathematical impossibility for child endowment to be paid on account of children up to the age of sixteen, except in respect of twins, triplets, quadruplets or quintuplets. I have in mind a family in which there are three children aged 15, 10 and 5 years respectively. When the first child reaches the age of sixteen, the second child will be eleven years of age. It then becomes the first child, and no further payment will be made in respect of it. That is to say, no endowment will be paid in respect of that child after it reaches the age of eleven years. If my reasoning be correct, child endowment will not be paid on account of any child up to the age of sixteen years except, as I have said, in the case of multiple births. After the Assistant Minister had replied to my question this afternoon, I rang the department and was informed that my interpretation of the scheme was correct. Many members of Parliament areof the same opinion as is the Assistant Minister.

Senator McBride - When a child becomes the first child, no payment will be made in respect of it.

Senator BROWN - Throughout the country there is a totally wrong impression regarding the child endowment scheme ; thousands of people believe that child endowment will be paid until each child in a family, except the first, reaches the age of sixteen years. The form of claim for child endowment gives certain information for the guidance of claimants. Clause 7 states -

Endowmentis not payable in respect of any child for any period after -

(b)   the child reaches the age of sixteen years.

There are two interpretations of the scheme. A friend of mine, Mr. Ben Taylor, has prepared a table showing what would be paid in respect of his children under the different interpretations. Mr. Taylor says that if endowment be not paid in respect of all children over sixteen years of age, it should be paid in respect of all children up to sixteen years of age. The table, which I have his permission to use as I wish, is as follows: -


I ask the Minister to give to this matter his earnest attention.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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