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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr FORDE (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for the Army) - I agree that every consideration should be given to the members of the Australian Imperial Force in order that they may be enabled to travel to their homes for their Christmas leave. With that end in view, the Government decided to pay their fares on this occasion ; formerly they paid either the whole or a portion of the amount. Great difficulty has been experienced in regard to transport. After honorable members from Tasmania had waited on me and made representations in the matter, I directed that, at whatever cost, extra shipping should be provided in order to transport Tasmanian members of the Australian Imperial Force to their homes. I also made arrangements with the civil aviation companies to provide additional machines in order to fly the boys to King Island and Flinders Island. I believe that honorable members from Tasmania appreciate that. The difficulty in respect of Western Australia is greater, because of its distance from the Eastern States. Nevertheless, an instruction has been issued that everything possible be done, to enable members of the Australian Imperial Force from that State to visit their homes for the Christmas holidays. I shall be able to make a definite decision in this connexion when I have received from the Adjutant-General, Military Board, a reply to a communication that I have addressed to him.

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