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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2451


Senator LEWIS(11.32) —I say to the Minister that the Opposition sees considerable merit in Senator Macklin's amendment. If the Minister intends to speak against it, I will be very interested to follow his argument. It seems to the Opposition that a widow who is entitled to a pension and who has formed an association with another fellow is in a difficult position. If she marries him she forfeits forever her entitlement. So the temptation is for her to enter into a de facto relationship so that she can then keep her widow's pension during her association with the person. If he dies or leaves her she continues to receive the widow's pension, whereas if she goes through the formality of marriage she forfeits for all time her pension. It seems to the Opposition that there is much merit in the argument of the Democrats that one should not put a widow into this extremely difficult position. I think the Parliament of Australia still supports the institution of marriage. Certainly, the Opposition still supports it. In that event, a war widow ought not to be put into the position where her benefits are so badly attacked as a result of her marriage that she would be better off entering into a de facto relationship.