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Thursday, 8 November 1973
Page: 1646

Senator Dame NANCY BUTTFIELD - My question, which is addressed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, relates to the report on repatriation prepared by the Senate Standing Committee on Health and Welfare presented to the Senate yeaterday. Is the Minister aware of a newspaper report which quotes the national secretary of the Returned Services League at the end of a statement disapproving of the report as saying that the ex-service community in Australia numbers one million and that they are -all voters? Does the Minister approve of this very old trick of trying to frighten any government into certain lines of action or inaction by threatening it or implying a threat by nominating or anticipating voting strength? Will he assure the Senate that he personally will not be influenced by such threats and that he will encourage the Government to examine objectively all the recommendations contained in the report with a view to giving a fair go to all and streamlining and modernising the more than 50-year old repatriation system?

Senator MURPHY - No. I do not approve of the trick as described by the honourable senator. This was a report made by a committee comprising members of the various parties in the Senate. The Government will give proper consideration to that report. The honourable senator will recall that there is a resolution of the Senate- I am not sure whether it has been entirely observed but it ought to be- under which the Government would give an indication to the Senate within some time of its intentions in respect of any recommendations made by a committee of the Senate which call for Government action. I assure the honourable senator that every consideration will be given to the report and to the recommendations made and that the Government will do what it thinks proper, uninfluenced by any such suggestions as were made.

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