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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2420


Senator PETER RAE(10.28) —I wish to refer very briefly to the situation in relation to certain veterans, predominantly Tasmanians, who served in the Indonesian area-not the 2/40 Battalion who were in the Sparrow Force in what is now Indonesia and who suffered greatly but acted magnificently as history shows-but rather some of those who came later into the area who were members of the 12/40 Battalion and who saw operational service in Timor, Java and Sumatra from September 1945 to November 1946 and also in French Indo-China from September 1945 to November 1946. These men were involved in a number of actions-putting down hostilities and pacification. They assisted the Dutch authorities in putting down uprisings that took place. I hope that the Minister for Veterans' Affairs (Senator Gietzelt) is listening to what I am saying and not just discussing something else with the Minister for Community Services (Senator Grimes). In case he is not listening I shall wait until he is prepared to listen. If necessary I will say it all again. If the Minister has any interest in veterans' affairs at all, I hope he will listen to what I am saying--


Senator Grimes —Don't be offensive. Don't be stupid. It is unnecessary.


Senator PETER RAE —Senator Grimes tells me not to be offensive. I had endeavoured to raise a question to which I hoped the Minister would listen in relation to the position of those people, primarily Tasmanians but not entirely, who were members of the 12/40 Battalion and who saw operational service in Timor, Java and Sumatra from September 1945 to 30 November 1946 and also in French Indo-China from September 1945 to November 1946. These people were involved in the pacification of areas in which there were war operations taking place, even after the conclusion of the Second World War. For example, they assisted in operations relating to an uprising in which HMAS Arunta was involved, as was the SS Moreton Bay. There was an uprising, apparently, by Japanese and other forces involved in the area after the conclusion of the war.

Debate interrupted.