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Tuesday, 19 June 2001
Page: 28026

Mr Murphy asked the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 22 May 2001:

(1) Is 28 May 1984 the date of effect before which Repatriation legislation will not allow for the continued payment of a war widow's pension on remarriage.

(2) Is the retention of war widow's pensions by persons who remarried prior to 1984 a social justice issue of finding a best balance between equity and financial resources.

(3) Is the estimated number of pensions provided to war widows who had subsequently remarried prior to 28 May 1984 120 and not 4000 as he had indicated earlier.

(4) In the light of the statistically small number of war widows who remarried prior to 28 May 1984, does equity in distribution of war widow pensions to all such remarried widows now outweigh the financial constraints prohibiting the reissue of those war widow pensions; if not, why not.

(5) What is the cost of restoring war widow's pensions to this group of widows.

Mr Bruce Scott (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

I am pleased that in the 2001-02 Budget the Government announced it would introduce legislation to amend the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 restoring war widow's pension to all widows who relinquished this pension on their remarriage prior to 28 May 1984. Subject to the passage of these amendments, the restoration of pension would take effect from 1 January 2002.

This budget measure would cost $86.8 million dollars over the four year period to 2004-2005.