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Thursday, 1 April 1965

Senator BISHOP (South Australia) . - It seems to me that I should make a comment or two on what Senator Wright has said. On entering the debate he suggested that he did not understand what was proposed but when he had concluded his submissions it was obvious that he had done his homework, and that he had read the record of proceedings in the other chamber, which coincided fairly closely with what we said here at the second reading stage. The fact that I spoke as briefly as possible was, I think, a reaction to what was done last night, when we spent 45 minutes on an excursion which Senator Wright knew was quite inappropriate, and when we might have been giving more attention to this provision, which is of considerable importance. In making my submissions brief I was being reasonable in the light of what had transpired last night while the proceedings were being broadcast.

Let us have a look at the situation that Senator Wright talks about. In his legalistic manner, he wants to know why we use in the amendment the expression " an authority of the Commonwealth or a State", and he wants me to say how all the States might toe affected. The expression that we use has been used by the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge), who is in charge of this Bill. It was in common usage in the debates in the other chamber and it is in the Bill itself. If Senator Wright had proceeded to read the definitions he would have seen that - " insurable loan " means a loan (not being a loan made by the Commonwealth or a State, or by an authority of the Commonwealth or a State other than a bank). . .

Senator Wright - I have the words underlined in my Bill.

Senator BISHOP - In that case the honorable senator knew the position exactly and was merely belly-aching. This is not unusual for him and he expects people to sit down and take it. The position is that all honorable senators know exactly what is proposed in the amendment we have moved. Often when we propose an amendment, Senator Wright suggests that it is not framed in the terms that he thinks should be used. Our purpose is very clear. Senator Wright himself understands it. This is obvious, because he concluded with the same sort of advocacy as we have been using. He knew that the Returned Servicemen's League had been to the Minister for Housing (Mr. Bury), who had promised to consider the representation in favour of insuring the mortgage which eligible ex-servicemen have to raise while awaiting loans from the War Service Homes Division. We are saying that an exserviceman who is eligible for finance from the War Service Homes Division should not be prejudiced in comparison with an ordinary member of the community. That would be obviously an injustice. Unless the Government intends to do something about this, it would appear to me to be necessary for this chamber to do something about it. That is why we propose this amendment. If Senator Wright was in the chamber when I made my submission he knows that ] referred to the very high interest rates that these people are' paying for finance to carry them over until they get finance from the War Service Homes Division, for which they have to wait about 18 months. They are paying up to 12 per cent, for the money. The situation is not good enough. Somebody has to do something about it. The amendment that we propose will basically cover it. The other question which arises in this respect is the actual percentage of the loans. I think that every honorable senator understands the amendment. Nobody will convince me that Senator Wright does not understand it. Obviously he does.

I referred also to the position in South Australia. I raised it because I think that now is the appropriate time. I hope that the Minister has grasped the point which I made. A similar situation arose last year when we were debating the homes savings grant legislation. Those are the submissions of the Opposition. I think that they were well canvassed by me in the second reading debate. It seems unnecessary to refer to them again at any length. They are well understood. I leave the matter to the Committee to decide.

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