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Wednesday, 20 May 1942

Mr CALWELL - Does the right honorable gentleman think it is wise to incur unnecessary risks?

Mr. Curtin.I do not think that I am incurring risks. Australian citizens have gone to the United States of America within the last year. Many of them have delivered lectures in that country. I do not think that the question which the honorable member for Barker has raised involves the problem for the Government which he seems to visualize. However, I shall study the matter. I am quite conscious of the importance of preserving a proper relationship between Australia and the United States of America. I am happy to say that at present the relationship is that which the Commonwealth desires.

The facts which the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Morgan) has indicated in respect of the repatriation claim which was rejected by the commission on the ground that the claimant did not suffer disability as the result of war service-

Mr Morgan - It was the usual stereotyped reply.

Mr CURTIN - It was not a stereotyped reply. It was the answer which the commission gave, having regard to the law and the facts.

Mr Morgan - The claim has since been admitted.

Mr CURTIN - That is because circumstances have changed. It is perfectly correct, as the honorable gentleman has said, that the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act was framed to deal with returned soldiers who served in the last war, and in theatres of war distant from Australia. The circumstances to-day are not identical with those which then, existed. The Govern- in en t is concerned with the present situation; and I shall bring the matter before Cabinet. However, I feel that our repatriation legislation ought to be above party disputation. It ought to be agreed upon by the Parliament for the benefit of those who serve this country. A parliamentary committee ' would be a very appropriate body to review the present position and to make recommendations to the Government. I shall place the appointment of a committee for that purpose before my colleagues and the decision will be announced very shortly. I shall have another look at the matter concerning munitions production which was mentioned by the honorable member for Reid.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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