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Friday, 18 November 1938

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime Minister) .- I move-

That the House tlo now adjourn.

On Tuesday next the debate on the budget will be resumed, and it is intended to sit four days next week and during each week before the adjournment for the Christmas recess.

The Government is now setting out on the organization of an appeal to the whole of the people of Australia for the raising of the personnel of the militia forces to a strength of 70,000. That number has been decided upon as essential in order to add to the security of this country. I call upon all . honorable members to co-operate with the Government for the success of the campaign, each to do what he can within .his own district, and I also make a similar appeal to all political sections of the community outside because, in this case, there must bc no division of opinion, first as to the necessity for the adequate defence of Aus-tralia and, secondly, as to the method of achieving it. Honorable members of the Opposition and the organizations that support them Aave, from time to time expressed themselves in favour of the voluntary system of enlistment. This appeal is based on that system. It is an appeal to the manhood of Australia to provide the numbers necessary for the defence of this country against an aggressor and not for purpose of aggression. I hope that whatever views may be held by outside organizations as to the merits or otherwise of either the compulsory or the voluntary system for the defence of this country, they will recognize that only one system can be adopted at a time. The voluntary system is being attempted to-day.

Mr Brennan - What alternative is there if the Government fails to raise the 70,000 recruits?

Mr LYONS - The alternative is that we are not doing what is absolutely necessary in respect of that particular part of the defence programme for Australia.

Mr Brennan - :That is not an alternative, but an observation.

Mr LYONS - We must either provide for adequate or have inadequate defence. That' is the alternative.

Mr Frost - Why does not the Prime Minister go ahead with the defence programme properly, and stand up to his obligations to the country by the adoption of compulsory military training as the returned soldiers have asked hiin to do?

Mr LYONS - I am sadly disappointed that, on the first mention of this appeal to the people of Australia as a whole_on a non-party basis, any honorable member should introduce this note of discord. I hope that his sentiments will not be echoed by his colleagues throughout Australia.

Mr Frost - It is not a note of discord.

Mr LYONS - The Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Hughes), the Minister for Defence (Mr. Street), and the Minister for Works and Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Thorby) have been constituted as a special committee appointed by the Government to organize the appeal campaign. I say quite frankly that I should like to see associated with them a representative of the Opposition.

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