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Friday, 7 September 1984
Page: 671


Senator MARTIN —My question is addressed to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and it follows on the fulsome answer that he gave to Senator Tate's question regarding the Minister's opinion on the views of the Returned Services League on Australia's immigration policy. Is the Minister aware of the RSL's views that the citizenship oath or affirmation of allegiance should retain a requirement to swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Australia? Does the Minister agree that this view of the RSL is similarly, to quote his words, ' forward looking and temperate' and in line with its, again as he said, 'less controversial public role'? If not, what is the Minister's view of the RSL's policy on this subject?


Senator GIETZELT —The Returned Services League has views covering a wide range of matters that are of public interest. That body is entitled to express its views. There are views with which I can agree and there are other views with which I can disagree. That comment would also apply to the Opposition and to the Government. I do not think it is my role as Minister for Veterans' Affairs to make comments about each and every issue that is debated at a particular conference. Senator Tate asked me a question relating to immigration. That is a matter on which I understood there was a degree of common interest on the part of the Opposition Parties and the present Government. There has been a desire to take the issue out of the area of public controversy. To the extent that the RSL conference generally moved in that direction, I think that was a very positive thing to do.