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Thursday, 10 March 2005
Page: 115

Mrs ELLIOT (9:46 AM) —Our nation’s veterans have made an enormous contribution and committed acts of great self-sacrifice in the defence of our nation. In the lead-up to Anzac Day, there is no-one who would not agree that these men and women deserve our admiration and respect. I, like many local families, will be heading out at dawn on 25 April to pay tribute to those who died in the service of our nation, those who survived, soldiers from the past and those who defend us in the present.

Today, I would like to raise an issue on behalf of one of my constituents, David Marrinon of Brunswick Heads. Mr Marrinon is part of a group who are fighting for the recognition of those who trained cadets post World War II by a medal for the officers and instructors of cadets. Cadets have made a valuable contribution to our defence forces. I am told that about 50 per cent of all military personnel have a background in cadets. Cadets are trained by dedicated officers who give up their time in the service of our nation. The recently released defence white paper praises the cadet system and its contribution to the defence of Australia. Surely those who instruct cadets deserve proper recognition for their efforts. It is hoped that the government will bestow a medal of recognition, available after two years of service, for their contribution to the Australian defence system. When discussing the future of the cadet system and the contribution it makes, it is so important that we do not discount that contribution made by the officers and instructors of cadets.

I know that Mr Marrinon has been in constant correspondence with the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs regarding this specific issue. I will be very interested to hear her response to the request of this group. This is an important issue for a number of my constituents, and I hope that the government will take their request very seriously. Again we find the government paying lip service to those involved in the defence of our nation, those training future soldiers, but there is little action, just as there has been on the indexation of TPI payments to our veterans. The minister and the Prime Minister are always happy to have their photo taken with veterans, but when real action is required we often find them lacking. I will continue to hold the government accountable for the proper recognition of those who have selflessly served our country.