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Thursday, 25 July 1946

Mr Rankin n asked the Acting Minister for Defence, upon notice -

1.   Are any public relations officers now maintained outside Australia by (a) the Navy, (b) the Army, and (c) the Air Force?

2.   If so, what are their (a) names, (b) ranks, and (c) salaries?

3.   What are their duties?

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

1.   The number of public relations officers maintained outside Australia is as follows: - (a) Navy, one; (b) Army, one; (c) Air Force, one. These figures do not include members of the Australian Forces employed on the staff of British Commonwealth Occupation News, the service newspaper produced in Japan for issue to members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

2.   (a), (b) and (c). The names, ranks and pay, &c. of the officers referred to in No. 1 are as follows: -

Navy. - Name - Lieutenant-Commander G. Rawson. Pay - Active pay, 35s.6d.; deferred pay, 5s.; total, 40s.6d. per day (sterling). London allowance, 20s. 8d. per day (sterling). Marriage allowance, 4s.6d. per day (sterling).

Army. - Name - Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) J. H. Morrison. PayActive pay, 20s. 6d.; field allowance, 3s.; exchange allowance, 2s. 2d.; deferred pay, 4s.6d.; total, 30s. 2d. per day (Australian). Dependant's allowance, 4s. 6d. per day (Australian ) .

Air Force. - Name - Flying Officer J. Evans. Pay - Active pay, 16s.6d.; field allowance, 3s.; exchange allowance, 2s. 3d.; deferred pay, 3s; 6d.; total, 25s. 3d. per day (Australian).

Note. - The Army and Air Force officers receive rations and quarters in kind.

3.   Lieutenant-Commander Rawson, who is stationed at Australia House, London, is primarily engaged in historical research in connexion with the production of the War History. He also carries out public relations duties as an additional function. Lieutenant (Temporary Captain) Morrison is attached to 34th Australian Infantry Brigade in Japan. His duties are to assist correspondents in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force Area inobtaining information regarding activities of the Australian component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Flying

Officer Evans is serving with the Royal AustralianAir Force component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan.

Mr Forde e. - On the 19th July the honorable member for Wimmera asked me to state what number of points a soldier needs to have to his credit in order to be assured of almost immediate discharge.

Owing to the need to maintain the efficiency of the Army, it is not possible immediately to release all men whose points are above the points level for discharge. The principles which govern the release of high priority personnel are that, when a member reaches a high level of priority, he will be released as early as practicable except where he volunteers for further service or where his continued service is considered essential. A standing committee is maintained in each Military District to regulate the release of high points men in the most equitable manner possible. For example, a man with 112 points is not automatically discharged as soon as the points level is dropped to 112 points, but is retained until every effort has been made to ascertain whether he could relieve a soldier with higher points who has therefore been retained for a longer period (for instance, a man with 140 points). However, if the soldier with 112 points has not the requisite qualifications for the relief of soldiers with higher points, he is discharged. Every effort is made to keep to a minimum the period for which a soldier is retained against his wishes.

Mr Forde - On the 23rd July, the honorable member for Lilley (Mr. Hadley) asked questions in the following terms : -

1.   How many Army personnel were - (a) in Army detention camps, (b) in civil gaols, and (c) what staff was engaged on detention and guard duties in Australia on the date hostilities ceased?

2.   How many Army personnel are in - (a) Army detention camps, (b) civil gaols in Australia, and (c) what staff is engaged on detention and guard' duties at the present time ?

3.   How many detention camps have been declared redundant and closed since the cessation of hostilities? ''

I replied in general terms to the honorable gentleman, but I now furnish him with a detailed- reply as follows : -

1.   As at the 1st September, 1945 -(a) there were 1,096 men in detention camps and 498 in guard compounds, a total of 2,494; (b) there were 185 men in civil gaols serving sentences for civil offences and 429 in respect of military offences, a total of 614; (c) 54 officers, 1,030 other ranks, plus 145 other ranks attached, engaged on pay and medical duties, &c. 2. (a) As at the 6th July, 1946, there were 690 men serving sentences in detention camps and 65 in guard compounds, a total of 755; (b) as at the 22nd June, 1946, there were 83 men in civil gaols in respect of civil offences and 46 in respect of military offences, a total of 129;. (c) as at the 6th July, 1946, 24 officers, 414 other ranks, plus 58 other ranks attached for duties; pay, medical, &c. 3.. As at the 17th July, 1946-14, including both detention barracks and guard compounds. Two of these are in the process of closing, hut action in this direction has not yet been finalized. On finality, there will be a reduction of staff on detention and guard duties of four officers and 61 other ranks.

Mr Forde e. - On the 17th July, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) asked the following question : -

Can the Minister for the Army say whether it is a fact that during the war there 'existed a body known as the Reporting Officers' Organization, the members of which, working without pay, reported on various activities to Army Headquarters, making their communications under secret conditions to a post office number? Is this organization still functioning, and if so, what is the justification for keeping it in existence in peace time?

During the war, provision was made in the Army organization for military reporting officers. Their functions were not to report upon various activities in the community but were concerned primarily with the provision of topographical information. In the event of operations occurring on the mainland of Australia, it was intended that these officers should remain in localities overrun by the enemy. For this reason and to avoid their possible denouncement to the enemy, names and accommodation addresses were avoided. Military reporting officers did not work under Army Headquarters but worked under commands, districts, etc., in which they were located. The organization is still in existence but is altered to conform to peacetime requirements. These officers have no authority to report on security matters affecting any personnel outside the military service and their functions are still primarily topographical.

Food for Britain : Delays Caused by Strikes.

Mr Francis asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   Has any estimate been prepared of the quantity of food hot shipped to Great Britain as a result of strikes on the waterfront and elsewhere in New South Wales and Queensland during the last three months?

2.   If not, will an estimate be made and the information furnished to the House?

Mr Scully y. - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   No.

2.   No.

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