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Thursday, 14 March 1968

Mr NIXON - I am aware that there is to be an unveiling of the Desert Mounted Corps memorial on 19th April at Anzac Parade, Canberra. In fact, the Prime Minister has kindly consented to take part in the unveiling. Members of the Desert Mounted Corps have been invited to be present on that day. The honourable member has asked whether the Government will see fit to pay the cost of their transport to and from Canberra and he made the point that the Government should do this because the soldiers had paid for the memorial. The position is that they did contribute 1 day's pay away back in those years towards the cost of the original memorial. Their contribution amounted to the equivalent of about $10,800, but the Australian and New Zealand Governments contributed together a total of $24,000. When the memorial was transported from Port Said to Australia the Australian Government bore the cost. The memorial was found to be unfit to use so the Governments paid for the redesigning of the memorial so that one could be erected in Albany, Western Australia, and the other in Anzac Parade, Canberra. When all these factors are taken into consideration one cannot say that members of the Corps have been treated harshly. Therefore I am unable to accede to the request that their fares to and from Canberra be paid by the Government. Naturally enough the Prime Minister, I, as Minister for the Interior, and the Government will be delighted if every member of the Corps is aware that the unveiling is to take place on that day and is present.

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