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Wednesday, 29 October 1997
Page: 10077


Mr LAURIE FERGUSON —My question is addressed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. Vast numbers of Australian veterans and war widows grew up in an era when the purchase of the family home was central to Australian, personal and family ambition. If they are now assessed by aged care assessment teams as requiring nursing home care before 1 March but are not able to obtain a bed until after that date, will they be forced to pay the extra daily fee slug?


Mr BRUCE SCOTT —They will be paying from when they enter the nursing home. Let me reiterate: we do not want to see veterans going into homes when we know that up to 10 per cent of them today do not meet health standards and in excess of 12 per cent do not meet fire standards. We want to make sure that veterans are not put in a place—


Mr Beazley —Mr Speaker, I have a point of order. The question was quite specific: will those assessed veterans unable to get in before 1 March be obliged to pay? That is all. There is nothing else to it than that.


Mr Truss —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: these are frivolous points of order. The minister had spoken only about 10 words. How can he be irrelevant?


Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.


Mr BRUCE SCOTT —I remind the shadow minister once again that prisoners of war will have their daily contribution met by the federal government. He is a very slow learner. He should stop his scaremongering. And he should also stop putting out notices which raise the fear in the veteran community and which say, `Come and talk to me about your concerns about the abolition of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.' That is wrong, and he knows it is wrong, but he is out there putting fear into the veteran community.

Once again, we see those on the other side of the House using our veterans as a political tool. The veteran community of this nation have nearly always had bipartisan support from this parliament. That appears to have gone out the window with this shadow minister, under the leadership of this particular Leader of the Opposition.