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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2482

Senator MACKLIN(4.06) —I move:

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

Clause 36, after paragraph (h), add the following word and paragraph:

``; or (j) if the person has been granted the Returned from Active Service Badge.''.

Many honourable senators would have had representations with regard to this clause. The returned from active service badge was issued to those people who returned from qualifying active service. Because of the extent of the debate on this Bill I will not go into detail, but essentially this item is covered under Military Board Instructions No. 44 of 1946, which gives the full operational details as to who is eligible for the returned from active service badge. The instruction with regard to persons who served after the Second World War, particularly in Korea, the Malayan emergency and in the Malay-Thai border area from May to July 1963, is fairly clear. The instruction concerning the special service operations in Vietnam after 1963 is also fairly clear. Basically we are dealing with a problem that has occurred since the Second World War. I believe this is an area which could and ought to be reorganised. The returned from active service badge should be issued to those who returned from active service. If the Military Board Instructions No. 44 had been adhered to the badge would have been issued under those circumstances because the instruction referred to those people who embarked on overseas service from September 1939 to September 1945. The instruction also referred to those who served in the Northern Territory north of latitude 14 between February 1942 and September 1945; to those who served in the Torres Strait between March 1942 and September 1945; to those who served in New Guinea between January 1942 and September 1945; and to those who served in Papua between February 1942 and September 1945. The people who served during those periods are the people who are actually eligible. It appears that this returned from active service badge was granted to people who may not necessarily have been eligible under that instruction.

The difficulty I am trying to point out is that persons have an expectation that this badge will be given out in future, and that has not been accepted by the Government. In other words, one part of the Government is saying that such persons have returned from active service and another part-the repatriation system, which will become known as the veterans' system-is saying that they have no entitlements. I think there needs to be a concurrence of views on this. I would be interested in the Minister's response to this problem. No doubt he has been well briefed about this matter. It has gone on for so many years and I think it has been a running sore in the Government.