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Thursday, 30 April 1942

Mr ROSEVEAR (DALLEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it a fact that the Army is continuing' to call up for military service fourth and fifth year engineering apprentices who are probably as useful as fully-fledged engineers, and that they are being calledup more rapidly than they can be replaced by graduates from' the training schools? Has he seen the comment of an official of the Engineers' Union regarding the result of such action, and will he instruct the army authorities to call a halt?

Mr FORDE - I was not aware of what the honorable member has mentioned. As a matter of fact, under a new arrangement, the Department of Labour and National Service " vets " all such persons who may be called up, and decides whether they are to remain in industry or go into the Army. It is possible that some fourth and fifth year tradesmen have already been called up for service in the mechanized units of the Army, and that the Army authorities, believing that they can use the men in skilled occupations, have not been prepared to release them. I shall inquire into the matter, and I hope to be able to supply an answer to the honorable member within 24 hours.

Mr ROSEVEAR - I ask the Minister for Labour and National Service whether there is conflict of authority between the officers of his department and the Army over the question of the call-up of fourth and fifth year apprentices in the engineering trade? Does the Army take cognizance of the Department of Labour and National Service only when men are in protected industries? Is the department taking any steps to assert its authority over the labour aspect of the call-up?

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