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Wednesday, 24 July 1946

Mr Francis s asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   Did he make an announcement some months ago that troops with more than 112 points would be discharged by the end of June, 1946?

2.   Approximately how many troops with the requisite . number of points were still in the services at that time?

3.   Has he received complaints regarding the retention in the Army at Wallangarra of at least fifteen men with more than 112 points who have had- overseas service?

4.   What action has 'he taken regarding such complaints?

Mr Forde - The answers to the honorable member's questions are , as follows : -

1.   No. A decision to reduce priority points to 112 was not made until 3rd June, 1946.

2.   50,000, of which 39,000 had volunteered for further service or were members in hospital or awaiting discharge. The principles which govern the release of. high priority personnel are that when a member becomes high priority he will bo released as early as practicable except where he volunteers for further service, or where his continued service is considered essential. Subject to the foregoing, releases will . be made in order of priority points.

3.   It is possible that individual, complaints regarding their retention have been received from men at Wallangarra camp.

4.   Each case is investigated separately and careful consideration is given to all the relevant factors before a decision is arrived at..

Mr Forde e. - On the 26th June, the honorable member for Bourke (Mr. Bryson) asked the following questions: -

Will the Minister for the Army supply me with the number of persons who applied for exemption from military service during the World War II. on conscientious grounds? How many of those applications were granted?

The information sought by the honorable member is as follows: -

Number of applicants, 2,725; number granted unconditional exemption, 40; number granted exemption but' required to perform essential non-milita ry employment,973 ; number granted exemption from combatant duties' but enlisted to perform non-combatant duties only, 1,076; applications rejected, 630; total, 2,725. The above figures relate to the period ended the 31st December, 1943. After that date the intake of personnel into the Army was governed by the number made available by the Man-power Directorate.

Mr TURNBULL (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

What percentage of (a) commissioned officers and (b) other ranks of the Eighth Division, Australian Imperial Force, lost their lives in Japanese hands after the fall of Singapore?

Mr Forde e. - The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : -

(a)   9.5 per cent, (officers); (b) 36.6 pet cent, (other ranks).

Mr Francis asked the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

1.   What are the total imports of Oregon since August, 1945?

2.   In order to relieve any timber bottleneck in housing, can greatly increased shipments be expected?

3.   Does the Government intend to take steps to exploit the timber resources of New Guinea and Borneo?

4.   What was the production in super, feet of hoop pine timber in (a) Queensland and ( b ) New South Wales for each of the last five years?

Mr Forde e. - The Minister for Trade and Customs has supplied the following answers: -

1.   Total imports oforegon from August, 1048 to June, 1946, inclusive were 43,232,610 su per. feet.

2.   No. Out of a pre-war annual importation of the equivalent of about 324,000,000 super, feet of sawn timber, Canada supplied the bulk. Canada's ability to supply Australia is now limited to comparatively small quantities because of its obligation to supply increasingly large quantities for re-habilitation work in

Great Britain. America is unable to provide all of its requirements from its own resources and has instituted export restrictions. Demands in devastated Europe are so great that there are as yet no indications of any supplies of timber being available to Australia from the Baltic countries which are the only other large exporters.

3.   The answer as regards Now Guinea is in. the affirmative. As the honorable member . is aware, the . Commonwealth Government has no control of the timber resources of Borneo.

4.   The figures given below are for the financial years from 1941-42 to 1945-46 except that in the last year no records are available for the months of May and June: -


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