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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2501

Senator GIETZELT (Minister for Veterans' Affairs)(5.59) —The Minister for Defence (Mr Beazley) explained how this system will operate during the debate on the Bill in the House of Representatives. He said in his speech:

Now that this Government has reviewed the question of allotment for service in Vietnam it has decided that all Australian service personnel on continuous full time service who served in any capacity in the declared special area of Vietnam's land and waters during the period from and including 31 July 1962 to and including 11 January 1973 will be deemed to have been allotted for special service and will have access to repatriation and defence service homes loan benefits.

The Government's decision is in a sense, as I said earlier, an act of grace. Claims for repatriation and defence service homes loan benefits will generally be accepted from 5 December 1985.

That concludes what Mr Beazley said. The procedure to be followed, therefore, is non-legislative. The Minister for Defence will, by instrument, deem certain service personnel to have been allotted for service in Vietnam. This will be recognised for the purposes of the Veterans' Entitlements Act and the Defence Service Homes Act. Senator Macklin also asked me when the instrument promised by the Minister for Defence for the designation of particular members of the Defence Force who served in Vietnam would be made. I could not advise Senator Macklin before because obviously I had to seek the advice of the Minister for Defence. He has advised me that this will take place as soon as possible after the Veterans' Entitlements Bill comes into operation and certainly before the end of 1985.