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Thursday, 24 March 1994
Page: 2298

Senator FAULKNER (Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel and Minister for Sport and Territories) (9.29 p.m.) —Senator MacGibbon cannot claim that. I think he would know that since I have been Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel uppermost in my mind have been the interests of the veterans' community and the interests of those serving personnel in the ADF. So Senator MacGibbon should not draw that conclusion. I cannot really add any more to the debate than what I said in my opening contribution. I really think we all understand these issues now. They have been clarified, and we will soon move to the point of wasting time.

  I do have to say that it is not reasonable for Senator MacGibbon to draw that conclusion about not having the interests of serving personnel or the veteran community at heart. That is not the case—I do, and I believe that this particular piece of legislation has shown a real commitment on my part, and the part of the ADF, the Department of Defence, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs to come forward with legislation that reflects the view of serving personnel, in the interests of serving personnel as well as the veteran community. Great efforts have been made in that regard, and I can only say that it is an extraordinarily unreasonable and unfair assertion for Senator MacGibbon to make at this hour of the night. I do not think he would find it shared by anyone in the veteran community. The process that the government has been involved in, even at this very late stage as we debate this particular matter before the chair, is indicative of the great commitment that has been given by me and by the government on this matter.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.

  Resolution reported; report adopted.

Senator MacGibbon —Mr Deputy President, I seek some information. Is it correct that from the committee stage we can move straight to the next stage of business without having reported progress—we do not have to do a third reading again?

The CHAIRMAN —Senator MacGibbon, the third reading has taken place. It is really just a matter of the Senate agreeing to an amendment of the House of Representatives.