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Tuesday, 30 November 1971
Page: 3798

Mr JESS (La Trobe) - I appreciate the charm with which the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) has extended his invitation. The honourable member is well aware of my intention because I rang him at his Sydney office yesterday and advised him. AsI said on Thursday night, the Prime Minister (Mr McMahon) and the Leader of the House (Mr Swartz) had advised me that they were prepared to look at the question of providing home finance for regular servicemen and gave me an assurance that a submission on this subject would be put before Cabinet. I accepted this position. It is a much better approach, in my opinion, to set up a body, if I may coin a name, such as a regular services home loans corporation or finance division than to widen the War Service Homes Act at the present time. As this is a Budget Bill, the latter course would mean that more people would immediately become eligible for the amount of money that has been allocated, and that a waiting list would be created which would adversely affect those present eligible. Therefore, at this stage 1 am prepared to accept the Prime Minister's assurance. I compliment the Government on, and am most grateful to it for, being prepared now to look into this matter. I am confident that eventually there will come forward a scheme which will give aid to regular servicemen and this is my objective. Those assurances should be accepted by the Opposition also.

A great deal has been gained from the debate last Thursday. If the Opposition wishes to go ahead with this amendment it should be aware that this is a Budget Bill, a set amount of money has been allocated and if we widen the scope of the Bill there will be more people waiting for the same amount of money, and this will create a waiting list. I would not like to do that to those now eligible for war service home loans. Nobody would be desirous of having them wait longer for their money than they must at the present time. For those reasons I am grateful to the Government for its approach to this matter. I am glad to see that democracy is working in the Liberal Party and I accept the assurances that I have been given.

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