Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Friday, 1 May 1942

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) .- My attention has been drawn to-day to a serious matter which should receive immediately the personal attention of the

Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde). Otherwise serious dissatisfaction is likely to occur in our fighting services. I have been advised that there is evidence of a desire on the part of the Government to take away the outward and visible signs of Australian Imperial Force enlistment in Australia. In other words, a direct effort is to be made, so I am informed, to submerge the identity of the Australian Imperial Force. I refer to a complaint in regard to the 17 th Field Regiment - an artillery regiment - in Queensland. Men belonging to this regiment have been issued with their colours, but the grey background in colour patches which is the distinguishing mark of the Australian Imperial Force has been removed. This has caused grave disaffection in the regiment, and I understand that a meeting of protest has been held. The men regard what has been done as political interference, and consider that the Government is setting out to sink the identity of those who have joined up with the Australian Imperial Force in defence of Australia.

Mr Forde - I assure the honorable gentleman that there has not been any political interference. There has not been any direction or instruction by me in the matter.

Mr FRANCIS - There is another disturbing fact. I am given to understand that, although 98 per cent. of the men in this particular regiment are members of the Australian Imperial Force, and that the only membersof the Militia are several officers, the regiment is recorded as a Militia regiment. I ask the Minister to cause investigations to be made, and to do justice to these men who enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force.

Mr Forde - If any decision was made - I am not aware of one, but I shall make inquiries in order to establish the facts - it was a military and not a political decision as suggested. No such action was taken by me as Minister.

Mr FRANCIS - The men seriously resent the removal of that portion of the colour patch which indicates that they arc members of the Australian Imperial Force. I shall be grateful if the Minister will give the matter his personal attention.

Suggest corrections