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Wednesday, 7 August 1946


Mr MENZIES (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) - Numbers of young men still in the armed forces who have matriculated are desirous of taking up a course of study at a university. As some time has elapsed since the termination of the war I ask the Minister for the Army whether he is in the position to indicate that all. such matriculated persons still in the services who desire to take up courses of study will be released by early in 1947 in order to do so ?


Mr FORDE -This subject received a great deal of consideration from my colleague the Minister for Post-war Reconstruction when the demobilization scheme was being evolved. The honorable gentle- man sought the advice of the Universities Commission, and' that body, in turn, conferred with the Australian universities. Because of lack of accommodation and other factors the university authorities intimated that all they would request for the time being was that persons who had successfully completed one year of study in an Australian university should be granted accelerated discharge. To give accelerated discharge to tens of thousands of matriculated persons would have been impracticable at that time, on the best advice available to the Government. The subject was subsequently considered by Cabinet which decided that, accelerated discharges could not be given to all who wished to. begin a course at a university, any more than it could be given to all other persons who wish to learn a trade, such as plumbing or carpentering, because every accelerated discharge that was given involved calling upon another person to serve longer than he would otherwise have been required to serve. However, the Leader of the Opposition has now asked whether something can be done ' to ensure that persons still in the services who wish to. begin university courses next year may receive accelerated discharges. I give an assurance to the righthonorable gentleman that the most sympathetic consideration will be givento his suggestion. The Government is desirous that those whose studies were interrupted by war service shall be allowed to enter upon university coursesor apprenticeships of various kinds without unnecessary delay.


Mr Spender - Many persons, qualified for discharge, are not being released because they are regarded as key personnel.

Mr.. FORDE__I gave the honorable member an assurance yesterday that the procedure in regard to the release of key personnel was . being completely overhauled by a special committee appointed for the purpose. The Government is anxious that demobilization shall be completed at the earliest possible date, but taking an overall view of the picture, a splendid job has already been done.







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