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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 677

Senator BYRNE (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. Is the Minister aware of growing concern among Service personnel and their wives and families that the delay of the Government in announcing its policy in relation to the report of the Joint Committee on Defence Forces Retirement Benefits Legislation indicates that the Government is not disposed to accept the recommendations of the Committee? Is he further aware that the delay in the declaration of policy in this respect can have a serious effect on the recruitment of personnel and on the re-enlistment of those who are presently serving in the armed forces? Finally, is the Minister in a position to indicate whether the Government is likely to make an early announcement as to the acceptance in whole or in part of the report of the Committee?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - J do not accept as a fact what the honourable senator says is the reaction of some Service personnel and their wives and families to delay by the. Government in this respect. The Jess Committee brought down its report not so long ago and the Service Ministers and their departments immediately studied it as it concerned each Service. The Service departments then put to the Department of Defence a submission outlining their views on the report. Subsequently the Minister for Defence met with the Service Ministers and they added their views on the report. The Minister for Defence then forwarded a submission to the Government. It is my understanding that the Government is presently studying that submission.

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