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Wednesday, 5 September 1928

Mr J FRANCIS (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) .- I also express my appreciation of the action of the Government, and of the Treasurer in particular, in bringing down this amending bill to the Invalid and Oldage Pensions Act 1908-1926, under which the inmates of benevolent asylums will receive 5s. 6d. a week, and 14s. 6d. a week will be paid to the institution instead of 4s. and 10s. 6d. as at present. The measure rectifies an anomaly due to the increases that the Government has made from time to time in the invalid and old-age pensions, without at the same time increasing amounts paid to pensioners in institutions. The record of the present Ministry in this respect is commendable. When it assumed office the pension was 10s. a week. That was increased first to 12s. 6d., and then to 15s., and eventually it was raised to 17s. 6d. and later to £1 a week; but corresponding increases were not made in the allowance paid to pensioners in institutions. This anomaly was rectified to some extent some few years ago by their allowance being increased from 2s. to 4s. a week, and now it is to be further increased to 5s. 6d. This action is in keeping with the general practice of the present Government. It has already increased from 25s. to 30s. a week, the income that a pensioner may earn and the value of the property that a pensioner may own has been raised from £300 to £410. A member of the Opposition has stated that the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act was introduced by the Deakin Administration under pressure from the Labour party.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The honorable member for Warringah made certain statements, and I allowed the honorable member for Capricornia to reply to them; but I cannot permit the debate to continue along general lines.

Mr J FRANCIS (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) - May I not reply to statements made by the honorable member for Capricornia?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - The hon.orable member will not be in order in going beyond the scope of the bill.

Mr J FRANCIS (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) - I appreciate the action of .the Government in giving a further measure of assistance to returned soldiers by exempting from the computations of income the amount of the war pensions paid to them under the Repatriation Act in determining the amount of old-age pensions payable- to them. The bill assists two most worthy sections of the community, and it has my most hearty support.

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