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Wednesday, 15 May 1985
Page: 1978

Senator MACKLIN —Can the Minister representing the Acting Minister for Veterans' Affairs rationalise the conflict between the Prime Minister's statement this morning that the cuts in the economic statement last night have been borne across the board and the fact that the veterans are undoubtedly the worst hit of any group with cuts of $123.6m, affecting the care of even veterans in psychiatric institutions? Does the Government propose to renege on the categorical promise given by the Minister to veterans' organisations that no legislative change would be made to the Repatriation Act until the Budget session? Does the decision to reverse the onus of proof also destroy another categorical promise given by the Minister in this place?

Senator RYAN —If Senator Macklin wants to assess the effect of last night's decisions on veterans as compared with other groups in the community, I think he should read the detailed statement and pay attention to what those decisions actually mean. It is certainly not my impression that veterans will be adversely affected in comparison with other groups in the community that will be affected. I think any detailed examination of the decision would produce a different result from that which Senator Macklin's question suggested. I will have to refer the specific matters concerning legislation to the Minister and get the information for Senator Macklin.