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Wednesday, 30 May 1984
Page: 2106

To the Honourable the President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled. The humble Petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth:

That the members of the Women's Services of the 1939-45 War not at present considered eligible for Defence Service Home Loans should qualify as 'Australian Soldiers' under the Defence Service Homes Act. They volunteered for service with the Naval, Military and Air Forces, serving wherever they were sent in whatever capacity they were required and yet are refused Defence Service Home Loans.

They took the oath to resist His Majesty's enemies which meant to fight His Majesty's enemies, and although not used in actual combat in war zones, they were available for that use and had a sufficiently grave need arisen would have been used, to serve with distinction as have women of other lands.

In accordance with the Acts and Regulations of the period, the women of the Military Forces had enlisted for service anywhere, some of the Naval women to sail in any waters, others with service on warships optional, while the women of the Airforce could have been sent to Papua New Guinea or other territories under the control or care of Australia.

Ex-servicemen of the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Imperial Force and the Royal Australian Air Force who volunteered in the 1939-45 War but were not sent to War Zones are granted home loans. Not to grant eligibility to all Ex- servicewomen of 1939-45 War is unjust and unfair.

Your Petitioners therefore humbly pray that you favourably consider amending the Defence Service Homes Act by repealing Sub-section 4 (2A) (b) (c) (d) of the Principal Act as amended by No. 137 of 1978, and grant eligibility to all members of the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service, the Australian Women's Army Service, the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, the Australian Army Medical Women's Service, and the Voluntary Aid Detachment of 1939-45 War.

And your petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.

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