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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 33

Senator GREIG (11:28 AM) —I want to respond to the contribution from Senator Colbeck. I really take offence—I know he did not mean it personally—at this argument coming from the government that there is no support for this from the veterans community because in my experience that is not only untrue but also irrelevant. I have spoken to and worked with many in the veterans community, including RSL members and more recently Vietnam veterans, who have no difficulty with this whatsoever and scratch their heads in disbelief that the government does not progress it. It is untrue to say that but, more importantly, it is utterly irrelevant. We do not defer to a particular section as to how we should advance government policy in human rights areas like this. It is a matter for government leadership. It is too convenient for the government to say that a section of a particular group is opposed because that is simply an opportunity to hide behind its own prejudice and to try to project that prejudice onto others. If it were the case that the veterans community were overwhelmingly in favour of this reform, the government would still be opposed to it. I think it is important that we have that on the record.

Question negatived.

Bill agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; report adopted.