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Wednesday, 12 May 1965

Senator WRIGHT (Tasmania) .- I seek some elucidation from the Minister for Defence (Senator Paltridge) of the new definition of " service decoration ". I find no comparable definition in the original Act. This definition is in terms wide enough to cover any possible decoration for valorous service by any member of the Australian Military Forces. It was with a degree of disappointment that many members of this Parliament found that the Government failed to make a special Anzac decoration available for Anzacs before the 50th anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli. If the definition of " service decoration " is to be inserted in the principal legislation to give Australia independent authority to confer service decorations as the Government thinks fit, it has support from me. Any suggestion that we should defer any longer to the ideas of the British Government in regard to campaigns of 40 or 50 years ago which the Australian Government thinks were appropriate for the conferment of service decorations, should be denied.

I wish to put on record my fervent belief that one obligation which this country has yet to discharge is to recognise by means of a special decoration the campaign which christened Australia into nationhood. I understand that four members of this Parliament served on Gallipoli. In the Senate we have Senator Sandford, who was at the landing, Senator Sir William Spooner and Senator Sir Walter Cooper. In another place, we have Sir Wilfrid Kent Hughes. All have the glorious distinction of having served as Anzacs. It is in that spirit that I seek from the Minister for Defence elucidation of the purpose of this definition so that I will know whether it is related to some provision in the Bill that will enable the special Anzac decoration to be conferred.

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