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Thursday, 25 November 1971
Page: 3712

Mr JESS (La Trobe) - It is most interesting at all times to listen to members of the Opposition discussing amendments like the one we are now debating. In the case put forward by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), the Opposition's shadow Minister for Defence, he referred to the fact that a seaman on HMAS 'Sydney', which is used for transporting troops to Vietnam, is not entitled to the benefits of the war service homes legislation. The Government has over the years - I think from the commencement of the War Service Homes Act - always had as a requirement for the benefits of this legislation that there should be service in a war theatre. In transporting troops to Vietnam HMAS 'Sydney' does not enter a declared war zone and does not remain within a war zone for the required period of time.

Mr Barnard - You are not serious.

Mr JESS - If the honourable member can restrain himself for a minute he will enable me to express my thoughts. I am sympathetic to the fact that in today's circumstances a serviceman enlists for service anywhere and has no control over where he will serve. I agree with what the Opposition said in this respect and I have made suggestions to the Government. I hope that eventually provision will be made in this legislation whereby such servicemen will receive an entitlement.

Mr Uren - Well, vote for the amendment.

Mr JESS - Just a minute. I ask you, Mr Chairman, what would you do with a punch drunk gentleman? Does one just keep trying to find time-

Mr Uren - Mr Chairman, he should withdraw that remark.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! Might I suggest that honourable members should behave as members of the Committee of the Federal Parliament.

Mr Cohen - But he started it.

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