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Wednesday, 5 September 1928

Mr PARSONS (Angas) .- I. listened with interest to the remarks of the honorable member for Capricornia (Mr. Forde), and particularly to what he had to say about the political aspect of the subject. Some time ago I made a careful study of this matter, the result of which was to convince me that the efforts of the Labour party to provide a satisfactory pensions scheme were limited to words, whereas the efforts of honorable members on this side of the chamber had resulted in actions.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -The honorable member is not in order in discussing that phase of the subject.

Mr PARSONS - If I am not permitted to say that this side in politics was responsible for introducing the first Pensions Act, perhaps I may be allowed to observe that we have always done our best to assist the deserving poor. The proposed amendments to the principal act which we are now considering are all commendable, and I am glad that the Treasurer has found it practicable to propose them. I am glad to note the adjustment in regard to those receiving pensions as dependants of deceased soldiers, the extension in regard to ex-soldiers, and also in regard to pensioners in hospitals. Clause 6 of the bill provides for the granting of an increased personal payment to pensioners in government institutions. Hitherto such pensioners have been in an invidious position. I have met some in my constituency who, as inmates of a Salvation Army home, received the full pension and were able to make arrangements with the institution to pay 14s. 6d., and themselves retain 5s. 6d. of the total amount available. I am glad that the Treasurer has increased the total payment on account of inmates in government institutions to fi - 14s. 6d. to go to the institution and 5s. 6d. to the inmates. On Saturday week I addressed the pensioners at the Magill Old Folks' Home in my constituency, and informed them that there would be some adjustment in that direction. During the last election campaign this subject was brought under my notice, and I promised that if I were returned I would do my utmost to secure this reform, which I did, and I am glad that the alteration has been made. The superintendent and the old folk in the home expressed their , thanks to me by telegram for what has been done. I do not claim all the credit for the introduction of the bill; but I have persistently pursued the Treasurer in trying to obtain this reform. On every occasion when I have approached him, I have found him considering the matter sympathetically. The alteration would have been made some time ago if the State Governments had been in agreement upon it. On behalf of the inmates of the Magill Home I thank the Treasurer for this measure of justice, which is greatly appreciated by the old people. It is a further effort to show appreciation of the services they have rendered to their country, and the Treasurer will enjoy the satisfaction of having done an act of justice to a highly deserving section of the community.

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