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Tuesday, 30 November 1971
Page: 3811


Dr PATTERSON (Dawson) - It is quite clear that no amount of fine and fancy phrases by the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) or, to use the words he used in his challenge to this side of the chamber, fancy footwork, will disguise the fact that in the mind of every member of Parliament who listended to the debate last Thursday both the honourable member for Moreton and the honourable member for La Trobe (Mr Jess) gave us to understand that they supported the amendment which would provide the opportunity for serving members of the permanent forces, Army, Navy and Air Force, to secure a war service homes loan. The report on page 3713 of Hansard of 25th November 1971 shows that the honourable member for La Trobe actually invited the Opposition to move the amendment. He said:

If the Opposition were to move an amendment which stated that servicemen of today, under today's conditions, should be entitled to war service homes, 1 would agree with that amendment, and I am sure that other honourable members on this side of the chamber would also agree with it.

What could be clearer in anybody's language than that? That is precisely what the amendment is about. Yet we have witnessed today 2 Government supporters in order to get themselves off the hook, get up and say that they are not prepared to support the amendment.


Mr Killen - When did I say that on Thursday?


Dr PATTERSON - On page 3715 of Hansard the honourable member for Moreton is reported to have interjected to say:

May I take it that you are fining it down to servin g members?

The Opposition had the unqualified understanding that the honourable member for Moreton and the honourable member for La Trobe would be supporting this amendment. There can be no question about that.


Mr Killen - Go forward 3 pages now.


Dr PATTERSON - The honourable member should calm down; he has spoken twice. It is quite clear that the honourable member for La Trobe and the honourable member for Moreton must be classified as humbugs.


The CHAIRMAN (Mr Lucock - Order! I suggest to the honourable member for Dawson that he take note of what 1 said to the Committee in regard to the subject matter of this debate. I suggest that he withdraw that remark.


Dr PATTERSON - I withdraw it. If the honourable member for Moreton is sincere he should move an amendment precisely along the lines he advocates. I have always felt that the honourable member has believed in what he has said in this Parliament but there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that he is splitting straws over this amendment. I will say no more than that on that matter. What I had intended to say concerns the honourable member for Herbert (Mr Bonnett). I have been waiting patiently to hear him speak because he has a very important stake in this legislation, in Townsville today there is an Army base, Lavarack Barracks, and an Air Force base. The honourable member for Herbert knows full well that there arc men in Townsville who have been in the war zone. They have gone there in Hercules and other aircraft to ferry goods and ammunition and pick up troops but they are not included in the provisions of the War Service Homes Act. There are other members who are entitled-


Mr Graham - They were not during the Second World War. either.


Dr PATTERSON - They were.


Mr Graham - They were not. If they were in the Second World War-


Dr PATTERSON - It is quite obvious that the honourable member does not know his own Government's legislation; otherwise he would know that any person who volunteered for war service in the Second World War and had 6 months service was entitled to a war service homes loan. The honourable member knows nothing about the Act and I suggest that he keep quiet.


Mr Graham - You are talking nonsense.


Dr PATTERSON - 1 am talking the truth. The precedent is there. I am glad that the honourable member for North Sydney (Mr Graham) has shown his complete ignorance of this legislation. Any member of the Navy, Army or Air Force who volunteered for service in World War II, providing he was in the Services for 6 months and irrespective of whether he served in or out of Australia or in or out of a war zone, was entitled to a war service homes loan. So surely the precedent is there. I want to hear from the honourable member for Herbert. I believe that in conscience he should support the amendment. He and 1 both know that there are servicemen in Townsville who are blatantly being, discriminated against. They are more entitled to the provisions of the Act than many other ex-servicemen with loans today who served in World War II. The Opposition believes that there should be no discrimination against anybody who volunteered to serve his country whether in the Army, Navy. Air Force or ancillary services. They should be entitled to war service home loans.

There is a serious anomaly in the Act in this connection and the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren) has moved that this anomaly be removed and constructive legislation implemented. It is quite clear that at the Lavarack Barracks and the Air Force base in Townsville there are many men who are being discriminated against under this legislation. When they are discharged eventually they will be able to say to their relatives and friends: 'We served within the borders of Vietnam. We flew aircraft within the borders of Vietnam but we art not entitled to war service home loans under this Government's disgraceful legislation.' Let us make it quite clear. Anybody would think, in view of this Government's pinch penny attitude towards this legislation, that these are grants; they are interest bearing loans and the Government will get the money back with a profit. One only has to look at the revenue which the Government earns from war service home loans today to see that this is really an investment on the part of this nation. The honourable member for Herbert should get up and declare himself on this legislation. He has a lot of people in Townsville at the Lavarack Barracks and the Air Force base who are watching this legislation very carefully because many of them are being discriminated against by this Government. What this Government has to do is amend the Act constructively and eradicate this blatant discrimination against servicemen, particularly those in the area about which I have been speaking, who have as much right to the provisions of the War Service Homes Act as many ex-servicemen who already have a loan or who are in the process of getting one.







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