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Friday, 18 May 1928

Mr BRENNAN (BATMAN, VICTORIA) - The Minister has repeatedly declared that the soldier applicant is always given the benefit of any doubt as to whether his disability is due to war service. Will he deny that iri many cases decisions have been given against the applicants, notwithstanding the evidence of non-departmental medical men that their disabilities were attributable to war service? Does the considered opinion of duly qualified medical men outside the department raise that element of doubt to the benefit of which the soldier is said' to be entitled?

Sir NEVILLE HOWSE - All the evidence relating to an application is weighed, and the opinions of nondepartmental medical men receive full consideration. It is possible that doubts may' be expressed, but when all the evidence is analysed by four specialists - not officers of the Department but leaders of the medical profession engaged in private practice in Melbourne - those doubts are resolved.

Mr Brennan - By four departmental men!

Sir NEVILLE HOWSE - They are not departmental men ; they are civilians in private practice. If the honorable member will not accept my assurance, I assure the House that I also weigh the medical evidence very carefully and in not one of the hundreds of cases I have examined and rejected have I discovered any reasonable justification for assuming that the disability was due to, or in any way connected with, military service at home or abroad.

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