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Wednesday, 11 October 1972
Page: 1449

Senator McLAREN (South Australia) - With due respect to the Minister, I think he must have missed the point I was trying to make. I am not suggesting that this Act should be amended to set up a war service scheme on a broad basis. I asked him to give some consideration to the servicemen I have mentioned in relation to blocks which are already established but which, because of certain circumstances, of the persons who have been on them, are now dispossessed. I refer to such lands as are in the hands of South Australia and under the jurisdiction of its Lands Department. These blocks are still being worked for the Lands Department which controls the scheme in South Australia. All I am asking is that some consideration be given to ex-servicemen who feel that they have some priority for a block.

Senator Little - Even that the blocks be purchased at market price?

Senator McLAREN - No, 1 am not saying that. I believe that the ex-serviceman should be entitled to purchase a block at the price at which an ex-serviceman from the First World War or the Second World War would be entitled to purchase it. In the particular cases I have mentioned, if there are no applications by ex-servicemen from the First World War or the Second World War. then surely priority should be given to ex-servicemen who have served either in Vietnam or in the permanent forces before any block is placed on the open market. There is no great difficulty, as I see it, in the Government adding to the Act a provision to give this priority to those ex-servicemen. The Minister for Air (Senator Drake-Brockman) has said that perhaps men who have served in Vietnam or in the permanent Army would not have had rural experience. I know one such young man who has had the necessary experience, as has his father-in-law. I would like to see something done when there is such an applicant. The Minister has said that overall there would not be more than 40 or 50 such applicants in a year. In South Australia there may be only three or four. Surely the Government can do something to reward those who have served their country. There is no great problem in amending the existing Act.

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