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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2451


Senator MACKLIN(11.30) —I move:

(5) That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

After sub-clause 13 (8), add the following new sub-clause:

`(8A) Where a pension payable under the Repatriation Act 1920 to a person who is a widow of a member of the Forces within the meaning of that Act ceased to be payable by reason of that person's marriage, and that person is divorced or that person's husband dies, the Commonwealth is liable to pay a pension to that person in accordance with this Act as if that person were the widow of a veteran.'

The provisions in this legislation will enable war widows who remarry after 29 May 1984-an interesting date in itself-to retain their war widows' pensions. This is an extension of benefits and has been warmly received by the War Widows Guild. However, I am looking at a slightly different matter. My amendment provides for the restoration of a pension to a war widow who had lost it under the existing legislation because she had remarried. Subsequent to the passing of this legislation, if her second husband dies she will probably be the person who is most disadvantaged because, while the Government has extended certain provisions to enable war widows who remarry to retain the pension after they remarry, a group of people who have lost their pensions previously will not be able to regain them. Having lost the support of the pensions of their previous veteran husbands, with the death of their second husbands they are further deprived of support. It seems to us that this group will be extremely disadvantaged. It seems odd to allow that situation to occur, certainly in the face of the generosity of the Government with regard to the war widow's pension after this Bill comes into effect.