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Wednesday, 6 October 1971
Page: 1916

Mr BENNETT - Will the Minister for the Army, subsequent to his assurance that all troops will be home from Vietnam for Christmas, and bearing in mind that some Western Australian servicemen have been advised that they will have to travel from Townsville in Queensland to Western Australia by train and that they will arrive in Western Australia after Christmas, either arrange earlier departure dates from Townsville to ensure that Western Australian servicemen arrive home for Christmas or arrange air transport so that families and servicemen will not be disappointed? Further, will he give assurances that all troops will in fact be provided with transport within Australia which will allow them to be reunited with their families for Christmas Day?

Mr PEACOCK (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for the Army) - I regret to say that I could not hear all parts of the honourable member's question, but I think the essential part of it was that he wanted to be assured that the majority of troops will be home in time for Christmas.

Opposition members - All troops:

Mr PEACOCK - Honourable members opposite have already been advised by the Prime Minister in his statement that most of the combat elements will be home by Christmas. They have subsequently, been advised by myself and by the Minister for Defence of the forces that will be remaining and what they will be undertaking during the few months for which they remain in Vietnam after Christmas. Honourable members opposite also have been advised in relation to those troops whom we are endeavouring to have home by Christmas. We mean by that that we hope to have them embarked and home with their families by that time. The methods which we will need to use to do this will be covered by the normal financial arrangements as agreed to by other departments. But honourable members opposite can be assured that we will do all in our power to have those who arrive in Australia before 25th December with their families on that date.

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