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Thursday, 1 November 2012
Page: 8870

Senator McLUCAS (QueenslandParliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) (18:21): I also wish to take note of the document we are talking about today. In doing so, I think the previous contribution has been a rewriting of history. It is true that in Australia we did not treat our servicemen returning from Vietnam properly. I was not of an age to know then; I was not old enough. But I have read the history and I think it was not a time in our history that we should be proud of. But to then take the next step, as Senator Macdonald has done, and sheet the blame home to one political party alone is taking a step too far. We are talking about people who are still hurting. Many of them we know. Many of them all of us in this chamber have worked with, working through some of the terrible trauma they are still living with. But to pick open a sore in the way that Senator Macdonald has just done is unfair to them, does not help them and is, in my view, a rewriting of history. To apportion blame in such a blanketing way is hurtful. There are returned Vietnam servicemen who have served as Labor members of parliament. To blanket all of us in the way you just did is wrong, unfair and I totally take exception to it.