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Wednesday, 27 May 1942

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- I do not find myself very often in agreement with Senator Aylett, but his suggestion appears to contain a good deal of merit. The object of this measure is to ensure that widows are not left in want. Surely, it is not the desire of the Government to prevent them from earning a reasonable sum in addition to their pension if they have an opportunity to do so. We should encourage women coming within this class to earn a few more shillings a week.

Senator Large - Does not the honorable senator think that the same principle should be applied in respect of old-age pensions ?

Senator LECKIE - The honorable senator must recognize that the old-age pension is paid to men who are generally past the working age. However, a widow who qualifies for a pension under this measure may be comparatively young, say 21 or 25 years of age, with a child. She will receive a pension of 25s. a week, but, surely, she shouldnot forfeit it because she supplementsher small income. It is not right for the Government to discourage these people from working if they have an opportunity to do so. Many widows may be able to obtain work for a day or two each week; and I suggest that they be allowed to do so without risking losing their pension. Therefore, I urge the Minister to reconsider Senator Aylett's proposal. We should encourage every one to work who is capable of working. We want to get them to work rather than hinder them from working.

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