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Monday, 24 May 1965

Senator HENTY - The Minister for the Navy has furnished the following reply to the honorable senator's question -

When the Government decided to settle claims made against the Commonwealth arising out of the loss of H.M.A.S. " Voyager ", it did so with the knowledge that the strict legal position in relation to the liability of the Commonwealth arising out of the tortious acts of one serviceman to another was not clearly established. The comments by Mr. Justice Windeyer referred to in the question do no more than confirm this understanding of the position. Notwithstanding the uncertainty as to the legal position, the Government in dealing with these claims, is proceeding on the basis of making offers of settlement to servicemen or their dependants to cover what it considers to be a fair and reasonable assessment of the loss in each case.

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