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Thursday, 19 December 1912

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - We all know that Senator Stewart is actuated by the best intentions in submitting this amendment. Every other member of this Parliament is actuated by equally good intentions. We have adopted a certain principle in connexion with the payment of invalid and old-age pensions, an,d the Treasurer has made provision for the additional cost which may be involved by the passing of this amending Bill. The Treasurer has recognised the difficulties arising in connexion with the administration of the existing Act, and has promised to introduce an amending measure dealing with certain phases of the subject. The Government have made this measure as liberal as the finances of the Commonwealth will permit, and until we are in the happy position of being able to pay pensions to every one, with the one qualification only of old age and length of residence in the Commonwealth, we should, I think, limit ourselves to what we have submitted in this Bill. Senator Stewart has in mind one particular case, but I could mention fifty cases involving equal hardship. It is impossible, with the finances at the disposal of the Government, to meet those cases at the present time. I hope that, in view of the lateness of the session, honorable senators will assist the Government to place this amending Bill on the statute-book as early as possible, that we may be in a position to give relief to those who are expecting it from us at the present time.

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