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Tuesday, 30 November 1971
Page: 3810

Mr KILLEN (Moreton) The shibboleth and slogan shouting which has come from the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) does him little credit, but I would have hoped that some quality of literacy would have reached out to control that honourable gentleman and also the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart). There have been two amendments on this Issue. One was moved by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) last Thursday evening. May I remind the Committee and, in particular, the honourable members for Lang and Hughes, what I said about the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid? Can ihe honourable member for Hughes hear me?

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes.

Mr KILLEN - 1 am glad that he can hear me. Possibly it may soak in. Listen to what 1 said. I said:

The amendment suggested by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) does not meet the objections I have in mind. ls that clear? I said that the amendment did not meet my objections, and that is reported at page 3718 of Hansard. Is there any doubt about that? Has the honourable member for Hughes any doubt as to what that means? 1 said that it did not meet my objections. Does the honourable member for Lang understand what I meant when I said that the amendment did not meet my objections? Then 1 went on to say why it did not meet my objections and T gave the reasons. What has happened? The honourable member for Lang, who is trying to interject, had his say. 1 said that the amendment did not meet my objections, and then 1 referred to the specific anomalies concerning those who had gone into the Vietnam area. One is fired either by a sense of malevolence or by goodwill, and those who look at the facts of this case will make up their own minds on it. What happened? A second amendment was introduced. Docs the .second amendment meet my specific objection? lt widens-

Mr Uren - Yes.

Mr KILLEN - Of course it does. It is very much like setting fire to the house in order to gel the cat out into the garden. Of course it is all right, but there are two positions, and I will put them plainly to the Committee this afternoon. lt is a broadening of the whole scheme. It is a radical proposition. That stands on its own. My complaint stands on its own. The honourable member for Hughes comes into this chamber and talks to me about backsliding. His footwork would need to be pretty fancy if he were to say that outside and survive without getting a blood nose. A second objection was raised by the honourable member for Lang. In the 16 years I have been a member of this Parliament I have never seen the honourable gentleman offer one mild protest as far as his position in his own Party is concerned. I throw back the gauntlet to the honourable members for Reid, Lang and Hughes. If they put down an amendment which takes in specifically those who went into the Vietnam area, we will see whether they will vote for it.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why don't you put it in?

Mr KILLEN - I will tell the honourable gentleman why. lt is not easy to include such an amendment in the War Service Homes Act, unless one includes in clause 3 an amendment to this effect: 'and those who, while being serving members of the

Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy, have gone into the South Vietnam area'. That then would cover my objection. 1 have mentioned my other objections to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, and 1 have never pulled back from them, and the honourable member knows it. I have made clear my position with respect to the Repatriation Department and the question of a serviceman's eligibility to join the RSL and to wear the Vietnam ribbon. My four objections should properly be taken together. Until February of this year, when ambition among some people in this place was no longer trammelled by reason, 1 thought there was a solution, and it ill becomes the honourable member for Lang to say that I did nothing about it because when I was Minister for the Navy papers on this issue were prepared and had been put to the Department of Defence.It just shows the fanciful view the honourable member has of the way that the Service departments operate. They do not operate as islands unto themselves. The 3 of them operate together, under the Department of Defence, and the story has to be sold to them. That is the difficulty which the honourable gentleman will not face up to. 1 have asked the honourable gentleman to look at this not out of any sense of malevolence but on the basis of simple goodwill.

My complaint on Thursday evening was quite clear. I said that the amendment moved by the honourable member for Reid did not meet my objections. I thought that was plain even to those who have had no formal education whatever. It did not meet my objections. AmI to understand that people who had the benefit of higher education, such as the honourable member for Lang and the honourable member for Hughes, do not understand plain English. What is wrong? I have always thought until this afternoon that there was an acute state of normalcy about the 2 of them. But why do they abandon this state now and adopt a preference to treat the Queen's English in this fashion? And I hope that that does not jar any republican in the chamber. What I would like to do, and what I would like to think pursuant to the information given to me by the Leader of the House I have succeeded in doing, is to cure this anomaly. But I want to cure it in other directions and that is why I intervened last Thursday night and why I have spoken again this afternoon.

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