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Thursday, 19 December 1912


Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) . - I am rather in sympathy with Senator Stewart's object, though I must, honestly admit that I can hardly see how far the amendment will go. The pointswith which he wishes to deal have been brought before the Senate by me on more than one occasion. His amendment appears to go further than I proposed to go, but certainly it goes in the same direction. He proposes to deal with the case of a man or woman permanently incapacitated and otherwise unprovided for. It seems to me that a permanently incapacitated person ought not to have thehandling of the money paid by the Commonwealth. I am not enunciating any new principle in saying that, because section 43 of the principal Act provides that whenever the Deputy Commissioner issatisfied that it is expedient that payment shall be made to any other person thanthe pensioner, he may issue a warrant to that effect, and the person named within it shall be entitled to receive payment of the pension. That provision is by no means a dead letter. Senator McGregor, in reply to a question of mine on the 27th November, informed the Senate that the warrants issued under section 43 of the Invalid and Old-age Pensions Act during the last two financial years numbered in New South Wales, 7,493 ; inVictoria, 8,061; in Queensland, 2,804; in South Australia, 2,219; in Western Australia, 995 ; and in Tasmania, 1,474. So that during the two years, no fewer than 23,046 warrants were issued. In the whole of those cases the persons on account of whom pensions were paid did' not receive the money directly. In other words, they were put under a certain amount of friendly care. As showing theseriousness of the position, I may mention that a return obtained to my order a little while ago showed that during the last financial vear throughout the Commonwealth the number of pensioners found dead was 209, whilst the number found" destitute - evidently persons incapable of looking after themselves- was 10 1. There were no fewer than218 cases in which the circumstances of death were to suspicious that coronial or magisterial inquiries were held. Those figures indicate that there are very many pensioners who meet their death in an untimely fashion, and who are unable properly to look after themselves. I think it would be advisable to amend Senator Stewart's amendment so as to enable incapacitated persons to be dealt with properly, and so as to enable the Deputy Commissioner in each State to exercise a check on any laxity. I therefore move-

That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word " apply " the words " except upon report bythe Commissioner for Pensions acting after issue of warrant under section 43 of the principal Act."







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