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Wednesday, 17 December 1941

Mr BARNARD (Bass) . - I wish to refer to a matter which, although it may appear to be of slight importance at this time, is of great concern to the people whom it affects. Although special badges are provided for wives and mothers of members of the Australian Imperial Force, Tasmanian women have for some time had difficulty in obtaining them. Some of them have had to wait for months after making application, and others have not received badges yet. I know of a mother whose two sons joined the Australian Imperial Force; one of them was killed. So far, she has been unable to obtain a relative's badge. The badges are not expensive, but the wives and mothers of soldiers place a high value on them. The unfortunate ones see other women wearing badges, and, naturally, they desire the same privileges. Distinctive badges should also be provided for men who have offered themselves for service with our armed forces but have been rejected on account of physical defects. Unless such men are provided with a distinctive badge, they will have the " bone " pointed at them by perhaps wellintentioned but misguided people. It may be said that they can produce rejection cards, but these cannot be worn like a badge. I have already communicated with the Minister for the Army on this subject, and I hope that he will heed my representations. I suggest to the Prime Minister that this form of recognition is due to wives and mothers of soldiers who are serving their country and to men who have offered to fight but have been rejected.

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