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Thursday, 7 May 1942

Mr MORGAN (Reid) . - I direct the attention of the Government to an important matter, which demonstrates the urgent necessity for bringing the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act into line with conditions due to the present war. Honorable members have heard a good deal about a " lost legion " of Australian soldiers who were reported to have landed in Java. It will appear from the facts that I shall place before the House that there is in this country a lost legion of men who have served in the present conflict and have been discharged because of disabilities that have rendered them of no further use in the fighting services. No provision has been made for their welfare, despite the assurance given to them - an assurance similar to that given to men who enlisted in the previous war - that on their return they would find Australia to be a land fit for heroes to live in, instead of which they found it a land of broken promises, unemployment, and doles.

The case I wish to refer to relates to a constituent of mine, who was an original Anzac in the Great War, in which he served for four years. He was at the landing on Gallipoli, and served for a considerable period during this war as a member of the Australian Military Forces. He was injured in an accident while riding on a military truck with 22 other men, and as a result he was disabled, probably permanently, and was discharged from the forces. On his discharge he found that the department had not a civilian suit to fit him, and he had to wear his military uniform for some time. He applied for a pension, and was told that none was available because he did not come within the provisions of the Repatriation Act. He could not obtain work, and he had to accept food relief. He was faced with unemployment and the dole as a reward by a grateful country. He is married and has two young children, who, he hoped, would have a brighter .future as a result of his joining the forces. I wish to cite the facts in his own words, as expressed in this letter to me -

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