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Tuesday, 2 June 1942

Mr FORDE - I have not yet received the report from the committee, but as soon as it comes to hand I shall inform the honorable member of its contents.

Mr Spender - Many cases of hardship are being brought to notice.

Mr FORDE - I realize that, and the committee will make a recommendation to the Government concerning the compensation that should be paid in such cases.

Mr Spender - Can nothing be done to tide over individuals who are in a fairly desperate position because of the loss of their boats?

Mr FORDE - The Government will give consideration to the question of whether some advance should be made to meet cases of real hardship, but the committee consists of two reputable gentlemen who may be relied upon to deal with the matter equitably. Action to immobilize small craft was taken on a recommendation by the military authorities made in the light of experiences in Malaya and other places where the enemy used available small craft to land thousands of soldiers for infiltration purposes. The military authorities requested that such small craft in Australian waters should be immobilized without delay in order that they should not be available for use by the enemy in the event of an invasion. What has been done has been for the safety and protection of Australia. Consequently, it is only reasonable that the general community, and not the owners of the boats, should bear any temporary loss that has been occasioned.

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