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Friday, 10 December 1965

Dr J F Cairns (YARRA, VICTORIA) rns asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   What casualties of Australian forces in Vietnam have resulted from men being (a) killed, (b) wounded or (c) taken ill?

2.   What forms of illness have occurred?

3.   How many men of the Australian forces, because of casualties, are now permanently unavailable for combat duties?

4.   Is he able to say what will be the rate of, or the need for, replacements based upon known and anticipated casualty rates?

5.   What is the number of Australian troops now available for combat duties in Vietnam?

Mr Hulme - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows - 1. (a) 16 killed

(b)   79 wounded

(c)   99 taken ill (this figure includes those accidentally injured).

2.   The following illnesses, requiring hospital treatment, have occurred -

(i)   Malaria

(ii)   Hepatitis

(iii)   Meningitis

(iv)   Dengue fever

(v)   Amoebic dysentry

(vi)   Respiratory infections

(vii)   Gastro intestinal infection

(viii)   Fevers of unknown origin.

3.   There are 14 soldiers who are unlikely to be available for combat duties as a result of injuries received (the precise figure is not known as none has yet been medically downgraded).

4.   To date the replacement rate has averaged 1.7 per cent, per month. There is no known reason why this rate should increase.

5.   The Government has approved of military assistance to South Vietnam to the extent of a battalion group, an army training team and an air transport flight, the personnel of which total about 1,500.

Investment of Insurance Funds.

Mr Harold Holt t. - The honorable member for Cunningham (Mr. Connor) has drawn attention to the placement of life insurance funds in shares and debentures of H. G. Palmer (Consolidated) Limited, a company under a receiver appointed on 28th October last by the trustee for the debenture holders. It is understood that a statement of this company's affairs as at that date is being prepared and that the hearing of a petition to wind up the company has been adjourned until February next.

At the present time, therefore, attempts to assess the outcome of these placements would be mere speculation. The Insurance Commissioner has assured me that he is keeping himself informed on developments in this matter as they happen.

The honorable member's question regarding possible action to prevent the hazarding of policy holders' funds relates to a matter of policy on which it would be premature to reach decisions at this stage.

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