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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 1786

Senator BYRNE (Queensland) (12.2) - It is not my intention to intrude at length in this debate at this stage. I think it would be much more appropriate for the report of the Joint Select Committee cn Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Legis lation to be discussed at a later time when honourable senators have had an opportunity to study it. I rise merely because I had occasion to present a minority report on a certain segment of the Committee's investigations. My minority report appears at page 51 of the committee's report and it concerns a dissent to paragraphs 164 to 167 of recommendation 17. The dissent relates to the question of the eligibility of unmarried male and female members of the Services to pass on rights to others on the same basis as married male personnel can pass them on to their dependants under the existing scheme and will be able to do under the proposed scheme.

I have attempted to canvass the reasons that have prompted me to dissent from that recommendation. One factor I have pointed to is that the Commonwealth Actuary has advised that according to his computations, no additional cost would be involved in the proposed scheme. He has worked on the basis that all personnel are in fact married and will pass on rights in succession to their survivors. As I remarked at the end of my dissenting report, I hope that the fact that I am myself unmarried might be accepted as promoting my interest rather than persuading my judgment. I think that this is a matter of very considerable concern in a period when we are emerging into equality of the sexes. In terms of work value and in general social terms, I think it is important that, where we get the opportunity of projecting this concern in specific legislation or in the implementation of policy, we should attempt to do so. I subscribe to the whole of the report with the exception of that dissent. I commend the report, and my own dissent in this area, to the attention and solicitude of :he Senate.

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