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Friday, 5 December 1986
Page: 3482

Senator PETER BAUME(11.04) —Another of the Opposition's amendments concerns the Re-establishment and Employment Act 1945. It is proposed that Part VI of this Act, which provides that re-establishment assistance be given to returned servicemen, be deleted. We are concerned about the proposal to delete this Part for several reasons. First, it is inappropriate to take action on this matter via the medium of the Sex Discrimination Act to exclude benefits that were provided for returned servicemen and women. We think there is an essential requirement, following our commitment to Australian servicemen and their commitment to Australia's defence, that legislation does exist to facilitate their resettlement. If the only argument for the amendment is that the legislation is not currently in use--

Senator Gareth Evans —It is now redundant, yes.

Senator PETER BAUME —Why not leave it on the statute book rather than remove it? It also covers discharged servicemen and we cannot understand why it is being removed in the context of this legislation. In any event, it is not a move that can be lightly taken because we think the obligation to the ex-service community is an absolute obligation on government to ensure that those who served in the armed forces are adequately compensated and given the opportunity to return to civilian life. First of all, why is it being done through the medium of this legislation and why is it being done at all? If it is not being used, why not leave it on the statute book?