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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1733


Senator BOLKUS —Has the attention of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs been drawn to the veterans affairs policy of the National Party of Australia, as formulated by its recent Federal Council meeting? I presume that it has been leaked since then. If so, can the Minister explain whether that policy differs from the Government's and whether the Government is in any way investigating the implementation of any aspect of such a policy?


Senator GIETZELT —Honourable senators will be aware that my shadow Minister is an active person and a member of the National Party of Australia. As he watches me, I watch him-that is part of our joint responsibility. As we know in this game of politics, documents have the habit of falling off the back of trucks. I have seen a copy of the National Party's recent conference. Members of the Party spent the weekend here in Canberra deliberating on a whole range of issues and these showed up the division within that Party rather than the unity. I looked in vain to see the attitude to veterans affairs of the National Party and the shadow Minister, but it was not even listed as an item under consideration. Nor was it listed as an item that was to receive any future consideration. This applied to the future of the Department and to the activities of the shadow Minister in relation to the portfolio's responsibilities. One can only come to the conclusion that, although there is quite a lot of rhetoric about veterans affairs, the subject did not receive any recognition during the recent deliberations of the National Party.