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Wednesday, 31 July 1946

Mr Harrison n asked the Minister for the Army, upon notice -

1.   In view of the recent intimation, by the Minister that it had been decided to write off Army deserters by granting them discharges in absentia, will he extend the principle of granting discharges to those deserters now under sentence who had good records before deserting?

2.   Will he give special consideration in this regard to prisoners who spent years in island warfare prior to deserting, and whose offence may have been committed because of compassionate reasons?

3.   How many soldiers are at present serving sentences for this type of offence?

4.   If he is not prepared to grant discharges to men in the categories mentioned, will he have such cases reviewed to see if clemency can be extended to these men now that hostilities have ceased?

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

1.   This is already under consideration. In the meantime, discharges are being granted to members who have served three months of their sentence with good behaviour while undergoing detention.

2.   Yes.

3.   lc Las not been possible in the time available to ascertain the number of soldiers serving sentences for desertion. However, on 6th July, 1840, there were SOI members of the Australian Military Forces serving sentences of imprisonment or detention for all classes of purely military offences.

4.   Yes.

Sugar: Launceston Supplies.

Mr Forde e.- On the 24th July, the honorable member for "Wilmot (Mr. Guy) asked a question concerning a shipment of sugar for Launceston which, he stated, bad been ruined by sea water.

I have conferred with the Minister for Trade and Customs and now inform the honorable member that a shipment of sugar and other cargo for Launceston by the steamer Delamere suffered some damage owing to rough -weather. However, out of a total of 325 tons of sugar on board, only 22 tons is reported to have been damaged. I assure the honorable member that every endeavour has been, and will continue to be made, to ensure chat Tasmania's sugar requirements will be met.

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