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Thursday, 12 November 1964

Senator WILLESEE (Western Australia) . - I rise to support the amendment moved by Senator Hendrickson, which seeks to add the following words to the motion that the Bill be now read a second time - but the Senate is of opinion that the provisions of the Repatriation Act 1920-1964 should be extended to apply in respect of all service in the Defence Forces.

Although these persons are now covered by workers' compensation provisions in respect of accident and injury, which cover may be continued after their return to civilian life, they are not covered, I understand, in respect of sickness. The Minister for Customs and Excise (Senator Anderson) will have a chance to answer me if I am wrong on this point.

It appears to me to be completely wrong to take a person out of civilian life and to put him, for instance, in the infantry, where he will sleep in wet clothes and march and train in the rain. In those conditions he is likely to pick up pneumonic ailments. Extension of the provisions should not be expensive, because there would not be extreme cases such as occur in warfare. It seems that these people ought to be covered when they move back into civilian life. From the latest decisions that have been announced, it appears that we have passed the point of worrying about recruiting. This is one of the matters that I indicated to the Minister for Defence (Senaor Paltridge) as reasons for the difficulty experienced in recruiting. I should like the Minister in charge of the Bill to comment upon this point.

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