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Wednesday, 17 September 1941

Senator COLLETT (Western Australia) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I was not in the chamber when Senator

Amour commenced his speech. The statement which I made this afternoon was not intended to he propaganda, although, incidentally, it must be so; it is spreading information, and very good Information. It is history made by not merely this Government but by successive governments since 1914; and a Labour government had a really big share in framing that legislation. I made my statement this afternoon because there is an increasing desire on the part of honorable senators, and members generally, to know the basis on which our repatriation business is transacted. I think that I presented a fair picture of that aspect this afternoon. I did not invite discussion on the paper by moving that it be printed. That discussion will come later, because amending legislation must be introduced ; and if honorable senators generally are to be enabled to view that legislation in its proper perspective, they must have the information which I gave them this afternoon.

Parliament is the place where complaints by members may be legitimately made. I repeat the word " legitimately". I have had occasion to ask honorable senators on, not only the opposite side, but also this side of the chamber, if they would be good enough to bring individual cases to my notice. As Minister, it is my job to remedy ills that are noted. However, an honorable gentleman - I shall not use the plural - may rise in his place in this Parliament and state a case, and add that he knows of hundreds of similar cases. I write to him inviting him to bring such cases to my notice, but I receive no reply. I note the cases of complaints recorded in Hansard and write to those who raise them, but I receive no acknowledgment of my letters. Usually, in such matters, I receive the utmost courtesy from honorable senators opposite, and I appreciate their courtesy very much. However, when I go to the trouble to investigate cases raised by certain honorable senators and inform them of the facts, I naturally expect some acknowledgment from those to whom I supply such information. Senator Amour has views of his own on repatriation. He is the one member of this Parliament who takes no pride in the service which he was able to render to this country some years ago; and the absence of such pride does not help him in dealing with people who not only have rendered good service to this country but also take a pride in what they did. I repeat that I made my statement this afternoon with a view to helping honorable senators. I have no doubt that the information I gave will prove helpful to them when our repatriation legislation comes under review.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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