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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2429

Senator WALTERS(11.26) —We have just heard vitriolic remarks of the type that we are so used to hearing from Senator Grimes.

Senator Grimes —You should have been here earlier.

Senator WALTERS —I did miss his earlier outbursts, I believe. But I will not have that man carry on in that way about me. He has said that the people who stood on the sidelines and egged the Government on were the worst. I believe the people who marched in the moratorium marches, who raised money to support the enemy, the North Vietnamese, the people with whom Senator Grimes marched-indeed, Senator Grimes was one of them-who undermined our troops in Vietnam when they were under fire, when they were being killed, are the people who did the most damage to the reputation of those boys and to the feelings of those boys when they came home.

Members such as Senator Grimes actually raised money to support the enemy when our boys were there-whether he liked it or not-fighting for him to be able to enter those marches and, because we live in a democracy, to raise money to support the enemy. I was never in my life so disgusted with any group of young men as I was during that period. While so many of our Australian soldiers were fighting in Vietnam and offering their lives, people at home were marching in our streets undermining, as was the Whitlam Government, which was in office at the time, the soldiers who were brought home. As Senator Lewis said a little earlier, they slunk into the country because no government was willing to welcome them home like heroes, which is what should have happened.

Senator Grimes is well aware of my feelings in this matter. He is well aware that I, along with many other people in Hobart, set up an anti-moratorium march and marched under banners which proclaimed `support our boys while they are fighting for us in Vietnam'. But he was in that other crowd which was taking donations and sending them to North Vietnam. For him to accuse anyone on this side of the House of not going to Vietnam while he was deliberately undermining those heroes who did go, I believe, is an absolute disgrace. He knows that by far the majority of them were volunteers. I believe that for him to carry on in this way is an absolute disgrace but typical of the man who is the Minister in charge of the chamber at the moment.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11.30 p.m.