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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator GORTON (Victoria) (Minister for Works) . - The point raised by Senator Sandford is incorrect. Regulars are not entitled to repatriation benefits unless they have served abroad.

Senator Sandford - I did not say that.

Senator GORTON - The honorable senator said: " We know that regulars are entitled to repatriation benefits ". They are not entitled to repatriation benefits unless they have served abroad. In that respect, therefore, they are in no way different from the troops who will not be called up. There is no discrimination. Senator Sandford is suggesting that the application of the repatriation policy, not only to the people referred to in this Bill but also to all of our regular forces, ought to be changed. All I can say to him is that I do not believe he, or anyone else, has made out a case to show that it should be changed.

Although it is perfectly true that a serviceman has no say in where he will serve, it is also perfectly true that the hardship, privation and danger suffered are much greater in an area which is the equivalent of the front line than in a rear area. People in a rear area are not penalised, as has been suggested, but they are not given the additional advantages which accrue to those who happen to serve in forward areas. That is the only explanation I can give the honorable senator.

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