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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 24296

Senator SCHACHT (11:22 AM) —I will only take a few minutes. Minister, I was given a quick briefing on the answers you gave to the questions I raised in my speech on the second reading. I mentioned the issue of Second World War prisoners of war in the European theatre, and I gave a number of examples from the document the department produced to commemorate the visit to Crete by a number of prisoners of war. Is there any particular reason why, apart from the cost, which I know is always a major issue, the prisoners of war in the European theatre, many of whom suffered significantly—I am not going to say as badly as prisoners of the Japanese—could not be considered for compensation? I noted the background in the minister's handout about the peace treaty with Japan in 1951 and the compensation. Is the reason the European POWs could not be considered because there are outstanding claims against the Japanese government and it is an issue of compensation dealing with the Japanese government specifically?