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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1786

Senator Dame NANCY BUTTFIELD (South Australia) - (12.4)- There is a recommendation in the report of the Joint Select Committee on Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Legislation on which I would like to comment briefly. I refer to the recommendation that a de facto wife should be allowed to draw an allowance while her husband is away. In support of my request to the Government to act on this recommendation quickly 1 would like to cite one case with which I have been dealing, ft is the case of a young man who has been to

Vietnam and who thought he was married before he went away. He had been away for nearly a year when he heard that his wife', I will call her, had committed suicide. The next day he was told that he had not been properly married to the girl because it was a bigamous marriage. He has been asked to repay the $1,350 which was paid to her as a marriage allowance. In raising this question with representatives of the armed forces, I have been told that for 10 years the Parliamentary Counsel has been looking at this situation. That is why I urge the Government to act speedily. It is a cruel imposition for young men who have been away fighting to return to a situation of the type that I have described.

Debate (on motion by Senator Devitt) adjourned.

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