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Monday, 5 June 1989
Page: 3310

Senator NEWMAN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence Science and Personnel. Before I ask my question, I remind the Minister that on 29 November last year, in answer to a question from me, he informed the Senate that a case `was being developed' for a disability allowance package for the 15 Australian servicemen serving with the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG). The Minister also said that `every effort' was being made to provide these allowances in `the shortest time possible', and that the intention was for the allowances to be paid while the overseas duty was in progress. I ask the Minister: Is it correct that it is now nine months after the first UNIIMOG contingent left Australia, six months after the Minister's promises, and three months after the arrival of the second UNIIMOG contingent in Iran-Iraq? I further ask the Minister: In the light of his previous claims, what is the reason for the Government's disgraceful failure to honour that commitment to our Australian soldiers in their difficult and dangerous duties in Iran?

Senator RICHARDSON —The honourable senator's estimates of three months, six months and nine months all seem to me to be correct. Last November I disputed her general line about the treatment of troops in Iran-Iraq, and still do in terms of what specifically has happened regarding UNIIMOG. I will find out from the Minister what specifics are available, and let the honourable senator know in due course.