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Wednesday, 5 September 1928

Mr PARKHILL (Warringal.) . - I congratulate the Government upon the introduction of this bill. Honorable members of all parties are agreed as to the need for doing everything we can to make easier the lot of the poor and indigent. We have been told that the amendments contained in the bill have been advocated for years past by the Labour party; at the same time I find satisfaction in the fact that the original act was introduced by the Deakin Government, and that every subsequent increase in the pensions has been proposed by a Liberal or National Government.

Mr Forde - The act was first introduced by the Deakin Government as a condition of the Labour party's support.

Mr PARKHILL - Similar claim might be made in respect of any other measure. The anomaly in regard to inmates of institutions should have been rectified some time ago, but I do not agree with the honorable member for Reid that the full pension should be paid to old-age pensioners who enter a hospital. I know of many persons who, when indisposed, but not actually ill, enter an institution for a period of rest. It appears to me to impose unfairly on the revenue for the full pension to be paid while they are, so to speak, resting in these homes. In the case of actual illness, the position may be different.

There is one amendment that I regret the Treasurer has not seen fit to introduce. Where a son or daughter is maintaining his or her parents, an amount equal to the old-age pension should br> allowable as a deduction for income-tax purposes. That would not involve a very considerable loss of revenue. I am inclined to think that the New South Wales Government will introduce such a provision in the amending income tax bill that it proposes to place before the Parliament of that State. In my opinion, it is a reasonable deduction.

By the introduction of this measure the Government has given further evidence of its sympathy for the workers of Australia. The bill will constitute a further claim to the support of the great middle class and working class of this country which for so long has supported this Government.

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