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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr FRANCIS - On the 24th February the honorable member for Perth (Mr. Nairn) asked if it were true that for some months voluntary enlistment in Western Australia has been actively discouraged by the Defence Department, and, if so, whether the present Government proposed to continue that policy. I promised the honorable member I could institute inquiries into the matter, and am now in a position to inform him that the statement has no foundation in fact. The strength in Western Australia at the end of December, 1931, was 1,654, 90 per cent. of establishment, and since the inauguration of voluntary training it is estimated that nearly 3,000 men have enlisted in Western Australia, the majority of those who have resigned doing so because of having to seek work in the country. Far from any active discouragement in Western Australia, conferences of commanding officers have been held wherein the best means of interesting the public have been discussed and put into force. Commanding officers have accepted the personal responsibility of recruiting their units up to strength, the commandant and staff have been persistently active and successful in securing the assistance of all public bodies; the press have been helpful in notifying vacancies for recruits; slides have been shown at picture shows; recruiting posters are exhibited on all drill halls and government buildings; and a column of weekly military news appears in the Daily News. The same units are maintained as when universal training was in force. It is quite possible, of course, that in some units the numbers are complete, and the acceptance of a few applicants may have been deferred.

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