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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay

Order! The honorable member will address the Chair.

Mr POLLARD - I know that when the honorable member spoke he overlooked - this factor. He overlooked the fact that the regulations will be of an entirely different character. Their application to the men in these forces will be more limited than is the case under the regulations under the Repatriation Act applying to the men of the other wars. That was overlooked by the honorable member. Government supporters are guilty of a certain carelessness regarding the welfare of these men that does them no credit, especially when we remember the boast that there are more returned soldiers on the Government side than there are on the Opposition side. That does not matter twopence. The only thing that matters is whether there are enough honorable members to ensure that members of the strategic reserve will enjoy the same benefits upon retirement as do ex-servicemen of World War I. and World War II. We must see that justice is done. Why should there be all this shilly-shallying about something that, in the ultimate, will not save one penny piece for Australia?

I can do no more than appeal to the good judgment of the Minister. He looks at me sympathetically, but I doubt very much whether he will do anything practical. He is bound by Cabinet decision and is indeed fortunate to escape pressure from members of his party, who have apparently let this bill slip through without giving it the mature consideration that it- deserves. I ask the Minister to reconsider the bill at a later stage and, even though it may involve additional drafting, ensure that the conditions extended to members of the strategic reserve are the same as those that have been extended to men who served in World War I. and World War II. I do not think that the Government can get away from the need to observe that principle. I hope that what I have said has made some impression upon the Government. I do not think that its supporters are unsympathetic to my plea. I can see that the honorable member for Bowman (Mr. McColm) agrees with me heartily, and 1 hope that he will support my viewpoint. Why does the Government indulge in this cheese-paring policy? I often think that when we try to save a few pounds we often incur, in the end, expenditure greater than the amount we had set out to save.

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