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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2368

Senator McINTOSH —My question is directed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and concerns the report of the Independent Inquiry into the Repatriation System, known as the Toose report. In view of the fact that this inquiry ran for five years and cost a small fortune of taxpayers' money, could the Minister give an indication of the extent to which its proposals were implemented?

Senator GIETZELT —It is true that a previous government commissioned Mr Justice Toose to inquire into the repatriation system.

Senator McIntosh —Who was the Minister?

Senator GIETZELT —I leave that for the honourable senator's judgment, but it was not Senator Messner. The purpose of the inquiry was to look at the deficiencies and inadequacies of the Repatriation Commission and the repatriation legislation . It was a very costly inquiry and took quite a number of years. From my recollection it took at least five years to hear evidence and to prepare and present its report to government. Some of the recommendations of the Toose report were adopted by the government of the day, but the major recommendations were not. It was not until my predecessor commissioned a special advisory committee to consider the Repatriation Act in 1982 that the Government was able to examine some of the substantive proposals of the Toose report.

The administrative review council that dealt with the terms of reference given to it by the previous Minister took into consideration the conclusions that had been reached by Mr Justice Toose. As a consequence of that, those recommendations have been largely adopted by the Government, particularly as that inquiry had the support of the major ex-service organisations. That represented the basis of the legislation which I introduced into the Senate last Tuesday evening. That legislation has the purpose of completely restructuring the repatriation determining system.