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Thursday, 14 May 1942

Senator CAMERON (VICTORIA) (Minister for Aircraft Production) - The Minister for Repatriation has supplied the following answer: -

For all practical purposes, members of home service personnel called up for the duration may said to be on the same footing as regards war pension and medical treatment and sustenance as members of the Australian Imperial Force who do not embark from Australia. The principal effect of the regulations referred to was to remove differences that existed between various classes of members of the forces in regard to eligibilty for war pension and medical treatment. Members of the Permanent Forces who did not serve on active service outside Australia or the territories were not previously eligible for pension under the Australian Soldiers Repatriation Act. The new provision, which applies in respect of such members discharged on or after the 7th December, 1941, will now permit of the granting of war pension and medical treatment for war-caused disabilities. Previously, these members were eligible for compensation under Defence Finance Regulations. Until the passing of the new regulations, pensions could be granted in cases where a disability existed prior to enlistment andwas aggravated by service, only where the soldier had enlisted for service abroad. Likewise, payment of pension in respect of an accident occurring to a member of the forces whilst travelling on leave to or from his place of employment was restricted to Australian Imperial Force personnel. These privileges are now available to members of the home forceswho are enlisted or appointed for full-time service for the duration of the war. Members of the recently established Royal Australian Navy Nursing Service and Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service were given equal rights under the act to the Australian Army Nursing Service. The question of extension to home forces of general repatriation benefits such as sustenance pending employment, vocational training, and assistance under the soldiers' children education scheme has not yet been determined by the Government.

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