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Tuesday, 24 June 2003
Page: 17282

Mr RIPOLL (2:26 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs representing the Minister for Defence. Has the minister determined whether there will be a change to the nature of service and conditions of service for Australian Defence Force personnel serving in East Timor? Will their operational conditions of service be downgraded from warlike to non-warlike and when will this happen? If their operational conditions of service are downgraded, will the date on which the downgrade becomes effective be backdated? If so, will the government require currently deployed troops to repay allowances and increased tax deductions? Minister, why is the government forcing our troops in East Timor to give back war pay?

Mrs VALE (Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —I thank the honourable member for his question. While there has not necessarily been a downgrading of conditions of service in East Timor, because the troops will be maintaining the amount of daily allowance that has been allocated them from the previous conditions of service, I will undertake to—

Mr Leo McLeay —Tell us now!

Mrs VALE —There are certain conditions that the member will want to know, and I will make sure that those conditions are forwarded to him before the end of the day.

Mr Ripoll —Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the correspondence from Headquarters Command in Dili informing the troops that they will, in fact, have to repay their allowances and further tax deductions.

The SPEAKER —The member for Hunter is warned!

Leave not granted.